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    Old 05-16-2013, 04:16 AM   #1
    ATI 1970
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    teen daughter with bulging L4 L5 discs


    I was wondering if anyone has a teen with same problem. My daughter came down with this over a year ago now when she was 14. She was not a sporty person but active but also her father has the exact same problem and has had numerous spine ops. It has been now a year and half since she first started suffering from it. She missed out on a whole year of school. It has been 7 months since she had a CT scan to confirm the problem and since we rely on public health system....we have pretty much gotten no where with help. Only seeing the spine clinic last week for the first time since her ct scan, only to be told she now needs a MRI scan...which is 2 months down the track.
    Im looking for any other teens with the same problem, as due to her inactiveness, she has lost all her friends as they cant understand her pain and cant be bothered with her. I thought if she could communicate with fellow suffers her own age, it might help cheer her up.

    Can anyone enlighten me on this problem. Docs havent said much at the moment. Could it be genetic seeing her father has the same problem. She has had no major injuries, isnt a gymnist etc but has had alot of knee and ankle pain for years before this. Her pain now stops her from most things. Cant stand or sit longer than half and hour without pain. Pain in her hips which keeps her awake, pain down her leg and pins and needles. Also her foot cramps up everyday so badly it goes disfigured. She cant do fun things like a teen should. This is all depressing her very missing so much school, she is badly behind.

    Any help or info i would highly appreciate

    Thank you

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    Old 05-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #2
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    Re: teen daughter with bulging L4 L5 discs

    Hi Ati, Im a mom that has alot of back problems at age 26 it started & my son had a herniated disc in college, i think he was 20. He asked his dr & he said no, that there was nothing generic concerning the herniated disc problem but with your daughter hurting so badly in quite a few of her joints i think if i were you & it was my child that i would want him tested for rheumatoid arthritis, auto immune diseases by a rheumatologist because these can be genetic. But, my son had an epidural steroid injection & his herniated disc healed on its own & he has had no more problems. The Ct scan, did it show anything other then bulging disc? MRI's are more effective in showing tissue like nerves, discs than a CT most times. Hopefully, this will show the problem & it can be resolved. Perhaps your pcp could check her for vitamin & mineral
    deficiencies that can affect the muscles, nerves & cramping & there
    is a blood test to check for rhematoid arthritis, maybe these
    could be done in the interim of waiting for the MRI because with backs i have found everything little bit of relief helps. I hope she gets better!

    Last edited by gmak; 05-16-2013 at 05:59 PM. Reason: typos

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    KimmiJoC (08-14-2013)
    Old 08-14-2013, 02:16 AM   #3
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    Re: teen daughter with bulging L4 L5 discs

    As a now 40 year old woman who started her back pain her early teens I have some insights for you. It's a bit lengthy, but I kept coming back to your post and felt like you could use some help in the right direction. I hope this helps.
    1. You need a fantastic doctor. Keep going until you find one that your gut tells you is right. Make sure he/she takes the time to listen. Over the years I like someone who has a smaller practice, but hasn't been doing it for over 20+ years. They are less empathetic and more likely to dismiss small things that could be important. They are also hard to get into and takes weeks each time you go to a new doc.
    2. Keep good records. Every doctor, every test from blood to MRI. You have rights to this information. Any X-ray or larger should come with a DVD now. But you may need to request it. These should never be charged for. You pay for the insurance, you pay the co-pay, and you pay for whatever balence remains. It is yours! An OK doc will want the report, a good doc will want to see the films\DVD.
    3. Even though movement is painful you need to force her to be active. If that means sending her to the mailbox everyday do it. The easiest on her would likely be to walk a pool. If pool therapy or the co-pays are too much, join a Gym, I have even approached hotels to let me swim on the down times for free. Don't be afraid to share your story, maybe a neighbor with a pool can help. Her pain will make her instinctively isolated. But the less active she is the more pain she will have. Half the battle is that she probably wakes up stiff like she has had a serious workout the day before. She needs to keep on the move.
    4. Keep a close eye on depression. If she is already isolating herself there may already a problem. She is a teen avoid depression drugs. Make her sit outside in the sun. It has vitamins that help with depression, and the fresh air and sun improves the psych. Depression can also cause chronic pain. Make her go to the store. If she can't handle the walking make her drive the electric carts. (If she thinks it's embarrassing or she is afraid she will see someone she another 20 min to places outside her normal stomping grounds. She needs to stay around people. The more she stays home and isolated the easier it gets to stay alone, and the longer she does that the harder it gets to be among the living. Keep her mind busy at home too. Limit TV and "junky Internet" time. If she is on the Internet it should be homework, social networks (within reason), and possibly some support groups for kids in the same spot. They have to be out there. Trust me this is one of the most crucial points.
    5. Do not do for her what she can do for herself. Don't show her special treatment. If you have other kids that clear their plates, she needs to do that whenever possible or help in another way. If it is her turn to do dishes, buy her a stool. I am not saying don't be sympathetic or empathetic. She needs you to listen to her but if all she talks about is pain, then it's all she is thinking about and it only magnifies her pain.
    6. Never underestimate the power of heat and ice. Don't pop her a pill every time she hurts, you want her to go to therapies first. She doesn't want her brain trained to pop pills with every ache or that will be all her brain will think can help her. Mornings are the worst, she needs to move get more blood and endorphines flowing. Ice for swelling, heat for muscle relaxation. Large ice packs are heavenly. Walmart and most drug stores have a approx. 13 inch long 6 inch wide ice pack for around 15 dollars. Heat from packs are great. (I use a fir pad, they use infrared heat, the heat goes over an inch into the tissue, a regular heating pad can literally cook the sub-dermal tissue. They are pricy though around $200 but worth it for chronic long term pain. It saved my life! Just Google for pad or infrared heat.)
    7. It sounds like she may need to see a few doctors before you get this figured out. Have one doctor do all her prescriptions. Either take the script the specialist wrote to your primary, or have them contact your doctor with the recommendation. This makes refills easier and you will force communication between doctors. Think about a pain psycologist for her, they can give her coping skills. I tell people that chronic pain is 60% physical battle and 40% a mental one.
    I hope this helps. I wish someone would have told my Mom this stuff, things may have turned out so different. My heart and prayers go out to your daughter and your family. When one member is in pain everybody hurts. You may have to keep fighting for anwsers even when she doesn't. Tough love sadly may need to come play at your house. Stay strong, stay positive, stay hopeful and prayerful that everything will work out for her. She needs to see that. Please keep us posted.

    Old 08-14-2013, 10:55 AM   #4
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    Re: teen daughter with bulging L4 L5 discs

    ** Hugs ** to you, ATI!

    I have a dear friend who lives in Adelaide, and the photos I've seen are just beautiful. I've had the public health system in Australia explained to me some, so I have a bit of an understanding of what you're up against with the long waits and such.

    My daughter who is now 25 came down with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 4. The symptoms of pain in multiple joints in the hips, back, knees, and ankles sound much more like a rheumatic condition than a problem with the spine. The shooting nerve pain down the leg, however, could be a herniated disc in her spine. This means you may be dealing with possibly more than one problem.

    The advice I have for you is to not baby her too much. Be diligent in finding out what her problem(s) are, but don't treat her as if she's incapable of living life. If she's treated as if she can't do anything, she'll believe it. Try to push her to get back into life some, even if it's some baby steps to get her doing more. Things like walking, even if it's only short distances, do wonders for the body. Take her shopping or work together with her to prepare a special meal. Ask your doctor for advice on what he(she) thinks your daughter could do safely, and even ask for your daughter to go to physio (physical therapy). Also, from what you describe there is a very high chance she is suffering from depression so be sure to try getting her assessed for that.

    I would also encourage you to take some steps to get her doing school work again. In the United States there are some wonderful online school options, and I'd be willing to bet there are some similar programs in Australia.

    As far as whether degenerative disc disease and other spine problems can be genetic, yes they can; however, usually this will manifest itself much later in life.

    Lastly, be sure to be assertive with the doctors and with the health system to get your daughter help. When dealing with any medical system, the squeaky wheel is the first to get the grease, so be sure to squeak loudly! Also, don't feed her any vegemite (kidding, but that stuff sounds nasty!).

    Best wishes!

    Old 08-14-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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    Re: teen daughter with bulging L4 L5 discs

    "Also her foot cramps up everyday so badly it goes disfigured."

    This can be caused by a deficiency in various minerals/vitamins such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D3. Be sure she's getting enough of those in her diet or as supplements, and get her tested for all minerals/vitamins to make sure she doesn't have problems in those areas.

    Old 08-14-2013, 12:03 PM   #6
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    Re: teen daughter with bulging L4 L5 discs

    The first inkling I had of what turned out to be a lower lumbar spine problem was when I noticed the middle toes on my right foot behaving oddly. One toe would curl under and cramp; other times there was a type of buzzing feeling, etc. Looking back, I now realize it was the first sign of nerve compression of the L5 nerve. My problem was caused by a spondylolisthesis which created an instability, rather than bulging disc, so the problem for me would come and go...because the nerve would get "pinched" and then it would release.

    Every spinal nerve innervates a particular area of the body. If the L5 nerve is compressed, the person can have symptoms anywhere along the path of that nerve, running down the outer lateral side of the thigh, across the knee, down the front of the calf, top of foot and into the three middle toes. I would guess that your daughter's toe cramps are a result of nerve compression caused by the bulging disc.

    She is young to be suffering from disc problems. I hope you will have her tested for the types of arthritis that cause spinal issues, such as Ankylosing spondylitis.

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