I know I've been giving a lot of random back updates, so here is the current status:
- I have fractures in the pars interarticularis in my L5 vertebra - both sides.
- These fractures have been present since I was 12 or 13, but the pain has been gradually getting worse until I couldn't take it any longer.
- I've seen countless doctors and tried countless "conservative" procedures and pharmaceuticals. Nothing has worked.
- I recently started seeing a neurosurgeon as referred by my orthopedic doctor.
- In my appointment yesterday, said neurosurgeon pointed out that the reason I haven't felt any relief in all this time is because a) the previous doctors were not treating my fractures, but different areas of my vertebrae - where I didn't have problems. and b) it's a fracture. Nothing is going to fix it but having the surgery. and after 12 years, the fractures won't heal. I WILL need surgery.
- In my most recent set of x-rays, the doctor pointed out that when I am in a neutral position (standing upright), my fracture is visible from the side. When I bend forward, the fracture area opens. When I arch backwards, the fracture area closes. The fracture area is acting like a joint, which is very painful. Surgery will stop this area from moving like a joint.
- Because he knows that I'm nervous about the surgery (who wouldn't be?), I will see a pain management doctor that will inject my fractures with lidocaine. The lidocaine will numb the areas temporarily. If I feel relief from the pain from these injections, then the doctor is confident that surgery will fix the problem.
- I don't have many details of the surgery yet, but because we would be doing the surgery early (before my spine has a chance to "slip" forward), I will have a faster, easier recovery. The surgery is expected to get rid of 80% to 100% of the pain. The 80% may not sound like a lot to you ... but having only 20% of my pain would be amazing.
For more information:
See here to read about Spondylolysis.