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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


How do you describe any leg pain you might have? I have had pretty severe back pain for the last two years but no leg pain. Lately, Iíve noticed a kind of pain in both legs and butt like you get the day after a hard workout, only I havenít worked out. 3 years ago, I could easily do a squat with 115 lbs multiple times. Now I can barely do a squat with just an envelope from the mailbox.

The gauntlet of CTs, MRIs and disc-o-gram show the following: I have isthmus spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 Grade 1-2, with stenosis of the foramen bilaterally and all the other stuff that goes with isthmus spondylolisthesis. L3-4 has asymmetrical bulging annulus into the left foramen. L4-5 there is circumferential annular tearing with annular bulge in the midline into the left foraminal region.

I have consulted three surgeons, 2 ortho and 1 neuro that said surgery was indicated, but voluntary. This was before the leg thing. All three said fusion of L5-S1. One ortho said expect to be back later for fusions higher up. Iím scared to death of surgery, but would love to get off these darn narcotics. Plus Iím self employed. We have insurance but my business couldnít take me being away 4-6 months.
Jack -

Different discs will create different nerve pain. I had L4 to S1 replaced and fused.

I had pain in my left butt cheek that went down my leg. On a good day, I felt like it was a sore muscle from a hard workout (I ran track in college and I used to be very athletic so I know the difference in muscle pain/burning). On a bad day, it throbbed like a bad toothache down to the bone. I had alot of tingling and occasional numbness in the heel of my foot and my big toe. Keep in mind, the back pain can also be causing muscle spasms which will irritate the nerves. It got to the point I walked the floors for days because of the leg pain and thats when I knew I couldn't fight surgery any more. I didn't want to risk permanent nerve damage and that is still up in the air.

"One ortho said expect to be back later for fusions higher up." This is a risk of having disc fusion. Because the disc is fused and no longer mobile, the discs above it will have to do the work of the disc that is fused putting additional wear and tear on those discs. It can cause discs above it to rupture as well. Many people never have another problem after a fusion and others (like me) have additional problems.

Its going to come down to your pain tolerance level. I have a high tolerance but my whole spine issue (neck and back) has definitely taken a toll on my pain tolerance. I did EVERYTHING prior to surgery, physical therapy, injections, exercise, weight loss, you name it. I had to give in because the pain became unbearable for me. You know your body, listen to it ;)

Jami in TN





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