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Surgery or not? Need opinions

Started by Oreo on 02/26/2011 5:28pm

I am 45 with 2 teenage boys. I am very active. With the last 2 years of pain,my quality of life is limited. Pain in lower back and hip is constant. Sciatica comes and goes. I have tried acupuncture,chiropractic,steroid epidurals, and physical therapy. L 3 4 herniation, bulges,spondylosis,facet joints are arthritic, and moderate stenosis. Pain stays at 6 daily, 1 good day a week, and pain can go up to 8. 2 opinions and both say laminectomy and fusion. I know surgery isnt fun. I had C5 6 discectomy and fusion 5 years ago. Opinions please.

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2 Responses


Dear Oreo,
One year ago I was like you. I was very active but had increasing pain and weakness in legs which had gone on for over two years. I had tried everything including epidurals, PT, acupuncture and a chiropracter. It seemed that nothing helped so I went ahead with L4-5 spinal fusion 9 months ago. (had 5 surgeons say I should do it).

In hindsight, I wish I hadn't done the surgery. I am much worse off than I was a year ago; at least I was working and could still do everything I needed to do around the house. Now the pain keeps me awake at night and is constant during the day and I am on a real cocktail of medications. My quality of life has definitely gone downhill because of this surgery, especially the last 3 months. I am not the same person I was before surgery. Please don't do it--there must be something else you can do. Try PT water therapy or mindfulness/stress reduction classes. Mindfulness can help you deal with the pain.

Please keep in touch and let me know what you decide.
Warm thoughts,


I had pain off and on for 10 years. There was always at least some pain during the day, but when it really got bad I would take hydrocodone. At first it would go away in a week, then it took two weeks, then a month, then two.... finally last march or so it just never went away. I took medication for 6 months straight and decided it was time to act. I couldn't live on narcotics. I am 10 weeks out of my surgery now and the pain is gone. The surgical pain and some stiffness are still present, but nothing like I was experiencing before. I have just been cleared to exercise and plan on getting back into my active lifestyle fully.

My doctor told me with a Spodylo that surgery would be an eventuality, but urged me to wait as long as I could, and that when the pain got too bad, I would know it was time.

So there is my testimony. Good luck to you!

Good luck!