I fell backwards onto my lawnmower in May 2007, striking the bottom of my spine on the corner of the engine. I herniated three discs. I had one steroid injection and nearly went through the roof. @)
Then did some chiropractic and physical therapy and all was good. Then in late October 2007, it got really bad again. Major sciatica in the right leg, back pain. I ended up having a microdiscectomy and foraminotomy at the L5/S1 level in mid-December. I did more PT and I was doing GREAT. I had built up to walking 5 miles a day and was feeling really healthy. One day on my walk, my right leg buckled right out from under me. The pain was excrutiating. As long as I was careful when walking, I could pretty much avoid the pain, but it got worse and worse till I was reduced to an old lady shuffle and now have pain all the time. I had another MRI, discogram and CT scan. I have arthritis, and my three discs (L3/4, L4/5, and L5/S1) have annular tears all the way across from left to right. I have had two surgeons tell me my condition is inoperable, and that I can have a spinal cord stimulator implanted if I like. I don't like! I want to be able to move, to breathe, to walk!! I'm 54, but I'm not old enough to be put away in a corner yet. I hope to retire next year and I want to begin my second childhood. I have done a lot of reading on the web and most say that a three-level lumbar fusion is not recommended. I am still in physical therapy, but I am not getting better. If anything, I am getting worse. I have found a doctor who thinks he can help me and says that if I have the fusion, I will have a stable base for my spine and if I continue my PT and am diligent about my exercises, I can probably get 5-10 years of relatively pain-free life before anything else needs to be done to my back. Do any of you know of anyone who has had the last three discs in their back fused? Are they doing well? I am currently on duragesic patches and also taking percocet for the 'break-through' pain. I do not want to be on drugs for the rest of my life. Anyone in the same boat? I guess I'm just looking for other's experiences and a little reassurance that I'm going to do the right thing. I know I can't live with this pain for the rest of my life.
3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.