I am about at my witts end, and need some advice...
I am new here so I don't really know what all needs to be said... So this might be kind of long, but please bare with me...
I am a 30 yo female, healthy other than back-related issues. I am overweight, and have been most of my life.I am usually pretty active - riding bike, walking, and I LOVE rollerblading and fear that is a thing of the past for me... But not so fearful that I have been able to get rid of my skates!
I first hurt my back in 2008, and it came and went came and went. In October 2012 something in my lower back snapped and I FINALLY had an MRI to find out my L4/L5 disc had an extrusion. I tried a steroid injection which left me with pretty bad weakness in my right ankle which would cause it to roll when I tried to walk. The clinic that performed the injections (under ultrasound and fluoroscopic) referred me to an ortho surgeon and I had a laminectomy in December of 2012.
At first all was well after the lami, but things progressively got worse. Currently I have sharp/shooting pain in my right leg from my butt down to my heel, back pain, and grinding that feels like it comes from the left of my spine (not vertebra), but in the same area as surgery. I tried PT, adjustments (DO), and went through the pain clinic near me for more fun(NOT) with fluoroscopic injections. I am currently on Motrin 800 3x per day, muscle relaxers and neurotin. The only thing that helped was injections at L5/S1 but only for about a week, so the pain clinic doc refused to do more and suggested I get a discogram with the understanding that if that was positive, I would need to be fused. The neurotin is working now, but that is new to my daily regimen.
I was sent to a local university who is supposed to be "the best" and was schedule for 3 months out with a neurosurgeon. Since I was "accepted" to see the neuro at the university, we did not proceed with the discogram.
In the meantime, I went and saw my ortho spine surgeon because my pcp thought I had an ulcer from the Motrin I had been taking for the past year. I got fed up and made an appointment with him. That was in December, and he recommended a fusion at L4/L5 because that disc has re-herniated since my lami (based off a MRI from September 2013).
I finally saw the neuro today and he said I should just take narcotics and loose weight. I explained that I don't want to be on any meds, at all, and that I was HOPING to eventually have kids. He said I should go to their pain clinic, apparently the one I went to wasn't good enough.
Now, I am not disagreeing that I need to loose weight, I totally get that. BUT I do not think that is the main problem here. My recent MRIs showed developmental narrowing, short pedicles, degenerated facet joints (L4/L5), herniated disc, and the list goes on. My question is how can these 2 medical professionals have such differing opinions? How are patients supposed to know what to do? The neuro pretty much told me that my back hurts because I am fat, the ortho surgeon was after my money (the ortho is a highly respected ortho in my area so I HIGHLY doubt that and trust my ortho), and a fusion would not help at all because fusions were only for instability.
Can anyone tell me their experiences with any of this? I know surgery - especially a fusion - is a last resort, but I am so ready to try it. In the end, I know it is my decision, but I just wanted some feedback. Hopefully when I figure out what to do my story will be able to help someone else out with theirs...
Thank you for reading through!