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my successful spinal fusion story-so glad i did it!! :-)

Started by hotsteph25 on 03/09/2017 1:54am

This is going to be a little long- but I'd like to share my whole story in the hopes that it will help people...
When I was about 23 years old, I started having some on and off lower back pain. I figured it was just sore muscles or something, and figured physical therapy would cure it, but at the time I didn't really have any extra money to spend on health stuff and it didn't bother me THAT much- so my plan was to wait until I graduated college-had a better job with more $$ and then I'd go get fixed. As the years went on though, the back pain got a lot worse and started to stay longer. Eventually, it got to the point where I had to actually go to a doctor and find out what exactly was wrong and get it treated. I was about 30 years old at this time. The pain was unbearable. I tried a chiropractor and that also did not work. After making an appointment with my family dr, and getting an x-ray and mri, I found out that I had spondylolisthesis, spondylisis, degenerative disk disease, and a herniated disk. She sent me for phyical therapy but this did not work at all. After this did not work, and I read up about exactly what my new diagnosis meant- I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. They tried me on a medicine(pill) for pain called gabapentin- it didn't work- and then they tried a steroid shot- that didn't work either and also ANOTHER course of physical therapy- and nothing worked. Finally, the surgeon said that since nothing was helping- he would be able to operate and the operation would be a lumbar fusion of my L-5 and S-1, and then also he would take out the herniated disk. Prior to this I was never even in a hospital and never had anything physically wrong- my immediate family was healthy too- so when I heard this I was very scared and didn't know if this was good advice, if I should trust somebody to fuse my spine, etc. I was in so much pain though that I decided to go through with it and I must say it was the greatest decision I made!! Before my surgery- I read all kinds of things on the internet- and was probably even reading things in this site- and a lot were negative-so I just wanted to share that my fusion was good. The pain went away very slowly after the surgery-at first I was scared it didn't work because it did take a whole year for the pain to start diminishing (i think because I was in pain so many years and my nerves were squished so long before I got medical attention) . By the end of the 2nd year of my fusion I had and continue to have no pain!! at all!! I do have some advice though.. I recommend going to a large city with good/ cutting edge hospitals to get your surgery. I'm from northeastern PA, and I drove 2 and 1/2 hours to Philadelphia to find a surgeon. Another girl that I work with drove all the way to New York to get her fusion. Spine surgery is a huge deal.. so don't get it done in a little rinky dink town. Any hot shot surgeon isn't going to be in your little neighborhood- they r gonna be in a big city with lots of people and big hospitals where they can make tons of $$$. Another piece of advice- research your surgeons online before u go to them. I would google surgeons and read about where they went to med school, what kind of fellowships they were in, additional education and accomplishments, etc.. My surgeon was class president of a super elite school- so once i saw that- i knew he was no dummy..Anyway- I hope my story helped some of you that may be suffering with back pain and afraid to go for surgery. My fusion gave me my life back :-)


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Thank you for your post, i am happy for you. You shed some light to me as i am still thinking about surgery as in fusion or ADR. Any help please?


Thank you so much for posting your spinal fusion story! Sharing treatment successes is just as important as reaching out for support in this Community--we are thrilled to hear you are doing so well.

You touched on an area that we think many people recovering from spine surgery struggle with, which is the amount of time it takes to see any real benefit from surgery. You mention waiting a year to see any reduction in pain--and that's good for other people in your shoes to know. For surgeries in other parts of the body, you might see immediate results, but spine surgery oftentimes has longer recovery times due to the structural complexities of the back and neck.

Thank you again for sharing your good news, and we wish you continued good health!