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Old 11-18-2003, 05:59 PM   #1
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Question What is disk disease and a bulged disk

Hi, I am new here, so bare with me. I am 25 and had a hysterectomy last year. I am going through testing right now as I am in worse pain now then before. I had a CT Scan done a few weeks ago and it showed I have a bulged disk and mild disk disease and now I have to have an MRI done to check it out further. What is this and how do you get it How do you fix it, and what if you choose not to do anyting about it (surgery near my spine gets me very nervous ) Also What happens during an MRI? I am very claustrophobic (spelling isn't one of my good subjects ) and not looking forward to this. All this time I thought my pain was from my hys. and now they think it could be this. Do any of you have these symptoms:
*Pain in the lower tailbone, that shoots down to your knee and somtimes your foot?
*Burning in your lowerback, ribs, shoulders when sitting or standing too long (especially when bathing the kids or doing dishes)?
*Sharp stabbing pain in buttocks area when walking too long?
*pain in sides and back when sleeping at night. So bad you can barley turn over?
What do you do for it
If anyone has any advise that would help, PLEASE feel free to share, as I have no idea what I am headed for. Thank you,
Chrissy

 
Old 11-19-2003, 03:55 AM   #2
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Hi Chrissy,

I have had questions just like yours a while ago, so I hope I can shed some light for you.
Bulging discs and disc disease are very common. Lots of people have it, I've read somewhere that if everybody aged 60 would have MRI then 2/3 of them would have changes/degenerations of discs. It just comes with age, even though it can start early for some (or ofcourse be secondary to injury, illness etc).
But when you're about 60 these changes don't feel as bad as when you're young. The inner material of the disc (jellylike substens) contains proteins that can be chemically irritating when leaking out (TNF-alfa). With age this substens gets less (don't know exactly how) and the degeneration of your discs, which is absolutely normal, becomes less painful. One good thing about getting older!

Ofcourse there are many other things that can cause backpain, the example above is a somewhat "normal" back.
Maybe your bulging disc touches a nerv, or yours disc has reduced height which can lead to pain in your facet joints eventually.. There are tons of reasons..
No one but your doctor can help you here, with the right examinations to find out your paingenerator.

Have you tried PT? They probably want you to try that first if they can't find any apparant reason for your pain (like a herniation, compressed nerve, or so).

MRI is not that bad (but then I'm not claustrop.), even if it's a bit narrow the tube is open at both ends. When they take the pics you hear a "knocking" sound
but ofcourse you don't feel anything (as I'm sure you know).
You get headphones with music to relax and they make sure you lie comfortably with pillow under knees and a blanket over you. Since you must lie still this is important.
It usually takes about 40 min depending on how many levels they check. I did both chest and lumbar and it took 55 min tot.
And, if you feel bad you have an alarmbutton to press, just in case you can't take it for some reason. They can also talk to you while you're in the tube, using the headphones. And ofcourse you can have a sedative if needed, they will ask you this well before the exam.

I hope you got some help out of this, I'm learning myself right now..
Wish you all the best,
/Kris L

 
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Old 11-19-2003, 07:23 AM   #3
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Smile

Kris,

Thank you for replying. My Gp mentioned PT, but we didn't get into it much as he wants to do the MRI first, and I am actually seeing a Urogyn who is supposed to be dealing with all this, but since we can't get ahold of him half the time my GP is setting up the MRI, so I guess I will just have to wait and see.
What does the sedative do for you during the MRI? Does it make you sleep? I will definetly be using that Can weight be a factor, and if you lose it, will it help?
Thanks again,
Chrissy

 
Old 11-19-2003, 08:24 AM   #4
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[QUOTE=Chrissy1] Kris,

Thank you for replying. My Gp mentioned PT, but we didn't get into it much as he wants to do the MRI first, and I am actually seeing a Urogyn who is supposed to be dealing with all this, but since we can't get ahold of him half the time my GP is setting up the MRI, so I guess I will just have to wait and see.
What does the sedative do for you during the MRI? Does it make you sleep? I will definetly be using that Can weight be a factor, and if you lose it, will it help?
Thanks again,
Chrissy[/QUOTE]

No, I don't think you'll be asleep, just relaxed and mellow enough to lie still.
This medication is not routine with MRI, just used if needed. I've never had it so I'm not sure.

The weightfactor, in what sense do you mean? Backproblems in general? I guess losing weight always is good but if you have other reasons for backpain you will not be cured just by losing some pounds..

I was thinking about your urogyn (hope you don't mind me comment that), often backpain and gynecological problems gets mixed up. Some backproblems (like SI-joint dysfunction and instability in the back) can result in pain that is just like "female" pain. I'm sure it's the other way around too, so good thing that you have a doctor for both!

Wish you the best!
/Kris L

 
Old 11-19-2003, 07:57 PM   #5
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i had a hysterectomy in 2002 had to quit my job and i had mri i am also closticphobic and i called my doctor and he called in valium i was so relaxed i dozed once and she woke me up guess i was snoring i took one the night before and one half hour before mri i had 10 mg.

 
Old 11-19-2003, 10:04 PM   #6
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Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

Chrissy,

When you say that your pain is in the tailbone, I assume that the DDD (degenerative disk disease) is at the L5-S1 level. Is that true?

Keep in mind that the spinal cord does not reach to the L5-S1 disk level, but stops above that, so cutting the spinal cord by accident in surgery is EXTREMELY remote.

I had a hemilaminectomy for a 15mm extruded disk over 18 months ago. I currently have severe disk disease and am in pain 24/7.

If ALL conservative treatments fail and the pain is keeping you from caring for your children then surgery may be the only option.

Paul

 
Old 11-20-2003, 07:07 AM   #7
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Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

[QUOTE=dazedandconfused1]i had a hysterectomy in 2002 had to quit my job and i had mri i am also closticphobic and i called my doctor and he called in valium i was so relaxed i dozed once and she woke me up guess i was snoring i took one the night before and one half hour before mri i had 10 mg.[/QUOTE]


dazedandconfused,

May I ask why you had to have the hys? Mine was due to a prolapsed uterus (which they found out at the time of my hysterectomy that my urteus was twice the size), I am wondering if all of this has to do with relation to my prolapse My last son was 10lb 2oz, and that is when my pain really started.
Chrissy

 
Old 11-20-2003, 07:27 AM   #8
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Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

[QUOTE=socalster]Chrissy,

When you say that your pain is in the tailbone, I assume that the DDD (degenerative disk disease) is at the L5-S1 level. Is that true?

Keep in mind that the spinal cord does not reach to the L5-S1 disk level, but stops above that, so cutting the spinal cord by accident in surgery is EXTREMELY remote.

I had a hemilaminectomy for a 15mm extruded disk over 18 months ago. I currently have severe disk disease and am in pain 24/7.

If ALL conservative treatments fail and the pain is keeping you from caring for your children then surgery may be the only option.

Paul[/QUOTE]


Paul,

Did the surgery help the pain? Have you found out why you got disk disease, and is there anything they can do for it? I want to be as informed as I can be so I know what to talk to my doctor about. I am not seeing a specialist for this as of now, as this was all unexpected, I am going to a Urogyn for prolapse problems and he is doing all this testing, so I have to wait to see what he says (if he would ever get back to me )and where he sends me, but I would like to know as much as I can before I have to go through a specialist.
What do they normally try before they resort to surgery?
My CT Scan report says this: (I can't make sense of it )

Some loss of normal lumbar lordosis.

From L1 to s1 revealling at 1 - 2 no significant disease. At 2-3 some mild disc bulging without stenosis ot focal herniation. Facets reasonable

at 3-4 very mild broad base disc bulge laterally to both sides. Facets reasonable

at 4-5 mild broad base disc bulging with some facet and ligamentous degenerative change without an overt spinal stenosis or centeral herniation.

L5 - S1 level again demonstrates some mild disc bulging again without visiable central stenosis or hernation


IMPRESSION: Some mild disc disease as described without definite evidence of overt spinal stenosis or significant disc herniation. Spinal canal caliber at 4 - 5 is perhaps compromised somewhat and there is the suggestion of a borderline to mild spinal stenosis as a result of bulging disc at this level. This patient might benefit from further evaluation with MRI to better visulaize the L4 - 5 level.


Doesn't make any sense to me !!!

 
Old 11-21-2003, 10:52 AM   #9
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Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

If I may jump in here, ask for an open MRI. Mine was a round table with a big arc across it open on both sides. They move you and the arc until they get the area right under the middle of the arc. My head and legs are sticking out on both sides.

I tried a closed MRI (what I call the casket) and I suffocated. THe face of the MRI was almost to my nose and I had a very hard time as I am so clastrophobic. Finally, gave up on that on and didn't get the test.

Ask for an open MRI and you'll have no problems. I didn't take any drugs and it was done without contrast.

 
Old 11-21-2003, 11:22 AM   #10
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Angry Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

Hi there!

My first posting on this board, though not my first reading. I have suffered from back problems almost my entire life, and that's a looooooong time .

In the last month or so I have had excruciating pain in my shoulders, neck and rib cage, and on the right leg starting from the spine when driving long distances. I finally initiated the tests and diagnosis, consisting of lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine Xrays, and after a visit to the spine center in my city, was ordered an MRI for the cervical spine. The diagnosis has been confirmed to be spondylosis of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, as well as DDD. It is worse on the C4-5 region. Considering that I am over 60, none of these seem to bother my doctors, not even the worsening osteoporosis despite two years on Actonel and one year on Evista.

I am quite physically active, walking at least 20-30 minutes everyday, am underweight and am pretty much in shape. I started therapy at the spine center yesterday, consisting of exercises, a lumbar support while sitting before a computer, and continuing evaluation. I intend to pursue the therapy vigorously. Meanwhile, the pain continues unabated, and in fact one day after doing the initial exercises I felt more sore than ever.

I have a few questions for my co-sufferers: (a) Have you experienced that stress and depression noticeably aggravates the pain? I have been in a blue funk almost simultaneously with the onset of this pain wave, and am not a happy camper right now . (b) Anyone taking Vioxx longterm? I have been prescribed to start with 25mg/day, which i think might be increased to the regular dose of 50, but I hesitate to take any more drugs if I can help it. I do remember taking Celebrex, then Vioxx, briefly in the past, and I think I suffered from stomach problems, cause I invariably stopped. (c) Can anyone tell me of exercises they have been doing and the results? Has anyone seen chiropractors and used other such alternative approaches? There is a prominent practitioner in optimum skeletal motion who has some interesting prescriptions, written up in many books. His name is Pete Egoscue and is based in San Diego. Anyone ever heard of experiences using his methods?

Thank you for your help.
__________________
Live light. Live easy. Live free. Live brave. Live deep.
Let the wind on your face calm your raging mind. Let the warmth of the sun soothe your weary body.
And, at least once in your lifetime, love well.

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Old 11-22-2003, 12:51 PM   #11
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Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

[QUOTE=dayton]If I may jump in here, ask for an open MRI. Mine was a round table with a big arc across it open on both sides. They move you and the arc until they get the area right under the middle of the arc. My head and legs are sticking out on both sides.

I tried a closed MRI (what I call the casket) and I suffocated. THe face of the MRI was almost to my nose and I had a very hard time as I am so clastrophobic. Finally, gave up on that on and didn't get the test.

Ask for an open MRI and you'll have no problems. I didn't take any drugs and it was done without contrast.[/QUOTE]


,

Do they have open MRI's everywhere I am in Ontario, and it's hard enough to get an appointment for an MRI let alone requestiong a special one, but I will check into it. Thank you I am SO not looking forward to this
Chrissy

 
Old 11-22-2003, 03:35 PM   #12
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Thumbs up Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

[QUOTE=Chrissy1] ,

Do they have open MRI's everywhere I am in Ontario, and it's hard enough to get an appointment for an MRI let alone requestiong a special one, but I will check into it. Thank you I am SO not looking forward to this
Chrissy[/QUOTE]

I lived in Ottawa intermittently and visited often in Toronto and other parts of Canada, and I know how long it takes to make an appointment for a procedure there. In Albany, NY it took me two days to get an MRI. It was still the casket-type, but the technician told me that they were getting an open one within a few days; maybe they have one as we speak. Even the closed type is not that bad, believe me. The fact that it is open on both sides, the tech talks to you and you are holding on to the emergency button makes you feel less "trapped." Get in there determined to make mind take over matter. By the time you are on the second half of the session, purposely open your eyes, look around you and pay close attention to every detail, knowing that you might be giving a pep talk to someone else, too. All the best.
__________________
Live light. Live easy. Live free. Live brave. Live deep.
Let the wind on your face calm your raging mind. Let the warmth of the sun soothe your weary body.
And, at least once in your lifetime, love well.

Earthling

 
Old 11-22-2003, 07:06 PM   #13
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Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

i had mri that was open at both ends and music and talking but am very very closterphobic my doc gave me two 10 mg valliumm to take one night before and 30 min.before mri it helps alot i was very relaxed and very still so if u are very closterphbia then i know how u feel i dont like taking drugs but for me it was worth it i even dozed a few min. guess i was snoring.

 
Old 12-28-2003, 04:04 PM   #14
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Post Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

Hi Chrissy,

I just had an MRI done about a month ago and I am very claustrophopic. The doctor gave me 5 mg. of Valium to take 20 minutes before my appt. I also have degenerative disc disease with a bulging and herniated disc at l4 and l5. I am now going to have a nerve block done. I am going to try everything before surgery. I have done PT for a couple of years and I have also seen a chiropractor. I am on pain meds now demerol and soma and I don't want to live on these for the rest of my life. The pain is getting worse. Good luck to you//Judy

 
Old 12-28-2003, 07:42 PM   #15
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Re: What is disk disease and a bulged disk

If you are truly apprehensive about small spaces, maybe ask about have an OPEN MRI. They put you in feet first, instead of hea first , and it seems brighter and larger.I dont really know, because just in case I brought eyeshades and put them on before they started the procedure. I would definitely recommend eyeshades if you can use them in the closed MRI and don't LOOK!

 
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