Good evening fellow spineys!
I saw my neurosurgeon this morning and as he was in his usual rush I didn't get many (none really) of my questions asked. I like him a lot, and more importantly, I trust him, but damn- he is BUSY.
Okay- here is the deal.
I have DDD all over, but it's really impacting my lower back. I've read all of the stuff, I know it's not really a "disease" and that it can be usually handled with conservative treatment.
I've been dealing with the lower back issues for about 10 years but lately it hasn't been going away. I literally can't sit in a regular chair, can't fold clothes, unload the dishwasher, or do anything that requires partial bending (I can bend all the way, it's the shallow bending that gives me grief) without severe pain. I've done all the *stuff* over the years- PT, chiro, exercises, ortho, etc., to no avail. Usually these episodes come and go but this one is in the five month mark with no signs of abating.
Anyway, neurosurgeon mentioned the possibility of surgery on my last visit, which after reading everything on the Internet, I think I would like to avoid. In preparation for today's appointment I had a new MRI done last week (we have a 1.5 year old one that shows DDD) which revealed worsening DDD. Today he told me that my particular insurance doesn't cover lumbar fusion for DDD, so he has referred me for a discogram.
1. If insurance won't cover the surgery anyway, why do the discogram?
2. If the discs are *gone* (as they basically are in my case), what happens next? Do they just naturally heal?
3. Is staying on pain and muscle relaxers until this resolves on itself a viable option? My doctor will keep me out of work for as long as I need and has no problem with refilling scripts as needed.
My doctor said a few words that led me to believe that the discogram would give some kind of proof to the insurance company that the surgery was necessary. Does this make since? Like I said, he was so busy, and talking so fast, I was really only left with this impression. I looked up my insurance today and it clearly states that lumbar fusion is not covered for DDD or disc herniation, which is all I have.
I just paid for the new MRI and I know the co-pay for the discogram will be steep. Won't it just confirm the DDD?
Any input? Suggestions? I am confused!
Thanks in advance :0)
3/11/13 successful ACDF
7/13 inconclusive discogram
Currently in PT for lumbar pain