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spinal fusion?
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spinal fusion?

As many of you know my son has beaten an addiction to pain killers via methadone and suboxone. He is off methadone now for 206 days and has been done with suboxone for 80days. So far so good. One of the reasons he got on this path was recurring back pain which has been become more of a problem after each of 3 car accidents. He now has insurance and finally had a neurologist take a look at the  most recent accident MRIs. Seems like he has always had a lower lumbar spinal defect (something's missing). This coupled with years of sports and the recent accidents have caused some fractures and shifting in the lower lumbar vertebra (L5).Disk is bulging etc. The Dr is telling him that he is at "stage 1" moving on to "stage 2" and is probably looking at spinal fusion surgery.  Luckily my son is very fit and has a strong core- so  the pain - tho daily- is bearable. I have advised him to get a second opinion and live w/o the surgery for as long as possible. Am I on base? Any experience out there ?So far he has not accepted scripts for PKs.
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Lovepat:

I admire your son for bearing with that pain. Back pain can be the worse!!!  I think you are right advising him to seek a second opinion.  I would!!!  That's a serious surgery to undergo.  I think you're advice was right on.

Good luck to your son.  You are both in my prayers!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a herniated disk at L5/S1 and lived with the pain for about 9 months, before having surgery. I was great for about 5 years and then scar tissue, or that is what the Drs are saying it is, formed enough that I now have chronic pain.

Would I do the surgery again, you bet, while I am in pain most of the time it is not near as bad as before and with meds and watching what I do I am function able.

I have been told by several Drs that if nerve impingement goes on too long that permanent damage can be done and then surgery will not help, so I wouldn't wait too long, imo.
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Avatar_f_tn
My husband had a spinal fusion on Monday - 10/13.  His disc at L5 had degenerated to almost nothing.  The surgeon put two platinum rods and screws in, and re-built his disc with bone marrow and ceramic.  It is now day 5 and he is having pain like I've never seen.  We are praying this works for him.  The doctor says it will take 4 - 6 weeks to recover, and then it will be physical therapy for a good while.  He is in for a very long, painful recovery period but we hope it is worth it in the long run.  He is 38 years old and for a over a year he has not been able to do much of anything, mowing the lawn, holding our 17 month old daughter for any length of time, etc.  I would suggest your son gets a second opinion.  We were in no way prepared for the condition my husband is in now, after this surgery.  I can keep you updated, if you like, with his progress so your son can know what to expect even though I know everybody heals differently.  My husband is not the one with the pill addiction, I am (was).  Right now he is Percocets, Valium, Robaxin, Dilauded, every 3 hours on the dot.  Good luck to your son.  If he decides to have it done, he will need a lot of help and support, but from what I've read, I know you will certainly be there for him.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'am praying right now for him. Good luck and may GOD bless you all in CHRIST'S name!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I herniated L4/L5 with protruded S1 nerve damage. in 1990. Two surgeons said I would be limping for the rest of my life if I had no surgery. Thank god, the third opinion saved me from surgery. He had enough money to go to Hawaii without operating on my back.
90% of disc surgery leads to another surgery. I was in pain and limped for about a year.
The S1 nerve damage has affected the size of my right calf. Small price to pay.
Don't operate unless it's his last resort, after 5 opinions.
Anyone with back pain, check out this book.
Heeling Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno  
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Avatar_m_tn
I deal with this same problem. Over time i have gotten to know several Docs and Nurses. They have all told me that spinal fusions usually just place more strain on the two vertebrae above and below the fusion. This leads to further fusions. I am glad that I passed on the operation....
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks to everyone! I deeply appreciate the thoughts and prayers.

Alessandrasmom- I will pray for you and yours as well.And yes,please keep us updated.

Vic- My son's problem is at L5 /S1 as well. Aparently he has always had a weakness there due to a hidden birth defect (spina bifida occulta). He now has spodylalosis and spondylathesis with a bulging /degenerating disc. I have always believed that avoiding surgery is the best option.   His new bride had spinal fusion some years ago and said that the recovery pain was hideous-and she is worried about a return to PKs for him. She feels- as I do- that avoiding it as long as possible would be a good idea. But then again- I don't want him to risk irreparable harm.

Sterling- I will get the Sarno book - hopefully a second or third opinion will yield better alternatives.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks eagle- I will pass that on to him.
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