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Looking for Advice - Should I have surgery?

SamdudeSSamdude Posts: 1
edited 05/13/2014 - 7:20 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hello all,

I signed up here to ask you readers for your opinion regarding my condition. I am beginning to think that surgery may be something I should consider.

I've had spondylolisthesis since I was 16. I'm 26 now. It was not too much of a problem for most of my life. I was a good athlete and lived a very active lifestyle. However, two years ago, I forced my spondy to slip while playing ice hockey. It was my L4/L5. It bulged quite a lot...probobly between a grade 2 or 3 slip. I was in a lot of pain for about a year. I was afraid of surgery and wanted to heal naturally.

I did a lot of physical therapy, pushing through the pain. Today, the bulge is much smaller and I'm in much less pain. My chief complaint, however, is that I no longer can play sports...I feel awkward/uncomfortable...I am weak...It's difficult to drive long distances...I can't sit upright without being very uncomfortable. Sometimes it feels like my life revolves aren't surviving work, going to the gym and then resting my back until the next day.

I've had xrays done, and have been evaluated by Dr. EDITED He was conservative in his recommendations...we discussed surgery, but I think he wanted to see how I'd do without it. He said that what he'd do is a bone graft and fuse the two vertebrae, along with adding more space between the vertebrae.

I'm not sure what to do. EDITED said that he sees people return to sports/running after the surgery. I'd love to do that. I'm afraid that the surgery will make things worse. I've made a lot of progress in the past two years...but I wonder if I'd be better off just having the surgery done, rather than postponing it and struggling with this for my entire life. At the gym, I typically walk for an hour on the treadmill. Sometimes I jump rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers. I do core exercises on the swiss ball and planks. It's coming along, but the vertebrae always feel too compressed/weak for me to run or do anything very strenuous.

Can anyone advise me? I'd really appreciate it.




Post edited by Sandi- Please see the forum rules at the link below for more information.
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  • No one here can tell you to go ahead with surgery or not, that decision must be made by you, in conjunction with your doctors.
    The spondylolysthesis slippage degree can be a huge factor, since each degree, 1, 2, 3, and 4th degree all have significant impacts on the stability of the spine.
    Have you had any recent imaging, xrays to check on the spondylolysthesis, and an MRI to see how the disc bulge is now? Within the last 6 months? If not, I would start there, and find out what the current status is, and also are you having any nerve related symptoms?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    to consider. There are so many variable that come into play. But in the end, its a decision you need to make with your doctor, your family and yourself. There may never be a clear cut answer to this.

    Some of the things that you should consider and discuss with your doctor and family

    • - Do you need to have surgery now? What happens if you wait?
      - What are the pros of having surgery now vs later?
      - What are the cons of postponing surgery?
      - Are there any other alternatives?
      - If I have surgery, what is the expected recovery time?
      - After surgery, how much will I be able to return to the things I did before?
      - What would be my restrictions and limitation after surgery
    And you should always seek a second opinion when surgery is being discussed. You want to have at least two medical professionals agreeing with the identification of your problem and the recommended solution.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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