I'm new here and doing research over the past bit has brought me here.
I bit of history on me:
I'm a 30 year old male (month shy of 31) and have had lower back and leg pain for a few years now.
The pain started as a pinch while doing a very heavy lift for strongman training and has been up and down ever since. Following the injury, I had an x-ray done and wasn't contacted before heading back to Beijing (I lived there for a few years), so I assumed it was just muscle pain that could be fixed.
Eventually the pain got so bad while walking and being upright, that walking became almost unbearable. I then made the decision to try out Chinese medicine before coming back home to Canada for treatment. I had an MRI done in China and I'm no expert, but something definitely didn't look right...
I had acupuncture and cupping done and was given hamstring stretches (holy crap were those painful) and a legs-together type squat. After about 2 weeks of almost daily acupuncture, I had absolutely no pain at all! Was great! Due to no pain, I sort of made myself believe that the problem was fixed and continued with kickboxing (like really hard training at points, 6 hours a day in Thailand). At about the year and a half mark, the pain started coming back and this was very disheartening.
After this, I decided to come back home and start getting second, third and fourth opinions. All 3 surgeons here recommended that I undergo a fusion, as I was diagnosed with a pars fracture and grade 1 spondylolisthesis. I tried physio, which actually helped to a point (keep in mind I was mostly laying down during the day, so that could also be why.
I eventually got a job while waiting to see the surgeon again (sitting job, which absolutely killed my back). I finally saw the surgeon again and am confident with him, but I'm still not so sure about the surgery. He said it could eventually slide further and cause more damage.
I had him compare an MRI from before I was doing all that kickboxing and after, and he did say that there was a slight progression, but not severe.
The pain is very annoying but not constant... If I lay down or sit, I have no pain... and after I sleep and wake up, I can usually go for a jog or a walk without any symptoms at all. Later on in the day it will start up and progress as I stand longer.
I have the surgery scheduled for the 21st of October (so it's fairly quick), and I'm really second guessing it, which seems natural.
I guess I'm just checking if anyone on here had success in pain relief without surgery? I am pretty certain I could just get acupuncture done again and be pain free for a year or so...which seems like a pretty good deal, if I can continue being really active like I was when I was pain free.
The thing that worries me most is being more hindered than I am now post-surgery and not even being able to be very active again. I actually don't get too much pain while doing kickboxing, it just gets crazy after, until I lay down again (which doesn't seem like much of a life to me).
Sorry for my long-winded and generally crappy organization, actually about to head out and am pressed for time (also have ADHD and I could easily stretch this post into a book lol).