I'm 42 years old and have been dealing with chronic back/leg pain for the last 6+ years. Have have microdiscectomy done at L4/5 levels (moderately severe disc protrusion) in November 2010 but leg/back pain never improved. In fact it's gotten worse now. I have now been diagnosed as having spinal degeneration at L4/5, L3/4, and L5/S1 levels. Have had several pain management treatments including epidural spine injections and Radiofrequency nerve ablations on lumbar levels but they wear out in 6-7 months. I'm currently on antidepressants, Fantanyl patches, and NSAIDs.
I'm left with debilitating lower back pain and unable to cope with it anymore. I've seen 3 different specialist (2 Nuerosurgeons and 1 orthopaedic spine specialist) out of which two suggest 2 level lumbar fusion and one strongly against any further surgery. My gut tells me I need spinal fusion to get some pain relief. I can't live like this as often want to end my life as I'm not able to cope anymore. My life is a dead end like this anyway.
I'm quite comfortable with the orthopaedic spine specialist I'm seeing at  Hospital right now but he has advised me that there is a likelihood despite 2 level lumbar fusion, pain might never improve. He was very honest and said a lot depends on my attitude and how hard I'm willing to work on it after the surgery. He's given me 50 percent chance of improvement. Is it sufficient? He did mention pain will probably remain the same if it doesn't improve but fusion will be the final option. He also pointed out that the facet joints are possibly the pain generators on at least 2 levels due to disc degeneration and he was going to clean them and free the nerves during the fusion. He explained everything to me very clearly.
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