Surgery for chronic back pain

Patient

Q: I am only 31 and have been suffering from chronic and severe back pain for as long as I can remember. Surgery has been booked on my low back to fix a protruding disc that is pressing on a nerve causing sciatic pain down my leg. I am concerned about having the surgery because it didn't seem the surgeon knew that I also have degeneration discs in my lower back, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, Sciatic pain, and pinched nerves. When I Asked him if those things can affect my back problems and perhaps, have the same disc protrusions and herniation happen after I do the surgery, he said I didn't have scoliosis and nothing is known for sure it is like looking threw a crystal ball. I asked him if my scoliosis could have gone anyway, he said you have never had it I'm looking at the x ray right now. It turned out he was only looking at my low back and not my upper back where the scoliosis is. I also read a report from him back in 2004 when I saw him and he had said I had Sherman's disease of the spine, which also was never mentioned and I have never heard about or was told about until I got my files, x rays and reports from the hospital on my own., a few days ago. I am worried because it is a serious surgery and how is it that i seem to have almost every back condition known that is out there, and he didn't seem to take the time to look. I would think a surgeon that is doing an open back surgery would know your whole spine and any other back problem you may have before performing a surgery, am I wrong, I am worried and concerned.

Doctor

A:   Your concerns are understandable. Based on all the problems you have described in your spine I am fairly certain your surgeon intends to perform some form of spinal fusion surgery. Such a procedure can involve several of the spinal bones and seeks to prevent any further deterioration of your spine while reducing symptoms. It is very unlikely that he is unaware of all the issues affecting your spine. However, you seem uncomfortable with your current surgeon and his approach to your conditions. Therefore, I suggest seeking out a second opinion with a surgeon with which you have better rapport.

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