I'm a 57 year old male. I have been a high school teacher for the last 16 years. My problems started in early 2000's but saw a Orthopedist for extreme pain in the upper right area of my back. MRI revealed mild central canal stenosis in the C6-C4 vertebra. The epidural done in 2008 , lasted about one year. Since then, especially beginning after the C7 epidural, I started having severe lower back pain. It has become so bad that I can't perform my duties as a high school teacher.
The latest MRI's reveal not much difference in the C7 area but this is the radiologist report for lower back;
L2-3 Disc dessication and moderate disc height loss are noted with large concentric annular disc bulge and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy combining to create a moderate central canal stenosis.
L3-4 Same as above, except No central canal stenosis.
L4-5 Endplate Scmorl's node at superior aspect of the endplate of L5. There is bilateral ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and mild facet arthropothy, There is some flattening of the thecal sac from mild concentric annualr disc bulge. Ther is some modest attenuation of the lateral recesses bilaterally at the level wher the L5 nerve root reside. The neural formanina are mildly stenotic from facet arthropathy at this level, approx. the sam bilaterally.
L5-S1 There is a mild concentric annular disc bulge. The central canal and lateral recesses are widely patent. Asymetric right-sided facet arthropathy is mild. The neural formanina are severely stenotic on both sides secondary ro loss of disc height primarily.
1. Severs bilateral neural foraminal stenosis at L5-S1.
2.Mild neural foramina narrowing bilaterally at L4-5 and mild lateral recess narrowing bilaterally at L4-5.
3.Moderate central Canal stenosis at l2-3.
Is this diagnosis enough to get a disabilty retirement through the Teaxs Teacher's Retirement System? I see an Orthpedic pain mgmt./surgeon tommorow. I want surgery to be the very last choice. I also have had two series of ministrokes(TIA), one in early 2009 and another in Sept. of this year. If I just could take it easy, I can control back pain to a certain degree but on my feet 4-6 hours a day and 3-4 sitting/ working at a computer, I'm living on Vicodins 3-4, 7.5 mg daily. My job is a pressure cooker as far as stress. The teaching job in itself sucks but with the pain on top of it, it's torture. What can I expect. I know this is a Dengenerative disease.