I have been reading this forum for the past couple of hours and already found a great deal of useful information. I have lived with chronic back pain for several years but have been able to manage the pain fairly well by using naproxyn, doing stretching exercises, and being careful about lifting, moving stuff. I also have DDD, osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis.
About a year ago, I began having pain in my legs which didn't go away with my medication. I assumed it was my arthritis getting worse. I went through several accupuncture sessions which helped alleviate the pain temporarily; at first the relief lasted several weeks but as the year went by, the relief was shortened. My doctors prescribed different medications and pt. Nothing seemed adequate--my condition worsened. I called my doctor to see if I could get an MRI to find out what was going on in my body; as luck would have it, she had just left on vacation. The pain was getting so bad I could hardly walk; I went to the ER. They wouldn't do an MRI because I had no traumatic injury but they gave me hydroxodone and flexiril. I finally got in to my doctor who sent me for an MRI. The MRI showed compression, bulging, loss of alignment and the doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon. Additionally, my doctor prescribed tramadol for pain relief.
When I saw the neurosurgeon he wanted to take the conservative approach, so I went for pt again, and had an epidural. Several years previously I had an epidural for back pain and the injection helped tremendously. This time I felt a little relief for about 4 days. Now I'm scheduled to have surgery at L4-5 to relieve the pressure on the nerves and at the same time have fusion done. the doctor said I should have relief right away from the leg pains but the relief for the back pain is about 50/50. At this point, any relief would be wonderful.
Of course, the neurosurgeon really didn't emphasize the time needed for post-surgery recovery. I discovered what that might be like by reading through this forum. I am glad to get the information but I'm still nervous about the surgery. After all I am not a young chick; I'm a silver haired granny.