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Struggling with this diagnosis

Started by colz on 06/04/2014 2:07pm

I'm new to the forum but I have been browsing through other discussions related to my diagnosis. I have stenosis, bilateral pars fractures, grade 1 spondylolisthesis, and some "slippage" as the Dr. put it on my L5-S1. I also have degenerative disc in my L4. I had been having back pain for a few years but I was in the Army and every time I went to the Dr. or PA they said it was "just a pulled muscle" and to take some Motrin. The last time I saw a PA (August 2013) I demanded they give me an X-ray because the pain was shooting down my legs and I frequently had numbness and/or tingling in both legs and feet. After the X-ray they saw there was a problem and sent me for an MRI. Long story short, after dozens more Dr. visits, months of physical therapy, and months of relying on pain meds to get through the day, I am at the point where I need to decide if I want to go through with the Spinal Fusion surgery.

I didn't even know there was such a thing as pars repair surgery until I found this forum, but that sounds like a better option. I have an appointment with my Dr. on Friday and I'm going to ask him about it. Does anyone have any good websites or info on it? I tried googling it but didn't find much.

I'm really struggling coming to terms with all this though. I just turned 27, I've been EXTREMELY active my whole life (multiple team sports, competitive running, MMA, rock climbing, competitive shooting, weight lifting, etc.) and being in the Army only made me more active. Since the pain started getting so bad last year I've had to stop doing the things I love. Obviously impact sports are out, but I can't even shoot my weapons or go bowling without immense pain. The Army doctors and PAs told me pretty much that my active life is over and to start adjusting to not being able to do those things. I refuse to accept that. I've seen a couple civilian doctors and spine surgeons and they all said I am definitely a candidate for the fusion surgery but that they are reluctant to do it because I'm so young and once you get one fusion, you inevitably have to go back and get more because of the added strain on the rest of the vertebrae.

They suggested I put off the surgery for as long as possible and try spinal injections for a while. While I see where they are coming from I can't help but feel like everyone expects me to just move on and accept not being active anymore. I understand that the really strenuous things like MMA, football, competitive running, etc will never really be a part of my life anymore and I am coming to terms with that...albeit slowly. But I just can't bare to accept not being able to jog, or rollerblade, or shoot, or play catch with my kids.

I would love to hear anyone's opinion on the matter, especially younger people who are in a similar situation. Like I said, I just now read about pars repair surgery; I don't know if it's an option for me but I'm definitely going to ask. But if it comes down to either fusion surgery or no surgery, I would love to have some first hand accounts from people to help me weigh my decision. Thanks for taking the time and reading this. Apologies if I sound like I'm whining; the wound is still kind of fresh for me.

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2 Responses


I know what you are going through.I am in same thing go to web MD it is a great site.I use it all the time


At your age, I would strongly suggest that you exhaust all other potential remedies available to you before electing to have surgery. Surgery is a very last option for anyone considering it. About 40% of spine surgeries fail. My first one did and also caused my spine to collapse requiring a second surgery. Now I don't know what my future holds for me. Even my last surgeon failed to tell me about all the restrictions I now have to contend with. Seek out other opinions and consider all of your options first. I really wish I had. I will never be able to bend over, tie my own shoes or participate in many of the activities I used to enjoy ever again. Best wishes.