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help please!!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Lower Back Pain
I'm new to this.
I need help PLEASE!
I'm 19 years old and I have a pars defect that the doctors are pretty sure I was born with which has caused degenerative disc disease in my L5-S1 level. I went to two doctors so far and one is saying that I am a candidate for spinal fusion and the other one is saying that as well but doesn't want to operate on me because of my age :? . what I was told was that if I were 10 or 20 years older they would have the consent form there for me to sign to get the fusion done, but since I'm so young they don't want to operate on me which i think is kind of nonsense. of your experiences I would really appreciate it if you would help me to figure out what would be the best path for me :/ . 6-12 months of PT that may or may not help or the surgery. This pain is ruining my life ~X( ...I just want it to go away!


  • I'm afraid to say that i am not a candidate for the ADR because of the pars defect. I am not on any pain medication at the moment except for the occassional ibprofin. I know that I am so young for such a problem but I am a very active girl and I am not getting to do things that I love because of this problem. I am just so confused.
    thank you for responding to me!
  • Hi Kay,

    You have some very real concerns. If I were you, I would try to locate a surgeon who specializes in younger patients, because you need to find a solution appropriate for your age. Find out what are your non-surgical alternatives, even if they only gain you time, as from day-to-day there could be a new medical development that could help you. By the way, I have seen several young people posting on this site, some of them not more than 15 or 16.

    Sorry that I cannot offer you more help but I am at the other end of the age-spectrum.

    Good luck in finding the best solution.



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  • Thank you for the advice. I didn't know that there even were doctors who specialized in younger patients. I would like to buy time if possible, but this pain is stopping me from doing many things that I enjoy and part of me thinks that I would rather fix the problem and then go on with a normal life rather than live with this longer than I have to, but I don't know...urg!
  • kay- I don't know what types of treatment you have tried but I found that the drs wanted to try all kinds of conservative treatment before I had surgery. I think that they almost had to try other therapy before surgery in order to get surgery approved. I tried alot like meds, MT, PT, exercises, heat, TENS, accupunture, corset, steroid pills and injections and more. Have you tried PT in the past or perhaps meds or injections?

    I had to have PT post-op (and pre-op) and it lasted a few months, so the dr may yet try PT post-op. Ask the drs if they recommend post-op PT when you check on the surgical route. :< They may do the same- pre-op PT and post-op PT..??? :/ jade
  • I was on tramidol and that did nothing. Then I was on vicodin and flexeril at the same time. The flexeril helped me to sleep but I still had pain even with the vicodin. I went to the dr. to see if I should do PT, but those words didn't even come out of his mouth until I asked about it. He said I have 3 options...live with it and eventually my spine will fuse itself, get steroid injections, or surgery. When I asked about PT he said you can try it and it may help or it may not. I am setting up another appt with him to discuss things more thoroughly
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  • If it also helps, I am 22 years old with several disk herniations. I know the pain sucks, and it's hard and can be depressing at times, but you just have to keep your head held up high. I heard the age thing too many times already. We heal faster and better, but I don't think it would hurt to get another oppinion. If you ever need someone to talk to, I am always here. All the time
  • yea I hear ya...I'm trying my hardest to try and keep a positive outlook on everything. I think I just need to do a lot of thinking and get another opinion or two maybe.
    thanks for the help!
    maybe we can talk sometime cuz we're both young dealing with problems we shouldn't be :)
  • that surgery is not always a cure all. There are many people on this board that are in worse pain post surgery than they were before. I am 45 years old and my doc is encouraging me to wait for something a little more advanced to come along rather than go with fusion. I think that the success rates are only about 50/50 if I am remebering correctly. If worse comes to worse there are longer lasting stronger pain meds that you may be able to try that may help tremendously. Nobody likes to be on narcotics for long periods but belive it or not once they get into your system you feel normal just with little to no pain. I wish you luck and please keep us posted on your progress.
    PS look under the scatica and leg pain thread and you will find someone who is 18 years old dealing with DDD.
  • Hi Kay - age aside, I second what others have said about conservative treatment first. I'm a fusion candidate, not ready to go down that path so experimenting with different narcotic & nerve pain meds (because I can't keep getting ESI's) and finally found a combo that gives me some relief. Yes there are side effects, no my life is not the same, yes surgery looms in the back of my mind, but I am not in constant pain and I can get out and enjoy life. This buys me some time to research possible surgery options, get a second opinion, see what my insurance will cover, get back into phys therapy. I also intend to ask my doc how long I can take the meds, as long as they continue to work. Maybe its a long term solution.

    My point is, get another opinion, and explore every option before surgery. Good luck to you!
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I am fairly new to all of this myself. Though I have had back problems my whole life. I had terrible problems in highschool, and the worst has been this last year. I saw a neurosurgeon yesterday. He said he would never perform surgery at my age, because he couldn't put me through 50 years of worse pain.

    I have heard that surgery is not to relieve the pain, but to prevent further damage, and that most times the surgery leaves your pain level the same if not worse.

    If you try physical therapy, you have to keep up with it. At least thats what my PM told me. He sent me off with a script for "rigorous PT" He seems to think that will help.

    Now, I'm not sure if this all applies to your situation. I don't know what pars defect is, or what the treatment would be. Send me a private message anytime you like, I am always here if you would like to talk! =)

    Keep your head up, and do your best to keep active!! The more you slow down, the worse the pain will get.

    hope to hear from you soon

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