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New to the group - lower back pain and possible surgery

I've had lower back pain & back problems for ~17 years in the same pattern. Back goes out, have PT, have an 2-3 epidurals, and good for a 6-12 months. Then start over.

Then about 3 years ago, the back pain was different. Rather than my back going out, the best way I could describe it is a deep ache running along my lower back. Occasional numbness and sciatic pain in my legs. Was told to consult a surgeon. He recommended a fusion called ALIF - his explaination scared me a bit and decided to see a pain management doc who is an anestesiologist to see if there were more conservative treatments. So over the last 1 1/2 years, I've had PT, 4 epidurals and a facet injection (6 shots). Again, no relief.

So I then went to 2 different surgeons - they did not recommend to have surgery - said only a 50% chance a fusion would work and if it did, it would probably just cause pain in the upper portion of my back in the next few years. I've been on pain meds the entire time and do not like where this is going. Now I'm wondering if the 1st surgeon I saw was correct and I should have had the surgery. Here are the quick findings on my MRI:

L2-L3: broad based disk buldge with right paracentral protrusion and facet degeneration - moderate central spinal stenosis
L4-L5: broad based disk buldge with right paracentral protrusion - mild central canal stenosis - moderate bilateral neural foraminal stenosis
L5-S1: broad based disk buldge and facet degeneration - mild bilateral neural foraminal stenosis without central canal stenosis.
Mulitlevel lumbar spondylosis with varying degrees of canal stenosis

Over the last month, this ache (especially at night) is getting unbearable - even with pain meds.

Has anyone reading this had surgery with similar symtoms? What was your experience?

Thanks in advance!!



    edited 11/19/2013 - 12:45 AM
    In my case I have a similar set of conditions, although it starts a level up in my back. Fortunately, the doctors have not found much at the "S" level, only levels 1-5. For me, I am planning on surgery in a few weeks. The doctors are going to perform a laminectomy across three vertebrae.

    Different doctors can have different opinions on next steps. If you don't like the one recommendation, I would seek out other doctors. I am going to a practice that specializes in back and spine issues. If you have such a center in your town, I would check it out.
  • ekeaneekean Posts: 17
    edited 11/20/2013 - 11:03 AM
    Jim good luck with your surgery. I am in the process of setting up several surgical consults to see about an artificial disc replacement. I wish I could have a laminectomy but the MRIs do not show any kind of impingement so it would not work for me.
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