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Posted by Pat G. on November 07, 2000 at 10:40:22:

In Reply to: Re: Bone Density Test posted by Maria (Bos) on November 06, 2000 at 05:16:30:

: Hi Pat G. How is your neck since you had the fusion done? Did you have problems in your arms before the fusion. Mine are killing me, and they are so week...
: What kind of test did you have done, to diagnose spinal arthitis. Is that the same as DDD?
: I'm sorry for all these questions Pat G. I think we have too much in common here. I have DDD on L4-L5, L5-S1, and from C2-C7. I know I have something going on in my T spine, but I'm afraid to have another MRI. I don't want to know right now. I'm sure you can relate.
: How long have you had this problem Pat?

: Be well Pat, I hope you are well today.
: Maria (Bos)
Dear Maria (Bos):
Surprised to see you here; been seeing you at the back problems board. I really enjoy skipping about these health message boards to learn stuff and also to relate to others who deal with this awful, ongoing back stuff. (as well as other problems I can relate to) Actually, it is good therapy for me to tell others about my problems. If someone else can benefit from this messed up back of mine, maybe there is some purpose to this ongoing suffering. I am sorry to see that you, too, have to be here.

I HEAR you about the T-spine, as I think I've got something going on there, too, but I am hoping it is just muscle. We try to ignore that for now.

To start with your questions: Since I had fusion done, much of the numbness is gone. I still have the burning in my arms and when the weather is changing, I get the aching in the neck and across and into the shoulders. My neurosurgeon told me it could take up to 1 year for the nerves to settle down after fusion and/or I could have neck pain the rest of my life, just like my low back. (Didn't tell me this before surgery) However, the surgery was necessary to stop damage to the main spinal nerve (large bone spur at C5-6 and hernatied disk). I will take pain over paralysis!Prior to the fusion, my left arm was partially swollen and in pain. If I tried to mainly lift, say a jug of milk, I'd get pain, mostly in the biceps, but it would radiate into the forearm. I had some numbness in the face and nose and my throat felt like it was spasming and I had sort of a choking feeling.

I think I had a Myleogam in 1993 to diagnose the arthritis of the facet joints of the low back, as well as to discover some bone spurs. The dye would not go down into my lower back, too full of bone spurs; I layed on a table and could watch the dye flow down my low spine. When she (neurosurgeon is a woman) did the laminectomy on my low back, she was also going to "shave" a disk bulge, but the disk didn't look that bad (McKenzie therapy). She did file off the bone spurs.

From what I understand, DDD is degenerative disk disease. I had DJD, degenerative joint disease. However, due to the fact my spine looks compressed downwards, from sitting, poor posture, and doing a lot of heavy lifting (firewood, snow shoveling flat roof mobile home--I had a sick husband for many years--still fighting that battle and you would NOT believe what he is going through now--just a little more stress for two disabled people--whole new story!), the disks are getting compressed, too. When they do a regular bone x-ray of the spine, they can see some suspicous areas by looking at the vertebre. Vertebre should look like nice neat little boxes sitting on top of each other. In my neck, one of them looked smashed down at the end towards the spinal nerve. Right below that was where the herniated (calcified) disk (on the right)was and large bone spur (on the left) was evident. They did an MRI of the neck and that was what they found. Also, when I changed doctors in Jan. 1999, he had a bone scan done (they put radiation in the body and the bones absorb it and they glow). When my doctor showed me the spinal arthritis in 1999, the areas hit with the arthritis are darker and more enhanced. In 1999, the entire low spine in the L4-5 S1-2 area was darker, not just facet joints, as in 1993.

All of my problems started happening in Aug. 1991. I was working at a computer for 1 week straight, trying to do data entry of all these checks. I never got workman's comp and no doctor said, your job did it;doctor said it was wear & tear on the back over the years. I couldn't sit up and then my left leg would not straighten out and I couldn't walk. Thus, an emergency room visit and my life changed forever.

My neurosurgeon told me this is all part of aging. Yeah! I love this. I hear a saying, "Old age ain't for sissys". Can I ever relate to that. Maria, I've written you a book here. Tends to be my problem; once I start on this I really get into it. I ought to just type it all once and put on the message boards weekly. Wish I could figure that out; and I know this computer can do it. Just never want to sit it and think about it. Maybe it is more therapeutic to write my daily thoughts about it.

Please take care of yourself, Maria, and know I understand what you are suffering. To say the least, it is a pain in the butt (and every where else) Pat G.

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