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CarolPCCarolP Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I am new to this chat but after reading some of the comments I felt I need to talk to people with the same problems. I have severe degenerated disc in the neck and lower back. Dr says I dont even have a disc in one of the lower back. i have seen several specialists. I have tried everything to help me including injections, chiropractor, medicine, etc. As of today several drs have told me they do not reccomend surgery. They say that it will make the other areas of my back work more causing more problems, I am on some very high medicine which seems to at least help me get up, walk, and shop. I have gotten depressed which doesnt seem to help the matter either. I have pain, stiffness, throbbing, etc in my neck and lower back. i kekep thinking there is more wrong than just no disc, or narrowing of the vertebra. I have lost alot of my strength and movement. Well I will write later. Thanks for listening and if you have any suggestions for me pls write it on here.


  • Welcome to Spine Health!
    If you feel you need to talk to people with same problems as you, you have come to the right place. It is certainly very helpful to talk with people who understand what we are going through.

    There are lovely people on here, who will support you through difficult days.

    There is also a mine of information on various spinal problems and treatments.

    Have you had an MRI of your lumbar and cervical spine? Any spinal surgery should be an absolute last resort, but if you are in terrible pain, there should be something that they could do to help you.

    Welcome! :H
  • :))( =)) I have had 3 mrs's done over the last 5 years and of course it just gets worse. I have been diagnosed as having spinal stenosis, degenerated disc dieseas, scholiosis. Depends on the day which part hurts worse my neck or lower back. I can't work, i stay home most of the days. My husband and I have full custody of my husbands grandson which is now 5, we got him when he was 15 months old. So really he is my son. I take him to school everyday and pick him us. That is about as much as I get out of the house. I can't even wash dished without taking a break. But i try to not complain and just try to accept it and continue with life. I am a christian and rely of the Lord for my strength and peace. But still have some bad days of depression. Thanks again for having someone to talk to about all of this It is hard to explain to people how much you are hurting even my husband sometimes cant understand but he is a blessing. He even washes the dished when I need him too. Look forward to getting some freinds here with some of the same issues. :O
  • Hi Carol!

    We're glad you've joined the S-H support forum. I think you'll find the support you've been needing, plus a lot of great information to help you.
    CarolP said:
    i kekep thinking there is more wrong than just no disc, or narrowing of the vertebra.
    You very well may have more problems than just these, but make no mistake, having even one disc problem and narrowing (stenosis) can cause a LOT of pain and debility. You don't need to have a long shopping list of problems to justify the pain you're in. I'm just sorry the doctors are not seeing a way to help you. It's very understandable that you've become depressed. Have you sought help for your depression? It's nothing to be ashamed of and there are medications out there now which can help tremendously and they don't make you zombied out, either. Please don't try to deal with this chronic pain on your own. It can ruin your life if you don't find a way to deal with it and we want you to have the best tools to manage your chronic pain. Are you in pain management yet? If the doctors you've seen are not recommending surgery, I would think someone would have referred you to a pain management doctor by now.

    Keep talking to us. You can come to the forum in the middle of the night and usually find somebody around, especially since this is an international forum and we have members from around the world. You'll find our Aussie members online in the early morning hours U.S., for instance.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you. image

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Welcome to Spine Health! I'm a neckie and a backie too, so I understand your pain. I'm sorry to see you have to go through this. I see you said you saw numerous specialists. Are they "Spine specialists?" Neurologists and too there are Orthopedist spine specialists.

    Do they have you on any nerve pain medications? Lyrica, Neurotrin (sp) etc. I do hope they find a way to reduce your pain. As for your MRI, have you per chance had a "Positional MRI" yet? The image quality is on par with the recumbent ones most use. The benefit of the "stand-up" (you're really sitting) is that your spine will be imaged under load, and as such, *then* your doctor might be better able to help. Again, Welcome aboard!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am taking 300 mg neurotin, 30 mg oxycotin twice a day as well as percocet for breakthrough pain. And i still have pain sometimes still as bad as 7 or 8 and never less than a 2.

    I seen a Spine specialist, a norosurgine, and a orthopedic specialist I think. Why are one of them better to see than the other?

    No I have not had a positional mri yet. i will tell my dr next week and see if he can schedule it.

    Thanks for alll of your concerns and help. I have gained weight because of the medicine too and I know that it makes the pain worse.
    Some of my reports say bulging disc but one of the drs said i didnt have a disc in one space and not much of one in the other. It is odd that the reports say different things than what the dr says unless all of the words are the same just didnt way of saying it. Either way all drs except one said no surgery will help it meaning it will only get worse and more painfull Thanks again for your time
  • Howdy Carol,

    Here is a link from this site that clears up which doctor does what. Hopefully it will be of help. :)


    As to one doctor verses another for reading your MRI's, it depends! What I mean is I could take my MRI images to 5 radiologists who are also trained in neurological / spine specialties, I would get 5 different readings! It all comes down to what they feel is important, and too experience. My Neuro-surgeon reads the actual images, and only skims the written report.

    As for pain medications. I would also let your doctor know what is, and what isn't helping. Many of us go through medication changes off and on to find the right "fit" for our bodies and pain.

    You might also want to write down a pain log, so you can show him when your pain is worse; what causes you more/most pain; when things help relieve pain (ice/heating pads, showers, rest etc.). On another piece of paper any concerns you have.

    Unfortunately until you have a current MRI, X-Ray or CT (each doctor is different) the answers are going to be hard to reach. I hope all this was of help. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • to Spine Health. It's been a tremendous source of support in so many ways for me and it's been so wonderful to be able to connect with others having spine challenges and what a blessing it is for anyone who reaches out for wherever they are on the path!

    Carol, in reading your post about having no disc on one level and possible only partially on another.

    I take it from saying "no disc" that is not referring to how much degeneration has occurred. I am wondering...have you had any of the doctors/specialists review and assess your spine for this condition as being a spinal deformity? i.e. from birth?

    I was born with no vertebrae and no discs on 2 upper levels in my cervical spine, only malformed complex of bone/tissue and on the 3rd level a hemi-vertebrae a partial, as well scoliosis in my c-spine.

    The reason I ask this specifically it is important if is a malformed condition / deformity there are Orthpedic doctors as well as Orthpedic and Neurosurgeons who specialize with spinal deformities and all of the conditions and degeneration that occurs because of malformation or a deformity.

    So hope you can address your issues more in depth with an orthopedic or neurospine specialist who is experienced and specialized in spinal complex conditions. They do exist, many of the medical universities have one or several (depending on the size of the medical univ.), who specialize in complex cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine conditions.

    Let yourself become very pro-active in going beyond the "dead-end" your past/current doctors have certainly created for you - - from what you have shared it sounds like merely a bump in the road for the doctors who have the opinion nothing can be done!

    Carol, with my malformed cervical spine levels discovered on x-ray after a motor vehicle accident when I was 21 yrs of age I learned to become pro-active knowing I had a compromised neck/spine and clearly it took specialists who were experienced with complex spine conditions to appropriately and accurately assess and treat my spine!

    Hope this helps.

  • I am not sure if the no disc is due to degeneration or deformity but I will try and find out. After reading the respones and other responses to the back and neck problems I need to check all past drs and tests I have done then go see any dr that I haven't that might have a better answer. Most of the drs I have seen did not even go over the mri, didn't explain the mri what they seen or what they didnt see. Wished I had joined this group before now. But it is never to late. I have so many more questions for the drs. in your opinon what kind of dr is best at reviewing a mri and explaining it. Only one dr explained it to me and he seemed to be a quack. I looked him up on the internet for reviews and he had 13 negative reviews in the last year so needless to say I did not go back to him but I would like to see a dr that would go over the mri with me and explain it in detail. if they will. also sometimes i feel like i have worked out at the gym and feel really stiff and soar and if i move the wrong way i could break something or pince something do you get this. my lower back from left to right feels very soar and stiff and cant bend without feeling swollen as well as my neck i cant trun my head left or right without it feeling soar in the muscle not the bone as well as between my shoulder blades very stiff and soar. My normal pain (i think) is with the bones. I get so confused sometimes I hurt so much but cant seem to knnow exactly where or if it is the bone or muscle. Thanka again for your help. i go next week to see my primary dr which is a internest so I will have alot of questions for him.
  • Carol,

    As they say "First Impressions..." Looks like your feeling about the "quack" were on target. Good for you!

    As to being or getting confused, no bad there - we all have that happen. The key is getting to the right doctors, and too doctors that are confident enough to work with you, and really "tell" you what is going on, and how that will affect their treatment options with you. As you know, *we* aren't medical professionals, but we have in many ways, been down the road, so we can help. :)

    As to best doctor... Hard one sometimes. I went to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon a while back for a 2nd opinion (thinking he'll see it different), and he pretty well echoed what my Neuro-surgeon had told me! The key is their background training, and experience, and of course they work Spine issues as their primary. My prior fusions aren't doing great now, so my hubby and I agreed that *most* likely I will go to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon if a revision is put on the table. Why? A lot of bone gets moved and removed, so I want the bone guy! (G) Neurosurgeon is not off my list yet though.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • if you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, then that alone can cause a lot of pain. Pressure on the cord or nerve roots is horrible!
    Not being able to even wash the dishes without taking a break does sound like stenosis. I had that before my surgery, and I couldn't stand or walk slowly for more than about 5 minutes without getting horrible pain and sciatica. I would have to prepare a meal in stages, sitting down to rest between various tasks.

    Also, the throbbing pain that you mention, sounds like something I had before surgery. I think it was due to blood vessels being compressed, and the pain was like a pulse.

    If you also have scoliosis, it sounds like there are other, more complicated problems too. Perhaps that is why they are not keen to do surgery, because of the risk of upsetting other areas that already have problems.

    Since my lumbar fusion, the problems that I was having from that area are so much better. However, I am now having increased pain and symptoms from my neck and thoracic spine. My doctor has told me that the fusing of lower down my spine, has caused more stress on levels higher up, and because there were already problems with them, I am having a flare from them now. I guess that is what they don't want to cause with you.

    Don't give up though! There must be some way that they can help you. I would definately still have surgery if I had to make the decision again. Although I am having trouble with other levels, the really disabling pain that I was getting, has gone! :D

    Carol, I do hope that they will find a way to help you. You will find Spine Health such a help; both with emotional support from people who 'know' and also in informing you about the various things that you have going on in your back. Once you understand the terms that the doctors use, you will start to know what is going on and why you are in so much pain. Have you taken a look at the section on the website about 'Conditions'?

    >:D< Don't give up hope!

  • welcome to SH

    re the radiologist scan reports, its a pet hate of mine! after 30yrs of having my scans and reading my reports you find that when you start to have more issues in your spine, you will get as Aviatrix said differing radiologists opininons for the same issues!

    i have come across incongruencies so often , i get mad and write on them myself!! ~X( to correct them

    i dont mind them using different terminology , but i hate it when they get it wrong!

    anyway point is , a good ns /os will look at the scans , not the written report and form his/her opinion.

    would as the others have suggested get an opinion from a qualified ns/os spinal specialist and get him /her to go through what the probs are /what options there are for treatment

    have a read of the articles written by drs , this will help you understand better

    take care

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