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Old 11-14-2008, 06:46 AM   #1
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33 chad HB User
Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

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I am a 33 year old man and i have been having bad headaches and neck pain for almost a year now.About 6 mounths ago after many doctor visits and miss diagnosis I insisted I get a MRI and found out I have multy level cervical degenerative disk disease.

My doctor told me to treat it with physical therapy and over the counter meds.My wife is a physical therapist so she brought all the equipment to treat me at home.After having treatment and trying every kind of over the counter pain melds there is I still cant get this pain under control I have went back to my doctor several times to try to get some kind of meds to help me. He has prescribed muscle relaxers and klonopin.It seamed to help for the most part but i still have some level of pain every day from neck pain/Headaches.Some days usually once or twice a weak it is so severe to the point that i cant do anything but lay in bed for hours and pray it will go away.

My doctor is against giving me any kind of stronger pain medications and I don't know why? He told me I may need surgery some day but that would be a last resort sense I am so young.What am I going to do between now and then? This is the worst prolonged pain I have ever been in.

Has anyone gone thru Degenerative disk disease and have any suggestions on what helped them?I am so depressed to think this is only going to get worse.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

 
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:56 AM   #2
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mbradley35 HB User
Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

Hi, I've had DDD for years now and I'm now 43. Mine started after 30 or so. Arthritis runs in my mother's side of the family. I, like you, tried chiropractors, decompression therapy, pressure point therapy, PT, ESI shots, TENS unit, muscle relaxers and all. Those things got me through to where I am today. I just had an anterior fusion surgery on my L4/L5. It had finally torn almost in two, but was badly degenerated. I had a myelogram and discogram to find the annular tear. None of my MRIs even showed more than buldging discs and degenerative changes in my facet joints. My L3/L4 and L4/L5 both showed up as black discs with no white to them at all, meaning they were degenerated and dried up.

Have you had an MRI? If you haven't, you should see a neurologist or an orthopedist and get an MRI done and go from there. You may have something more than DDD that is causing the continuing pain that you can't get into control. I had started seeing a PM doctor for my pain, but go tired of the ESI shots and pain meds and decided to move to the next step with a neurosurgeon. I knew that fusion surgery was the only thing that was going to fix me and I'm still not 100% sure that it will resolve all my pain.

Is your pain sharp or dull achey? Do you have any other symptoms other than pain? My right leg had started zapping and going numb. These things point out to you that it's time to have some work done.

Hope this helped. See a specialist. Just make sure it's someone you can talk to and will listen to you, and will talk to you.

Melisa

 
Old 11-14-2008, 12:01 PM   #3
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mbradley35 HB User
Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

Oh, also forgot to add that Celebrex has been a big help to my pain and discomfort also. Do you take an NSAID? Celebrex is supposed to be the least bad on your stomach. Without it, I feel like I have the flu, so you may see about getting a script for an NSAID or antiinflammatory.

Sorry, I saw that you've already had an MRI too. Chronic pain is no fun and can make a huge difference in your personality, health, mental, etc. I know where you are at.

If some of the DDD in your neck is bad enough, it will eventually cause you to have nerve pain and nerve symptoms down your arms and hands, headaches, and other things. I think if you see a neurologist or an ortho doctor, you can get a good opinion of what's going on and see what they can offer you for treatment.

 
Old 11-15-2008, 07:22 AM   #4
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Kertie446 HB User
Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

Hi, 33 chad.

I had a virus (not sure what type of virus but it included high fever, vomiting, runny nose and lethargy/tiredness) in the beginning of 2005 and that was when my back and leg problems began. Before then I was fine. Ever since then I've never been the same. I get back pain with accompanying leg sensations (tingling, numbness in various areas, hot/cold feeling and pain at times). These pains and sensations are intermittent. I can cope but only if I don't do anything that starts it off i.e. walking distances, standing for lenths of time, sitting for too long, etc. I find that lying down is most comfortable. I now also have got bladder problems (excessive frequency and 'urge'/full bladder sensations) that I have been told could be related to my spine problem so I am not very happy that my doctors have ignored and brushed this off for so long. I'm really hoping the nerves to the bladder aren't affected as now it's been left for so long it could unfortunately be permanent from what I've read.

I am now 20 and I too have got degenerated discs that are slightly bulging.

I had an x-ray in November 2007 after waiting for three years because my doctor thought it was ust a muscle strain 'muscular' as they seem to always think.

Here is what my x-ray results say:

Loss of disc height at the L5/S1 level and probably facet joint degeneration here. Loss of disc height also at L4/L5 but less severe. Mild loss of disc height also at the other lumbar levels. Appearances are unusual for a patient of this young age. I note the previous radiograph from June 2007 demonstrating early degenerative change in the first MTPJ (big toe joint). There might be an underlying abnormal collagen variant. No evidence of malignancy. Probably large liver.

P.S: He mentions about the MTPJ (big toe) of my foot. This is because I had an x-ray of my foot in June 2007 as I couldn't walk on it due to it being extremely painful to walk on. I couldn't put it on the ground at all. I had to walk on the one foot.

My MRI results says the following:

There is disc degeneration at L2/L3 level with a Shmorl's node and annular bulging. The degeneration would appear to be Grade 3. The remaining discs appear normal. There is no evidence of facet osteoarthritis. The sacroiliac joints are normal. There is no evidence of nerve root compression and all foramina are normal. The conus is normal.

There is no evidence of an abnormality in the sacroiliac joints or in the pelvis. Both hips appear normal and the sciatic nerves are both normal. There is no abnormality in either ischial tuberosity.

I and my mom have actually got an idea that it could be something to do with that virus I had in 2005 as it seems strange that I was ok before then. Though doctors have said that it was 'just a coincidence' me and mom still don't think they are right in saying that as it is a bit too much of a coincidence being that I was ok before I had that virus. They are not really thinking of all the possible causes and putting them together. This would certainly be the only way they may actually find out.

I have also recently had a CT scan but haven't got the results yet. They did the CT scan because they think that maybe I have got a tiny fracture in my spine and the MRI might've missed it. Though I'll be very surprised if it does show anything more than the MRI.

I've seen a Consultant Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon and a Neurosurgeon. The Consultant Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon said that from the imaging techniques so far there is nothing (even though they clearly show degenerated discs at multiple levels) he can see that would be causing me the pain and sensations that I am getting. This is why he has now ordered the CT scan.

On the other hand the Neurosurgeon is more thorough in his technique. He reckons that maybe it's higher up i.e. the thoracic spine or cervical (neck) spine. He is ordering imaging tests of these areas next to rule out having a compressed nerve in those areas. He sent me for Nerve Conduction Studies but unfortunately the Neurologist he sent me to didn't do them correctly so he had to abort the test on the EMG part of it. He also didn't test the other leg that is affected, nor the arms/hands which is also, I think what my Neurosurgeon wanted too. He only tested the one leg and that was it. I think that test will have to be repeated due the Neurologist's incompetence.

I too have tried physiotherapy but to no effect, just made mine worse unfortunately.

I am now having some blood tests to find out if it is in fact some form of arthritis as my mom's grandma had Rheumatoid arthritis. It has been said that some types of arthritis and other autoimmune conditions can be started off by a virus, even a simple cold.

Basically they don't really know what is wrong with my spine either to be causing so much disability and pain/strange sensations so I think it's going to take a while just to find out and get the tests all done. So far I have no answers to what is causing my back pain or leg sensations either. Though I still think that even though the discs are not visibly compressing the nerves on the MRI scan it doesn't mean that they aren't still possibly the things that are actually causing the pain and sensations. Pain usually, but not always, means there is something wrong in the body.

It is a possibility that the nucleus/fluid that leaked out of the disc may have irritated the nerves in a chemical type of way but isn't compressing them so it wouldn't be very visible on the MRI or CT scans. I really am not entirely sure but have read that this can happen so when surgeons look at the MRI/CT scans they can't see it.

You sound like you are in a similar situation as me at the moment. There seems to be a lot of so-called health professionals that totally misunderstand spine/nerve conditions and I know exactly how you feel as I haven't got very far either as to getting an exact diagnosis and feel like I am running round in circles.

I too am worried it's going to get worse and no surgeon or doctor I've gone to can really say the truth on whether it will or won't. I have considered a disc replacement but none of the surgeons I've gone to have mentioned it, don't know why. This would possibly be one answer as to help stop any more degeneration as it'll restore natural movement as much as is possible rather than leaving the degenerated, damaged discs in, which in time, I'd have thought would've actually made all the rest of the discs degenerate unfortunately as the degenerated, damaged discs are allowing more force onto the adjecent discs resulting in them also degenerating at a much faster rate. I'd have thought that spine surgeons would've worked this theory out but unfortunately they don't seem to know this.

On any suggestions that help me in living with this chronic disease - the only thing I do to cope is not doing things that start the pain/sensations off which are things like physical activity, standing for long, sitting for long, walking for distances, etc. Basically I've limited my life to cope for the time being, hoping maybe at least one spine surgeon will be of a help in the future.

Maybe they didn't want to give you stronger pain medications because they are worried that they may do more harm than good to your body, I'm not really sure on this. Perhaps see another doctor and see if they have other ideas to help with your pain as all the doctors will have different ideas and opinions and one has got to be of help somewhere.

I have also been told that I am too young to get surgery but if it is the only thing that will help then I may well insist that they do it as now my bladder is involved I'd have thought that was a 'red flag' emergency.

Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to let you know of my background a bit more too.

Hope I could be of some help to you and good luck.

 
Old 11-18-2008, 11:59 AM   #5
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scout316 HB Userscout316 HB User
Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

hello Niad

I just came across your post and I'm wondering if you've ever been checked for B12 deficiency?

There is a strong possibility that because of your disc problems you could be B12 deficient.

If you've never been checked then you need to get a B12 level test And an MMA,folic acid and homocysteine test.These other tests are crucial when looking for an occult(hidden) B12 deficiency...which is common when you have degeneration of the spinal cord.

Just am curious to whether or not you've been tested for low B12,because the symptoms you mention are also symptoms of low B12.

Neurologists sometimes overlook the obvious and simple answers to neurological problems.

Hope you are feeling better~take care~

Scout

 
Old 11-19-2008, 10:07 AM   #6
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Kertie446 HB User
Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

Hi, scout316.

I didn't know that vitamin B12 deficiency is related to degeneration of the spinal cord. That's interesting.

I haven't been checked for any of the tests that you have listed. None of the doctors I've seen have even mentioned anything like that.

I'll talk to my mom about it as it does sound like it could be the problem.

Thanks for your brilliant advice, scout316. I'll talk to my doctor and ask him to do those tests. Hopefully he will but sometimes docs can be stubborn and have told me on many occasions that certain tests weren't needed when in fact they were! I'll push to get those tests done as you've given me some hope in why my spine may be degenerating so fast.

Thanks and I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

 
Old 11-19-2008, 10:33 AM   #7
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matt3507 HB User
Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

Hi chad: Your symptoms sound very similar to mine. It's a long sad story, but I will nutshell it. 2.5 years ago: sudden onset stabbing pain left scapular region. CRIPPLING headaches - unreal, worst pain I've ever had. MRI - DDD, bulge at c5-c6, c7-t1 severe foraminal stenosis. Treatment: 4 PT's @ 6 months each, traditional accupuncture, intramuscular stimulation, Qi-Gong, nerve block, rest, work, traction, at least 5 different docs.
At this point my pain doc. just moved and I feel like a beaten man. Any exertion = headache. I have not worked in 2 years. If you find something that works please post it here. Sorry this isn't encouraging. The biggest help has been posting here/reading about other peoples probs. btw I'm late 40's.
Here is wishing you a cure for your pain, matt3507

 
Old 11-19-2008, 12:04 PM   #8
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33george HB User
Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

Hi Chad and Matt. Hate to say it but I have to join with you in the pain arena. Mine got real bad about a year and half ago. It all started with problems in my neck where a fusion had been done on it back in 1994. The pain started slow and built up to the point of wanting something done.

I had a MRI which showed narrowing of the the nerve canal in my neck. Been to two pain specialist, two spinal cord doctors, an ENT, and of course my primary doctor. Sure have had a lot of meds prescribed to me and had the shot in the neck. Guess what? Still have the pain.

Really do not know what to do next. I suppose it will be surgery to correct something, but what? No one has really pin pointed the problem. Just looked at my MRI and went from there. I agree with many who say this is not living, it is existing.

Hope you guys, and I find a solution soon.

 
Old 11-20-2008, 04:32 AM   #9
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Re: Degenerative Disk Disease in pain please help!

I just hope that they will find a solution for neck pain, whatever the source of the problem.

Last edited by nochange; 11-20-2008 at 04:34 AM.

 
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