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Degenerative Disc Disease
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rheighton posted:
I was recently diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my spine. I am only 33 yrs.old. I also have been told I have some arthritis in my spine as well. I am a mother of five very active children and I work outside of the home. I am worried that the pain I am already in is naturally going to get worse, but I am curious as to the types of treatments if any. I am already limited to the activities that I can do now because of the pain. I just dont know what to expect. If anyone knows of treatments that benefit and those that I should not even try please let me know. All comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
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georgia888 responded:
Hello rheighton,
I have found warm water therapy to be very beneficial in treating my osteoarthritis (spine, hips, neck) along with fibromyalgia. The gym I belong to has a pool which maintains a temperature of 89 degrees. My daily visits there allow me more flexibility and subsequently, greater mobility.

If this option is feasible for you, I highly recommend it.

Take care & good luck!
georgia
 
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rheighton replied to georgia888's response:
Thank you for the advise! I will look into local gyms with that option in mind. I hope after my next appointment I can better understand my disease and learn ways to cope and manage in my day to day activities.
I wish the best for you, and good luck!
Thanks,
rheighton
 
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DoloresRichards1954 responded:
I am 57 and was told 3 yrs ago that I have DDD plus mild sscoliosis and osteoarthritis. I've tried anything I can physically do,like easy exercise, and I am on several pain meds. Nothing I have found works so far and it seems like my back never stops hurting. I am on disability and receive SSI now. I wish they had found this when I was your age.Maybe something could have been done.They suggest surgery but I am not up for that yet. Good luck.
 
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An_244187 responded:
Yes, Hot tubs are a real pain reliever...just don't overdo or it can hurt you more. I also have ostheoarthritis,and degenerative disc disease. I do understand your pain. Don' t wait to see a trusted, well known surgeon in your area. I waited years to have it fixed and suffered greatly. I missed out on so much fun with my children due to pain. Once I had the XLIF spine surgery, (it was minimally invasive) I was pain free for the first time in many years. Just do your homework and find the best doctor you can. Best of luck, and I pray you have great success.
 
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An_244187 replied to DoloresRichards1954's response:
I just replied to Rheighton about her DDD. See the anonomous reply, I believe my response will also help you. Do not fear the new improved (less invasive ) back surgery today. I am 60 , and I waited way to many years to get help. The right surgeon can help you be nearly pain. I have DDD and Fibro. There is help.

Good luck!
 
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pnewtdon responded:
Hi rheighton,
I ruptured a cervical disc in an accident in karate class in '93 at the age of 41. After the tests, x-rays, mri's, etc. they decided I had degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and a congenitally narrow spinal canal. Now at the age of 59 I have had three discectomies/fusions. The advice: keep moving, go to physical therapy to learn beneficial stretching exercises. Walk, if the kids are of an age that will walk with you, round up the troops and go for a fun walk. If they refuse, leashes and whips may help. Tai Chi or yoga may be helpful. Check with your Dr. to see which would be best. Have a sit down with the whole family and explain how you feel. If they are young enough try to make helping mommy fun. My mother had two cancer surgeries when I was 9. That was the way we handled it. It usually wasn't fun but I did understand the reason. Make sure your spouse understands the need to help you. If he is reluctant, tasers work nicely but only use bullets if you have a really good lawyer and lots of money. I am 59 and a retired teacher. I will never be able to have the second career I planned on (I tried) and I am on a lot of pain meds. Plan for the future knowing that what you will be limited but don't let that stop you from doing things! I can't imagine having five kids and arthritis too. I hope I helped a little and maybe brought a grin. Best wishes always. If you have any further questions or just want to talk, feel free to email.

Good Luck, Don
 
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eachdayagift responded:
My story goes back 25 yrs & the options & info. on DDD was nearly non-existant. I made alot of mistakes & tried treatments that made it worse. Please don't make any decisions on treatment until you know all you can about DDD & all available treatments. Talk to as many people as you can that have DDD & chosen all different kinds of treatments. One size does NOT fit all! I've had 2 cervical/fusion/discectomies before I was 45 & would chose differently now. I hate being on pain meds because I know they are causing damage to my organs. It's a long road ahead for you; however, there is alot of support & if you take your time & think things through, you can find a series of things that will really help. Remember, your mind is extremely powerful & staying as stress-free & calm as possible will make a huge difference in how you feel physically. Information is of utmost importance now. Methodically gather knowledge & ask those who love you for their support; they will be happy to help as much as they can! If you'd like to talk, feel free to e-mail - I'm on the same journey, just further along the path!
 
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rheighton replied to pnewtdon's response:
Thank You very much for the advise. I have read almost everything I know to read. I have an appointment this wednesday to "discuss further treatment" with my general physican. I am currently on pain meds, tried pt, just seemed to make the pain worse. A couple years ago my Dr. wanted to tryo surgery, I was too afraid of something going wrong. As bad as I hate to say it I would prob. try anything at this point. My childrens ages range from 15-9. They are somewhat understanding, but I think in their minds moms are supposed to be able to do ANYTHING no matter what. My spouse is one that will never understand unles he was going through it himself. A fracture years ago from an argument with him is the cause of the problem, so I dont look to him for too much support. I think I may address again the surgery, and hope for the best, there have been too many days lately that I wonder if paralysis would be better than the pain. I know in my heart it wouldnt but sometimes the pain is more than I ever thought it could be. I just wonder if its this bad now...where am i at in 20 years. I really do appreciate all the support I have received from this site. Its nice to know that its not just in my head and there are other people out there that can realate. I just remind myself that it can be worse and many strong people have overcome obstacles larger than this. I'll be sure to post this week and update the Dr. advise...
 
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lizyorick responded:
I have been fighting D.D.D. For over ten years I also developed Fibromyalgia about the same time. I also have four children and now two very active grandchildren that I take care of a lot of the time. I am now 43. You are right, the pain gets worse. My recommendation is this. Stay active. Push yourself to get into shape and make yourself stay that way. Take good vitamins!!! The more you can do this the less pain you Will have. Swimming, yoga, Zumba, anything like that will help. Also, get a bowflex, if you can afford it and do strength training. The more toucan do, the less pain you will have.

Good luck,

Liz
 
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lizyorick replied to DoloresRichards1954's response:
Watch out for surgery!!! If you do it, get a really good surgeon, ask around!! Recovery for fusions is most of a year by the time you are ack on your feet. Nobody warned me and I had a fusion at L5/S1 done in my early thirties. I had four small children and ended up having a brother move in to help with the kids. I still have major pain in my back. One thing that worked for pinched nerve pain is to burn the nerves. This is very painful, but worth it

Liz
 
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lizyorick replied to lizyorick's response:
One thing I forgot to add. For pinched nerve pain, have the nerves burned. It is a very painful procedure but ultimately worth it.
 
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pnewtdon replied to lizyorick's response:
I agree with lizyorick. I forgot to mention this above. I have had PT, cortisone shots in neck and lower back, tried traction (neck), had the nerves in my lower back burned, then surgery (neck). I didn't just jump into surgery; it was a last resort.

I had such intense pain in my lower back that if I hadn't had the nerves burned when I did, I would be disabled now. The procedure is called "medial branch neurotomy". It uses high frequency radio waves to burn the nerves. The idea is to damage the pain nerves to the point that they don't grow back any more and don't produce pain anymore (yes, I didn't know that nerves could grow back either). Now, I still have ostioarthritis in my back but NO PAIN!!!! The downside is that I had to have the procedure done 4 times on the left side and 5 times on the right. As far as pain, there was a little pain but it was more of a weird feeling. Like I said: now, no pain.

Also, heat is nice if you're not hurting too bad but when in intense pain use cold to numb it as much as possible. I hope this helps. Please let use know what happens to you!

Don


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