I am a 40 year old fairly active man. I'm 6 ft 7in and 360 lbs. Definitely not a small guy. Not a lot of sports but I love working around the house and love wrenching on trucks. 2 years ago I drove about 1000 miles in a weekend in what I thought was a very comfortable car. Afterwards I was in severe pain in my left lower back and butt. No nerve pain just sore back and butt. I went to chiropractor and a few sessions and I felt 100 percent. This past November I took the same drive in the same car with the same outcome. Only this time, it came with some serious nerve pain. I went to my family practitioner and she said sciatica. Gave some muscle relaxers and pain meds. Referred me to pain management and chiropractor or physical therapy. I returned to same chiropractor with no relief. I actually wound up going to hospital from chiro because the manipulation made it worse. I also visited pain management and she wanted to know why I was there. Said one month of back pain was not really what they deal with. That it was for chronic suffering. Long story short, I pushed to have something done because I was already out of work for a month and hadn't really left bed. Every move I made hurt. My leg was so bad with nerve pain, I limped terribly and couldn't wear pants or shoes. Anything that touched it made me scream in pain. I cried myself to sleep and it got to where I was taking 5x the prescribed meds. I was actually buying meds off the street. The pain management Dr set me up for a spinal injection that was supposed to take care of the nerve pain. It didn't. Was a waste of time but apparently the process that led to the next step. My chiropractor recommended a neurosurgeon. I was able to get in quick. The Dr looked at mri and said I needed spinal fusion because herniated disks at l4 and l5 were pushing on nerves. My insurance was able to approve the surgery and it was scheduled for new years eve. But my Dr rushed through everything and gave me no good information on what was happening. That's what led me to this site.
The thing about this page is while it's full of great information, it's also filled with horror stories and failed surgeries. I went into this surgery with fear and trepidation. I pictured all the bad things I've read. There was only one success story that stuck out and stuck in my mind. Well I was at hospital at 6 am and I was lucky that a friend of mine happened to be a surgical tech and was in the room for my surgery. That eased my mind about what was happening while I was out. I woke up in the recovery room about 1pm. The Dr wound up doing a fusion of l5 and s1 with spinous process clamps. 7pm and my nurse told me I could walk if I wanted to. I wanted out of that bed so bad and it was worth a shot. I had a walker my wife on one side and my nurse on the other. It was rough getting out of bed, but once I was I was excited and walked 2 laps around the floor of the hospital. I had read here that people were bed ridden for days and could barely walk to bathroom. The nurse actually had to slow me down because she was dragging my iv behind me. That night sleep was terrible. The beeping machines and nurses in and out. Bed sucked. I was visited the next day by a bunch of people who taught me how to get out of bed and all these things I would have to learn to do differently as far as body mechanics. I also got a walker and a grabber and a raised toilet on wheels and a ice pack that plugs into the wall. So there was a lot I never expected to deal with. I was discharged by 1pm. I had read here about people with the exact same l5 s1 surgery spending days in the hospital. Well fast forward a month. I just had my first post on check up. Of course it's too soon to see any fusion, but a lot of my restrictions were lifted. Brace off, I can drive, I can start bending and whatnot. Also and most importantly sexual activity as long as wife does most of the work. I've been off pain meds for 2 weeks. Still taking a muscle relaxer when I wake up. I do have some nerve pain and I can't move toes completely but it's definitely getting better. I've been walking since day one. And every day it gets easier and farther or faster. There is so much I'm skipping because I realized how long this is, but I don't regret this surgery at all so far. Just find a good Dr and have faith and think positive. I have a great support in my wife. She made things so much easier by rearranging the house so I could reach stuff and had to help me shower for the first 2 weeks. So a good support system and positive thinking I believe is my biggest reason for success besides a Dr that knows what he's doing. Do your research but don't let these horror stories get to you. I hope this was put in the right forum and not terribly long. Thanks for the great information