Hi everyone. I really need some help and advice here
. At this point he's been struggling with pain for over 2 years and have decided to make an appointment with a spine surgeon in New York City. Please help us and read his symptoms below and offer us advice on what questions we should ask the surgeon.
My son is 15 years old and he's been suffering from lower back pain for two years now. It started after an awkward fall during a soccer game and he's back pain has continued to worsen and evolve over the following years.
Our last MRI, CT, and X-rays were a year ago and revealed grade 1 spondylolisthesis and bilateral spondylolysis at L5-S1 and a bulging disc at L4.
Two years ago his pain was just in his lower left side of his lower back (an ache and that hurt really bad walking and getting out of chairs). Over time his pain has greatly changed.
Now, he complains about a widespread ache across his lower back, back of his glutes, back of thighs, and into his calves and bottom of both of his feet. He also describes the pain as "burning and tingling". He has more intense burning down his left leg in his calf and big toe which is a different kind of pain than his right leg. Bending forward produces an ache in the same lower left part of his back (closer to his si joint) as 2 years ago.
He's been out of physical education for a year and a half. Running, jumping, any kind of impact activity reproduces the ache in both sides of his back and worsens that widespread tingling and aching across his lower back and thighs.
Every morning before school, after he comes home from school, and before going to sleep he takes a quick hot shower. He says this helps so much with all the burning and tingling across his lower back and legs. However, the effect is only temporary and all his pain returns.
He says he can't sit for longer than 10 minutes before the burning and aching starts to worsen. Talking walking breaks every 30 minutes during class helps but he still experiences pain.
Biking, elliptical, speed walking, even his core exercises (planks) worsen his back pain.
His pain is at its lowest in the morning.
Also, when he lays down flat on his back with this feet flat on the floor and let's both feet drop to the right side, he says he feels a heavy "pop" in his si joint area like it released a giant air bubble (like cracking your knuckes). On his other SI joint he feels like a joint keeps popping into and out of place, like when he puts on his clothes he can feel something pop out or in (not like cracking your knuckles).
Walking in the pool greatly relieves most of his pain temporarily.
At this point, were worried that this back pain will continue to worsen and plague him for the rest of his life if we don't successfully address it soon. He often feels depressed about not even being able to participate in schools physical education or any sports, but just getting through the day without having his back pain constantly on his mind. He says how it feels like it's become a part of his life and is always clawing at him. At school, he stresses about when he should take his walk breaks, if he should go to the nurse and ice it, just how to control his pain.
He almost forgot what it's like to have a normal life. We've heard about spinal fusion surgery but after two years of having this be a part of his life, he's very skeptical of him ever getting better or getting "back to normal" (or more normal).
He says he wants to be able to live without constantly worrying about his back pain and being so restricted by it. He wants to be able to run, workout, dance, ride his bike, just be able to live like his friends again.
We've tried physical therapy, acupuncture, bracing, anti inflammatory medications, etc. with minimal relief.
What should we do? What should we expect from the doctor's appointment? What questions should we ask him? Thoughts on the possibilities of surgery? We've been to many doctors and spine doctors but this one is a spine surgeon in a very renowned hospital in New York.
Thank you so much everyone and I wish you all the best of health.