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Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

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Old 05-10-2007, 07:43 AM   #1
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aberham HB User
Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

I had a severe accident while I was serving in the Army. We were doing a field training operation and I had about 130lb's of gear and slipped because of a rainy day. My ruck sack went one way my body another. Suffice to say that I had sustained terrible pain in my lower back. After a year of going through the military doctors they finally diagnosed me as having degenerative disc disease in the L4-L5 region of the lumbar spine. This was back in 2001 when I was only 21. I did some basic physical therapy but it wasn't a total disabling condition and I still was able to swim, lift weights, etc.. to a certain extent.

I've always had minor to moderate pain in my lower back on a daily basis. Every once in awhile I'll have an episode of severe pain. I've never had any problems except for my lower back but recently the middle/upper part of my back has been worse than my lower back. I am active, I go to the gym 5-6 times per week and am in great shape. I don't really feel much, if any extra pain when I am at the gym but usually the pain is worst in the morning.

The pain in the middle/upper part of my back has been present for 2-3 weeks and it isn't from another accident or lifting weights, it just showed up one morning. I thought it was because I had slept bad on my bed but it still hasn't gone away. I haven't seen a doctor about my back in several years so I am thinking of going to the VA to check on it but does anyone know if it is typical that DDD continues to spread? Does this sound like it could be from DDD? I'm pretty worried so like I said I plan to see a doctor here shortly but I just wanted to see if anyone had a similar experience or may be able to give me some insight.

Thanks ahead of time.

Last edited by aberham; 05-10-2007 at 07:50 AM.

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Old 05-10-2007, 09:30 AM   #2
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

Welcome on board!
So sorry your experiense so much pain - you at the right place to share your problem with people who is here to help you with what we know.
It is hard to say what exactly is your problem is without your MRI results - this a great test which shows your problems.
As far as your symptoms - it can be your disc, ddd, etc. and you need to see ortho specialist to be diagnosed/
Unfortunatelly ex-rays very rare show any "deep" problems, so if they will send you to have any but you still will have your pain - ask if your Doctor can send you for MRI and go from there.

Good luck to you, hope you will feel better soon.

Old 05-10-2007, 03:43 PM   #3
Paul from CA
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

I agree with Moldova.
It would be really good to get MRI's of your lumbar spine, your thoracic spine, and, the cervical spine.

I am sorry about your pain and I want to thank you for your service to our country.

Old 05-10-2007, 04:05 PM   #4
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

I second all of above. The only thing I would add is, if you have private insurance, see someone other than the VA for a opinion or in your case a second opinion. You can always go back to the VA with your findings. The statistics on back injuries is that you will improve and be able to go back to what ever you were doing. So usually the doctor sends you to PT. From what I understand everyone has DDD from the time their body reaches full maturity. I call it getting shorter everyday. Good Luck and try to get some resolve with your pain issues. Again thank you for being there for us.

Old 05-10-2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

If you read up on DDD you will find that it runs in phases, and does sometimes get worse, that's what mine did. It got all the way to the last phase or severe DDD where it was basically vertebrae on vertabrae rubbing together causing bones spurs and a bunch of other fun common side effects, but some people don't go all the way bad like me, I think that they say only five percent or something like that. Best of luck.

Old 05-11-2007, 10:11 AM   #6
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

[COLOR="Navy"]Are you still in the Army? Do you still have copies of your records from when you were serving if you are out?

I would start with your private insurance first and use the VA as back up if you can....[/COLOR]

Old 05-11-2007, 09:04 PM   #7
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

Thanks for all the replies. I'm out of the Army now and don't have private insurance so I am going to have to stick it out with the VA. I have an appointment in a few weeks so I hope I can see a specialist as soon as possible after the initial appointment. You know how it is. I haven't had this much pain in 3+ years so I am really concerned. I've been waking up in extreme pain in the mornings but the pain subsides after several hours and I can still get in an intense workout at the gym in the afternoon. I'm thankful that the pain goes away to a point where I can get some activity in but does anyone know why the extreme pain would only last for 2-4 hours in the morning? It's just a bit confusing, I'm not sure how to explain that to the doc and have him take me seriously enough to get an MRI done.

Old 05-11-2007, 10:46 PM   #8
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

It sounds like it is some type of arthritis. Do you notice an increase in weather fronts or after sitting for awhile?? I have a very hard time in the mornings then things calm down after I down my meds and usually start back up in the evenings.

Old 05-12-2007, 07:55 AM   #9
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Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

I was diagnosed with DDD 7 years ago...3 years ago I woke up and could not walk..severe pain down right leg..I now have nerve damage down right leg, and drop foot...I've been told it is the DDD progressing...I've been given 3 different opinions and have been told there is no cure for will not cure it...I take pain meds and don't do much in life anymore...I am only 43 yrs's very depressing for me..never thought I would have trouble walking..and thought I could run forever...I cannot run, ride a bike, exercise, lift anything w/o pain, and on it goes....I feel for you..I ck once a yr to see if there is a cure...if I am ever told that there is, I will let you know and post here...good luck to are not alone...God Bless

Old 05-14-2007, 11:48 AM   #10
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webdude HB User
Re: Degenerative Disc Disease, getting worse?.. 26yo

Hi Aberham,

I never thought that I would say this, but I would give a chiropractor a try.. I suffered a very long time, and saw everyone, and out of desperation, listened to a friend and saw his chiro.. Well, i feel great!

He explained that if you have lower back problems, such as vertibrae being out of alignment for years, ddd can develop.. On top of that, it affects the upper back as well over time..

So, see what a chiro can tell you .. Make sure that you find one that is board certified, and also, one that is recommended to you by a friend..


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