David's Degenerative Disc Disease

I am a 30 year old male and have been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease between the L4 and L5 vertebrae. I was involved in a car accident in November of 2007. I initially felt a tightness in my back and began massage therapy. I had x-rays, MRI's and CT Scans taken, but nobody could figure out what was wrong. The massages helped heal my middle and upper back, but my lower back was getting worse.

My chiropractor suggested that I see a pain management doctor and I started to receive injections. The first one was into my sciatic nerve that helped relieve the pain in my legs. The second injection was into the actual joint where I was feeling pain, but that seemed to cause even more pain. Seven months after the accident I decided to seek the advice of a neurosurgeon and he immediately noticed a bulging disc. He instructed me to get an EMG (nerve conduction study) and a Discogram. I continued to work taking a few days off here and there when the pain was impossible to work with, but my condition any was not getting better. My final night of work was on June 10th.

I became paralyzed from the pain and was in bed for 2 days. During the Discogram, the pain management doctor gave me another injection. This third injection actually helped the pain to where I could function on a daily basis, although I still have not returned to work. The neurosurgeon determined that my disc was torn and down to 42% of its capacity. He told me that I should have the disc removed and have spinal fusion surgery.

I am scheduled for surgery, but am having second thoughts. I am considering spinal decompression and I am wondering if it is going to work. The research I've done so far indicates that the outcome can be good or bad, but I want to try everything before surgery. What do you think? - David

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