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L5 pars defect long term pain

I am 25 years old; I had a surgery on a pars defect (L5) in 2010 following 3 years of back and forth from consultant, GP and physiotherapy. After the surgery I was in a back brace for 3 months to prevent too much movement in the lower spine. The brace was removed in January 2011 and I gradually started doing more and more, it was great the pain wasn’t half as bad, I was slightly concerned that I was over doing it but my consultant just advised me to do what felt comfortable. After a year and half passed I gradually felt the pain creeping back. I try not to take pain-relief as I feel it has taken over my life for long enough. This summer it took on another level, the pain started to travel down my legs again and stopped me from doing activities that I would normally do. Me and my partner went camping this summer we has separate inflatable beds to improve the comfort, but during this holiday the pain became unbearable to the point where I was unable to stand up straight or walk any distance. We called it quits and traveled home. Once home the unpacking began, I was sat on a stool sorting out clothes and when I tried to stand the pain stopped me in my tracks and was so intense I could not put any weight through my legs.

This is the worst pain I have ever experienced with my back, even prior to the surgery it was not like this.

I saw my GP who prescribed a number of different medications, some nerve blocks and high dosage of pain relief so I could start moving again. I had also just started a course of physiotherapy that apparently I should have had after my operation in 2010 to work on my core strength from wearing the corset. It is now nearly December, I have stopped taking the high dosage of pain relief and nerve block as I was unable to drive whilst on them. I am still in pain daily and find that my legs are tired and painful most of the time; this causes me to lose balance. I am trying to start exercising again but find that I am going around in circles.

I would love to hear other people’s experiences and tips.


  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 11/28/2013 - 12:15 PM
    I had a pars defect that developed into a grade 2 spondylolisthesis which then caused me horrible lower back pain and awful sciatica in both legs. I was told that I would have had this since I was a teenager but despite having back pain, I didn't really follow up with a medical appointment until I was in my 50s.

    I tried for two years to do everything I could to avoid surgery. I lost weight, changed my diet, drank more water, walked daily and did lots of core strengthening exercises.

    Eventually I agreed to just go and 'talk' to an orthopedic surgeon. He told me that he didn't know how I was managing to walk about and that I couldn't continue to avoid surgery or I would end up in a wheelchair. I had a fusion with laminectomy on L4/5 about 3 weeks later.

    That gave me wonderful relief of the sciatica and lower back pain. That was over 3 and 1/2 years ago. I do still get some pain but I am very much better than before my surgery.

    Perhaps it is time for you to see a spine specialist again. An MRI might be an good idea to see if there is any compression that is causing your problems.
    I hope that you will find a way to help your pain.
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