SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

Considering first surgery, severe lack of lumbar stamina L4/L5

Started by jdevrien on 09/23/2015 10:35pm

Hi All,

I will try to keep this as brief as possible. I'm currently 29 and have been dealing with this problem since i was 25. I'm 6'4" and weigh 200 lbs... and *appear* as though im in pretty good shape / not a guy youd want to pick a fight with. my problem was initially onset by a side business i used to have detailing cars. (being hunched over with a buffer for several hours at a time). I never had any issue and then one day i was on the floor with severe pain. An initial MRI showed no problems whatsoever and the severe pain wore off. but since then, ive never been the same. I originally saw two surgeons who were very much against doing anything surgical and maintained that stance for 3 years. Instead i, got several ESI shots, and went to PT a number of times. PT helps manage the pain but nothing seemed to fix the problem. In the last 4 years there was only 1 period of about a month that i felt relatively normal, and i made the mistake of overdoing it and screwing it back up. Ive given up working on cars like i used to, my motorcycle, bowling, golfing, etc. There are a lot of chores and projects around my house that get neglected. An MRI done a year ago showed an annular tear at L4-L5. An MRI done recently shows a bulging disc at L4-L5, but notes nothing about the tear. I am now seeing who seems to be the best surgeon in the area, and he thinks a laminectomy and some work to the disc will resolve my problems, but I am very much on the fence about it. Ive made progress with my physical therapy in the last 2 months as well but on a scale of 0-100 of where id like to be ive climbed maybe from 0 to 10. He is not pushing the surgery on me in any way, but said he would do if I am ready. He also expects 100% return to previous activity if i manage my post-op correctly.

What I really struggle with is 1) I believe the pain is more discogenic than nerve irritation and 2) I feel 98% fine as long as i avoid activity. When i avoid activity, it seems to heal but extremely slowly. to me avoiding activity is more tortuous than pain, so i find myself in a continual cycle of doing nothing for a couple weeks (recovering), then feeling better and tackling whatever amount of work i can manage within a certain pain threshold. This doesnt provide the life i want.

Another thing is that my initial power isnt lacking at all. I can take an 80 lb dumbell and throw it over my head no problem. But doing that same lift 10+ times *IS* a problem and by the tenth rep ill likely be triggering pain that will take a week to subside. This is just an example, not something i would normally do. Simply handwashing my car is enough to push me to what feels like my limit. The ache will just build and build and eventually if i push it long enough I will get nerve spasms. I would guess washing 2-3 cars at once would get me there. (Again, just for examples sake). There are a lot of very simple and basic chores that get neglected as a result of this... i dont even want to start on a lot of tasks because half the time i cant finish them. I am single and I am concerned that in the condition I am in I will never be able to get married or raise a family because im not even taking care of myself the way I would like to. I was always the type of guy that had everything clean and in order but now im always doing the bare minimum. Another thing I am factoring, is the complete lack of stamina/foundation in my lower back has also brought on some fairly substantial arthritis in my upper back/neck area and while less of a problem i dont foresee it getting any better if things continue this way.

I am uncertain what to do. I feel a change is necessary and even worth a gamble on but i dont want to make things worse than the y are. I read a lot of conflicting opinions. for everyone i know who has had surgery, surgery was the obvious choice. With me, you'd never know i had a problem until you saw me try to play sports or do manual labor.

I am also facing possible job loss in 2016, so if surgery is the right option i want to make the move soon while i still have excellent insurance coverage and paid short term disability. I will not rush a decision because of this, but i think if I am going to make a move the time is now/soon. Any input would be appreciated.


Best Responses
There are no responses to this discussion.
Do you find this discussion helpful?