So, I started working at my hospital in 2015, at age 29, as a PCA on a telemetry unit and fairly quickly started having back pain. Prior to this I spent 7 years at a desk job, so I was completely out of shape. Over time I adjusted and became stronger, but I also saw a spine specialist who diagnosed me with a grade 1 spondylolisthesis. I continued to work as a PCA and in 2017 went to physical therapy for the first time. I graduated nursing school and started working as a nurse on the same unit in July 2017.
In February 2018 I had an x ray done that showed it was a grade 2 spondy. In April of 2018 I went back for a second round of physical therapy. At this point I had worked as a registered nurse for about 8 months, so less stress on my back than what I experienced as a PCA but still quite a bit of lifting required as this is a floor unit job.
It is now August 2018 and I visited my spine specialist yesterday whose xrays now show that my L5 is at about 50% or perhaps a smidge further over the edge of my S1. So, it's basically a grade 3 spondy now. He's very surprised that I don't have severe leg pain at this point. I have no leg pain whatsoever. I do have pain with movement that stretches horizontally across my lower back and some pressure along the lower spine. I have adapted to the discomfort and while it's annoying at times it is not overwhelming.
Regardless, my spine specialist is talking spinal fusion and within the next 6-8 months. I realize that is the recommended treatment for a grade 3-4 spondy.
So, I'm here just looking for advice from fellow nurses with similar experiences. I know the outcomes for back injuries can be...not good. :/ I don't want to end up in a worse situation. But I also can see the writing on the wall, and it does appear that this issue is progressing in a rapid sort of way. If you were in this situation, what questions would you ask the provider? BTW, I went to the Leatherman Spine Center in Louisville, KY, which has a pretty good reputation. But that doesn't always mean everything. I'm currently doing recon on the physician who would do the surgery.
Thanks so much for input!