Urgent Advice/Help Needed
I am a 34 year old male in very good health (other than back) and in good physical condition. I have been fighting back problems for nearly two years. In February of 2013, I woke up one morning and could barely get out of bed because of back/leg pain. I had an MRI. The MRI showed a very large herniation at L5-S1 and some disc degeneration. I did not have surgery, but took the conservative route. I did 10+ weeks of physical therapy and got a steroid injection. Around May of 2013 most of my pain was gone except for the occasional flare up or bad day. By late fall of 2013, my symptoms had returned but not nearly as bad. I had additional injections which bought me a little more time. In February of 2014 the injections were no longer working, and I had pretty significant leg and lower back pain. An additional MRI showed I still had the herniation, but I also no longer had any disc left at L5-S1 with significant narrowing of the area where the disc should be. I continued to try to fight the pain with exercise and injections until I finally could not handle the pain any longer and had a microdisectomy in September 2014. My hope was by removing the herniation I could reduce my pain for several years and put off a fusion. This did not happen, I came out of the surgery with serious lower back and leg pain and have continued to degenerate since that time. I am not functional without pain medication and the doctors have also tried several different nerve pain meds. Nothing has worked. I have also been going to physical therapy for 8+ weeks with no relief. My surgeon has suggested my only path forward is to go ahead and have the fusion. I have been trying to get a second opinion, but no doctor will see me since I recently had a surgery. They wont even let me in the door. The leg pain is so bad that I feel I have to do something and so far the only option given to me is the fusion.
I saw a pain management specialist and they were unable to give me alternative options other than a medication change that so far has not worked.
I am looking for any advice in regards to having a fusion (or not), medication, etc.
I don't want to have another surgery, but feel its my only choice. Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.