I had an L5S1 discetomy in February 2014 which is 15 months ago now and made a fantastic recovery from it returning to full function and returned to my job also. I had 9 months of feeling 100% better until December 2014 when due to the nature of my work, I suffered an additional tear to the outer annulus of the same L5S1 disc I previously had surgery on. I have been out of work to date.
Since December I have made a very decant recovery twice and also re-injured myself twice, each time setting myself back about 6-8 weeks in my rehabilitation. The problem is no matter how many times I recovery and no matter how well I recover I always seem to be just on the cusp of re-injury made susceptible by one slight wrong turn, or wrong bending motion or one slight lifting motion. In a sense I'm walking on eggshells so to speak and my surgeon has said that each of these bouts of back pain I experience are additional small tears in the outer annuls of the disc that are occurring.
Just this week I have experienced a bout of back pain that was reasonably bad but was by far not the worst I have experienced and it only really lasted a few days which is not bad at all but it really has me thinking.....It appears to me I have two options in front of me:
1. To accept this as my lifestyle and continue being reasonably well and accept that I will continue to have flare up's in pain from time to time and manage this through pain medication and physical therapy.
2. Do something about it. Get a spinal fusion as recommended by my surgeon and set myself back at least four months in my rehabilitation but hope it will be successful and fix the problem of this degenerative disc disease and give myself a lifetime free of pain going forward.
I have the same trepidations as anyone considering this surgery and am not afraid of the physical operation itself or even how horrible the recovery and pain is in the short term but am far more concerned with the longer effects such as reduced flexibility and permanent nerve damage.
As I am a keen sports person I would really be most intrigued to know as to how much flexibility would be lost from a single level fusion? I have always had hyper flexion to some degree and have been able to bend over and touch beyond the point of my toes to my ankles. I was told by my family doctor once before that this hyper flexion was part of my spinal issues and partly to blame as it was causing excess movement of the vertebrae causing wear on the disc. I've never know whether to fully believe this or not. I wonder how far I will be able to go after the fusion?
As per permanent nerve damage? What more can I ask about this other than has it happened to you and if so..to what degree of feeling did you loose?
Thanks for reading and responding...