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bad back problem

ok new to the site but not to the pain i have been thoiught alot in the past 7 mounts and will try not to make this a 12 page story so here we go..i got hurt on the job in oct 2012 on a ladder went to the doc got the mri turned out to be disc bulg at l3 l4 l4 l5 and l5 s1 dics herniations the l5 s1 was pretty big and was pinching the nerve whitch made my leg hurt so bad so i tried 3 epidural shoots pt emg tests the whole 9 for months ..my doc sent me to a surgen after seeing him he wanted to do a discethomy so after waiting a few more months i had the surgery may 16th 2013 right after the surgery i felt no difference but it was right after so i would give it some time cause with most cases i read about people feel relief with leg pain right after the surgery but that did not happen for me i went back to the surgen after 2 weeks told him i still ahd the same pain as before i had the operation he said give it 6 more weeks and come back...well i went and had another mri done this is what it said
moderate broad based midline disc heration at l5 s1 nerve root impingement at both l4 l5 and l5 s1 levels should be considered im 29 years old i was a telecom tech since im 17 i have a family kids that i cant play with the way they want me to i cant go back to the jo b i love doing or play sports they had told me if this did not work that they would want to do a fusion i dont know if i want to have any more surgey doon do to this not working..i was also told before i had it doon that it might not work.. so i kind of lost right now any info is apprecaited thanks


  • Only you can make the choice if surgery is needed or not. Each person handles pain differently. Most surgeons will tell you there is a 50/50 chance for pain relief from a fusion. There are people on this site that have had great success with fusions. Others have not.

    Given your age, I encourage you to seek a second opinion and see if there is anything else that can be done first. I had surgery six years ago and wish I hadn't had it done.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Every person has a different outcome with surgery. with a fusion you do have a chance it will not fix things. I myself am 36 and had fusion and discectomy for L4-S1 at the end of April. It has not been an easy recovery. I did not wake up to total relief. I don't have the sharp shooting leg pain anymore or the heaviness. My calf and foot are still numb. Doc said this should go away with time. I have been dealing with this on the job injury and workers comp for over 3 years now. If a nerve has been compressed for a while it needs time to recover. I know I will be restricted the rest of my life. Mostly heavy lifting. I did this to get my life back, to be able to enjoy my kids again. It was not an easy decision.
    My advice to you is to seek more than one opinion. Make sure to ask about success rate and restrictions after surgery. If you have a fusion it takes 6 months to a year for the fusion to heal.
    Good luck to you and feel free to send a PM if you have any more questions. :)
    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
  • I'm sorry to hear of your continuing pain and can appreciate your position on further surgery. Never having had a workman's comp claim I don't know if this is an issue or not, but I'm wondering if work comp has expectations for your treatment. If you decline further surgery, will they work with alternative treatments and/or be there for you if you reconsider and want the surgery down the line a ways?

    I'm one of those people who has had this same fusion (L4-S1) that you're considering (2 1/2 yrs ago) and had a wonderful result. One serious consideration is the increased stress on the disc level immediately above a fusion--in this case, L3. It's something to consider before agreeing to a fusion--you would need to change your approach to physical activity to protect and lessen the chance of adjacent disc problems. Pain control is your goal and I hope work comp approves whatever you need to have done to reach that goal. As has already been pointed out, you are the only one who can make this kind of decision and I hope you have adequate information/evaluation in making your decision. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • thanks guys for the reply the other opinions that i had was 1 from the workmens comp surgeon who said at my age that a fusion was not a good option but that was before i had the surgery when he told me the success rate of the discectomy was 95 pct the pt doctor told me not to do the fusion either so now with the first surgery was not good i dont think i can trust anyone anymore with doing any surgery at this point im pretty scared about going into any surgery is there anything else out there to try i dont want to be on meds for the rest of my life but i really want the pain in my leg to go away its so bad i cant stand they have me taking gabapentin 600 mg 3 times a day and oxycodone 15 mg they both dont work the way i would like them to whitch i would like to be on something that taks away full pain in my leg...not only that but to top it if a week before the surgery i got tboned some guy in a van doing about 50 ran a red light and hit me mri for that showed buldge at c4c5 c5c6 and heration at c7 so im batting a 1000 right now...
  • num1phoneman said:
    so now with the first surgery was not good i dont think i can trust anyone anymore with doing any surgery at this point im pretty scared about going into any surgery
    While you didn't have a good result from the discectomy I wouldn't wholesale reject further surgical options. I think that most surgeons take a conservative approach to treatment, moving forward with the next level of treatment if the first doesn't solve the problem. It would have been wonderful if the discectomy had elliminated your pain but that doesn't mean a fusion would also fail. Most of us have undergone numerous treatments, injections, PT, the whole gamut of treatment options as we travel the path hopefully to resolution of our problems. Please don't get discouraged and reject other options just because the first treatment didn't work for you. If you can find a non-surgical treatment that will relieve your pain and you won't have to face living on pain pills everyone here would be so happy for you, but if you do opt for more surgery we will also be here to encourage and cheer you on. Whatever else happens, do keep sharing your thoughts with everyone here--that alone will help you cope. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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