Neurology Expert Forum
My best recourse...(long one)
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My best recourse...(long one)

I'll give you my background,...I have had degenerative disc disease for a long time, also have had Lyme's disease, was told I had fibromyalgia before I had back surgery 6 yrs. ago, but...etc..I am a 50 yr. old female, have always been more active than most people, dog groomer, broke horses, etc...had plenty or "wrecks" on horses too. OK. 6 years ago had problems with incontinence, could'nt get my left leg to do what I wanted (as in lifting it high enough to walk up stairs, etc)...I'd trip and fall on my face, couldnt get it high enough to put in a stirrup to mount a horse, etc..sciatica pain from hell too. Chiropractor sent me to a Great neurosurgeon, cleaned up the bad areas (L3 and 4)and I was tickled pink...felt 10 years younger and everything worked, no more pain etc...OK, one year ago coming home from work, I was rear ended by a large truck while sitting at a red light (truck was going about 50 miles an hour)...felt like a machete' hit me across the whole width of my back, between the butt and hips, started with leg pains, feet pain, wasn't as bad or as frequent at first but steadily is getting worse, some days I walk like Quasimodo all hunched over to releive that pain, can't sit for long, and am again incontinent at times, (more than before) pain comes and goes, but lately is almost always there,my left side mostly but it will switch to my right, ice cold foot, tingling etc...comes and goes with the pain.I spend most of my days laying around  like a slug, even sitting hurts me,and for marital relations...forget it, it takes me a week to get over the pain it causes.  I've been going to a chiro. and an acupuncturist for a year now, finally my regular Dr sent me for MRI's and report said I have severe degen. disc. disease, a small herniation inside the disc,nothing much else. She sent me to a neurosurgeon this week, he looked at MRI's and said L5 and S is compressed from ddd, I need a laminotomy and a spinal fusion for the disc disease. I already HAD the disc disease for years, but after last back surgery it did NOT bother me ..I was working full time, etc....the neurologist I saw said that small hernia inside the disc shouldn't cause all this damned pain! The neurosurgeon said yes, it could plus the degenerated discs are pinching on nerves...my chiropractor says my spine is "unstable" is why sometimes it is worse on left...then sometimes right. I can feel my back "grate" at times.... Here's my question now.. If this problem is all about disc degeneration, then why did it not show up or practically cripple me til I was rear ended?? and why would the neurologist say a hernited disc shouldnt hurt me if it does?? I am really confused  here, if this is all from DDD, will this surgery help and won't it come back again?? I know this is long and rambly, but, do you think I should get a second opinion before I agree to this? Neurosurgeon also said I need to see an Orthopedic Surgeon too, they will both need to do this surgery....does this sound right? Thanks in advance for your time, I know this is a lot of questions...but thanks again.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Yorkees:

I am sorry that yourhaving back trouble.  It is difficult to give you advice without doing an exam, seeing the films, etc.  One has to remember that surgeons like todo surgery, and surgery is what they do.  Not good and not bad, but the solution in their minds is often surgery first.  What does your rehab specialist tell you?  Disc degenerations does not necessarily mean that you have nerve damage or nerve compromise.  One need to evaluate the films, correlate it with the history and physical exam.  Surgery is always the last resort because it may or may not help.  Unless there is a mechanical problem, surgery is not always beneficial.  However, there are times that surgery is the only option and one has to go with it.  You have probably read on this site, but I usually recommend a second opinion from someone who is not part of your care.  This way one get more or less a non-biased opinion about what people are tell you.  We usually do not get an orthopedic surgeon involved unless the problem is extremely extensive and multiple cages or hardware are needed.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Our problems have a lot in common except for I have already had the fusion at L4 L5 with hardware attached to L3 in 1992.  I had to laminectomies in 1985.  In 1999 I was bucked off of a horse that I was riding and ended up with some pretty sore muscles because I tore the large muscle that runs from the top of my buttocks, down to my thigh. It took about 6 weeks but I bounced back and was pain free until about one year ago.  Now I find out that my hardware has shifted and I have so much scar tissue which would explain why my pain has returned and it has returned like hell with fury.  If you do decide to have the fusion, make sure you have a good dr and dont stop until you get one that YOU feel comfortable with.  They dont walk on water. My hardware was supposed to be removed once I got the body cast off which was approximately one year after having the surgery.  My surgeon decided that since I was doing so well that he didnt want to tempt fate and left the hardware in.  I have a steffy plate that is in place using titanium screws.  Having a fusion has its up and downs but I can honestly say that Im glad I did it because I had about 8 or 9 pain free years.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Brennie.... I've been to see an orthopedic surgeon since I posted the original question, he was great and very good with showing me my MRIs and explaining just where/what the problem is..he's sending me for a discogram next week, then they'll both (neuro & ortho) have a conference and tell me what they think will be the best plan of action for me.....I'd like to know what I can expect from this fusion deal...I'm a little apprehensive, but if it works I'll be glad to get it done and get on with (or GET a life!) I was wondering mainly too about riding...after your fusion you went back to riding horses?? No problems? I will slow down and get a settled Tenn. Walker, I'm  too old to mess around anymore with the youngsters...How long after the fusion thing were you laid up and out of work? How long before you went back to riding?
This neurosurgeon is supposed to be one of the best in Nevada,  Hate to ask  all these questions here, but...if you wouldn't mind e-mailing me , my email is same nick  at yahoo...I'd sure appreciate it if you have the time to  mail me about it...thanks!
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my e-mail is ***@****......
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