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DDD 10 years in :(

Feb 21, 2016 3:27 PM

Hi all, I'm new on here, but thought I'd share my story. I have suffered with back pain for 10+ years. For most of this time I just managed it myself, taking 2 weeks off work each time my back 'went', which was 3-4 times per year back then. I eventually went to docs 4 years ago and they diagnosed spasms. Eventually got an MRI and was diagnosed with 3 crumbling discs and 2 bulging, in my lumbar spine. Surgeon said it wasn't bad enough to operate! Pain clinic said the pain was in my mind!!! My whole back goes in to spasm and sets off sciatica about twice a month now. Muscle relaxants and codeine help but I'm going to go back to gp this week to beg them to do another MRI. I know the damage has worsened. I just want it to go away for good. I tried yoga for a few months but my back would 'go' (into spasm), nearly every class, making me feel like a nuisance. Sorry for the essay, I'm just so fed up.

Feb 21, 2016 6:20 PM

Welcome to the community family Glassback! I'm sorry you aren't getting better support from your doctors, and that you are hurting so much without adequate relief. Unfortunately for most of us, all doctors consider DDD typical "wear & tear" as we age. And, speaking from what's already been said to me by multiple docs (Ortho, Neuro, Pain, & Surgeons in general), "unless you are having absolutely life threatening neurological symptoms, as in risk of paralyzation, there's nothing we can do for you." In other words they've told me to accept & deal with it. Gee thanks for the concern.~~😕

I'm 54 and have had DDD since before 1991, having had 2 neck fusions in 1992 & 1995. About 8 years ago I began having more problems, and over the past few years have found out that the remaining neck discs are going and I can only hope they collapse straight down. Because the risk of doing surgery is higher of paralyzing me than allowing it to just collapse on its own. I also have bulging, years, & facet stenosis problems in the thoracic, lumbar, & sacral areas, all including sciatica, headaches, and muscle spasms/cramps & then some.

In 2012-2014 I went through multiple series of 3 epidural steroid injections (injx) at each level necessary, to help get the cervicogenic/migraine headaches & severe sciatica under better control. I did very well up until starting headaches again in November, and sciatica returning this year. I am debating going back for more or trying to get seen further away from home by a University Hospitals Orthopedic Surgeon department. There are small less invasive procedures but apparently my docs only do the old fashioned stuff.

I hope you settle in and find helpful suggestions & support to help you cope. I've learned to use warm showers, Tylenol Arthritis, Voltaren Gel, and heat or ice as much as needed. Occasionally I need muscle relaxers or Tramadol. Good luck finding the best method for you! Hugs, love, & prayers you can find a doctor to help you. 🙂💕🙏🌼

Feb 21, 2016 6:48 PM

Last year I learned i have DDD at 46 after years of having back pain since 24. My discs are every which way which made PT a challenge. I have herniations, 1 spinal stenosis thorasic area, neck straightening and a partridge in a pear tree, so on an so forth. The partridge is a joke of course but I have lots of spine issues.

I started going the pain medications route and was missing out on life because to dull the pain they knocked me out. I have chosen to go au naturale with the exception of the muscle relaxers and the fibromyalgia medication. I am happy about the descision but it does require me to be completely honest with how I feel at all times. I have to rest a lot and not push past my limits which at times is not very darn much. I try to walk everyday as much as I can some days that is to the mailbox others it is a mile. Things have been reorganized when my 6'4" husband remembers I can not reach above my shoulders due to herniated thorasic area.

As Flappy said they don't want to operate. After to talking to others that had thorasic surgery I get why, you will never be better. I know the lumbar region surgery has the best chance in surgery but once they fuse one area it starts causing damage in the surrounding area.

My grandma in her late 60's went for her first surgery which was rebuilding her entire spine. With the way my spine is I think i will wait for the same. Right now it is core and back muscle strengthening which has me walking up right so no more dragging my knuckles.

I haven't said this in a post for a while but here goes. Your doctor works for you, paid by you and your insurance or a combination of, if you are not happy "fire" them and find a new one. Only you can decide what is right for you so don't settle for less.

Feb 21, 2016 6:55 PM

Shammagren, I like how your grandma did. Maybe that's what I'll do. Because I can't take heavy pain meds, not really want to, I have started trying to improve my posture, definitely suffering, and my in general health habits. I'm trying to walk and use stretching, light hand weights, stretch bands, etc. But I have to rest so much that my heart rate never gets up. Lol But I guess anything is better than nothing. 🙂💕🙏🌼

Feb 21, 2016 10:21 PM

Hello Glassback, Sorry you are having such a difficult time with back pain. I can hardly believe that a pain clinic would presume to tell you your pain level. No one knows your pain as you do. It is so hard to try to tell medical personnel our pain truth. I have DDD with severe scoliosis & incapaciting sciatica as well as o-arthritis. I had a small stroke at 45 that kicked off all the later fun. It has taken so damn long to get these doctors to listen to me. My gp has had me crawling through hoops over a period of years with the doctorly protocol. PT, ice & heat, TENS turned as high as it will go, baths, injections, muscle relaxers, time outs ( 15 min. Nap) to break the pain cycle hahaha, inversion therapy, MRIs 3 so far & drugs. I don't take opioids because he won't prescribe them. He says they won't help nerve pain. The neurosurgeons I saw told me it was only going to get worse & eventually I would lose control of my legs.
Then I read forum posts that scare me & say it gets worse in others parts of your Back after surgery & the fusions. So now I am hanging on the fence in a ton of pain horrified by a surgery that costs $90,000-500,000 & will totally change my life.
You will be in my thoughts & hopes for a better future with your DDD. Stay with it, only you know your pain.

Feb 21, 2016 10:37 PM

The pain clinics are bad they say that to everyone who has been their .they don't know what they are doing I've been there
I NOW GO TO WASHINGTON CENTER FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT they are great

Feb 22, 2016 2:26 AM

Thanks for all your kind responses, it's nice to know that I can talk about my pain to people who understand. Although, hearing about the extent of everyone else's spinal issues, I actually feel that I am quite lucky that my spine isn't as bad as it could be. Here's to another day eh! I hope you all have a pain free day. 🙄🙄🙄😘

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