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20 y/o with 2 discs with ddd and herniation

neonswimnneonswim Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I've been looking all over and haven't been successful in finding someone else that has two discs with degenerative disc disease and herniation. I am at my wits end with pain. It hurts to do everything sitting, standing, walking, bending, and laying down. I've had two epidural injections with no relief and I am now considering surgery. I was curious to see if anyone has had disc replacement surgery or if they have had a spring inserted with the disc (I forget the formal name of that surgery, and can't find much about it either) and how they are doing now.
I am still a student in college and need to figure out something so that I can make it through my classes.


  • I have not had an ADR (artificial disc replacement) but I will strongly advise you to try any and all conservative treatments before opting for surgery. There are no guarantees with surgery. Some folks actually experience more pain after surgery. Once surgery is done it can not be undone. You might want to read through the surgery threads on this forum and also click on the conditions and treatment tabs at the top of this page to learn more. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • Surgery is pretty much the last thing that I want to do but I feel as if i have tried as many non-surgical things I can. I've been in physical therapy for two and a half years, I've also tried a chiropractor and acupuncturist, and two epidural injections. I've tried everything the doc has wanted me to try, to see if anything else helps. Physical therapy used to help a lot but my back has gotten much worse and it now only helps for about 15-20 minutes after I walk out the door. I am going for a second opinion next week to see if that doctor feels the same way about surgery. I know that surgery may not completely help but if it lessens the pain I'm willing to do that. I feel as if I have the "leave no stone unturned" mindset. I know that there is no magical pill or as I like to call "Harry Potter quick fix" and I do consider this to be my forever road, meaning that I will forever have to listen to my back and it's needs, like when to stop if it hurts. I also feel that if I have surgery now it would heal faster/better since I am young. (I know that there is the possibility of it not working that way but I am sure hoping so!) :] haha.
  • Hi

    I am 24 and have been disgnosed with DDD in my lumbar spine (6 discs) and my neck (1 disc). I have 4 prolapses in my lumbar spine, all touching/irrating my spine cord. I have a large prolapse at L4/L5 which is trapping the right nerve root and a large tear at L5/S1, both of which cause me to have severe pain down my legs and in my back, loss of movement and feeling the the right foot and sensitive skin so much that some days I cant even bare my clothes touching my legs.
    I have been very fortunate that I have been refered and 'treated' very quickly. Because of all the symptoms and the extent of the damage at my age I have been a guinea pig to many consultants and have lots of test, CT, Xray, MRI's, myelograms, horrible nerve tests where they put big needles in my legs etc etc in Walton hospital, Gobowen Orthpeadic Hospital and the Wrexham Mealor.
    I suffer every minute of the day with pain that I wish I could just rip out and give to someone else, pain that makes me feel like im going insane. I have been told by two consultants that they would love to do a fusion or disc replacement on me but there is too much damage in my spine for it to cope with the 'new structure' in my spine. They said even it was possible, they would not recommend it with me being only 24 as there are extremely high risks of complications and usually, a fusion or disc replacement now would guarentee that I would be going under the knive again a few years later.
    My only option is to have 'rods' inserted into my spine but I will lose the movement in the spine when it has been done. They do not want to do this until it is absolutely nessecary, ie cauda equina.
    I am currently under and being monitored by an orthipeadic consultant, a neurological consultant/surgeon and a pain consultant who are trying to get me comfortable, ie LOTS OF PAIN KILLERS, until surgery is needed. I have had several epidural injections and nerve root blocks but none have helped
    If they offer you surgery I would seriously think about it, fusions and disc replacements dont have a good success rate and often cause more problems
    I hope you find some pain relieve and comfort, I find that a TENS machine does help
  • I was in the same boat you're in. Diagnosed with DDD (L4-S1) with herniation. I've been through 2 discectomies to hopefully fix the problem. The 1st one lasted 7 yrs. Prior to the 2nd surgery, I seeked alternative medicine to include acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, even a chiropractor. All failed because my disc slipped. My last option was disc replacement or a 2-level lumbar fusion (TLIF). ADR was not a good option since it was still being tested and reviewed in the military. I am 6 weeks post-op for a 2-level lumbar fusion and feel fantastic. Recovery was hard for the first 2 weeks, but now it's smooth sailing. If recovery continues to go well, my career in the military is safe. I believe your current physical fitness and determination to complete your therapy sessions will have a positive outcome after a lumber fusion. Hope my answer helped you a little.
  • You are very young for fusion or disc replacement. Are you having any nerve issues? How long have you been in pain? Are you referring to your neck or your lower back?

    I herniated C7 in my neck when I was in my 30's. I lost 80% use of my left arm.They wanted to do surgery on me then but I worked with a PT and my doctor to gain use of the arm.

    I had very bad pain but was able to deal with it. It took a year or more to get improvement but when I did it was wonderful. I'd only have pain a few times a year and with PT and traction I'd get through the episodes in a few weeks.

    About 5 months ago I got hit with the worse episode I'd ever had. My cervical spine was killing me. They took an MRI and I was a mess. I had to have surgery. I had a 3 level fusion 3 months ago. I'm 58 years old so I was able to use other methods for a couple of decades before I had to have surgery.

    If you can push off surgery it would be wonderful. I would only do it if nerve damage where a threat. Just my opinion. You need to do what is best for you but I can say I'm glad I waited and I can say I'm glad I now had surgery.

    Good luck with your situation

  • The pain is ridiculous. I have had it for about two years now and have been to 3 different doctors. They put me through 3 injections which did nothing, Physical therapy which also did nothing, accupuncture and pain killers which don't do anything at all. Since i'm too young they don't want to do surgery but thats all I want. I want to get better and get my life back. I used to be a big runner and soccer was my life, now running a half mile hurts beyond belief. Sitting in classes, or sitting at all, standing too long, laying down, bending. I have to constantly switch positions in order to get some relief but after awhile the pain will just come back.
  • I have ddd and fibromyalgia. I just had a TLIF lumbar fusion 14 weeks ago and mine was life saving. Not because I feel greatly better but because I started loosing feeling in my leg and once the surgeon opened me up he said that the Mri wasnt even close to showing how back my herniated disc was. He said that if I waited a week longer, turned strange or bent down I would've been paralyzed. I am 20 years old And everyone says "youre too young" or doesnt take your pain seriously. Ive been doing the same thing as you, injections, physical therapy, accupuncture, chiropractic, traction, meds, everything possible. I bought a tens unit at CVS and it helps. Stay positive and do what is right for you. BUT fusion surgery is NO easy game. Im still struggling and doing pt 2-3x a week. My constant sciatica and numbness is 95% gone and I still have back pain but not as bad. Stay strong and seek multiple dr opinions!
  • I'm 21 with DDD and ss. Most of my DDD symptoms kind of went away on their own with intense physio.
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