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Should I get Fusion Surgery

In 2007 I had a discectomy for a herniated disc at L5S1 when I was 27 years old. before that I had tried 2 steroid injections, PT and been on pain meds. The first injection had worked but within a few months wore off and the second did nothing, almost made it worse. The pain was unbearable which is why I opted for surgery. I have an office job and I'm at my desk on the computer most of the day, sitting at the time aggravated it this most. The surgery went great, soon after it was like night and day. Within a year I started to have some pain again went back for an MRI and discovered I had another disc that was slighty herniated. Was frustrating but the pain was manageable, nothing like before. The herniation was not as big. Its now 7 years later, I am very active, work out at least 5 times a week, sometimes more. I do cardio, weights, spinning, etc. Part of the reason I had surgery was in hopes I'd be able to continue being active as its important to me. I know I do not do as much as I should for my back though, i need to spend more time stretching and doing low back specific exercises to help, they just never seem like they are really doing much. But i know if I did them more and continued it would make a difference I'm sure. Lately laying down and sleeping has really bothered me, not the sitting anymore. Being on my feet for a long time, walking far, bending over is sometimes stiff and can get painful. Sneezing if I am not already sitting terrifies me. I cant seem to find a comfortable position when I sleep and have a hard time getting out of bed and in a lot of pain in the mornings now. Takes a while before I can stand up straight. I went back to the same doctor this week after and MRI and found out I have no disc left at L5S1, the other 3 lower discs are all showing DDD and one is slightly herniated and I have bone edema from it being bone on bone rubbing against eachother. There was arthritis as well. Just a mess basically. The doctor said there is nothing more that he can do, long term I'd have to get Spine Fusion surgery, its just a matter of when. Reading about the surgery it sounds pretty awful and recovery time seems long. The pain is manageable now, annoying but I've learned to deal with it. Wondering if there are better options. Is it better to get the surgery now while I'm young vs dealing with it for yrs and eventually needing it when I'm older and will have a harder time recovering as everything seems to get harder with age! I know there are no guarantees with the surgery and dont want to make this situation even worse. I'm also afraid I wont be able to be as active. I've been reading posts with people saying 6months after fusion, cant now start to bend at waist! I cannot even imagine being in that situation. I know everyone if different but that sounds horrible! Anyone been in this position or have alternatives? Anything I could be doing to help the situation? My dr seemed to think nothing would make a difference at this point since the disc is gone and its bone on bone there. It was more a case of managing the pain and what I could deal with. I'm also thinking of seeking out a second opinion, never hurts. Just thought I'd start here. Thank you for reading my LONG post, lots to think about! I appreciate any help!


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