Having suffered back pain on and off for several months, I noticed a "step" in my lower back, last summer. I went to my G.P. who organised X-rays and a grade 1 L5/S1 spondylolisthesis, along with spondylotic changes and facet joint degenerative changes. Asymmetric disc space narrowing at multiple levels and a minor scoliosis, concave right. I had also been having pain in my left ribs, I was told this was referred pain from my spine. I was prescribed paracetamol and codeine and a course of Pilate type exercises. In September my pain got worse, I was fatigued and I found it difficult to walk for too long, so went back to my G.P. eventually in November I had an M.R.I. the results of this showed up: Grade 1 spondylolisthesis due to pars defect at L5, Intraforaminal compression of exiting left L5 nerve roots in the neural foramina, posterior disc prolapse of all lumbar levels, endplate oedema at L2/3, L3/4, T6/7, T12/L1, moderate thoracic spondylosis, cervical spondylosis with multilevel disc osteophyte complexes and marked disc space narrowing at C6/7. I finally saw an Orthopedic Consultant in January, he put me onto Gabapentin to ease the nerve pain (sciatica), which stopped me sleeping. At my follow up appointment in February I was told the Gabapentin was for a three month trial and that a follow up appointment for 6 months time would be made. At my initial appointment, he discussed fusion, but is obviously reluctant about it. I asked about vertebrae fusing on their own, he said that 96% of cases do fuse themselves. Natural fusing, I believe takes between 1 and 5 years, also the disc has to completely wear away and that it is very painful, as bone rubs on bone - can anyone comment on this? In the meantime I am in pain every day and the only help is paracetamol, codeine, Gabapentin and heat pads. I'm a 52 woman and my G.P. says my back is a mess!! Has anyone got any comments that might help me?