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What to expect long term with multiple diagnoses at 37?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
This is my first post on any message board.
I did not have a specific injury the led to my back pain. I have been told it is likely just a combination of genetics and lifestyle. I used to be an avid horseback rider. I had a L4/5 diseconomy in 1998. I put it off as long as possible and was in constant, severe pain prior to surgery. It provided relief. I only had minor, periodic bouts of pain. I had a diseconomy lower then my previous one, I don't recall where, in 2003. The pain relief was not as good I tried all non surgical options that I could find until the steroid injections in 7/2006 provided relief. I have been more or less pain free aside from the periodic need for oral steroids and short term pain medication. About 2 months ago my pain began to increase in intensity and frequency. L4/5 is herniated again and I have a bulging disc as well. My MRI report states that I have DDD and stenosis tool. All problems have progressed since my 2005 MRI.
I was only 26 the first time I had to address this problem. I can't get a straight answer form my pain management Dr as to a realistic long term prognosis or progression. I hope for more information from the surgeon on 15 Feb. Based on my experience and the information I find on message boards I anticipate that my pain will increase in frequency and intensity over the years and likely require more surgeries.
Any input would be appreciated.


  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Welcome to spine-health. There is a lot of info on this site and the members here are all great and willing to help you in any way we can. I don't have any info for you regarding lumbar issues but there will be someone along soon who will be able to help. I just wanted to welcome you to our 'family'.

    Good luck
  • It is not unusual to have a disc reherniate after surgery. It can happen just weeks after surgery or it can take years from the disc to break down. Doctors will often perform a discectomy two times, but if it herniates a third time, a fusion is recommended. Also if there have been discectomies at several adjoining levels, fusion is recommended as the spine can become unstable.

    Or perhaps, you might be a candidate for a new procedure such as an artificial disc replacement.

    I hope you are consulting with a fellowship-trained spine specialist. And it is always a good idea to get at the very least, a second opinion if you are contemplating a surgical procedure.

    It is a fact of life that our spines begin to degenerate in our twenties, and the process continues throughout our lives. This does not mean that you will continue to have disc problems that require surgery at each level...but, since you have had problems early, it is important to be under the care of a very well-qualified spinal specialist...either an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon.

    You will find the information in the following article useful, I think.

  • asdef said:
    ....Based on my experience and the information I find on message boards I anticipate that my pain will increase in frequency and intensity over the years and likely require more surgeries.
    Any input would be appreciated.
    I have seen this common misconception all over the Internet in forums like this and others.

    Yes our spines will continue to have degenerative issues as we age and it is also true that we can have a period in our lives where we go through multiple surgeries. It doesn't mean though that every one of us is doomed to have a life with increasing pain and more and more surgeries and procedures. Thinking like that can lead to some what of a self-fulfilling prophecy if we are not careful.

    The mind-body connection can be a very powerful tool in our arsenal used to fight against chronic pain. Many Pain Management specialists are operating off the premise that there's nothing more surgically that can be done. That is not necessarily the case and personally I would seek out another opinion.

    These forums are filled with people who have not yet reached a "good place" in recovery. So the statistics are very skewed towards looking as if there's no hope, when there really is hope. It's a shame that we can't track all of those who have come and gone because they've had success in their quest to regain functionality in their lives. It would help paint quite a different picture.

    Don't give up on yourself just yet. If you have the drive and desire to find a way out, then you may just succeed. You never know what's "just around the corner".

  • Its true that there is alot of negative information out there, and it can make you depressed into thinking there is no hope however we do have some control over our mental well being when it comes to dealing with our pain.

    I too suffer with pain and I am still working with my surgeon to find out exactly whats causing my pain and what we can do about it, in the meantime, I continue to remain hopeful, I still go to work everyday, I make sure I eat healthy and exercise as much as my pain will allow. I have recently lost 10lbs since Jan 1st, I made the decision as my new year resolution to take control of my body, my pain and my health.....I am still in pain but I feel better about myself.

    I am raising 3 children and I involve myself as much as I can with their activities and I am lucky to have a wonderful supportive husband who helps me alot, but its important to stay as much a part of the real worls as you can and not shut yourself off and dwell on the pain.

    Gwennie made a good point on getting another opinion from a fellowship trained spine surgeon, there is always new treatments and other available choices, you may find something that will work for you.

    Stay positive, I wish you luck on your journey of healing, thats how I refer to my back issues.

    Take care and good luck,
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

    Welcome To Spine-Health

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Jeauxbert, Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro
    In addition, you can always contact any one of the members of the Authority team haglandc , tamtam , Neck of Steel , Cath111

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is NOT
    formal medical advise. You should always consult with your doctors.

    To get back to the Forums, you can always click on Forum Home

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    I am sure you have already seen by the other posters that there are so many people that have to deal with chronic pain over the long period.
    It has always been my experience that when you talk to anyone who has dealt with this type of pain for 15 or more years, they all have found ways to deal with the situation. Sure because of XYZ spinal problem, we cant do ABC and DEF, but we are also so capable of doing so many other things.

    Chronic pain can easily consume a persons health and mental status. Its those folks that will not allow this situation to take control are the ones that handle this and any other lifes curves that are thrown at them.

    When you have a medical condition that you know and your doctors know will be long term and progress over time, is the time you really need all the positive energy and focus.

    There are many people that allow the bumps and lumps to control and they will probably have a tougher road. But its those that take those same situations and make the most of it. Those are the ones that will always come out on top
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I am being treated by a neurosurgeon that my family Dr, who I trust and respect, had preform his own surgery. I am aware that a second opinion is advisable but at least I have a very good recommendation for this surgeon.

    I appreciate the input and advice about the benefit of or even the need to maintain a positive outlook despite the current situation. I am just seeking someone who my be in their 50’s or 60’s who has been experiencing back problems since their 20’s or 30’s who can share their experience. I understand that my experience has been and will be different but there will also be similarities. I don’t ask this in order to depress myself. I intend to gather as many facts about what I am likely to face in the future, no matter how good or bad it my be, so that I can accept it, deal with it and move on with my life as it is instead of moaning to myself of how I wish it could be. Please do not be unwilling to share an experience that you think my be hard for me to hear. February 6th marked 7 years cancer free for me. You can not say anything harder to hear then “you have cancer”.

    I have no way to know but it makes sense to me that the majority of people who make use of boards like this are mainly those of us who have been unfortunate enough to continue to have problems. Those who have had successful surgeries and are relatively pain free have little or no need for the information or support offered here. I know I never even looked for sites like this when I was feeling better. I keep that in mind as I read these posts.

    Thank you,

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856
    started having back problems at around 15, first spinal surgery at 28 and 7 follow on spinal surgeries.
    Now dealing with 4 herniated thoracic discs, one persistent L4/L5 and now have just been told that I will in fact need two total shoulder replacements.

    Ok, so I think I qualify for the type of individual you are looking for input from.

    Take a loot at our FAQ and scroll down to you find an post on the "A day in a life for a person with chronic pain" That pretty well sums up what to expect.

    I've also noticed as years go by, it gets harder and harder to get started

    But I will also repeat, no matter what is there for me every day and the fact that things get harder and to know your other body parts really start to get effected,

    The only way to stay ahead is having a family that loves and understands your situation and maintaining a positive attitude all the time.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Your positive attitude and perseverance through all your problems is an inspiration. I appreciate the prompt, honest and relevant response.
  • I truly believe that everything in life is 50% fact and 50% attitude. You can have the best surgeon in the best hospital but if you are convinced you will be in pain guess what?? But if you are positive and determined you can do anything because you will find a way.

    I rode as a kid and now my daughter is horse crazy. This is one of those activities that is going to lead to back problems. Just look around any horse show!! My daughters current instructor is a mess. 20 years ago they told her she had to find another career. She said no... so today she finds ways to do what she loves. Not that she is pain free but to be with her horses she does what she needs to. And being with them gives her the joy that she needs to forget the aches and pains.

    Fact of life is that from the minute we are born we start growing old. That means wear and tear on our bodies. Everyone is different and no one can predict what will happen. So do what you need to with your doctors, keep asking questions and find the way to keep doing what you love and what makes you complete.
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