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Trying to decide if back surgery is the right option for me

Jess11991JJess11991 Posts: 1
edited 12/20/2014 - 9:26 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
So a little history about myself... I'm 23 years old, I have been dealing with back pain since I can remember. When I was 14 I fell off my horse resulting in a herniated disk in the L4/L5 region. After almost a year of physical therapy and pain management we stopped going because it was not helping. I have since had much pain shooting down my legs but have been written off by doctors saying it's just a muscle spasm. In February I got hurt at work And injured my back again. Another few months of PT once again did nothing. Yesterday I finally got the results from my MRI showing the same disk is herniated and the L5/S1 is also herniated with disk degeneration in both. Doctor is wanting me to once again do through physical therapy, but I feel like it will be a waste of my time again. I'm wanting to get straight to the point and fix the problem for good. I'm in so much pain all the time and I want it gone. Thank you in advance.

Ps... my grandpa has had a lot of back problems and degenerative disk disease.


  • 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
  • shez1325sshez1325 Posts: 49
    edited 12/21/2014 - 7:50 AM
    Hey I feel for you. This site has a lot of useful information. Just read ,ask questions and keep asking the professional's you see anything you need to help you find the right treatment for you. I don't think there is ever a quick fix but u will find something that works for you. I'm 28 and 2 days post op for L5/S1 herniated disc. I went for surgery as my GP and Physio both strongly recommended it after finding no relief from PT and ESI injection. I think maybe if you r young they do try to do other things before surgery. I could hardly walk in the fortnight before surgery. Have you seen a specialist, like a orthopedic Spine surgeon?
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but is all you've tried is PT? Have you had any epidural injections or nerve ablations? What else have you tried? I would think it would be difficult to find a respectable surgeon to do a fusion without some other conservative treatment in your history. Remember that a fusion isn't a magic bullet and there are plenty of people here with failed fusions. I would talk to a surgeon and get an opinion, but also strongly consider some other treatment options.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • armelindarmelind South TexasPosts: 88
    edited 12/23/2014 - 11:43 AM
    Surgery can go either way. Do not opt for a quick fix. I realize you have had pain for years but you are still very young. An operation may cause unforeseen complications and can even result in permanent pain or injury. Do every bit of PT you can. Get injected, get shocked... but dont do surgery unless you have no more options.

    I am 3 years post surgery and my pain never left. I am medically healed but because of scarring from the surgery, I have a pain that can not be treated and have had to take stronger meds as time has gone by. I am at the point in my mind that I probably hurt just as bad or maybe worse than I did before my surgery. The only difference is that I am on MUCH stronger pain meds.

    Dont think lightly about surgery. It may help, it may not... it may even kill you. (There is always this chance for any surgery) Just do everything you can. Go to a different doctor... maybe they will have a different treatment that might help.

    Good luck.
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