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Contemplating Lumbar Surgery - looking for your support and experience

My problem:

My MRI really reads that there is several levels of "mild" protrusions, annular fissures, indentations, disc dehydration, blah blah blah.

Excruciating thigh, groin, hip and buttock pain. - all day every day (except at night when sleeping, if I can fall asleep) - for the better part of 10 months. The low back pain seems to come and go, and is not as constant as the leg/hig/groin/buttocks.

Today, I woke up with my left leg weak, numb and my left foot feels numb around the arch over the top of my foot. I have had ESI, PT, Chiro, massage, medication... if everything on the MRI is considered MILD, and while there is no actual impingement, there is a contact with several High Intensity Zones...Can people with mild structural problems be a reasonable candidate for surgery?

Also: What are High Intensity Zones? What do they signify?

I am going in to see my spine surgeon tomorrow,but I want to know what others have experienced.

"My Blood Type is Be Positive"




  • How old is your MRI? In one year, my MRI went from mild, moderate to severe spinal stenosis at L4-5 and L5-S1 due to arthritic changes and L4 spondylolithesis. I had minimally invasive PLIF at L4-5. I got two opinions. One from a neurosurgeon who would have done a traditional fusion, then a second opinion from an ortho surgeon who did his internship at a back institute. Do your homework when choosing a surgeon if that is what you need to do. Do not wait too long, you do not want permanent nerve damage if that is the case. Just be prepared for a long recovery. They say 3-4 months, but it takes longer than that. I had a 3 hour surgery and was out of the hospital in 23 hours. I was in pain in the hospital, but I would rather be in pain at home. I was hard, but it is best to start moving around and helping yourself as soon as possible. I have very good range of motion, but still when I am active, I need the pain meds. My left side feels great and that is where he did most of the work and the side I had the most severe symptoms. But I am struggling with my right lower back and hip. I get fatigued from the pain. I am seeing a pain management dr. and may have a steroid injection in the SI joint or hip to see if that helps. I am hoping that will start to relieve some of pain. I am now a little over 3 months out. I really thought things would be a lot better, which they are...just different symptoms now. I am 49, no injury, but hereditary arthritis. I know my neck is going to be my next issue, as I have numbness and tingling in left shoulder, arm, and fingers....I just tell myself, it could always be worse, but it is still a struggle none the less. I have a great family, but I can tell they don't want to hear about my pain 24/7, so at times I do feel alone....so this is a great place to vent. Good luck, I hope you find your answers to your pain....don't give up! It's hard, but there should be answers, you just have to keep looking for the right dr. I live in a rural area, I drive an hour and a half to my dr., but is well worth it!! Good luck and keep us posted!
    radtechtam MIS L4-5 Fusion
  • your story sounds like mine. I have been this way for 3 years now. have gone through all the non invasive treatment. I have herniated discs pressing on nerve roots but not pinching them off. I am having anterior/posterior fusion and discectomy in a month. most physicians said I was too young and they did not see anything they felt comfortable operating on. I had a normal EEG but a positive disco gram. I have had 4 MRI in the past 3 years. each showed something a little different. If your life is being interrupted because of pain then talk to a surgeon. some say orthopedic other say neurosurgeon. Get suggestion from both. Spine surgery has a long recovery time. good luck to you
    injury 12/29/09. L2 henamgioma L3-S1 desiccation protrusion narrowing, L5-S1 nerve rood displaces, L4-5 annular tear DDD L5-S1. surgery 4/24/12
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