I need as much help as possible on this. Doctors only know so much. I'm trying to do my research here.
Here are the circumstances on my case::
I'm 31 years old, male. In Dec 2013 I had a micro discectomy on my L4/L5 for a central disc herniation and degenerative disc. (the rarest type of herniation, central disc herniation, tends to cause more back pain than they do leg pain) There was no leg pain. Only back pain. The doc made it very clear that this might not completely get rid of my back pain. The surgery was up to me and I wasn't pressured into it. I ended up having the surgery and my back pain slightly improved and I was happy with the result. However, about a week ago (Feb 2014), I started getting back into light gymnastics. It had been 8 weeks since surgery. I was in the middle of doing a handstand against a wall and I re-herniated the L4/L5 disc. Much worse than it was originally. I just got the MRI results back. My right leg and toes are numb and the back pain is back again, worse than before. I have an appointment to see the doctor again next week.
I love doing my gymnastics. Mostly I do handstands, cartwheels, backflips, etc. Also an apparatus called the Cyr Wheel (you can look up videos online to see what I'm talking about).
I already know what the doctor is going to say next week. He will give me the option of having another micro discectomy to correct the re-herniation. Or he will give me the option of a fusion of my L4/L5. Just like he said the first time. I'm certain he will explain the pro's and con's and let me make my own decision.
What I can't find any information on is how having a fusion would effect my gymnastics skills. I'm confident the doctor won't know specifics on this! It would be just one-level fusion. All my other discs are healthy. I have found several articles describing how my back will be slightly less flexible if I choose to have a fusion - but nothing in detail on how this would effect my gymnastics.
I'm considering the fusion because if another discectomy is done, I'm worried about re-herniation again. Since this would be a 2nd discectomy, the disc just keeps getting thinner and thinner and I'm wondering if a fusion would be a better option at this point.
My main concern is my flexibility for gymnastics! And specific stories, circumstances. Not guesses. I need to be sure on this. I already know all the basics on fusion. Healing time, longer recovery time, etc. So please don't state the obvious
I'm looking for help from anyone who can give me specific tips, stories or examples of how having a one-level fusion of L4/L5 would effect my ability to do gymnastics after it is fully healed.