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Old 03-21-2005, 06:25 AM   #1
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goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Hi, everyone I'm a 45 yr old woman who has had DDD for the past 16 years. Past MRI's show DDD in L4-L5 & L5-S1. I have been folowed by a neurologist and my PMD. The neurologist said that surgical intervention should not be considered unless there is loss of bladder/bowel control, that it was too risky and not successful. I am on celebrex 200mg twice daily in which I found a regimen of keeping myself on it during chronic outbreaks until the pain is managable and for a week after and then switching to advil as needed. I manage with hot packs, TENS unit, and the above meds. Over the past 8 years I have developed osteoarthritis in both knees and feet. For the most part I always have back pain which is manageable off the celebrex if I am careful with my daily activitities.

However, last week I was reaching for a towel and felt the excruciating pain rip across my lower back. As the day went by it spread across my pelvis and into both thighs feeling as if a vice were crushing them together. I couldn't walk and the heating pad did nothing to alleviate the pain. I started the celebrex and had to take percocet that I had from abdominal sugery which made the pain tolerable. I found that ice packs worked better and incorporated the TENS 3 times a day. For the first 3-4 days I could barely walk.....it's been a week and I am still on the heating pad....the pain is manageable, however, when I get off the heat it feels as if I may get back to last week's pain. I'm still on the celebrex and heat as well as the TENS. I took myself off the percocet about 4 days ago because I felt i could manage the pain without it and it basically knocked me out.

I feel that this is the worst my back has ever been. For those who have this disease, I am wondering if you could think of anything else I should be doing to alleviate the pain and keep my back from getting any worse. I have researched spinal fusion and operative techniques and both my doctor & I feel that it is not a risk worth taking. I did see something recently on the news about artificial disc replacements just being approved by the FDA. Does anybody have any feelings in regard to that or any other treatments that have helped in the overall management of DDD??? Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks......Goody

 
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Old 03-21-2005, 06:44 AM   #2
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flyonthewall HB User
Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Can you get an opinion from an orthopedic spine specialist, one with a spine fellowship? A neurosurgeon without a spine fellowship is dangerous. I could hardly walk when I went to an OSS. He did a laminectomy and fused me with BMP from L3-S1. I'm doing great.
fly

 
Old 03-21-2005, 06:49 AM   #3
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goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

The neurosurgeon does have a spine specialty and I trust him but haven't been to him in years. He advised me long ago to follow up with my PMD unless I got to the point of losing bladder/bowel control but since it's been well over 10 years since I saw him.....perhaps I should look into seeing him again or an orthopedist as you suggest in order to get an update on the most recent treatment of this disease. From what I have read here there is none. Did you have the surgery specifically for DDD???......Goody

 
Old 03-21-2005, 07:01 AM   #4
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

I had severe spinal stenosis and grade 1-2 spondylolisthesis. My OSS did an off-label procedure, posterolateral fusion with BMP on sponges, and he didn't have to touch my hip. He was only two years off a fellowship and cutting-edge. And I was 63.
fly

 
Old 03-21-2005, 07:38 AM   #5
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Goody,

Sorry your pain is so high and perhaps alternating the heat w/ice might help.

Have you had any recent studies? X-Ray..Mri?

IF not I think maybe you should just to see what if any changes have occurred.

Just like it's name DDD is degenerative - and things can get worse.

Keep us posted & I hope your feel better

BW

 
Old 03-21-2005, 08:02 AM   #6
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Thanks BW, for your concern & well wishes. I know that it is bad to sit too long so I am trying my best to get myself more mobile despite the pain. Thus the heat allows for that. I will try alternating the ice. I actually got one of those thermacare packs but they are not hot enough if you can believe that.

Yes....I may suggest to my doctor the necessity of more studies since this is definitely the severist the pain has been in a while. I know that it sometimes takes 10 days to 2 weeks for the celebrex to do it's thing so if by Friday I don't see steady improvement....I will go in to see the doctor.

Again thanks for your support & if anybody else out there has any suggestions or is in or has been in Goody's 2 shoes I would appreciate your input....Goody

Last edited by goody2shuz; 03-21-2005 at 09:42 AM.

 
Old 03-21-2005, 09:57 AM   #7
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Let me tell you my story-
I have a history of back pain, but at 27 the pain was bad enough and I was on enough narcotics that I simply could not live that way for the rest of my life. I had plans for goodness sake! My neck actually took me out of work, but I had previous back surgery and the pain was getting worse (surgery done in 2002). I had an MRI of both neck and low back. The low back showed DDD in both lowest levels, bulges on each and a tear. I saw one dr who wouldn't help me, he said I was too young. He sent me off to get injections, which did not work (did help my neck though). It was then I got a second opinion. I simply was not going to take no for an answer. I wanted to be given the choice of having something done. I saw a new dr, he ordered a discogram. The discogram showed that those two crappy little dehydrated discs were indeed causing my pain, and a fusion might help me where that was concerned. I WANTED surgery though, but it didn't take me pushing my doc for him to suggest it. The discogram proved that they were bad. So, on Dec 15, 2004 I had the surgery. I have not had any of the same pain since. Every now and then I get a little nerve pain, or muscle pain, but nothing like I was before. I can sit now w/o tons of pain, I can focus on my life now-I can go back to school, work, and travel.
Whether or not surgery is for you, you don't have to take "no" for an answer. We on here like our second or even third opinions. Just b/c one dr won't do much to help, doesn't mean another won't. So, whatever you choose to do, just remember it is your body and you have a right to be as pain free as possible. How you get there should ultimately be YOUR choice as well. Best wishes to yoU!

 
Old 03-21-2005, 10:19 AM   #8
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Mel.....thanks for your post. I am calling my doctor today to further discuss my situation with him. Before this episode the pain I experienced was tolerable....I mean it was there and it certainly affects my activities of daily living where I know the things I should & shouldn't do or I will end up in severe pain with my back out. The pain I am experiencing now happens once every few years so long as I don't overdo things....so I really don't feel I am at the point of entering the risks of surgery such as fusion. From what I understand.....it may further inhibit my movement. I was talking to a friend today and I plan on suggesting that my doctor run further tests to reevaluate the degenration to evaluate the degree in which things may have changed over the past 10 years. I'm also going to ask that he set me up with some type of Physical Therapy program....my life has become rather sedentary and I have put on some weight which I feel only adds to my problem. I have tried walking and the such but could use more of a professionally monitored routine so as not to further injure my back. Between the physical therapy and the medical tests I may have a better idea as to where to go in terms of surgical intervention. I have read many posts here in regard to fusion and have heard many bad reports that make me question whether it would be in my best interest at this time in my life. I am glad yours is a positive result and hope to hear more of that if in fact I am to be convinced that surgery is the way to go. Again thanks for sharing your story and good luck......Goody

Last edited by goody2shuz; 03-21-2005 at 10:21 AM.

 
Old 03-21-2005, 10:29 AM   #9
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mel1977 HB User
Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

don't ever think you have to be convinced to have surgery. This is such a big deal, you need to be sure you WANT the surgery. Losing weight could def help-there are many people who live with DDD and manage just fine. I think there are so many factors as to why one person HURTS more than another, I think it all comes down to quality of life. If one can manage the pain to their satisfaction, the def stay away from surgery, surgery is the last resort to get a life back. I think you will find a way to work through this, whatever it will be. My hubby is 27 too, with DDD and his is no where as bad as mine was, that is one example. Just remember we are all here if you do have any concerns or questions! (this was my second back surgery), (sixth surgery in general, so surgery didn't concern me like it might others)

 
Old 03-21-2005, 11:35 AM   #10
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Goody ~ This probably doesn’t apply to you (so please don’t take offense ) but I still can’t believe that it applies to my mother. Since you were trained as a nurse, it may be difficult for you to challenge a doctor’s opinion when it disagrees with yours. My mother was a Registered Nurse for 20-30 years and whatever a doctor tells her is gospel. Normally an intelligent, strong-willed and independent woman, she just can’t dispute anything a doctor tells her. She has a joint that is now bone-on-bone because her doctor told her it was nothing to worry about. She suffered with it for years before readdressing the problem. By then, the damage was done. When we asked why she went against her instincts, she said that the nurse’s training program drilled into the student nurses to follow all doctor’s orders unquestioningly…

I’ve posted about my most frustrating medical problem where my doctor told me what I was experiencing was normal based on my age and medical conditions. My next visit was several months later and I was so mad that finally I looked him square in the eyes and told him, “This isn’t acceptable; we have to change something.” That made all the difference in changing his mind and getting successful treatment. My point is my doctor gave me a “second opinion” after he was convinced that I was unsatisfied with the first.

I wonder if the risks of malpractice have caused doctors to commonly “under-diagnose and under-treat” conditions. The important point is that no one should suffer like my mother has because a doctor’s opinion goes unquestioned.

 
Old 03-21-2005, 12:06 PM   #11
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kaybee HB User
Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

My husband has severely advanced DDD throughout his entire lumbar and cervical regions (don't know about the rest of the spine). It was diagnosed in May '04 after he suffered from a herniated disc. He has had 6 epis, electrolysis, and PT, all to no avail and we think it is because of the degree of degeneration. He had a huge amount of relief from a microdiscectomy this past July but is back to feeling chronic pain again. He is now scheduled for a TLIF from S1-L4, possibly L3, although the neuro doesn't want to go that far.

As suggested, it sounds like you need an updated MRI. At least if you stick with pain management, they'll be able to better pinpoint your problem and not second guess therapy strategies based on old reports. Good luck to you!

 
Old 03-21-2005, 12:58 PM   #12
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

[QUOTE=heartlandguy]Goody ~ This probably doesn’t apply to you (so please don’t take offense ) but I still can’t believe that it applies to my mother. Since you were trained as a nurse, it may be difficult for you to challenge a doctor’s opinion when it disagrees with yours. My mother was a Registered Nurse for 20-30 years and whatever a doctor tells her is gospel. Normally an intelligent, strong-willed and independent woman, she just can’t dispute anything a doctor tells her. She has a joint that is now bone-on-bone because her doctor told her it was nothing to worry about. She suffered with it for years before readdressing the problem. By then, the damage was done. When we asked why she went against her instincts, she said that the nurse’s training program drilled into the student nurses to follow all doctor’s orders unquestioningly…

I’ve posted about my most frustrating medical problem where my doctor told me what I was experiencing was normal based on my age and medical conditions. My next visit was several months later and I was so mad that finally I looked him square in the eyes and told him, “This isn’t acceptable; we have to change something.” That made all the difference in changing his mind and getting successful treatment. My point is my doctor gave me a “second opinion” after he was convinced that I was unsatisfied with the first.

I wonder if the risks of malpractice have caused doctors to commonly “under-diagnose and under-treat” conditions. The important point is that no one should suffer like my mother has because a doctor’s opinion goes unquestioned.[/QUOTE]

Heartland ~ I have no problem with questioning my instincts (you should know that about me by now ) In fact a few years back when my PMD was ignoring my instincts in regard to a chronic cough that had me peeing in my pants (excuse my graphics) and landed me in the ER twice when I couldn't breathe etc....I knew that there was something more to it.....in fact secretly I think my doctor thought I was having an anxiety attack. I marched into his office not even having an appointment & told him that he knew that I was not a hypochondriac because the only time I saw him were for real medical things....my back, diverticulitis, sinus infections only once or twice a year and that there was something more than a sinus infection that I needed looking into and at the very least I wanted an Epipen for Tom to give me in case I stopped breathing at home for some peace of mind. I got the script for the Epipen. He ordered the tests all coming out negative and then MBF called and we discussed the possibility of whooping cough and sure enough it was positive

I really don't think I am at the point of needing to undergo surgery that has many risks. There is a chance that I may come out even worse than how things are for me now.....I am pretty much able to do most things except vacuum, mop floors, heavy lifting, ski, or anything that puts strain on my back. Perhaps Mel and others can let me know if they can do these things since their surgery. I don't think it will restore my back to being able to do them. I have pain but it doesn't interfere to the point of affecting my ability to socialize, or enjoying my life except when I get to this state that I am in now. I mean it does change my quality of life but not in a way that warrants a risky surgery that scares me. But I am basing my opinion on what I knew 10 years ago....I have not been practicing for that long so perhaps it's not as risky as I was told then. But from my research here it seems to confirm some of the research I have done on my own. As I said, I plan on discussing this with my doctor on Wednesday (I just scheduled an appointment). But I thought I would ease your mind in regard to being intimidated by doctors....when I was working there were many who were intimidated by me In fact....I fired my first Pediatrician who I worked with for not going with my instincts regarding my second daughter's medical problems. So.....there's no need to worry about Goody's instincts...they seem to be pretty much right on....but in regard to surgery it's all scary so I may need a little pushing when it comes to that. So thanks for reminding me that I ought to be open to things and get more info in reevaluating things for myself. It is my intention to have my doctor fully evaluate my back problems since this is not repsonding as quickly as I would like it to. I am definitely going to push for a Sports Medicine Physical Therapy so I can try to incorporate a safe exercise regimen to my daily routine. I really have some excess weight I'd like to get rid of but dieting alone just won't do. So I'm going to push for that and repeat tests to reevaluate my discs and knees and feet. Perhaps I should have done so sooner and this is my wakeup call.

Once again I appreciate your support. You are a great friend and I promise to keep you posted as to how things go. I do agree that sometimes a second opinion is necessary....however, this doctor knows my back problem for over 16 years and is my advocate in my Workmen's Comp....I most likely will ask for a referral to an orthopedist as well thus K2B1S

Missing our time on the yellow brick road and hoping you think of another way of getting us there .....Goody

 
Old 03-22-2005, 11:34 AM   #13
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Okay....yipeee, the celebrex is FINALLY kicking in....about time!!!! Goody went out to the movies OUCH with my daughter who just had to have the top row of stadium seating We compromised and made it halfway up with alot of effort. I just had to get out and it was all worth it even though I'm back on the heating pad.....but smiling

Tommorrow it's off to the doctor to discuss my options of making the best out of a bad situation Thanks everyone for your responses.....Goody

 
Old 03-23-2005, 05:18 AM   #14
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shawley HB User
Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Hello to all.
I have had a L4 - L5 s1 fusion with screw's and cadaver bone, Ever since my left hip and tail bone been hurting like crazzy, I read a post and some one was saying about the Dr. didn't have to touch the hips ???
Im glad I had it done, But I am still in some pain., When I stand for a period of time , Or lift anything, Or sit for long my butt hurts, My butt just started to hurt, I dont understand why, I had my surgery last April. Now Im nursing a ankle surgery, Due to a fall before my back surgery, My Doctor tells me there's nothing more he could do, They gave me tramadol for pain, But it doesnt work, Tylonal seem's to work a little better for me, But not enough.

Thanks

 
Old 03-23-2005, 03:03 PM   #15
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Re: Degenerative Discs & Pain Management

Well I just returned from the doctor.....a little upset with the results. Seems that upon examination there is some nerve damage. I didn't even think it was that bad. My reflexes in my legs are significantly diminished and he wants me on two new meds feldene and another as well as percocet at least at nighttime if not more frequently. Apparently during the exam I was brought to tears when he just lifted my foot. He couldn't even get me to lay down. He scared me because he said if I don't take care of this I may have permanent nerve damage so I have to take it very easy over the next week while the meds do their job and he will see me in a week. He said if I am better with the reflexes then he will get me started on a rehab program that is closely monitored and to a point of comfort. I am shocked, what he told really scared me & said if I do any more damage I can get to the point of not being able to walk I'm scared and didn't think it was that bad. We spoke briefly about surgery & he still feels that it is way too risky and he is confident that the meds will do the job but that I have to cooperate in not doing anything that can further damage the nerve. He said we will know more next week. We have plans for a 2 week vacation to Cancun in mid April.....I wanted to snorkel and fish....what am I going to do.....I forgot to even mention that......Goody

Last edited by goody2shuz; 03-23-2005 at 03:04 PM.

 
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