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Old 01-25-2010, 06:16 AM   #1
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Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Just wanting to get more info from other people suffering from DDD.

A little info on myself:

Im only a 30 year old male, and seem to have several DDD in my thoracic region. Mainly about 4 of 5 discs that seem to have suffer from it, but 1 that seems more significant than the others.
Im pretty sure i did have scheuermann's disease when i was a teenager. Not diagnosed with it at the time, but after reading about it now, im pretty sure i did have it. It went away on its own after a year or 2. And training with heavy body building through out my 20's was probably the last straw for my back, and i started having pain at 25. I did x-rays and CT scans every year, but they found nothing. By 28 to 29, the pain COMPLETELY went away. I dont know what i did, apart from really slow down the gym, and take things easier. But thinking the pain was gone for good, having hardly no pain for 1 and a half years, i started training again, and after 3 weeks of training, the pains back. I re did some x-rays and scans, and now found i have variable DDD in thoracic region.
Its now been 6 months, and i still have mild to moderate pain every day, thats usually starts after lunch, and only goes away until i ly in bed. Sometimes the pains moderate to severe if it flares up, when i go out to eat and sit at random places. Or if i over work during work.
Lying in bed seems to be the only sure way to be 99% pain free.
I stopped training for good. Hoping the pain will go away again.

Any feedback on what to expect, and some helpful tips, would be appreciated. How serious is DDD?

Im not taking any medication yet. As the pains ok if i ly in bed. And im hoping the pain will go away again.

Thanks and kind regards.

 
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:55 PM   #2
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Hello - nice to meet you. At least you know about this condition and can work to help yourself. I found out about my DDD when I was 45 - it wasn't until I had symptoms. It started in my cervical, moved to my thoracic, now it is also in my lumbar. It really isn't a "disease" per say but they don't really understand what makes it happen but they feel it is lots of various factors from normal aging process, accidents, sports, weight, wear and tear, and sometimes biological. It can feel like you are constantly chasing problems, but the best thing is to try to stay positive and work on the things you can control.

For you what I would say is to meet with a spine physical therapist and get a good, gentle work out routine to keep your muscles strong - but that doesn't mean heavy weightlifting! Keeping your core/back muscles conditioned is very important. Your discs won't be doing their job as they dry out and weaken and that will cause rubbing and pressure in the spine. If your muscles are conditioned they will take some of that load. That means staying at a healthly weight too.

I know you want to use the bed as the solution - but that isn't good long term. You are too young to not try to keep involved in activities and work. You should consider meeting with your doctor to discuss what pro-active things you can do, and also if there are some non-narcotic meds that might help you be more active. Like NSAIDS like ibuprofen or prescription meds like Mobic. Also maybe a support corsset for your thoracic for when you are active.

Besides the discs possibly bulging or herniating at some time (although not certain it will happen for you), the rubbing may cause your body to grow osteophytes (bone spurs/ridges) and they can cause nerve or spinal cord compression. There is nothing you can do to prevent that bony growth it you get it, for some it won't show up until old age.

Get a good check-up routine, do everyting you can to stay healthy in other ways and a good nutrition program and lots of hydration.

If you feel depression sets in and you can't shake it along the way find a good Pain Psychologist - they also have lots of brain tricks to help deal with the body changes, relaxation techniques, and coping strategies.

Where you are now is kind of the first level, and it kind of sounds to me like you need to start on some form of medication and physical therapy program to keep you active and your condition up.

Good luck and you will meet lots of nice people here.

Last edited by PNo; 01-25-2010 at 09:56 PM. Reason: sp

 
Old 01-26-2010, 12:04 AM   #3
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Hi neckpatient, Thank u for the reply.
I have done research on the net, and did see a spine specialist (Orthopaedic surgeon i think). I kept asking the Orthopaedic surgery questions, especially disc replacement, as it seems interesting. But the orthopaedic said my condition was most likley just wear and tear, and its nothing to worry about. Theres no way he's even thinking of surgery on my condition. Its just not bad enough for surgery, which is probably true.
And also stated theres no thoracic disc replacement yet. (that made me upset)
The Orthopardic also said i'll be surprised how well my spine will hold together for the future coming.
But i have also heard on the net DDD can weaken other nearby discs. So i dont know what to think.

I gotta say, im scared for my future. And the more i think about it, the more upset i get. I try stay strong, but its hard.
Alot of research on the net states the pain for DDD normally gets better within time. Is that true?

Also, how well does natural tablets like glucosamine and chondroitin work on DDD?

Am i overreacting to this? As it seems DDD is universal to everyone sooner or later.

Thank you and kind regards.

 
Old 01-27-2010, 04:57 PM   #4
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

I guess I would reply to your questioning yourself about overreacting by asking yourself how serious are your symptoms? If this is taking you to bed on a fairly regular basis, and you have high levels of pain on a regular basis - then I guess I would say it is a problem for you and you need to consider doing some of the things I said in my first post.

There probably won't be disc replacement for the thoracic for many years - it is a very difficult location to operate on and they probably wouldn't get the numbers of experimental surgeries they need to develop thoracic products. Also at the present time disc replacement is more for one level surgeries in the U.S., in Europe I think they do multiple levels, I haven't checked recently if in the US they are doing multiple levels yet. It's not for me so I don't hold a lot of interest in that type surgery and don't research the info.

I don't know the answer to "if pain gets better over time?" - I have read that somewhere myself, I actually found the opposite. I think the point on that statement is from the disk perspective - eventualy once it dries out, and hardens, it stops dumping the gel and chemicals into the spinal areas , and shrinks back off structures it might be pressing on causing pain. That only addresses one part of the problem - for me, I get heavy bone spur/ridge growths in the levels where the discs have already herniated out, so those spurs are causing me lots of problems, and I have a congenitally narrow spine so it is like a time bomb . I also have some slip in the levels where the disk is dried out - so I think it all depends on what the problems are whether it gets better. In my lumbar I have one really bad level where the disk is completely dried out and all the nucleus populus material herniated out, but I am still having very bad sciatica from it - I am wishing it would get better on it's own - I am going on 2 years on that problem now.

I see neuros and orthos. My orthopedic surgeon told me he doidn't believe in glucosamine and chondroitin for spinal osteoarthritis, but I do know people who swear by it for their knees.

My best advise is to not be focused on "what may happen", instead focus on what you can do for yourself now, live a healthy life, and don't put you body into situations that might make this condition progress faster than normal. That's where a good physical therapist can help teach you how to protect your spine, build up the correct muscles, and how to properly bend, lift, etc..

Chat with you later!

 
Old 01-28-2010, 10:02 AM   #5
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

paranoids, did they do MRI?. I think I once talked with you here. Why are you worried again. Everyone has some wear and tear and for some it's genetics.

and some had been in an accident and that makes situation really bad. I remember after the accident the doctor told me it will make wear and tear worst. x-rays done 4 years ago couple of months after the accidnet showed no arthritis(that's another word for wear and tear)but I bet now I have it. I hope not. But joint damage cause wear and tear. Too bad. THere is nothing to do now. I definatelly didn't plan it.

 
Old 01-29-2010, 04:08 AM   #6
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Hello,
And thank u both for the replies.
Nochange, maybe u did talk to me on here before, i cant remember 100% though. But thank u for taking the time to always help, and answer my questions. Its much appreciated. Im also sorry to hear about your problem. I hope it gets better soon.
I seem to be very paranoid over my condition. I could be over paranoid really. (hence my name... ) I get worried easily over my health.

I did do a MRI, and it did show some DDD over several levels(around 4 or 5 discs) in my thoracic region. Some bulge due to the DDD, but most bulge was away from any nerves, and more pointing towards my chest. Also some osteophytes there too, but nothing hitting any nerves, from what the mri states. Its all at the front of the vertabra body.

I also had mild DDD in my neck, and there seems to be a minor bulge in thecal sac, towards my main central nerve. Very minor though. Is this common? The thecal sac in my neck seems thin. Not much room for bulge before stenosis i guess.

Thats pretty much all the MRI found. My neck hardly has any pain really, but i am worried about the future for it.
Most my pain is in my thoracic,which hurts on a dialy basis, ranging from mild, to moderate most days. (sometimes severe if i go out in afternoons to restuarants and sit for long periods)

Funny thing is, somehow, my pain dissapeared for around 1 and a half years out of the blue. I thought it would never come back, so i started to go gym again, and it came back. My fault really.

Neckpatient, im so sorry to hear about your condition. I hope everything gets better for u soon.
Thank u both again for the replies. It really is much appreciated.

Kind regards,
Paranoids.

 
Old 01-31-2010, 08:16 AM   #7
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoids View Post
I seem to be very paranoid over my condition. I could be over paranoid really. (hence my name... ) I get worried easily over my health.

Thats pretty much all the MRI found. My neck hardly has any pain really, but i am worried about the future for it.
Paranoids.
Hello again. That's pretty interesting. A man who worried for his health. It's mostly women who are worried. WHat your mother thinks about you???

You see, I've always been worried for my health and been afraid from what will happen to me. and something I've never expected happened - a whiplash. Probably the worst than anybody could ever have. I still wonder why it happened to me, what have I done to deserve it. Yes, neck pain is horrible. it's worst than knee pain I once had after I fell on the floor and it all got swollen. The knee pain dissappeared but the neck pain never went away.

Once you have it you will always need to take medication. you need lot's of medication for the neck pain. it's horrible. That's what I take for the neck pain: gabapentin, oxycontin, percocet and sleeping pills.

You see, before the accident/pain I've never needed sleeing pills and look now what's up with me. I won't be able to sleep at all if I won't take sleeping pills. Without Oxycodone I won't be able to rest my neck at the pillow at all. pretty crazy. and no, it never got any better. With it I have a new thing called TMJ, probably being triggered by the accident.

I must be a really lucky girl

but I know, some people are worsen off than me. I've met a man who lost both legs in a car accident and another man who lost his hand in a car accident. so with the help of medication I'm ok. but I'm probably not too happy. I wish I didn't need to take pain meds and could have a natural sleep of 8-9 hours. now it's only 6-7 hours with sleeping pills.

so always bless your luck. I think you are beter off than me?. bless your luck.

Last edited by nochange; 01-31-2010 at 08:49 AM.

 
Old 01-31-2010, 01:58 PM   #8
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

No change, im so sorry to hear your troubles. I hope u do get better soon. Can surgery fix the problem?

Yeah im a worrying male, lol. Odd huh..

Ive started a high dose Glucosamine and Chondroitin intake for my discs. Its nothing proven to work really, but since theres no side affects, i have nothing to lose. I did blood tests at my local GP for sugar levels. A following MRI in about a years time to see whats happen.

 
Old 01-31-2010, 03:36 PM   #9
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Hello, it really interesting hearing you talk about this. You're not paranoid really, you're just a little worried about the future. No surprise there.

I have a lot of DDD in my neck and lower back. I ruptured a disc when I was 12, had no probs until 21, then was in constant pain from 30 to 39ish. I lived on NSAI and my life was miserable. I used to worry about my back every day. Then I met a very good physio who turned me around and made me value life again.

So, at the age of 49 and with 37 years of DDD behind me, I recommend the following:
1) exercise regularly but gently. You need to strengthen the muscles that support your spine and that will take the pressure of the spine itself. Get advice on how to do this and be gentle with with yourself. Stretching the spine can reduce pain - I find curling into a ball relieves my pain after a few minutes. It's worth trying gentle stretch positions to see if they bring any relief.
2) avoid drugs. They mask the problems. If you're in pain, tackle it before it takes over your life. I've been there, it will if you let it. But the occasional painkiller won't hurt.
3) don't worry. You're much too young to waste your life worrying about what might be. Yes, things might get worse. Or they might get better.
4) anything that helps (and is legal) is good. That includes cake. Well, it helps me.

One day they'll perfect disc replacement surgery. I live for the day. In the mean time, get the most out of life that you can and I hope you're pain-free soon.

 
Old 02-01-2010, 01:14 AM   #10
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Hi Joani1,
Thank you for the reply.
Im sorry to hear about the continuing problem. But im glad you've been able to cope, and i hope it continues to get better for you.
Its interesting your interested in disc replacement. As too am i. I actually find it fascinating. To replace the whole disc, and hopefully never worry about it again. Kinda makes u feel half machine lol.
Also to note with new total disc replacement, is the new disc nucleus replacement. It just replaces the inside of the disc. Sounds very promising. Of course both techniques need more studies and tests, but shows a bright future at least for back pain sufferers.

Last edited by paranoids; 02-01-2010 at 01:15 AM.

 
Old 02-01-2010, 04:09 AM   #11
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Quote:
Originally Posted by paranoids View Post
No change, im so sorry to hear your troubles. I hope u do get better soon. Can surgery fix the problem?
.
Hey, thanks for your reply! I have two bulging disks in my neck and doctors and specialists said I'm not for surgery. I believe I all my muscle/ligaments/tendons in my neck are completelly damaged. If you know anybody who had been through a neck surgery please let me know? are they ok? My doctor thinks the disks I have press somewhere on my neck. They did MRI without contrast so I don't know. It just shows 2 minor bulging disks.
I believe I will suffer all my life, it's horrible. but I'm really trying to stay positive that perhaps one day my suffering will be over. but I'm taking tough pain meds so it really helps. I'm ok now. but I can't live without it.

This forum here is the only place people understand and can relate to my situation. I've lost so many friends cause they put me an ultimatum: "stop talking about your pain or leave us. "Why don't you use drugs they were telling me (recreational drugs = marijuana, even before it was legal, huh), "we know you were always against recreational drugs but it will help you. you should try they said". I'm glad I didn't listen to them. Those were not friends.

Once you are injured or ill you know who are your real friends and I guess I don't even know HOW to choose the right friends.

So the friends I have now, they have no idea what I'm going through. My friend is a nurse and her husband also suffered from pain caused by a car accident, broken bones or something like that in his shoulder, he didn't get any help for his pain and died from heart attack. I believe cause of being in so much sorrow and agony. The pain, he probably couldn't take it anymore.

Something about you I don't understand. Do you have bulging disks?, how many?.

Don't worry you be fine. Just an advice. Don't go to a chiropractor.

 
Old 02-02-2010, 06:41 AM   #12
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

You're absolutely right about about picking your friends carefully. And there's a very fine line between telling friends the truth and dumping on them. I've been accused of both but the real problem is, some people want to know and some don't. I no longer tell people I only know casually how I'm feeling - they may ask, but that doesn't mean they really want to know. So I'm fine. I even say that to the doctor when I walk into his surgery - How are you today? Oh, I'm fine - followed by why I'm there.

It's not that I'm being brave, or that I'm resigned to being in pain and this is something that others don't always understand. I'm a person with a problem back, I'm not a medical condition on legs.

My partner gets annoyed sometimes because I don't give him constant updates on how I'm feeling, I only tell him when I'm feeling worse than usual. I think he feels bad because he forgets I have problems but I don't want him to think of me as though I'm ill all the time. And when I am feeling sore I can get very grumpy - that doesn't help.

So I tend not to tell people that I have a problem until they ask. And since I live in the UK, that can take a while. But I find it easier to cope this way. Some people are very supportive when they find out, others not at all, but I think that reflects the people they are inside. I'd rather have a few friends who are worthwhile rather than dozens who aren't worth knowing.

 
Old 03-25-2011, 08:10 AM   #13
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

Hi there, I wish I could send comfort. I have DDD and have had injections and I have had radiofrequency which is the burning of the nerves done four times because the nerves grow back fast in my case. I have 3-4, 4-5 and S1 lower lumbar. The RF helps about 80% for me but I still have to take pain meds and it all just gets so old. If you get a good pain management doctor, he/she will do everything they can to help you get relief and give you more mobility. My doctor sees a lot of older people and so he told me that it is very common. I am 56 and have been dealing with this since 2005. I just have to say if you have to use any meds you have to take them at only the worst of times w/the pain and when you know you have to get certain things accomplished so that they will continue to work for you. Be smart about it and you'll do fine. I sympathize and know the frustration of not being able to function well, we have to go forward and just do the best we can and not beat ourselves up over what we can't do or get done as fast and easy as we could before it. Best of Luck and be good to yourself. I understand the fact that you don't give updates on how your back is. Who wants to do oh woh is me all the time and complaining doesn't make us feel better. When there is pain, who wants to talk about and think about it all the time. (Real friends understand, or want to). Let me know how you are coping. I do think at times it helps to talk so we don't feel like we are alone in things.

Last edited by vickyg; 03-25-2011 at 08:19 AM. Reason: re-read post.

 
Old 10-17-2011, 09:47 PM   #14
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease...How many people here suffer from it??

I have severe DDD all over my back. It's not unusual at your age to start having degenerative discs, particularly with your past weight lifting regime.
I've had my neck fused, C5-6, 6-7, and am getting L4-5, 5-S1 fused. Bur, these discs are completely shot. I also have several moderate, and one severe thoracic disc. I understand the pain you're going through.
I can tell you though, with mild to moderate DDD you can get great relief with a good Physical Therapist. I've had great results with the thoracic treatments.
I wouldn't be too concerned at this point. I've never met a Dr. of any kind that does anything with mild thoracic DDD. They won't do anything for my severe DDD. My Physical therapist does wonders for me though. I will tell you, as bad as my back is, I have a lot of periods of time without any thoracic pain. I attribute this to my therapy. A good PT program with correct exercises and stretching will be your best bet. If that doesn't work get a good pain management Dr.
You may continue to just have mild DDD for years without it getting severe with proper treatment.
Good luck to you. I hope you find relief.

 
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