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Unure about low back surgery?

Started by quinsay on 12/13/2017 10:53pm

Hello , 33yo M.
In September 2016 I had a warehouse door fall on the top of my shoulder blades. That force caused me to break three bones in my left foot and also caused some really painful low back symptoms.

My MRI results:
L4-L5: 2 mm central disc protrusion with tear. No stenosis or narrowing.
L5-S1: 4 mm left foraminal disc protrusion causing moderate left foraminal narrowing. No central stenosis. Right foramen is patent.
Decreased T2 disc signal intensity of the L4-L5 and L5-S1 disc.

In the begining I couldn't walk due to my broken foot. This lasted for two months. When I was able to move around I would get alot of back muscle spasms and sciatic type pain down mostly my right leg. I choose not to do surgery and did a whole lot of pt, stretching, and strengthing. Fast foward almost a year and things have gotten worse. I have constant numbness in right inner and middle thigh. Numbness in my feet and toes, also pins and needles. Also a line if you will, of numbess running over the inside of my right knee. I have numbness in my groin and anal areas. Hard to urinate sometimes/weak stream. I went to ER and had MRI and exam for caudia equina. Thankfully it came back fine. I still get really bad back spasms from time to time, but not as many as before. My right leg is always heavy and limping behind when I walk. I'm pretty good with pain management (I think I've gotten used to living like this!) so far. I'm just really tired of all this numbness and never knowing which days I'll be in pain. My quality of life sucks as far as being active and doing any work with my body. With all that said, I set up an appointment with an Orthopedic spine specialist on Monday. I think I'm ready for surgery! Any and all Advice, Comments, Helping me understand the MRI Results, and anything else you have are welcomed.


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1 Response


Hello, quinsay--thank you for your post!

If spine surgery is on the table, one of our biggest pieces of advice is to ask as many questions as possible to your surgeon before undergoing the procedure. The more you understand about risks, benefits, and the expected outcome, the better you'll feel about moving forward (or not moving forward). This article gives you some great examples of questions to ask your doctor: ( Spine Surgery: Questions to Ask Your Doctor ). You can even print it out and bring it to your appointment.

Another resource we'd like to share is a blog post written by a spine surgeon on our Editorial Board: ( When is Spine Surgery the Next Right Step? ). We think this post applies to the situation you're in, and we hope it's helpful as you weigh this important decision.

We hope these resources are helpful to you! Please keep us posted on what you decide. Whether you continue using non-surgical methods or pursue surgery, we wish you the very best!