My mom has been suffering from sciatica for years now. She is on the VA waitlist for surgery. Her neurosurgeon wants to wait for her L2, L3, L4, and S1 discs to "break off" before performing surgery and ultimately "fusing" her back. Meanwhile she is in constant pain, which she manages with medication like gabapentin and oxycodone, prescribed by the VA. She does not want to live on these meds, but she does not want to get her back fused because she feels it will essentially cripple her. She remains on the meds with steadily increasing pain while she looks for other surgery options. Are these options out there? Will the VA pay for them? If she has to get the fusion what will her life be like?
I agree, all the fusions I've known, seen and advised have regretted the procedure. Today more than ever there are options for us chronic pain sufferers. With the climate getting such that soon one a choice few of us will even be able to get the meds we truly need. I do not know what the VA will or will not pay for, but a fusion? Especially one of this magnitude would be best to be avoided, as life afterward could (could) make life today a joy by comparison.
These surgeries work 50 % of the time. I've always said I am going to have to be crawling before I had one. They are now doing laser surgery that doesn't seem as bad, but I have my doubts about va payment. She is going to have to talk to the va about it after she finds something she wants to go with. Physical therapy can help. I don't think I'd want a dr who wants to wait for more injury before he fixes it.
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