Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Disc completely gone at L5 S1, neurosurgeon recommend surgery

God'schildGGod'schild Posts: 2
edited 11/06/2014 - 8:56 PM in Lower Back Pain
Hi, my name is Venita. I have been having back pain for years. I have always done factory work all my life which I contributed to the back pain. I started going to see a chiropractor whom sent me to have an MRI because the pain wasn't getting any better. The MRI show that I have marked disc space narrowing and degenerative disc disease at L5-S1. There is cortical end plate irregularity and prominent reactive marrow signal changes surrounding the L5-S1 disc space. These findings are likely the result of marked spondyloarthritis and DDD at this level. There is a large disc osteophyte complex at L5-S1 which is asymmetric to the right.There are small anterior osteophytes at the remaining levels with mild degenerative reactive endplate changes. There is diminished T2 signal within the discs at L3-L4 and L4-L5 compatible with disc desiccation. I have bulkging discs at L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5 and L5-S1. The MRI shows that my disc at L5-S1 is completely gone. I also have sciatica which sometimes is on both sides but mostly bothers me on the left side and sometimes on the right side. So to break it down in layman terms. I have DDD, spinal stenosis, and arthritis of the spine. I also have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I have arthritis in my left knee. I have tried everything from chiropractic care, physical therapy, and steroid injections and nothing has helped. I have not been able to work since January of this year. I also missed a lot of days from work last year because of these problems. I have been seeing a rheumatologist and I saw two pain management specialist. One of the pain management specialist looked over my MRI and said I have a lot of problems going on with my back and that is why I stay in so much pain. My rheumatologist finally sent me to see a neurosurgeon who did an x-ray himself of my lower back and also said that my disc at the L5-S1 is completely gone, bone on bone rubbing and that I would need to have surgery. I have heard stories of back surgeries going bad and people coming out worse. I was wondering with all that is going on with my back will my back ever be the same again and would it be worth having surgery. I do a lot of heavy lifting, bending and standing on my job and don't know what will become of me being able to work again. Please anyone who can give me your honest opinion please help. I became scared when he mentioned surgery. He said without it I will continue to have the pain and problems concerning my back.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi Venita,

    Sorry to hear about your pain. I have almost identical problems in the same discs, just not quite as degenerated as you L5 S1. I am about to have a total disc replacement on my L5 S1 later this month, and the doc believes that I should be able to return full time to my active job as a restaurant manager in a few months after surgery. They have operated on athletes, military, firefighters, etc, that have all returned to full time work. I have also heard of surgeries going bad, but just research the doctors who may be doing it.

    Good luck!
  • I would get more than one second opinions from different specialists and discuss about the success rate based on your situation. According to my experience, surgeons are bit optimistic on the success rate.

    I would consider following things before go for a spine surgery.

    1. Are there any severe risks involve living in current condition without a surgery?
    2. Is life/job manageable in this way?
    3. Have you tried every possible conservative treatments PROPERLY? Eg: Hydrotherapy (at least 3,4 times a week)
  • @Michael, I pray that your surgery is a success and that you have a good and speedy recovery. @shcj, I have been off work since January because the type of work that I do involve heavy lifting and constant bending. I also am on my feet standing except during lunch and breaks. I could no longer deal with the pain at work, along with having arthritis in my knee. I was and still have a lot of sciatica pain that generates from my back and down to my feet, along with tingling and numbness. The doctor said that type of work is not doing me any good with my condition. I can't go shopping like I used to because of the pain. It takes longer to clean and cook. I can't walk long periods like I used to, and like I said on top of everything that is going on with my spine I have fibromyalgia. I am going to get a second opinion though.
  • Angry30AAngry30 Posts: 24
    edited 11/20/2014 - 8:59 AM
    Hi God's Child,

    You mentioned wanting the honest truth so I'm going to be honest. Back surgery is not necessary for everyone but if a qualified professional recommends it for you - please do not let fear stop you. Yes, we have all heard back surgery horror stories. However, if you do your research and find a good surgeon then that could be your second chance. And don't we all want a second chance? Don't let the thought of surgery scare you. Nowadays they have excellent tools to perform the surgery and excellent pain killers and physiotherapists to help you with your recovery. Excellent advice that is repeated in this forum is do your research and get a second opinion. Ask lots of questions and speak to lots of qualified medical professionals.

    You said, "The doctor said that type of work is not doing me any good with my condition." You've asked for some advice. I have some questions for you to ponder. I hope they help you figure things out. You are in an extremely difficult situation. It isn't easy for anyone to switch jobs.

    1) Do you think you need surgery?
    2) Do you think your job contributed to your back problems to begin with?
    3) Do you think surgery is a "cure" and you will be able to go back to work?
    4) Ask your surgeon/physiotherapist: Does this type of job cause back problems like the ones I have? What does that tell you about your future? about your career choice?
    4) What will happen to your back if you stay in the same job? Will you wind up unable to move, on medical leave? Possibly even permanent medical leave? (can family or friends help you out?)

    You might have more options than you realize when it comes to switching jobs. Career counselors are awesome!
    Stay strong!
    - Angry30
Sign In or Register to comment.