This is my first post and am so glad to have found this forum. I have been reading your posts and am appreciative of any thoughts you could share with me on my own situation.
In 2009 I was diagnosed with a severe L4/5 herniation. 2 weeks later, I had a discectomy because it was clear that surgery was my only option based on the size. OS said after surgery it was much worse than what the MRI showed and had to take more of the disc than anticipated. I had a very positive experience with this procedure and was sciatic pain free immediately, back to work in 3 weeks and living a completely normal life for the last 5 years.
Beginning about 2 years after the surgery (and after a car accident), I would have occasional episodes where I would go into lumbar shift (acute scoliosis). I would see my chiropractor and after an adjustment this would go back to normal in a day or two and life would go on. I also consulted with my OS who ordered an MRI in 2012. It showed a slight bulge on L5/S1 but L4/5 looked good with no issues. I did PT for 4 weeks and all returned to normal.
At the beginning of this year, my lower back/tailbone area started to lock up when I was getting out of the car. After walking 10-15 steps it would loosen/release and I would walk upright again with no issues all day. After months of this happening (and progressively getting worse) I called my OS who ordered PT. I was also going to my chiropractor pretty regularly for adjustments, laser treatments and having monthly massages to help keep things loose. I did 19 visits of PT April-June and I saw zero improvement. We did dry needling, ultrasound, stretches, you name it. I was also going to the gym and doing elliptical and seated weight machines. Nothing worked. Around 4th of July weekend, I started having crippling sciatic pain in my right leg (outer side calf, Achilles tendon). It has now progressed to the point where I can hardly walk and is now in both legs. MRI in July showed herniated L4/5. OS says it's a small herniation (nowhere compared to last time) and so we did 2 rounds of ESI. Today is one week after the 2nd injection and no relief at all. I can't sleep anymore or get through the day without 3 ibprophin every 6 hours. Vicodin did not do a thing. OS said that if the injections failed then he would recommend a fusion (because there isn't enough disc to do a second discectomy). I want to be pain free but am struggling with this. PT called and suggested we try home traction to see if this works so that is what I will try next before scheduling surgery.
SO.......here is my question for you all.
Did traction work for anybody?
For those who had a one level fusion, how awful is the recovery and did it eliminate the sciatic pain?
Jacki - Age 37
L4-L5 Discectomy April 2, 2009 (Felt Great for 5 years)
2014-Reherniation of L4-L5 disc
ESI #1 - August 4, 2014 - No Relief
ESI #2 - August 18, 2014 - No Relief
360 Lumbar Fusion L4/5 - scheduled for October 21, 2015