I am 69 years old and have battled arthritis since my twenties. I have lost the war! I now need both knees replaced AND my neurosurgeon says I MUST have spinal fusion surgery. I can't think of or don't know of any medication and/or treatment I haven't tried. I am terribly afraid to have back surgery for two reasons:
1. A MTHFR DNA test through the Mayo Clinic on March 17, 2014 indicates I am positive for C677t gene mutation. The first problems listed on the results is a risk factor for arterial disease and venous thrombosis. My father and a young first cousin both died from blood clots during orthopedic surgeries.
2. I have talked to no less than a dozen friends, neighbors and family members who have had lumbar spinal fusion and not one reports having a positive experience. Without exception they all say they are in worse pain now than before the surgery.
My question is has ANYONE had good luck with spinal fusion surgery?
If one cannot or chooses not to undergo spinal fusion surgery, is there any hope for pain relief? I'm at the point now where I feel like Tramadol is making me physically ill. I've been taking it for four years - Tramadol being considered the best pain drug for me.
I have a rheumatologist, a knee specialist, a neurosurgeon for my back, and a pain management specialist. I feel like a worn out old tennis ball continually being batted back and forth between different doctors but making absolutely no progress. I'm sincerely worried about deepening depression and anxiety.
Any personal experiences would be very much appreciated. I feel like I'm at the end of my rope and pretty much out of options. My doctors tell me to stay away from the big spinal treatment medical centers.