Thanks for writing in.
You have severe spinal stenosis at various levels in the lumbar region. Usually even with such a severe stenosis, people do not become paralysed. They may have some weakness of big toe, ankle etc and pain and numbness while walking.
The pain is due to facetal arthritis, foraminal narrowing and stenosis.
You may try epidural steroids/ transforaminal root bloc to reduce your symptoms. Many people survive without surgery accepting the pain and I am certain you would not become paralyzed, but you may have to live with the pain without surgery.
Hope that this information helps and hope that you will get better soon.
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Dr. Krishna Kumar
hi there,in nov 2011 i had surgery to my L4L5, to relieve my problems with the sciatica it has worked great,i had a spacer put in to open up the area for the sciatica nerve to run freely,i hope this is some good news to you, iam waiting on surgery on my c4c5c6, but trying to gain as much information on this type of surgery,as it is very delicate, hope all works out for you.
I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I have been trying to evaluate just "how bad" things are. As I mentioned in a post above, my current orthopedic surgeon wants to do a 3-level fusion beginning with L5-S1. I am not in favor of that invasive of a procedure right now, especially since the anterolisthesis in both instances is Grade 1.
Currently I am investigating minimally invasive foraminotomy, and the possibility that it may relieve pain. The Orthopedic Surgeon showed me all of the foraminal stenosis on my MRI. He is of the opinion that a likely source of pain is from the disk slippage at L5-S1, hence his recommendation.
Because there are so many possible sources for my back pain and sciatica, I realize it may be difficult to isolate specific causes.
So I am continuing physical therapy exercises, good posture, walking and swimming. Very fortunately all of that is decreasing my pain. In the near future I am going reduce and then eliminate the Oxycodone I use, which is up to 15mg 4X (Maybe I should say, try to eliminate--and not get ahead of myself)
I read and reread the posts from the various back and pain related communities on this website. This has been not only a very valuable source of information, but a source of inspiration as well. Like everyone else facing a back surgery, I am terrified of "making a mistake," and gifting myself with chronic pain that is much worse. On the other hand, if a surgery is necessary, then I want to be well informed.
I agree totally. This surgeon wants to do a 3 level spine fusion. At least in his opinion I am not in danger of paralysis in the near future. I do spend time researching the procedures, and what people say about them. That is good advice you are giving. Although he has ordered a CT scan, I do not plan to have a surgery at this stage, perhaps next summer, if my condition continues to worsen. I am a teacher with some time off in the summer. However, from what I read, healing after open back surgery can take a considerable amount of time. Thank you for your response!
Second, or even third opinion is always best. if you do decide to operate, make sure you research everything about the procedure ahead of time so that you know what questions to ask- spines products like Medtronic Infuse, got implanted in a number of people before doctors found out what was wrong..