While I didn’t have lumbar surgery – I did have two successful spine surgeries last year (artificial disc replacement) C5/6 & C6/7. Cervical and lumbar are different in many ways – but I just wanted to offer a little solidarity. I know how absolutely frustrating and what a mental health struggle spine injuries can be as someone who is also a runner/climber/mountain-things-person. I too was grounded from running and most every activity I loved for over a year other than walking and my peloton bike! I suffered and fought with insurance for over a year, got 2 surgeries 6 months apart, and finally as of Dec 30 I’m given the green light to go back to everything I love, and am totally pain-free and am now training for the Leadville Marathon in June.
A thoughts from my experience that may be helpful:
– discectomies rarely work and are generally considered a technique that is becoming outdated. Most insurance requires them be tried before fusion, so its not generally the surgeons fault, yet most really good orthopedic or neurosurgeons dont do them anymore and move right into into fusion or artificial disc replacement.
– injections also rarely work, and at best buy some time, but again they are mostly an insurance requirement and a waste of time and money (sadly)
– fusion or ADR will likely give you your life back, but ESPECIALLY for lumbar I would only go to the most reputable surgeons in the country. Spine surgeons are definitely not all created equal….and for me when it came to my spine I wasn’t going to settle. Be willing to travel! I saw 5 surgeons before finally settling on Dr Peloza at the Steadman Clinic in Vail CO. Hes one of the best in the world and would recommend him hands-down (they treat olympians and athletes from around the world, so getting people back to sport is what they do best) – the other is Texas Back Institute which has a stellar reputation. A good friend travelled to Mexico City for her lumbar fusion and was on a plan back home 3 days later. I highly recommend looking for a surgeon that does lumbar ADR, which is very new and much preferable to lumbar fusion if you’re a candidate!
– there are some great FB groups that really helped me navigate my surgeries and gave me great support. This is one group, but there may be other lumbar specific ones. https://www.facebook.com/groups/23575544356598
Hang in there. I know how hard it is, but if you stay diligent and look for the best possible care you can definitely get back to what you love!