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Am I the oddball? LBP without sciatica facing a minimally-invasive PLIF Status message

Started by podalang on 11/23/2015 4:11am

My questions is in regards to a minimally invasive PLIF for discogenic pain without much radiculopathy.
Am I crazy for considering this? Has anyone else done this or are you thinking about it?

Here is my story:

When this pain first stared to get bad, (brought on by living life and working in a vet clinic not an injury that I can put my finger on-lax ligaments and lots of horse back riding probably didn't help over the years) my pain was mostly on my left side in my buttocks and low back. Then it started to go down my leg and get numb and tingly. Then it moved to my right side and did the same, left got better. Then it was both sides, then (after shots) the sciatic symptoms, which were never truly that painful, pretty much cleared up except for the occasional shocky feeling, numbness in toes and aching in hips, buttocks, knees. My pain is now constant dull, achy, burning, gnawing in between the vertebra of L5-S1, it is that acute.
I do not wake up in pain, but after about an hour, I feel it coming on, then if I do any sitting (even driving to the store) I start to hurt. It intensifies throughout the day and will get worse with sitting, prolonged leaning over (like gardening or washing dishes in a deep sink), bending, squatting or doing anything really active besides walking.

My MRI showed a small bulge at L4 with 'darkening' of the center and a herniation of L5-S1.
My nerve conduction study showed that all was well.
My discogram confirmed (and replicated my pain) at L5-S1 and was also positive for L4, but the pain at that level was foreign feeling therefore my neurosurgeon suggested only one segment would be operable.
I have had 6 epidural steroid injections since 2014 for 'facet and S1 nerve root pain' that has helped but not enough. Shots had to be given very close together for effectiveness.
I have tried physical therapy, but most exercises make me hurt.
I take percocet almost every day. I have had a steady increase in pain but I cannot tell if its the shots wearing off or if it is actually getting worse.

I have seen 4 neurosurgeons, three suggested fusion, one said live with it. My latest neurosurgeon has given me an 80% success rate, but I am trying to put this off b/c I am constantly told my my pain management doctors that it wont work or help me.

A couple of points I should make: I have seen the dept. head of neurosurgery for St. Vincent's who is a Duke University board certified neurosurgeon, a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon, a FSU neurosurgeon and a former Mayo Clinic surgeon. Basically, these guys are some of the best neurosurgeons in Jacksonville, FL.
My pain, while individual, is not 'typical' in that I do not hurt immediately upon doing something, rather it builds up to a crescendo and then doesnt stop until I take something. I wake pain free, then go to bed in level 4 pain.
I use a tens unit every night and it helps me get to sleep by blocking the constant pain in my lower back.
I take as little pain medication as possible, so I am generally always in pain, but I wait to take it until night time unless its really bad (like lately I have been taking my meds in the afternoon). I take 1/4 of a 5. 325mg Percocet to 1 whole (rarely) pill daily, depending on pain level. No, its not much, but I have been on it for almost two years and am very afraid of addiction or pain management problems in the future, so I skimp as much as I can. My shots have allowed me to take so little I believe bc when this first started I was taking 3 a day and for a min. there, oral steroids.

Is there anyone out there similar to me? I would love to connect with ya'll.

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