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L4/L5 DDD lower back pain

Hello. My name it Mat, first time posting, and yes, I only have 1 T in Mat. Just found the forum and wanted to introduce myself.

I've struggled with low back pain for 8 years now, but only recently have things gotten worse. My disc finally decided to give up, and herniated a HUGE piece into my spinal column. Local doc operated 11/19/2013 to remove the piece. Surgery went ok, but now 5 months later my disc is now collapsing and I saw a specialist in Seattle last week who said fusion would be my next logical step.

So here I am, just trying to get a feeling for what I might be up against, and to hear other folks stories and experiences.

Thank you for listening.
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,658

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thanks. I have been doing lots of research and reading these past few weeks. I'm from a medically under served community, and don't have very easy access to good doctors.

    On good days, I can manage alright, can't run, jump, or do anything very active, but I can make it to work and home without too much trouble.

    Bad days are a nightmare from hell, and they seem to becoming much more frequent, especially if I do happen to overdo it.

    I currently do not take any opiates, as my doctors say they can do more harm than good. I understand their reasoning, and appreciate them looking out for me. I live on high doses of Tylenol and Advil just to make it through the day. Doctor says I start giving opiates now, then when my tolerance is sky high, and now he has to operate on me, how is he supposed to control my pain.
    My pain is primarily in my lower back, down my left leg from time to time. Original surgeon left the practice and I was told to pick a new provider, which was why I decided to go to a big city and get an opinion.

    I just want a life back, as I can barely throw a ball to my kids. Used to enjoy coaching all kinds of youth sports, but can't anymore.

    Another setback I have is a very small support system. I don't have a significant other to help my recovery, and my parents are too old and weak to help. And anyone with teenagers can attest, they are too unreliable to hope their help. Almost sounds like I'm better off without surgery because of all the horror stories out there.

    Between being depressed and frustrated, I rarely find much time to be happy.
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
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  • Hello and welcome to the site. See you around and hope that you find relief here.
  • Don't underestimate your teens, you might be surprised if you enlist their assistance, just how responsible they can be, when given the opportunity to step up.........
    And remember, the majority of stories that are here are from those either prior to surgery, just after surgery or those who failed. There are far more who have come and gone and returned to their busy lives......
    The most important thing is that if surgery is done to carefully follow the post op instructions and restrictions......otherwise you set yourself up for failure.
  • Yes, you're right about many of the stories here, as it's not a fair sampling of the cases. I just really want to read and learn as much as I can before I commit to doing it. It's a big decision that I'm too big of a pussy to make. I almost wish my disc would just blow out completely and then my decision would be made.
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
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  • Welcome to Spine Health, Mat :)
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