Seven months ago I had what has turned out to be a successful ACDF for C4-6. My neck was collapsing from DDD and also, in part, because of an old auto accident injury. I am no longer having much upper body pain and the numbness in my arms and hands is mostly gone. No regrets about that surgery!
I had lumbar problems that included a herniated L5/S1 before the neck surgery, but those issues had to be put on hold until recently when I had another lumbar MRI and xrays. The tests showed DDD at L3-S1 but the L5/S1 disk is the worst -- it is herniated and mostly flat and is causing me a great deal of pain and discomfort. The tests also showed bone spurs/arthritic changes, some mild stenosis and moderate lumbar scoliosis that I've had for a very long time. The neurosurgeon reviewed the tests and told me that I would be a good candidate for ALIF (lumbar fusion) at L5/S1 when my pain, stability or mobility get to be more than I can manage.
Well, I am definitely not ready for another surgery and not convinced it is going to fix what's wrong anyway, so I am seeing a non-surgical spine specialist tomorrow to get his opinion. He is the doctor who discovered my neck problem and helped me find my neurosurgeon, so I'm hoping he can help me make sense of the issues with my lower back so I can think it through and come up with a long term plan. Anyway, thanks for reading this and please wish me luck. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated, too!
~kathleen (aka msmoto) :H