Hello-Any feedback would be super!
I am: Male , age 47, non smoker.
DDD going on 12+ yrs, just sort of lived with it, did the best I could. Really had a dim view of a fusion, as I thought it was giving up. I saw a new Dr lately that said nope, a fusion, I should look at as increased function and lower pain, well heck then lets go I thought ! Then looking into how invasive and the down time, wow-this will take some planning. Like I've printed off the entire calendar for 2016 and now am trying to plan.
Pain level, 4-5-6-7 daily, the best days are worse in last ~24 months. Pain in getting in the way of living for sure. Very active golfer since pre-teen, had flare ups in high school and college (lower back) , really I've played a ton of golf, but my dad had a bad lower back and probably genetics but really that doesn't matter.
MRI "Impression" : Multilevel dengerative disc disease and spondylosis without high-grade canal or foramina narrowing.
L3 and above looked normal, so left them out. The actual L4-L5 and L5-S1 on the film do look pretty narrow and was told their basically "SHOT"
The L4-L5: Moderate loss of disc height and disc hydration with small anterior and lateral vertebral marginal osteophytes and Schmorl's nodes, with a 3mm AP generalized posterior margin disc budge, superimposed postercentraol 10mm transverse x 3 mm AP disc protrusion which protrudes 2 mm caudally, and mild right and left posterior lateral disc osteophyte hypertrophy, mildly to moderately narrowing the subarticular recesses, left greater then right, and mildly narrowing the AP dimension of the central canal to 10mm. Mild narrowing of the right neural foramina entry zone. Patent left neural foramen.
L5-S1: Moderate loss of disc height and disc hydration with vacuum disc phenomenon right anterolateral 5mm disc protrusion and mild associated osteophyte. 4mm left anterolateral disc bulge and osteophyte with Modic 2 fatty infiltrated marrow. 4mm AP broad based postecentral disc protrusion with associated high T2 and STIR signal in keeping with annual tear. minimally indenting the ventral thecae sac. Thecae sac measures 13mm AP, without narrowing. Mild Bi-lateral subarticular recess narrowing. Mild to moderate right neural foramina narrowing and mild left neural foramina narrowing.
In last 60 days had two ESI shots, no help. One facet joint shot 3 days ago, too early to tell but maybe 20-30% help so far.
Had ESI shots over the yrs, didn't really do much to help. Tried several PT efforts, even tried acupuncture. Pretty much tried all the conservative treatment, at best it was a band aid.
I can still do a lot but its the more I do the more pain I'll have. In addition, my golf has curtailed big time, just hurts too much. I can still play well but I will pay for it.
I've seen two new Orthos, and the Ortho I've been seeing for yrs, (over the last 30 days) two said L4-S1 fusion, the other said what I think was a laminectomy.
I've pretty much decided to go with the fusion, I hear its important to have a positive attitude to get thru it. Whats tough is, I've tried everything but surgery and that hasn't worked, which is frustrating. So I need to believe the fusion will work knowing everything else hasn't <not easy.