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Old 02-25-2007, 12:55 PM   #1
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Unhappy newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Hoping someone can answer a few questions I have..
I am a 40 yr. old male who was recently (2/15) diagnosed with Lumbar DDD. I have been out of work since the 6th of Feb. Went to the Ortho and he told me that I need to stay out of work till atleast 4/15 and go to physical therapy 3 times a week to see if strengthening my core will help ease some of the pain.On a scale of 1-10, I've constantly been at a 10!!! I can not sit for more than a few minutes, laying down is torture and so is walkingor should I say hobbling! I have unbearable pain in my lower back, groin, and shooting down my left leg to the knee. The ortho first put me on Flexeril and Motrin, the Flexeril made my heart race, so I was switched to Soma 350mg 4x daily. I continue to take the Motrin 800mg 4xdaily, with absolutley no relief!!!!!!! I have gone to physical therapy three times so far, the first two days, he had me lay on my stomach and try to raise up my torso by pushing up on my arms, I can only get about three inches off the ground before I'm in agony and have to stop. He tried putting the heating pad on my back and that just made it worse the instant he put it on. I was told to try and do this as much as possible at home 10-15 times every hour!! On the third visit for therapy, things got much worse. He had me lay on my stomach and raise one leg at a time. The instant I did this I was in agony, it hurt so bad I began to shake!!!! He had me stop and tried to put the heating pad on me again.. I refused! The pain in my groin had begun to go away but, since that session on 2/22 it's now constantand goes right down my left leg to about the knee. These meds aren't doing anything at all except giving me an upset stomach and making me feel like a zombie, which I do not like at all! I've also noticed something new as well, not sure if it's related to the back issue or not though. Seems almost everytime I close my eyes, when I go to open them, my left eye will not open at all, it's like it's glued shut! I have to pull it open and hold it that way for a second to get it to stay open!!!!!!
Does anyone have any suggestions as to what would help? Is the eye thing something that could be related? I could use all the help or adive I can get at this point!!!!! Please help!

 
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Old 02-25-2007, 01:59 PM   #2
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Sorry to hear about your pain... I dont know what is causing your eye to stay shut, and dont know if it is related... If your problem is in your lumbar, then most likely not.. Try ice packs... Especially since you say heat makes it worse... When I herniated my T11-T12 a year ago, it saved my life... It helped me get through the worst of it... Put ice wherever it hurts, but in the lumbar even if it does not, as it most likely is coming from there... do it for 15 minutes several times per day.. Did your doctor say anything about your other options if PT does not help? Is surgery an option? What exactly did your MRI results say?

I hope you get better soon.

God Bless,

Maurizio

 
Old 02-25-2007, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Thanks for the advice, will try the ice! My doctor said that because the pain wasn't all the way down my leg yet, it wasn't an emergency surgery situation. He wanted me to try PT first to see if it gave me any relief. Have not had an MRI yet, only xrays. Should I ask doctor if we should go ahead with one? Would've thought he would've suggested that already after reading some of the posts on here.. seems everyone has had one but me!!! To be honest, between the pain, the drugged feeling from the meds and worrying how I'm gonna pay the bills, I'm beginning to become very overwhelmed!!!

 
Old 02-25-2007, 02:15 PM   #4
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Well I have what they labeled severe ddd, have you read your own mri report? Just wondering if it said anything else, sometimes they kinda vaguely put stuff out there without the details. Like do you have disc bulges, herniations, stenosis, spondy bone spurs etc. chronic endplate changes. I would suggest reading up on it as much as possilbe. Alot of these thing happen as the ddd worsens and you might already be light me, that was not to sound negative please don't get me wrong. Its just the symptoms you are having don't sound good. When the ddd first started bugging me bad it was chronic back pain, relentless, then I started taking vicodin and flexerill etc.-

Then something happened ya know life, I reached for a potatoe chip or something drastic lol, and boom it was worse, legs, butt etc - Sciatica, then it went into some other weird things I had never had before which were like needles and burning especially in my feet, ankles and groin area. I say different than I had ever had because years back I herniated discs, which is the same one that is toast now L5-S1.

I tried the injections pt, no work for over a year now and not much improvement to speak of. Anyway, the difference in me and alot of people is they say I don't have any nerves impinged...which I couldn't believe with all these pains. But, my doctor explained the reasoning was all the other stuff caused by the DDD, bonespurs or osteophytes they call them etc. The bad disc causing nerve irritation constant and ofcourse the spondy..which is where now my vertebrae started slipping.

I think it depends on if you are in the earlier phases of the DDD or the end phases the severity I don't know,e veryone's different and everyone responds to treatments differently.

The pt excersize you describes reminds me of the mackenzie excersize where you lay on your belly and try to prop yourself up on your elbows to kinda bend your back backwards....is that similar? I had hell doing that when I first herniated and kept doing it over the years and now someone told me i shouldn't have been doing it with my particialar problem..I think alot of people have found that sometimes the pt can hurt us if doing the wrong think and end up hurting worse. You really have to listen to your body and try to recognize when soemthing is irritating it more causing more pain.

Have they tried other meds that flexiril? Just wondering as it is muscle relaxer and my favorite one for spasms etc. but my surgeons have told me that with my particualr condition that anti-inflammatorys work alot better, ofcourse at times the spasms are needing the relaxoer. The pain meds vary to from each of us what makes us groggy tired or doesn't work. As long as therapy injections etc....we are all different even with the same condition.

Sorry didn't mean to write you a book here. But very familiar lived with it to long. And Know how you feel. i am actually having surgery for mine, some peope don't need it.

I think the other advise here that pretty much anyone will tell you is, to keep your core as strong as possible, walk as much as you can..even short little walks better than nothing. And get second opinions. And ofcourse find out all you can so you can understand whats going on.

i wish you the best and relief. i myself always loved the heat, but some doctors actually say to use ice, some say rotate them....in the end its probably whatever works for you. vette

 
Old 02-25-2007, 02:39 PM   #5
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Not sure what stage I am at, compared to alot of others on here, seems my doctor hasn't given me nearly the same amount of info.

As far as meds, right now the only thing I am taking is Soma 350mg and Motrin 800mg, both 4x daily. Told my Ortho that is was doing nothing for the pain and he said muscle relxers aren't supposed to!!! That was that, no offer of something different.

Yes I think those are the same excercises you mentioned except I'm not supposed to use my elbows but, place hands out to side and use them to raise myself while I curve my back. Don't know what the latest ones he tried on me are called, like I said he just had me lay on my belly and raise my legs one at a time. After a few attempts the only thing my body could do was shake.

Have had problems for several years, first really big one was about 12 years ago. Was laying some sod and when I picked it up, I went down. The pain was so bad I thought I was having a heart attack, had to lay there for over an hour and then needed help to get up. Went to the hospital and they said it was a strain. Then back in April of 2006 was doing some yard work , picked something up and felt a pop in my lower back and went down. Scared teh heck outta the neighbors!! Again, couldn't get up, could barely breath. This time it took well over two hours before I could even roll over and crawl into the house. Went to the hospital again and this time was told that it was siatica and to go home and rest. Was out of work for two weeks. Now it seems like the slightest thing will set this horrible cycle in motion, picking up a grocery bag, (a very light one at that), sneezing, anything really. Since this last PT session I have been in constant pain and have that feeling in my back that something is about to let loose. If that makes any sense at all. It's pretty much constant pain from mid back, side, groin, leg mainly on the left side. In the small of my back, is the worst, can not even stand touch there!!!!

I really appreciate all the advice from everyone, please keep it coming!!!!

 
Old 02-25-2007, 03:05 PM   #6
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yvette777 HB User
Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Well in my case doctors dont' seem to give out the details. I read my mri report started asking questions and researched it, talked to other people here and most of them knew what the things were etc. - Then after being more informed ofcourse you can ask more questions. Ofcourse different doctors will be different some take the time to explain it all.

My surgeon now did, he explained it all and since I understood the thing he was saying it made sense.

Tell your doctor you need something for pain if you need it. The one thing I have found here with doctors is you have to be your own advocate. Just like for example my nerve pain in my legs and feet...I read about meds others were getting for it, and asked my doctor, he said no problem and gave them to me. I started taking cymbalta, I got that from my family doctor, for depression but it also helps with chronic pain working from the spinal cord vs the brain atleast thats how the doctor explained it to me.

i know the motrin is good for inflamation and alot of people here take soma. I personally take the cymbalta, vicodin and neurotin and flexeril when i need it. This is one of the reasons in having surgery for me personally...After a while they don't work as well, then icrease the dose etc and obviously with me its not gonna heal itself, as I have waited around for that to - I look forward to getting the drugs out of my system, but am not afraid to take them when i need them for sure. i'm a firm believer intrying to stay ahead of the pain.

I think seeing a copy of your mri report maybe helpful...

 
Old 02-25-2007, 03:39 PM   #7
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Hi,
I am so sorry you are in so much pain. For me I found relief with a medrol pack. I think those are corticosteroids that come in a pack for six days. They say that if the medrol pack reduces your symptoms you are a good candidate for ESI. Ask your doctor , maybe that will help.,

 
Old 02-25-2007, 07:40 PM   #8
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yvette777 HB User
Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

I have been given those packs many times, my husband hates them more than i do as they make me feel like pms times ten. But everyone's different.

 
Old 02-25-2007, 07:47 PM   #9
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

I am so sorry that you are in so much pain. I would insist on an MRI and get some pain meds. I totally understand about feeling groggy and out of it with the drugs, but sometimes you really don't have a choice. If this doctor doesn't give you an MRI I would get another opinion. I totally agree with Yvette about being your own advocate..ask as many questions as you need answered. It is your body and you deserve to be informed and aware of the plan of action. I have had the same exercises that you have had with PT..although I wasn't in as much pain as you are, it hurt me too. I hope you get answers and the pain meds. Please keep us updated.

Angie

 
Old 02-25-2007, 08:42 PM   #10
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Hi[COLOR="DarkOrchid"],
Welcome! I'm sure as you read around all the posts your gonna get an education you never dreamed you would get. I am so sorry that your back pain has been so terrible. I suffered for many yrs before I took charge of my treatment and insisted on getting the rite thing looked at. I have been diagnosed with everything from MS to a brain tumor at the base of my brain stem, you can imagine how happy I was that it was just my back, hehe. I'm sure if you look back at my posts you will see why I am encouraging you to get a second opinion and even a third before you settle with one Dr., make sure you see either an ortho or neuro but make sure they have a spine fellowship under thier belts. And should have done many surgeries, just in case you need one later down the road.

I would insist on the MRI, you dont' know whats wrong with out it so you can't be treated properly. I would also insist on some pain meds, if your doc won't give them to you then he really doesn't have YOUR best interest at heart. There is no reason why you should be suffering like you are, it's not gonna get better if your constantly tense from pain, that will just create more pain. I have had 4 fusions in the last 3 yrs. all have failed and I now have failed back syndrome, permanent nerve root damage and a permanently secured L4-S1 grade 2-3 spondy with major scar tissue. I'm 45, I can't be helped anymore that is why I am on here to make sure people like you find the right answers before it's too late to help them. There are many many that do get help with surgery, I will NEVER discourage that. I do discourage wasting your time with Dr.'s that dont' care about your pain levels, finding whats wrong at the begining of your visits. Those are the things that caused me to be where I'm at now, my problems started back in 1998 it took until 2003 to find out what was wrong.

Please, Please get other opinions and please dont' let yourself suffer, I know how terrible it is to be where you are right now, not sure what to do, where to turn, what meds do help, what meds dont'. As you can see on here every person is so different, the same problem can have different treatments that work. The first step is getting that MRI to see what is wrong, if it is nerve pain you can take all the narcotics in the world it won't stop nerve pain, so it is very important to know whats causing the pain in order to treat it.

I wish you good luck, and speedy pain relief. Please let us know how you are doing.

God Bless

Carol[/COLOR]
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Old 02-26-2007, 05:00 AM   #11
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

Also many of us here when you read through the posts have had many doctors tell them, there's nothing we can do for you, or your to young, or just act like your crazy.

Sometimes it feels to me like the doctor think if they act as if nothings wrong then our pain will go away. I really had a downward spiral last dec not being able to get any help. This surgeon acted concerned and really nice, then ordered more tests and then acted like nothing he could do, told me nothing surgical he could do. Then I read his reports he sent to my family doctor and it recommended surgery What is that?

But thanks to the advise here and support I kept going and I found a surgeon who did listen and act like he cared and restored my hope that someday this will be better.

I had been convinced by many doctors to wait for the fda approval of the artificial disc and I was convinced that was the surgery for me. So I waited. To find out I now don't qualify for it. And in the mean time lost my medical insurance and couldn't get it anyway.

If I had a choice that woud have been the path I took. But was told to, to not be the guinea pig and make sure the surgeons ha dplenty of them under their belts.

Rambling again-sorry.

 
Old 02-28-2007, 06:20 AM   #12
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

I want to start by saying thank you so much to everyone for all your advice!! Taking it all to heart believe me! Figured I would update my situation as it seems to go from bad to worse in a nano second..
Found out that I no longer have health insurance, now that makes things a whole lot worse! I am still awaiting approval of disability through my new job, which I was at a whole 7 days before this latest "attack" struck> Been out now since 2/6 so, I'm thinkin I don't have a job anymore! Went to the state to try and apply for their "family" insurance but apparently there is a three month wait to find out if you get it!!! So needless to say, I've had to cancel my PT appointments and my next with the Ortho!! No money coming in means can't afford to go to the doctors! Then my GP called me yesterday to let me know that he's revoking my medical certificate for my Commercial Drivers license, seems the back problems and my blood pressure now disqualify me. Had to go see him the other day so he could sign off on it and he checked my pressure before he signed. Told him I was in terrible pain and thought that would make my pressure raise, I was right.. 176/104. Seems they don't care why at all! So now no job and no license to do the job I'm trained for once or IF I get better!!! CAN YOU SAY DEPRESSION?! But of course this isn't the place for those complaints.
I did speak to my doctor and told him that I was in awful pain still. Told me to keep trying the Motrin and if that doesn't work to call him. Yesterday I would've gauged my pain level at 100 on a scale of 1-10. Have tried the ice (with little or no relief) have tried to continue the exercises the PT showed me but, they seem to be making it worse. Have tried walking, albiet extremely slow, on my treadmill but, can't go for long without needing to stop. Have tried sittine in a high back chair sitting up really straight, like the PT said, not seeing any results yet.
Calling the Ortho back to day to see if there isn't something he can do. I'm gonna try to see if there's some way I can get that MRI done to find out exactly what's going on! If Pain meds don't work for nerve pain and that's part of my problem, don't want to be taking them!
I'll keep you all posted on the progrress or lack there of and feel free to pass along anyother advice. I could sure use anything you have to offer!!


Thanks SO much,

Bob

 
Old 02-28-2007, 07:01 AM   #13
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

I know what you're going through Bob. I too have no health insurance. I lost my job after the back injury happened too.

One thing I can tell you is - try to apply for medicaid as soon as you can. Unless you're totally broke, you'll be denied, but after you have been denied medicaid, you may be eligible for hospital charity care programs.

After I lost my job I qualified for Healthy NY, but it's useless to me because it has a pre-existing condition clause. It won't cover any costs related to my back injury for 12 months.

You could try the Family Health Plus program. It may not have the pre-existing condition clause.

One other thing - if you do qualify for medicaid, it may pay for medical bills incurred up to three months before you were accepted into the program.

- c

 
Old 02-28-2007, 07:40 AM   #14
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

I lost my health insurance to and now ofcourse they deem me uninsurable. I applied for the medicaid as well and got it. You can also apply for social security. Sorry your going through this and I understand. One day at a time. Are their hospitals who accept patients with no insurance there?

 
Old 02-28-2007, 08:18 AM   #15
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Re: newly diagnosed with Lumbar DDD

I have applied for Family Health Plus here in NY. Was told their is a three month waiting period to find out if you are eligble!!! NY state has no emergency health services. Was told to go to the ER if there was an emergency!!! Yeah , then when I can't pay they come after my assests, at this point all I have left is my house!
Just got off the phone with the local community health center and they told me I sould've been given a referral, so I could get care at their clinic on a sliding fee schedule. Since I didn't get anything like that, I'll be a the Social Services office this afternoon standing in line to wait for that!!!! Hopefully I'll get somewhere!!!!
Standing all day in line, that will be great on my back!

 
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