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Old 04-17-2015, 02:51 PM
AZMtnman AZMtnman is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 8
Default Another L4-L5-S1 story

First, I want to say thank you to the people who run this site and all of you who have shared your stories. I've been surfing the web for awhile and there is a dearth of information about ADR beyond the basic marketing & trials material.

My history, in a nutshell:

I've never had a specific back injury but have experienced periodic severe back pain for over 15 years now.

Previously, ~3-4 times per year I would experience a disc/nerve injury - always triggered by some mundane event like reaching out to pick something up, bending over to tie my shoes, etc. Once the injury occurs, I experience intense pain for a day or two, then milder pain for a few more days, and after a week or so from the injury, I'm "back to normal".

Being a stoic, "tough it out" type of person, I assumed I just needed more core strength or whatever. After a decade of this, I finally saw a doctor, got an MRI, and found out that I had compression and bulged discs at L4/5 & L5/S1, signs of annular tearing, and general arthritic vertebrae & facet joints.

Understanding the problem better, I've been able to reduce the frequency of severely painful episodes but I pretty much have constant mobility issues and milder pain. In one PT episode, the therapist noted that I already move as if my back were fused since my muscles have adapted to just isolate that part of my body. I am much more liberal with NSAID use now, and I'm sure that helps too.

I looked into ADR 5 years or so ago but it seemed premature for me at that time (and immature in the US). But after another recent severe episode, and another MRI that shows further degradation & bulging, I'm starting to investigate ADR again.

The thing that I find extremely frustrating is that there seems to be nothing that the doctors can do right now. I'm basically waiting until my situation degrades to the point of having a massive disc rupture and at that point they will fuse. My doctor suspects that my discs are under severe pressure and that it's inevitable that one day I'll have "the big one". So I'm basically on a plan of trying to stabilize status quo and delay the inevitable injury and surgery as long as possible.

Being the type that previously measured time between doctor visits in years (usually many of them), I don't want to rush into surgery and certainly not into a fusion where the result may be worse than the current symptoms. But it's frustrating that 1) I don't like being in this reactive mode and want to know what my options are before I get to the point where a massive rupture necessitates emergency surgery, and 2) my situation seems like it will keep degrading and "doing nothing" for now may cause my end state to be worse.

That's the short of it. Thanks for reading.
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