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spondylo/stenosis..when to do surgery??

Started by Reggie on 09/05/2010 3:00pm

I have experienced "chronic back pain" most of my life. I'm currently under Chiropractic care..which helps "some" however, it's a fine line; too much "adjustment=inflammation which makes the nevrve pain from the stenosis worse. My question is. when do I need to have surgery?? Right now I have low back pain (L4-5 spondylo) most every day...can not stand for any length of time w/out it getting worse. I also have stenosis (L5-S1 & probably L4-5 from the spondylo) that have the top of my foot((or all places!!)) & leg numb/hurting. None of this pain is "horrible"~~just almost ALWAYS there!! I can still do pretty much all I want to do(might pay later!!); however, I am tired of "something" hurting most all of the time!! & truthfully, I am starting to worry about the nerve impingement~certainly do not want to cause any permanent damage!!
Thanks in advance for advice...it is nice to know some people will understand what I am talking about. Most people who are not living thru this do not understand~back PAIN does not have to be debilitating to be PAIN!!

Reg

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My previous post...I have been calling my SPONDYLOLISTHESIS "spondylo" for so long I forgot there is a "spondylosis". That is NOT what I have. I have SPONDYLOLISTHESIS (L4-L5). Not sure what grade, just know that it is bad enough that even I (no experience with x-rays!) can see the slippage!!
Sorry for any confusion I caused!!
R

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I do know what you're talking about. Chronic pain can be debilitating, even though it's not life threatening.

I've had chronic pain in my lower back and neck for a few years now. It has progressed so that just about all my joints are affected. I take a number of medications that are designed to get me through each day. Like you, I wondered about surgery, but that is a last resort. Drs won't even talk about it unless you have an accident, or there is evidence of Cauda Equina symptoms. Have you had MRIs done?

I had two falls in early June- one off a chair I was trying to stand on, and one that was straight back with nothing to hold on to. The 2nd fall caused a Burst Fracture of my L2. I was in the hospital for 9 days and had to have surgery.

My point in telling you this is because I've been where you are, and, believe me, any Dr. worth his degrees will not operate on your back unless it is absolutely necessary. I thought I might need surgery down the road because my spine is so unstable, but it still took a nasty fall and a compassionate dr for me to get any help. Ask your dr to order an MRI if you haven't had one. They can tell a lot. As for treatment-I'm not a big fan of chiro. I used to go, and from her trying to get my neck to "crack" I think she may have caused damage. I love therapeutic massage. Yoga is another plus for me.

I wish you the best of luck as you try to maneuver your way through the health system. It can be downright scary, but it is always frustrating, especially for a middle-aged woman with a history of depression-she's shuffled from dr to dr and no one want to hold the hot potato-you know what I mean? Good thing we have this community!

honeypie 129

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I recommend finding a chiropractor that practices The Pettibon System which is a full spine reguventation program and is way different than a normal chiropractors regiment. I went looking for chiros when my back worsened and went to many seminars and found this one chiro in my area that practiced this. First time I haf ever heard of it. Just do ur research, I'm a firm believer in chiro care befoire anything else. Best of luck to u, I have a grade 2-3 spondylolisthesis and know how the pain can be.

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I gave in at the point where you are. I just wanted it to stop hurting every day. Like you say I could get through a day but it only made the pain worse. My feet were almost completely numb and I also had concerns about long term damage. The chiropractor can only do so much and I agree sometimes those adjustmenets ended up causing more pain.

Find a GOOD surgeon and get referrals. List all your questions and make the rounds. There is hope.

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Hi Reggie,
I have all the same issues as you ,i can still do a lot,but my leg is getting weaker and weaker.I am finally having surgery this Friday and i am remaining hopeful that all this pain will decrease.I will let you know how it goes.
Blessings,
Nancy

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You need to find a good Advanced Spine Group. I hurt my back 23 years ago, did the chiropractor thing, meds, etc. and then it started to affect the rest of my body and I didn't realize it. Because my back threw off the way I walked I had problems with my feet and eventually had to have both of my knees replaced. I found a surgeon who said I had narrowing of the spine(Spinal Stenosis) and two herniating discs. He fixed that, but I developed MRSA and they had to open up the site 3 times, so I have a lot of additional scar tissue and arthritis built up at the base of my back. My pain reached a level I couldn't stand and I reached out for a 2nd opinion and was at this point refused twice. I found a Group at Barnes Jewish in St. Louis that I had read about and emailed them. I was received with open arms and referred to the correct doctor for my problem. After seeing my xray I found that by letting this go for 3 more years I have developed Scoliosis in a really bad way. My surgery is Aug 22 for a total fusion which is a 7 hr surgery and I hope it will all be successful because I am not that old and without it I will need a wheel chair soon. Keep looking, praying and do what is in your heart.

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Hi Reggie,
Well,i had the fusion 3 mos ago,and so glad i did!I have gotten all feeling back in my legs and as it was mentioned it can throw your whole spine off.I too was having knee issues,feet issues and hip and neck,Everything i think has improved because since my fusion my spine is pretty much back in alignment again.Sometimes waiting years and years to fix your problem is not a good thing.I was afraid of having surgery too,but i do pray a lot and asked for direction.Once i decided to do it i had a tremendous peace that flooded my heart believe or not.God was with me before the surgery,during the surgery and now in the recovery.Doc is amazed,says my back is almost fused already.Pain way,way down.I will say a prayer for you.
Blessings,
Nurse Nancy

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@Gayla,i will say a prayer for you too that your surgery goes well !
Nurse Nancy

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Thank you Nancy. I hope I have a recovery like you. I am 57 and I am so tired of the Pain of 23 years...each year getting worse. God is my traveling companion also.

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