Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Do physician view DDD as a cause for pain?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I was wondering if anyone could give me some input. I had a laminectomy in 2003, laminectomy in 2004, L3-4 spinal fusion in October of 2006, and an L4-5 spinal fusion in March of 2008. I was virtually pain-free by last summer, 4 months out from surgery, I was weaning off the narcotics, almost down to 1 per day, jogging on treadmill, etc… In late November/early December I started with symptoms again; mainly low back pain, mostly left sided with one spot over and down from incision site that is like a stabbing, and left leg pain in calf. I have burning pain in my hips. I had an MRI (2 weeks ago) which showed everything from surgeries to be stable. It shows severe degenerative disk at L5-S1 (he mentioned central to left side) actually when looking at the film you cannot even see anything where nucleus is supposed to be. He also said endplate erosion, osteophytes, etc. When I read the MRI report I felt like the radiologist who read it only focused on surgery sites, trying to see where leg pain could be coming from. Nothing mentioned about my back pain. Pain Clinic doctor told me that yes I have bone-on-bone, which can cause pain, but he thinks it may just be a flare, perhaps some stress fractures at site of bone grafts. I don’t think that is the case.

I guess I just wanted someone else who has been through all of this stuff to give me some input. I think my pain is coming from the lower disk where it is bone touching bone. Meanwhile I am back up on my pain meds, which to say the least is the most frustrating part for me, as my goal all along was to rid myself of these. Does anyone have an opinion on whether it would be reasonable to ask my neurosurgeon to look at the MRI and give me his opinion on where he thinks my pain may be emanating from? I have always been told that the bottom three disks were severely degenerated. I feel like because the MRI did not show a definitive herniation that the pain doctor thinks I shouldn't be in pain. He noted that I do have the bone on bone but the neurosurgeon would be hesitant to do fusion on a 3rd level because of my age (42). I have been through so much now that I would rather have the 3rd level fixed then suffer along for another year or two only to ultimately end up having it fused. I had a taste of normalicy, virtually pain-free four months out from surgery, and now I feel like I'm almost back to the beginning. Any advice would be so appreciated.


  • I would book an appointment with the Neuro and show the MRI. It wouldn't hurt and if it's minor he could order any injections meds whatever to help. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Welcome to the forum. I hope you find most of your answers here. :) I am so surprised that your doctor allows you to jog! :jawdrop: I am forbidden to run, jog or do hi-impact aerobics for the rest of my life! :''(

    I used to do all that before i became so sick from pain, etc and i miss it so much! You have the right to ask your doctor/doctors any medical questions you want. Most of them are so full of themselves that they don't want you taking up their time with alot of questions but i made sure they listened to me each and every time i had one.

    I took a list each time and you should have seen their face when i walked in with it. Here's hoping you get the right answers and take good care of yourself!

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • I think they do see it as a cause for pain because the DDD is severe. I have the same problem with L4-5 and L5-S1 and chronic degenerative endplate changes (I think that is considered DJD, my surgeon said I have this). I also have severe arthritis in the lumbar facet joints and the debris was cleaned up during the fusion. If you are unsure of something, you have the right to ask until you comfortably understand it.

    I know that some people with DDD have no pain, or the pain is not proportionate to the injury. But in our case, I believe the severity of the DDD does cause us pain.

    I can't fully understand why I continue to have pain after the fusion was technically "successful". I have read that surgeons don't measure pain relief in that assessment, they just go by how the procedure went and if you are fusing. There is also nerve damage to think about because it is a source of ongoing pain. This kind of explains why they will tell you prior to surgery that you will either feel better, stay the same, or get worse. There is no guarantee in back surgery.

    In my case I never had a pain free time in either of my 2 surgeries. The pain is always constant and unrelenting so I never had the chance to feel a state of normalcy in these last 3 years.
  • I have not had surgery, but I do have DDD fairly severely in L2 to S1. My MRI has numerous things on it, multiple bulging discs, DDD, annualr tear and some other things, but everytime I would get the relpy from doctors that I shouldnt be having the level of pain that I was reporting.

    Then I had a discogram, where they inject dye into your discs to get your pain response to it. Good discs only give a feeling of pressure and discs causing pain will reproduce your pain. Well out of four discs two of them were pressure and two of them were EXTREME pain.

    Now I do have a test that shows where the pain is comming from and why its so severe at times, but unfortually I would need a three level fusion (or ADR) to have a chance of helping this problem. For the meantime I am doing very light pt, minor stretches, pool work and loosing weight.

    I dont know what my furture holds but it is nice to know where the pain is comming from and that its not all in my head. It seems like I have made a small amount of progress with things and only time will tell whats next. Good luck to you and I hope the pain gets reduced, whatever mannor is appropriate for you. Mitch
  • right away and take MRI. Your pain Dr is that, a pain dr, not a ortho or neuro. I say my pain dr was wonderful, but discouraged me from fusion. I had three torn discs, and had two level. Will prob have other one down the road. But, be causious doing a three level fusion. My ortho would only do two, cause the more levels, the more chances of failure. I think you need the opinion of a ortho or nuero and go from there, otherwise, you will keep wondering what is wrong. I would also talk to them about jogging on your treadmill. I am concerned that it is also very early to be exposing your fusion to that much stress. Sorry, i am a mom.LOL Good Luck :H
Sign In or Register to comment.