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Wondering about "normal" disc degeneration

dalehagelddalehagel Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hello, I am a healthy, fit, 39 year old male. I was diagnosed with a herniation to L5, through an M.R.I., and consultaion with orthopeodic surgeons. The question I have, is that I was informed, as I have no specific point of trauma to my back, my disc herniation was due to normal disc degeneration. I am in excellent shape, physically active, and work in the construction industry. My job involves very heavy work, extensive twisting, and articulating of my joints. I feel that my employment duties directly caused my affliction, and that it is not "normal" for a 39 year old healthy individual to have a herniation, and a micro-discectomy scheduled within 2 weeks. Am I mistaken? Is this normal, or could my employment have caused or exasperated this condition? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.


  • Hello Dalehagel, and Welcome to Spine-Health!

    Sorry to hear about your L5, and wish all goes well with your upcoming surgery. As to your job causing this or disk degeneration? None of us can look into a crystal ball as to what exactly causes it, but I akin the disks (shock absorbers) like that of any joint or hinge. The more you work it, chances are the more you will see wear and tear. Some folks go their entire lives and never have any symptoms. It doesn't mean they aren't also getting degeneration, but just not symptomatic is all.

    Hernia, what causes it? (lol) That can be anything from lots of hard loading, to a yawn, to hard impact of an accident, to getting out of bed! Most of us don't realize that *anything* can and does cause disks to fail, luckily for most, they don't fail. Sorry to talk a bit in circles, but none of us are doctors, but what we can relate to is all of us that have had disks go - about as many reasons right there! Sorry you're now part of the backie club! *hug*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • hello and welcome.

    i had my first bad disk when I was 31 never overweight, never did drugs or drank much, I smoked for ten years but otherwise healthy. I worked mostly in factories no trauma either. It just happens sometimes:(

    how long have you had this herniation? what have you done so far to ease your pain? I'm just asking because you mentioned surgery in 2 weeks.
  • I would talk to your employer about this. If you have been with one employer for a long time or if you are in a union you might get some workers comp coverage. Some comp carriers will accept job related injury even if there is no specific incident that can be the cause of your injury.

    To be honest most guys in your position would report a sudden pain while working and the carrier can't really fight it. Especially if you are going to return to work.

    It can't hurt to ask. Worst they can say is no and you obviously have other insurance coverage for the operation. I would not say anything to your health insurance carrier because you don't want to get caught in a fight between the two.

    Good Luck and let us know what happens.
  • This may sound funny, but after reading some of the topics on here, I am feeling very fortunate. I found I had a problem with my back on May 31st 2010. 9 days later they had me in for a M.R.I. which showed the herniation. I ended up in the hospital last week due to issues with my bladder and bowels, which they attributed to the disk herniation. I have been on some incredible pain killers, ranging from oxycontin, percocets, morphine, and numerous muscle relaxants. The attending physician, was a neurosurgeon involved in a private clinic here in Calgary where I am from. He took a look at my images, and put me on the urgent care list for surgery. I received the call today that I go in June 23rd. I felt I was entitled to Workmans Compensation, but they informed me today that my claim was rejected on the basis of this being normal disk degeneration. I just was shocked as I still do not understand how I can go from being asymptamatic to urgent surgical case in 2 months. The literature I have found on D.D.D. seems to indicate that even if you are prone to it, your job, load on your back, weight, health, etc. all can magnify or limit your issues. I was curious if I had a case to appeal the decision or not, yet none of the information seems to be clearly yay or nay. I guess I'll keep looking.
  • Read the herniation articles on Spine Health. In fact, many people who have no symptoms, "normal" controls, have disk herniations. Isn't that weird? But for some people they cause pain, and for some people they do not, it's all about where they are.

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