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I have spondolythesis and have been told that I need spinal fusion of L5/S1. I am a 33 year old dancer and this is my last resort. I have lived for 2 and a half years in pain affecting day to day activities so I am have decied I will probably do the surgery.
How much movement will I loose, can I still dance at an advanced level after the surgery, I understand it may be a year after the surgery but at as long as at some stage I can still dance again.
Please help.

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Hi Angela:

I love dance too and was looking into the level of movement as well, but I saw your plea and I just have to respond. I am 38 years old and have had two spinal surgeries and the first was a discectomy, 2006, to alleviate stenosis, but for some reason the same area collapsed unexpetedly and I had to finally do a fusion on the L4/L5 levels this past November. I can say that the benefits outway the pain, but honestly, I still do have a lot of pain and lost a lot of flexibility in my legs, however, this may be just a matter of reconditioning since I was out of commission for over three years. If I may suggest as much physical therapy as possible prior to and after the surgery. On a positive note, I have much more movement than before, especially in my back for standing straighter and I've been reconditioning like crazy to get back into shape. Make sure your PT gives you a lot of good core-work when you're ready, not too soon though. But, the biggest help I can give to you is to check with your surgeon prior to the surgery regarding the possible complications, of course they cannot give finite answers, but doctors with a lot of experience would be able to tell much better than anyone answering here about the level of movement or lack thereof, other than those with personal experience like myself. Definitely get more than one opinion, be patient with yourself once recovery is under way, and please accept my best wishes for a full recovery, dance on ;-)
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L4/L5 spondolythesis. Didn't start until my tour of duty in the Marine Corps. I was an electrician working of F4 Phantoms when I was given a direct order to assist "power plant" with an engine extraction. They have this big dolly under the belly of the bird with the engine sitting on it and of course all connections loose? I'm pulling/pushing with some other Marines and I suddenly hear a loud 'pop' and grabbed my back. That was 30 years ago but it lead to me being discharged at 10% disability. Well 30 years later I know I'm on the door of 100% disability cause I'm in pain everyday and have been told by my spinal Dr. and PT that there are things I shouldn't do anymore as they are counter productive and dangerous for my condition. Surgery, don't want that! No one I know who's had back surgery is a good poster-child for back surgery as they all are still in some sort of pain. Live with it? Have surgery? I like to ride bicycles and have been a avid cyclist for the last 12 years, I would hate to think my physically fit life is coming to an abrupt end. Injections will be the next round of treatment for me and don't know of what significance that will help. I just wish I didn't have to pause and think before I bend down to pick up my 2yr old daughter asking to give daddy a big hug..
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I too am a dancer.I broke my back (compression fractures to Tll and L1) 20 years ago when I was 16.I've lived with the pain ever since- I just turned off my body and danced.  The adrenaline rush would almost eclipse the pain (except when it was totally debilitating, etc), so even if it meant taking lots of meds and packing my body on ice and not moving the rest of the day, up until the last 5 months I would still teach my Zumba class once a week.Since having my 3rd baby, my discs have aggressively degenerated, and I've ruptured or seriously irritated them  (3 in neck, 2 in Thorasic and 2 in lumbar that are not only totally black on my MRIs but bulging as well).I don't have that option anymore.I've done 20 years of conservative care: chiro, PT, exercise (yoga to cycling to dance to triathlons, etc), and a year ago November I finally gave in and started taking the hard core meds my dr's had been proscribing for nearly 2 decades as simply dissociating from my body wouldn't work anymore.After the past 6 months where I've only been able to go 3-4 weeks at most before herniating or severely irritating my my discs again, I've had to finally seriously consider surgery.I've been so anti for so long.I WANTED to get 2-level ADR for my L4-L5 and L5-S1, but my insurance steadfastly denies the request for authorization, so my surgeon (Dr. Kropf of Cedars-Sinai in LA, CA- one of the lead investigators on the FDA trials for the Prodisc, and on the 2 level ADR trials) recommends the HYBRID: prodisc-L for L4-L5 and peer spacer fusion for L5-S1.  I have to say that while I feel really good about it (especially since he said that since my insurance was already covering everything and I'd already be opened and they cant ever go back in because of the vascular scarring from the first surgery, they'd do the ADR to L4-L5 and the hospital would prob wave most if not all of the cost.Pfhew!Hubby and I were talking 2nd mortgage stuff. Oye.

But I have to say I'm still rather freaked about loss of mobility with the fused part.I know it's right next to the fused sacral vertebrae so it's probably the best place to get fused, and that it doesn't move much anyway, but I'm hyper-mobile.  I started ballet when I was 2, HULA when I was 5 and then got into tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and then ballroom-especially latin (have a cool trophy from Nationals in 2000), and then belly dance, and now I'm a certified zumba instructor.Moving is the only time I've ever felt really GOOD in my body since i was 16- that adrenaline rush... I guess I'm addicted.  I cant stand the thought of giving it up for the next 63 years or so.Especially since, given the longevity of my injuries, a lot of my nerve dammage will be perminant.I'm just hoping I can sit down after the surgery and that --unlike the injections- it won't make me worse.I haven't been able to sit down without feeling a ice pick stab to my L5-S1 area in 20 years.I'm scheduled for the hybrid surgery in 3 weeks.I was trolling the internet for fused dancers looking for how much mobility I'd lose in my shaker ;) and found this old thread.Thanks.I'm shaking in my boots about what might change- for better, for worse, for just different-- I mean I know what I can and can't do, I've been this way for most of my life.  I have NO idea what it'll be like after, and nobody can REALLY tell me.But I've prayed about it, I feel good about it, just FREAKING a bit about what I stand to lose.But to be able to be my kids' mom again, to take care of my hubby for a change.... I can't wait.:)Thanks!

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Ahhh...I was googling trying to find answers. You are just like me. I dance, have taught Zumba and aerobics my entire life, but totally love all dance. I don't see anyway to avoid the lumbar fusion. I've tried to the point that I have no life. I've done the injections since 2007, then had another injury, causing progression of already severe spine problems. Resulting in a need for lumbar fusion. I already had a discectomy and I guess I have a lot of scar tissue. So, prior they haven't wanted to do surgery. Now they say, no choice, lumbar fusion. Man oh man! So, I am so freaked! I just wondered if maybe you get this post and can let me know how your fusion went, what you are able to do, can you dance? I hope to hear from you! : ) Thanks!
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Hi there! How did your life change after the surgery? I have mild retrolisthesis at l4/l5 and up until last 2 years danced, ran, played sports- now all I can do is swim and even that is uncomfortable. Standing g and bending are painful. I've had injections, considering fusions.
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