First of all, I am new to the site and it looks like this is a good community with lots of usesful advice. I'm 29 and have been dealing with significant back pain since i was 25 when i injured my back while detailing cars. (lots of repetitive bending and twisting with a buffer and being 6'4" didnt help). I'm getting to be desperate for a solution, as all my hobbies have been on a shelf for some time now and while i have had numerous periods of successful healing, overall im on a downward trend. A year ago my MRI showed an annular tear at L4-L5 and this year it shows a paracentral protrusion (about 4-5mm, my own measurement on the images). The surgeon also noted evidence of nuclear fluid being present around and outside of the joint where it shouldn't be. My pain is 95% in the back/disc but can escalate to sciatica (by doing simple activities that would never hurt a normal person). My surgeon who has done a number of successful surgeries for friends/family gave me 3 choices: 1) do nothing 10-20% chance of success 2) microdiscectomy/laminectomy 3) fusion ... but he felt strongly i shouldnt go the fusion route. I chose to do nothing and hope for the best continuing conservative treatment but so far im still miserable. My surgeon is confident that microdiscectomy would be successful for me, but admits the risk is if it fails ill need a fusion. The reading I am doing indicates there is not a high success rate for a microdiscectomy of a small protrusion like mine and aren't effective for back pain pain (rather radicular pain). I did challenge him on this but he stuck with his opinion. My situation is far from an emergency, but not being able to do projects and enjoy my hobbies is killing me... and today i even turned down a job opportunity Ive been hoping for because of this, so i need to get this dealt with ASAP. 4.5 years is enough, my life is passing me by.
filling out the recommended form....
- When did this first start?
4.5 years ago at age 25, currently 29
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma? No. I worked too hard at my side job detailing cars.
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions? No.
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc) 3 surgeons, 3 pain management doctors , 1 OMM doc
. Which doctor did you start with? Primary Care Physician
. Who are you currently seeing? Orthopedic Surgeon
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
. Physical Therapy --- 3 tours
. Ultrasound / Tens unit -- ultrasound
. Spinal Injections - 3-4 series of treatments
. Acupuncture - Never tried
. Massage Therapy - yes
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc) MRI
. Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
L4-L5 central protrusion (4-5mm), history of annular tear, evidence of leaking fluid.
. How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
3 MRIs, 1 CT scan, numerous Xrays
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc) None, pain killers make my situation worse
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind) Yes. Laminectomy/Microdiscectomy and Fusion (Fusion not recommended).
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated? I would say it is less than 10% of my pain, but it can quickly progress to nerve pain. I do have some mild weakness in my right leg/foot but doesnt affect my ability to function.
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?
Do nothing(continue PT) or microdiscectomy.