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  • Dealing with spinal problems in my 30's

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    Old 10-28-2015, 08:07 AM   #1
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    bethie44 HB User
    Dealing with spinal problems in my 30's

    I'm 34 and dealing with spinal problems that I've read are almost always seen in people ages 55 or older- osteoarthritis, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and nerve problems related to these conditions. I did have a bad car wreck in my early 20's. It seems like I've had neck problems since that happened, so I'm wondering if all of these problems can be attributed to that wreck. Also, I've read that some people can just be born with a narrow spine.

    I had these nerve problems a few years ago and an MRI and nerve conduction study were done. Then I did physical therapy and felt fine for a few years. The symptoms recently came back. I had my current doctor get the MRI results from my orthopedic surgeon. Either I was never fully explained about the MRI findings or I had forgotten. Anyway, this is what has been done so far this time around: I've had steroids, muscle relaxers and then gabapentin for nerve pain. Nothing has helped much except that the gabapentin sort of just covered up my symptoms. Clearly, it's not doing anything other than that.

    Now, I'm about to go to physical therapy, but I'm waiting on our Cobra plan to get started so that I can actually afford it. I just want to be done with this. I want to get back to doing all of the things that I was doing. I want to be able to go back to my gym and workout like a normal person. I'm just feeling so depressed about all of this. I'm wondering what is going to happen to me long-term. Am I just going to end up having to have neck surgery? This idea scares me to death. Also, I have 5-year-old twins, and I cannot imagine how I would be able to care for them while healing from a neck surgery. It seems like I'd just end up messing myself up worse.

    I guess I'm just venting. Also, I'd like to hear from people with similar experiences and know if you can offer me any insight. Thanks so much.

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    Old 11-03-2015, 07:15 AM   #2
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    Re: Dealing with spinal problems in my 30's

    Since I do not know what your particular issues are, it is difficult to make specific comments...but, in general, the aging process for the human spine begins in our 20s. While it may seem that none of your peers have spinal issues, you just haven't met them! Also, the MVA you were involved in probably brought on arthritis in the joints of your spine a good ten years earlier than usual.

    You are correct that some people have congenitally narrow spinal canals which can create issues as one ages.

    The best advice I can share with you is to find a well-trained, experienced spine specialist, either a fellowship-trained orthopedic SPINE or neuro surgeon whose practice is limited to the neck and back and get an accurate evaluation of what is going on now in your spine. When you have symptomatic degenerative disc disease, it is helpful to be on top of things early on so you can do what you can to keep things from getting worse. This may involve a modification of some lifestyle choices as well as conservative treatments like physical therapy, a series of epidural steroid injections as well as other conservative therapies. It is best to address your issues now before they become worse...not just go for pain management.

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