Spinal Fusion L4-S1

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jillybeans1205's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
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Joined: 02/17/2013 - 9:34pm
Spinal Fusion L4-S1

I am having a spinal fusion tomorrow of L4-S1. I've had ongoing back pain for several years now. I found out in 2006 that I have degenerative disc disease and had 3 herniated discs in my lower back and 2 in my neck. After cortizone shots and PT my neck was fine and has been ever since. Unfortunately the same did not happen with my back. Back in 2006 I had gone through taking steroids, pain meds and bed rest, onto PT then did a series of 3 epidural injections. I started going to a chiropractor for a while also. My pain was ok after that for a while although I still had to be careful and still had episodes of "throwing my back out". I would go for Tuina therapy aka acupressure ~ it's been a lifesaver to me many times. So anyway, I got married this past June of 2012 and between dancing in heels several different nights, long car rides, horseback riding, biking and hiking all within a few weeks I was back to square one. This time the Tuina couldn't "fix" me. So I once again went through everything I did 6 years ago..."everything under the kitchen sink" as my doctor referred to it as, and bed rest...onto PT which started making me worse. My back had gotten worse in the past 6 years as per my MRI. This was an orthopedic doctor I was seeing and he now referred me to a spine specialist. I went through another series of epidurals but they didn't work this time. Then I went for a discogram to pinpoint exactly where the pain was coming from. It turns out it's coming from 2 of my 3 herniated discs...one of them is torn and the other is not too far behind. So the doctor gives me 2 options...one of them would be a minimally invasive procedure where they would go in and clean up the bad disc and hope that it would relieve the pain and hope that the disc would regenerate healthy tissue but there was only a 60-70% chance of helping. My other option would be the spinal fusion. He said the procedure will take about 4 hours. They will go through my abdomen so they have a clear view of the spine to remove the bad discs, then they will replace them with a bone like material and close up the abdomen. Then they will go through very small incisions in my back to put the hardware (titanium screws) in. This procedure is much more effective and I would probably need it anyway in the future if I went with option 1. I am 30 years old with no other health problems so I figured I should just do it now while I am young and strong and should do very well with recovery. The nurse told me their goal is to get me into the best shape of my life after this. I am scared and I know it's not going to be easy. I have a lot of faith in my doctor though and feel that this is the right decision and I hope to be back to normal in 6 months! If anyone has had this done and has any questions or feedback or pointers please let me know. Thanks.