In my twenties as a slender young person, I much enjoyed wearing my three inch heels. I had other bad back habits as well. I didn't life correctly. I ran in running shoes. I was in a couple of bone jarring car accidents. Pish-posh, I thought since I got up and walked away from each accident I was "ok." People warned me that I might have back issues later. I thought nothing of it. Chronic back pain for me didn't start until my mi-thirties. While the AMA might push back surgery on people I would recommend it only as a last resort. It is very invasive and helpful only 50 per cent of the time. Get a second opinion, if you don't believe me. Even if it weren't very invasive, every time you go under general anesthesia you are taking a risk. ********** Your first line of defense when aches and pains start are the cheapest. These are known as lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes include doing things like not wearing three and four inch heels any more, or as often as I used to. Choosing to not commute in car for long distances. Work near your home, walk or bike to work if you can. Have a job that is not constant sitting. If you do have to sit for your work, get up and stretch your legs at least once an hour. Drink lots of water. Keep your weight at the recommended amount. For each additional pound over your recommended weight, four pounds of pressure bear down on your knees, so think about it. ****************** You can also make lifestyle changes that are proactive, such as giving up on smoking cigarettes. Playing less contact sports, and less bone jarring sports. Try walking or hiking in lieu of jogging and running. Wear the proper protective gear when doing any kind of contact sport. Take calcium to keep bone density up, take calcium with Vitamin D to increase your level of absorption. Eat lots of fiber. Have active hobbies. Take glucosamine and anti-oxidants. In addition to supplements many food and some teas have anti-oxidants. Black or green tea have anti-oxidants if you do not add milk to your tea. South African Rooibos has no caffeine and anti-oxidants. Acai berry tea as well as pomegranate juice have high anti-oxidant properties. ****************** Once dull chronic pain has set in you may have to make more than lifestyle changes. Consider wearing lift belt or a back brace for lifting things. It can be tucked under your clothing, where no one can even tell you need the support. Wear sturdy shoes with good tread. Take ibuprofen with some restraint to mask pain. Ibuprofen is hard on the liver, steady use could give you worse problems than sheer chronic pain. Use Valerian herb tea or Chamomile to help you relax and sleep. Try taking shark cartilage to help with joint ease. ************** If you go to a chiropractor, be sure X-rays are taken. Without an X-ray, even a licensed chiropractor is working in ignorance. Get recommendations from people you know. Acupuncture and acupressure are both less dangerous and less invasive than chiropractor work and often very helpful with chronic pain issues. Often acupuncturists sell their own tea and Chinese herbal products. Thousands of years of research has gone into this ancient art. If you've never tried it, I would say definitely give it a chance before getting back surgery. Much of Asian depends more on this than Western medicinal knowledge. ************* When I had my sciatica, I got about twenty minutes relief from pain from the chiropractor. Meaning I was pain free only for the time I was in his office getting worked on. Immediately after I left my intense pain resumed and I was unable to walk at the time, the pain was too great. Conversely the acupuncture had much longer lasting results. Two treatments took me from a 10 to a 3 in my pain level. By the third treatment my pain had gone down to the 1, it is now. The dull throb isn't fun, but it keeps me from injuring myself further. I don't take ibuprofen any more unless the pain gets so bad I can't sleep. **************** I was encouraged by my ex-husband to take Vicodin and Percoset for my chronic pain issues. My take on that, is all pain medication eventually dulls in its effectiveness, so the sooner you move onto to major meds, the sooner they will stop working for you. Unless you want to be zoned out all the time and unable to function, it's better to take as little pain medication as possible. Save it for the long dramatic needs such as a transatlantic plane flight, or the night before an important meeting. You don't want to be distracted by pain during a job interview. ************* Certain activities release endorphins into the body and make you feel naturally good. If you have capacity to swim or walk, such exercises are low impact but still release endorphins. Do them if they don't exacerbate pain. Yoga is also good. It build "core" strength, meaning strength in the muscles of your abdomen and your back this will protect your back from further injury. If you are hesitant to take yoga because you're a dude, find a class where other men are attending. Sometimes they are advertised as yoga for mixed martial arts. ******** If you have decided you must go ahead with a surgery than do your due diligence. Check and see how many surgeries the team has completed, and how many were successful. Get a second opinion, if you have to, a third. Find out if the surgery can wait, and if can, wait a while and see if the situation gets any better. Try to be in all other ways as healthy as possible before going under for a major surgery. Schedule your surgery when you can arrange to have the most help in your recuperation. Don't expect to be up and about right away. Make and freeze food, board your dog, get a relative or friend to help with your kids. ***********