I've been reading information on Spine-health off and on for a few years and have decided it's time to stop lurking and join. I have been having back and leg pain beginning around 15 years ago (I am now 60 years old) and it has progressed despite conservative medical management. I've done many sessions of physical therapy and strengthening programs, tried several CAM therapies including Qi Gong and acupuncture, and have had 19 or 20 lumbar epidural steroid injections over the past 8 years, and have taken a lot of ibuprofen. I feel I've run out of options to control the pain and have finally scheduled surgery (L4-L5 fusion) for April 7 for severe lumbar stenosis, and grade 2 spondylolisthesis, and other degenerative changes. Sometimes I wonder how I've managed to keep working through it all; I come home exhausted and pretty much too tired to do anything else. I think the chronic pain is wearing me out and affecting my attitude. Standing and walking are very painful, so I don't go out much except to work. It has been a hard decision that's taken me years to make, so I hope it's the right one and that my quality of life will improve after recovery. I am now taking a narcotic pain pill almost every day; some days are clearly worse than others. I am also doing one last round of PT, with someone who specializes in Functional Manual Therapy in addition to the strengthening exercises. This modality has made more of a difference than any other PT that I've had, so sometimes I find myself having doubts about surgery. The therapist has said whether or not I have surgery, I need to have use of these muscles. It will also help my mobility post surgery. My PCP has been in favor of conservative treatment rather than surgery for these past 8 years, but since nothing else has worked, he feels it would be appropriate to have the surgery to fix the structural problem. I am hoping to be able to stand with less pain and walk more than 150 step without having to sit down and rest. Thanks for all the information on this site, and also the postings on the forums. I am considering posting in the Surgery Buddy forum to connect with others who may in a similar situation.