My story, quick version. I am 40, male. 18 months ago had severe lower back pain. I have a history of disk degeneration and have had two neck surgeries. I had an MRI of the lumbar region that showed bulged disks at L3, L4, L5, along with stenosis.
July 9th of this year I had a 2nd MRI after lower back pain literally put me on my back for 10 days. This MRI showed a now ruptured disk at L3, and degenerative disk bulge changed from previous MRI at L4, L5, and S1 as well as moderate canal stenosis and “Spondylolisthesis” (confused if this is something separate). Also noted is considerable facet arthropathy at L4 and L5.
Went to Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan to review newest MRI and what to do about it all. Here is what the doc wants to do:
• Laminectomy from L3 down to the sacrum (which I think means to S1 or including S1)
• Decompression which means the hardware (does this mean fusion?)
Result would mean a 3-4 hour surgery, a 3-4 day stay in the hospital, 12 weeks of wearing a back brace and 12+ weeks of recovery.
Needless to say I am quite scared. I don’t want surgery to be honest but when logic sporadically does come to mind fixing this surgically makes sense. However the fear is mostly taking over at the moment. Surgery is not scheduled until August 31st.
This said, I never experience nor have I ever experienced any pain in either leg. My pain is strictly lower back more to the left than the right. When the pain is at its worst it’ll take my breathe away. It feels as if I am being torn apart at the bottom of my spine. When like this, all I can do is lay and lay still. That said, the pain is not always like this, it can go nearly away. When it does I still feel as if structurally there is just something off. Its hard to explain but it just feels crunchy.
My questions include:
• I have never had any pain shots, cortisone, etc.
• I have never had PT
• Does the above surgery seem excessive in the fact I have never had any other treatments leading up to the surgery.
• Are the other non-surgical options just delaying the inevitable?
Currently I am on 60 to 80 mg a day of Percocet. Muscle relaxers haven’t done me any good.
I am getting a 2nd opinion from another surgeon in a week or so.