I am not sure I'm using the boards right, I'm new at posting... anyway, for the guy worried about spinal fusion: GET A VERY VERY VERY top surgeon. The process is hard and all that, but with just a few discs fused, you'll be fine and won't notice it is there after you recuperate and get back in swing of things. I had a lot of my back fused (mid-back) at age 17, and nothing limited me. I have to do some more fusion, and with a nearly-all-fused back, that will be noticeable in physical limitations -- but if it gets rid of the pain, great.
You have a good chance of getting rid of your pain and going on to be glad you did the surgery. But no major surgery is easy, you just have to mentally prepare yourself for going through it. AGain -- get the best spinal surgeon you can, don't just use any old person.