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Degenerating L5-S1
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ButeoFerrous posted:
Just saying hi! I was diagnosed with a degenerative L5-S1. I herniated the disk 10 years ago when I was 17. Last year in August, I woke up one day stiff and sore, and by the time I was leaving for work at noon, I could barely move. I'm not sure what caused it to degenerate, but my father has DDD, and has multiple disks degenerating. Does anyone know if DDD is genetic, or is it just a fluke that I have a degenerating disk too.

I'm currently taking Gabapentin and oxycodone for the pain. I can't take any over the counter pain meds or hydrocodone, for various reasons, which is why I take straight oxycodone. I just recieved my second round of cortisone injections which provided minimal, if any, relief.

I'll have good days where I barely have to take the oxycodone, and bad days where oxycodone doesn't help. Does anyone else experience a flucuation in pain levels? My good days are around a 4 and the bad days are up to 9 and 10.

I am also morbidly obese (5'9" and 298 lbs) and am starting on my journey to weight loss. I know that's a contributing factor to my pain.

Have a great day!
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davedsel57 responded:
Hello and welcome!

I am sorry to read of your pain, but know exactly what you are living with.

It sounds like you are doing the best you can to manage your pain. I am also obese and know it adds to the pressure on my spine which adds to my chronic pain. Someday soon I will break this circle and get healthy. Losing weight has been a huge challenge to me but I know one day soon I will know the victory. So will you.

Please come and post whenever you want to ask questions, chat or to vent. We are here and we do understand.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings,

-Dave
 
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bj1208 responded:
hi ButeoFerrous and welcome to the support group

I have DDD and yes this can be genetic - my mom, her sister and her brothers (6 brothers) all have DDD. One uncle has had numerous back operations for his and wore a very heavy metal brace (this was back in 60's and early 70's).

My main disc that caused my problems was L5-S1 (most common for disc problems!) and I did have surgery, Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 as my disc had numerous problems, DDD, ruptured and splintered. Part of the disc was pressing on the left S1 nerve root and the other was on the right S1 nerve root. They removed the damaged disc and put hardware in, plate, 4 screws and a cage. I've healed from the surgery and have fused 100% but damage had already set in and I suffer from chronic pains and permanent nerve damage in both legs (click on my name or picture and read story).

As Dave said, it appears you are doing all that you the right things you can do. Making sure you are seeing the right spine specialist is vital. Either a Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist are the best as they are the only ones that know how to read film reports of the spine (MRI, CT Scans, etc) where they can properly diagnose spine problems and offer the best treatment options based on the diagnosis.

They may suggest seeing a Pain Management specialist as part of the treatment program. I see a PHYSIATRIST Pain Doctor

http://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/what-physiatrist

They go deeper into pain management control based on patients' needs

We, members of the support group, completely understand your pains. And the different pain levels you have. Mine are a constant 24/7 at a 10. Some days it can go down as low as a 8 or 9.

I've heard some people that are given Gabapentin for back pains. I take this not for back pain but for the nerve damage in both legs. It really does help that. I take MS Contin, Oxycodone and muscle relaxers for my pains and a mild dose of Xanyx for anxiety. LOL and yep I do get up every day!!

Some people do get some relief from cortisone injections while others it does nothing. And it usually will take a couple of rounds before knowing completely if it does help.

Physical therapy may be part of the treatment plan either by a Physical Therapist or a Chiropractor. It's a good idea to have the Spine Specialist and/or Pain Doctor write the proper prescription for the therapy as they would know what would be best and most Therapists/Chiropractors would ask to see film reports so they would know where exactly the spine problems are.

Hope this helps - as Dave said, please post anytime - from asking questions, sharing stories and/or just letting steam off.

Keep us posted what goes on~~
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~
 
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ButeoFerrous replied to bj1208's response:
Thank you for your help and support.
I saw an orthopedic last year when this happened who was less than helpful. Should I start seeing one again, or do I just stick with my pain management doctor for now? And who do I ask to see the orthopedic, my primary or the pain management doctor?
 
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bj1208 replied to ButeoFerrous's response:
Hi again~~

You can either ask your primary care doc or pain doc - I tend to lean towards my Physiatrist Pain Doc as they do have both Orthopedic and Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist they deal with on a personal basis. Depending on your insurance and if you need a referral then you would have to get that from your primary care doc.

I would make appointments with each one (as they tend to have different opinions) and see what they say. Be sure to gather all your records from when you were first diagnosed and any film reports (MRI, CT Scans, Myelograms etc). If it's been more than a year since you've had MRI/CT Scan then they may order a new one just to see if or what changes are happening.

There are many of us here on the support group who have gone from one doc to another especially when we encounter a professional physician that tends to say "oh you have a bulging disc but it shouldn't cause any pains" HA~ LOL I've researched and spoke to many patients, members here, spine specialist and pain specialists who have stated that there are many people walking around with bulging disc(s) who don't even know it and then there are those who will have the slightest bulge that will send us to bed not being able to get up. it's unfortunate that we have to endure the pains itself but to have a professional physician look at us like we're nuts~~

start there and see what you find out. Talk to people - there are more people out there with back problems who tend to not speak of it as they get looks of "you don't look like ur in pain, etc." but they will talk when asked - and you can see who they go to - as there will be pro's and con's relating to spine specialists.

well, i'm a jabbering so I know my pain meds are kicking in!! LOL let us know what you find out and especially once you have been examined and diagnosed let us know as we do have lots of websites to refer you too for research/answers etc.

~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

~~ Joy ~~
 
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ButeoFerrous replied to bj1208's response:
Thanks Joy, I'll call my PCP to see if I can get a referral.

Last year the doc said I had good disk space, and shouldn't be in this much pain, yet I am. I believe a lot of it is irritation. I had torn the meniscus in my right knee a few years ago. The tear wasn't bad, yet I was swollen and inflammed and in a lot of pain. I think that's how my body reacts. The degenerating disk isn't pressing on any nerves that I know of, but the material is irritating the area and causing inflammation which is what causes the pain. At least that's my theory


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