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Degenerative disc disease
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coyote50 posted:
I was just diagnois with dgenerative disc disease and Im trying to find out more about it and what I can do about it. My doc says surgery is out of the question since I have at least three disc that have rupture. I have tried pt, tens unit, chiropratic, losing weight and walking two miles a day. My doc put me on tramdohl which does nothing for my pain. I will be looking at taking yoga to help but I want to know my future. Will I always be in pain? Will it get worse? My doc feels the rest of my discs have either rupture or will soon in the future. I have had many different shots and nerve blocks which none have help me. I dont want to feel older than I am. Im only 55 years young and have until recently been active. Maybe someone out there is going through the same things i am and give me some hints on what to do or where to go for my answers. Thanks for any help or ideas you can give me.
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davedsel57 responded:
Hello, and welcome.

I have been managing moderate to severe chronic pain from multiple degenerative spinal conditions for over 30 years. Once of those conditions is DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease) which is now advanced.

I created a Tip on the WebMD Back Pain community that lists links to several good spine sites. Here is a link to that Tip: http://forums.webmd.com/3/back-pain-exchange/resource/10?@guest@

As my signature says, click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story. You can see there how I manage my pain.

Keep doing your research, keep moving as much as possible, and keep a positive attitude.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story. Blessings, Dave
 
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coyote50 replied to davedsel57's response:
Thanks for your help. I appreciate everything everybody has done. When people get together it help give you new insite on living your life. I hope everything goes well with you and again thanks for your help.
 
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Peskypain responded:
Hi Coyote...sorry to hear you are having pain...Dave gave a good link to learn some more information about DDD...

One thing I can say off the bat is that if you have ruptured discs....I personally would NEVER step foor in a Chiropractor's office....they are not medically trained to deal with bulging or herniated discs...they can absolutely injure you further or possibly cause paralysis by an 'adjustment'....I don't care for them...but for people who are perfectly healthy...and no known spine issues...they may be fine...but for me...no way, no how...

As you will find...most of the population over 30 will have some form of disc issues...as DDD is kind of a misnomer as disc disease can occur as part of the normal aging process..

And half the people can even have a rupture or bulging disc and never know it as they won't have any pain or numbness of nerve issues...

Others...can have severe pain and nerve issues...so it's important to be seen by a person who specializes in this..as well as getting 2nd opinions..

I am a bit confused on why your Dr. would say that 'surgery is out since you have 3 discs ruptured'....this statement alone does not make any sense...

And also them saying that the rest of your discs will also rupture soon or in the near future...

May I ask what type of Dr. has given you this diagnosis? Is he a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon or a Board Certified Neurosurgeon?

And did they give this diagnosis after doing an MRI?

Do you have nerve pain? Or do you have tingling and numbness in any extremities?

Or is it really just the pain that is unbearable in certain areas...

These are important factors that should be discussed with one of the Dr.s that I mentioned above...

A good Dr. will not perform surgery just based on pain usually...as it is not always resolved by doing this...however...it all depends on what the rupture looks like, what nerves are being effected...if you are having signs of nerve damage...

As well as there are different types of surgeries that can be done as well...

It's a good idea to discuss everything with your Dr. and read up on this as much as you possibly can to learn everything you can..

So..unfortunately no one on here can answer if you will get worse...or always be in pain..Everyone is different..

And one of the BIGGEST things to keep in mind...is that a board like this...or others on the internet...are for people who did not have a successful surgery and are having issues....you rarely hear about the hundreds of thousands that have recovered and are doing fine...

Again..half of people with issues will get better with treatment and no surgery....another set of people will have surgery and also get better...and then there are others that are on the first part of the journey...

It sounds like you have tried a lot of the conservative treatments...

How long of a period of time has it been since the diagnosis and now?

I would be seeking another opinion about surgery by one of the Dr.s I listed above...as they may not need to do all 3 levels...but that can and has been done...but each rupture may be different...so it's about discussing all options...

I have had 3 separate cervical fusion surgeries...(2 levels)...over the last 10 years....I still live with chronic pain...as I said...that's why I am here...My mom...had a 3 level fusion back in the mid 1980's....and she has not had any issues but some tweaking pain here and there...

To manage my pain at this point...I do daily exercise 30-45 min., yoga/stretching, acupuncture, aqua therapy, injections when needed, use prescribed medicine as needed that includes an opiate, a muscle relaxer, a sleep med, I eat all Organic...I do not smoke..(this is now shown to even cause spine issues)...

At this point for you...I would still be wanting answers and seeing if any type of surgery is a good option..

I wish you luck..keep us posted...
 
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CTBeth replied to Peskypain's response:
Pesky wrote many of the same thoughts I had when reading the opening of the discussion, particularly,

"I am a bit confused on why your Dr. would say that 'surgery is out since you have 3 discs ruptured'....this statement alone does not make any sense...

And also them saying that the rest of your discs will also rupture soon or in the near future.."

I'd also stay clear of chiropractors. My opinion, but I'd run from them as if the devil was chasing me. My experience was that I walked in and crawled out. Well, had I not help I'd have been crawling.

I am wondering if it is a pain management MD who is prescribing you the Tramadol. If it is not giving you adequate relief, perhaps you can discuss this with the prescribing MD and see if you will get better relief with a different med.

Have you had an MRI? Have you been examined by a neuro-surgeon?

It would seem that both of these would be helpful in your diagnosis and treatment.

I have had two separate fusion surgeries- a 3-level cervical and 2-level lumbar. The cervical gives me no problems, and it was done for stabilization, not pain management.

The lumbar, however, also done for stabilization, still hurts every day. I take long-acting morphine contin and I have a spinal cord stimulator. The SCS helps so, so much, but it's probably not an option you you at this stage of the game.

Please consider consulting with a pain management specialist AND a neuro-surgeon. Ask all of the questions you have and do your own research, as well.

Come on back and "see" us. You'll get tons of info and meet lots of nice people here.

Good luck,

CTBeth
 
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sproesser responded:
Hey coyote50,
I have a nearly flat disc, and I am now disabled and unable to take all of my work as a result. My pain and discomfort symptoms are very high, my life revolves around managing my pain. I am 32. I was healthy 5 years ago. I have some recommendations for coping with pain. How people react to their pain both psychologically and in their daily routine matters significantly. I was faced with a choice... either be pissed off that I have to deal with pain from now on, or keep going with my life as far as my condition will allow. I could have loathed losing all the things I enjoyed, or focused on and get the most out of what I still can do. Everyone goes through a big adjustment when they lose abilities, but responding strongly and coming out on top is the goal. Here's a good example. Right now I am struggling with starting using a kane. It bothers me deeply to be seen everywhere I go with a Kane, and to have to rely on it. But the simple fact is it helps me feel better enough that I just need it. I could keep my current mindset, or I could challenge the notion. I fully intend on making the Kane a part of me, and accepting it, and even being fond of it, since it helps. I made a conscious decision to own it in my mind. I am PROUD of who I am. So if a kane is part of what I need, then I will be proud of it, and my use of it. I Used to hike like crazy, snowboard, dirtbike, etc. I moved to colorado out of high school because I identified so much with it. Now I can't. Instead of thinking about how much that stinks, I focus on what I still enjoy. I cope with losing things by embracing what I still have. This is an attitude as much as a lifestyle. It's not what I've lost, it's what can I still do. I could easily be depressed like most pain sufferers. I have managed not to, even though I have lost so much, and it is so hard to do ANYTHING.
I could go on and on. If you are interested in hearing more just let me know, I can go into more detail as to how I keep a good attitude. Adam (sproesser)
 
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galemarie59 replied to CTBeth's response:
I can't agree more with Beth regarding Chiropractors. My husband went to a Chiropractor many years ago due to extreme back pain. The Chiropractor did an "adjustment" on him and by the next morning my husband was crying in pain (NEVER had I seen him cry due to pain). Unfortunately, he went back to this same man and walked out with NO feeling. We ended up having to go to our physican to get a referral to a neurosurgeon, because the Chiropractor REFUSED to give us one! By the time we arrived to the Neurosurgeon's office, my husband had developed "drop foot". They did immediate surgery on him. It was unfortunate that my husband had permanent nerve damage due to what the Chiropractor had done to him. The feeling in his left leg never returned. It has been over 10 years ago. Believe it or not.... I called that Chiropractor and told him what he did! He sent a Get Well Card to my husband! I worked for an attorney for 18 years and to this day I wish we had sued that man! My husband and I are just NOT those kind of people though. I do know there are some great Chiropractors out there... we just went to the wrong one!!!!! Be careful who you go to!!!!
 
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annette030 replied to sproesser's response:
Great attitude!!!

As far as the cane goes, my husband used a 5 iron (golf club) upside down as a cane for several years do to hip problems. It was the right length for him, I put a walker tip on the end of it so it would not slip. He got lots of conversation and little pity from other people. It was a great way to get conversation started.

Take care, Annette
 
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cweinbl replied to galemarie59's response:
There are many terrific chiropractors out there. They use their training and help people with muscular or tendon problems. But they primarily use X-ray for diagnoses. Soft tissue, like extruded disc material or a tumor, will not visualize on an X-ray. You require an MRI or CAT-scan for that. But chiropractors are not physicians and they are not allowed to order such tests. Therefore, the chiropractor begins treatment without an adequate diagnosis. Is that a risk you're willing take with your body, or the well-being of a loved one?
I've met many people in physician waiting rooms who had made their dangerous spinal condition much worse by going to a chiropractor. A chiropractor might call himself "doctor," but he or she is no more of a physician than is a PhD in Music. A real "doctor" is a physician, having earned the litters MD. This man or woman has completed four years at an accredited university, then four more years of medical school and then several more years of residency, if not also a fellowship. Real "doctors" are found in the faculty of medical schools, practicing as physicians and specialists of all kinds. Real "doctors" can prescribe all medication, admit patients to prestigious hospitals; and they can order and interpret the latest diagnostic instruments. Real "doctors" have the letters "MD" after their name. If you go to anyone else, you're risking lifelong pain.
cweinbl csw2@bex.net


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