Decision about how to proceed L5 - S1 disappeared disc
by Sue Kennington
I have a dilemma, I have been suffering from lower back and occasional leg and buttock pain since December (I did have a similar situation about 10 years ago, that eventually settled). I have been having physio for about 12 weeks now, with little improvement that I can see. My physio is trying to 'open' my lower spine with manual manipulation mainly, although I sometimes feel much better immediately after seeing her, this does not last, especially if I have to sit down straight after treatment - and this is often as I have to travel quite far to see her.
My MRI shows 3 problem discs in the lumbar spine (and 3 problem discs in the cervical spine, that give me little trouble apart from occasional stiffness) - L3- L4, L4 - L5, and L5 - S1 are all in trouble though, with the lowest disc having all but disappeared and the one above clearly taking the strain as it has a focalised hernia and the one above (L3) has a general disc protrusion. Yesterday I saw a famous orthopedic surgeon and he said, having seen this MRI scan of July, that I had an instable lower spine. I do have bone spurs on the lowest vertebrae, and that my best chance was to wear a corset and wait for it to fuse naturally.
So - the question is - do I follow him, or do I follow her, and continue to try and open up this almost disappeared disc space ? I am in mild to mid pain most days - and often have trouble sleeping, but it is not impossible and I do do mild pilates to try and strengthen my core and I walk a lot and also swim on my back.
Your advice would be so welcome, thank you !