3 options and no clue what to do!


I am Sharon, 48 years old and came across this forum and really can use some feedback.

In 2012 I fell during snowboarding and ended up from  working out 5 days a week to not being able to do much at all. My family doctor told me I needed to exercise moderately but after an MRI they told me I needed to be operated asap. I have had a micro-invasive operation on S1-L5 but kept nerve pain running down my leg. I knew I had a bulging disc at L4-L5 but was told I did not need to worry as that did not compress any nerve roots. But I kept on walking bad, muscle spasm, painful hip, knee, bloated belly. I had physical therapy 3 days a week for over a year. In 2015 another MRI but I was told everything looked fine. December 2018 I went to a spine doctor, he recommended another MRI. 

Results of that MRI are:

Development of extensive annular tear within a left paracentral/foraminal/far lateral broad-based protrusion/herniation at L4-L5 resulting in moderate lateral recess and foramina stenosis with compression of the L4 and L5 nerve roots. Bulging discs at L3-L4 and L5-S1 with annular tear at L5-S1.

I went to a neurosurgeon she told me I will not die of having this, I should just sit it out. So I went to another surgeon, he told me I needed fusion surgery because it will happen that S1-L5 will end up herniated again as that is just a matter of time, so let's fix everything. I decided to call my previous neurosurgeon. He told me L4-L5 needs to be operated and do not touch S1-L5.

I have 3 options, let it as it is, (which I honestly don't know if I can do I hardly go out anymore) Fusion or only L4-L5.

I take Tramadol since 2012  and after the operation, I still take it years off and on. No activities with my family etc. well you all know this as well as I do. It has a great impact on social and family life.  Who has had this and would any injection at least ease nerve pain at this moment? Please advise me what I can do.



  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,171
    edited 07/11/2019 - 11:10 AM

    zeara- No one on this forum can make that decision for you, Good luck and let us know what you decide.

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654

    From what I read here on the forum, injections work for a short time, but often the pain comes back worse than before. Before any surgery is considered you will want to know the chances of success as well as what the drawbacks of the surgery could be. What the recovery time is and what the ongoing protocol is to keep this from happening again. These are things you'd want to get multiple opinions on. 

    From what I understand about fusion, is that when you do one, it is the beginning for having the adjoining vertebrae getting fused. And your mobility decreases with each fusion. 

    Walking bad = bad posture. Hip pain, knee pain = bad posture. I've learned to believe in the theory, as it matters to chronic pain, that it's not the condition of the joint, but the position of the joint. Which, to me, leads back to bad posture habits. 

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  • @challenger and Marwin Thank you both for your reply. I decided to hang in there for now and have a fluoroscopically guided lumbar epidural steroid injection end this month. I hope and pray it will- at least- help take some nerve pain away. I have almost to none back pain but my foot starts to hurt more and more as well as my knee.

    @Marwin I decided to no fusion in the future. I hope the injections will make me more mobile so I can get starting to exercise a bit and at least do some stretching or put on sneakers myself! I understand the bad posture relating issues but unfortunately also have an unstable pelvis that makes my posture worse. My muscles are very tight with guarding my back and that rotates my pelvis. So it is bad in both ways. If the injection goes well I hope to start walking in a swimming pool and do stretches etc.

    Love to hear what you all do to stay active!

    Thanks again for the reply, I really appreciate it.

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654

    @zeara which way is your pelvis rotated? Whenever I think of an unstable joint, I now think of imbalanced muscles, not necessarily weak muscles, that lead to the feeling of instability. Wishing you all the luck! 

  • Hi Marwin,

    My pelvis is rotated backward and to the left or front, depends on how all is going.

    I have these issues and had physical therapy for years to stabilize this and up till now, it all went well. But you are right. It is also caused by weak muscles.

    Will update once I have had the injection how that all went. 

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  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654

    @zeara Not sure I follow....are you saying "backward" as in your but tucks under your pelvis? I guess I am trying to understand if you actually have a tilted pelvis? I had both a forward tilted pelvis, and a rotated pelvis, along with a high hip. 

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