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Options for young people with DDD?

Gabe32GGabe32 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I am 22 and have DDD. The pain comes and goes but sometimes it is simply unbearable. 2 weeks ago I drove 2 hours to visit a friend and after getting out of the car experienced the worst pain I've ever had in my life. After taking pain medication for about 2 days the pain is almost entirely gone (though my back still feels kind of weak/tender).

I would say 3-4 times a year the pain comes and is extremely intense. Last summer there were times when I couldn't get out of bed or walk really. Even when it was better, something like sneezing or stubbing a toe would set my back off again.

I have received physical therapy from 2 different clinics. After the massaging/stretching my back feels a lot better, but I know that it is only temporary. Even if I keep up with my stretching, sports or anything else physically demanding seems to ruin my back. Even if it didn't, I don't want to have to stretch so much every day (though, it is a lot better to the alternative).

I have been reading a lot of posts on these forums and have learned a lot. I was wondering if there was anything between physical therapy and surgery? One seems kind of flimsy and the other seems overtly risky/serious. I understand that the fusion surgery that my doctor has (lightly) been pushing is sort of antiquated. Unless something comes relatively soon, I don't want to just wait for a more advanced surgery to come around.

My main question is, are there any alternatives to physical therapy/surgery? Also, are there any young people that have had "PLIF (posterior lumbar interbody fusion)?" If so, how did it go?

Thanks for any help,



  • Hi Gabe32. I'm sorry I don't have much information for you. I am in a similiar situation with my son who just turned 18. He did get some relief from a rhizodomy, although it only lasted 9 months. He will have the procedure repeated in November. I have no idea if that would help your condition at all, but just thought I'd mention it just in case. I know how hard it is to be going through this at such a young age. Well, of course it's hard at any age, but I think it's extra hard when you're young and should be able to do things that you can't. I will be sure to let you know if we run across anything that helps. Good luck.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    Degenerative Disc Disease is probably the most understood spinal condition. I think because of the two words: degenerative and disease make it sound much worse then it really is.

    DDD is basically the aging of our spines. Everyone is going to have some degree of this, it will happen.

    Some of us will get it sooner or more advance then others.

    For the most part, DDD can be totally managed through an approved exercise program and over the counter NSAIDs.

    Its only in the severe cases, is surgery a solution.

    Take a look at these details provided by Spine-Health

    Degenerative Disc Disease
    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
  • There is hope..I like you got DDD in my twenties..I tried everything for 11 years to resolve the pain..I got it due to ice skating at the age of 11yrs and then deciding to nurse. I tried everything..all alternative therapies and tried antiinflamatories..In the end at age 41 I went to a neurosurgeon who did a total discectomy and artifical disc replacement of L5-S1. It has now been 5 yrs. You have a long road ahead of you. I hope the non surgical alternatives help you. I had exhausted mine and can't take NASID's anymore. The problem I now have is that my spine is worse in other areas..my cervical spine now has 3 disc protrusions and nerve compression. Unfortunately it seems if you get this DDD at an early age not only does it get worse but the pain does too.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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  • I have DDD and double sciatica. My issue is no one seems to listen to me. My PCP does and I don't know what I would do without her. The pain management dr I have is more like a cattle herder..he is more into giving injections and ablation..the last ablation had me in tears and off the table,, and he was having a conversation with someone else about his boat! , My heart rate went hay wire and oxygen went low and he didn't seem to be affected..
    I have failed all injections and surgery is not an option. I have seen a new pain management Dr and he said there is nothing that can be done. He told me to get a cane, wrote me up to get a permanent handicap placard and said we need to get the pain meds regulated.I own my tens unit..and he did that was good..
    But then that was it.....
    Each day is misery for me..I can't sleep,I can't sit,I can't walk without losing my balance,I fall for no reason,I have muscle spasms,I can't stand,I can't drive for long periods, and pain pills don't touch this.
    This is no way to live..not to mention the depression that follows..
    No one is looking into why I fall,, no one is listening to me..I can't sleep
    Wendy Reed
  • dlughddlugh Posts: 3
    edited 12/20/2015 - 7:26 PM
    Gabe32 said:

    I have received physical therapy from 2 different clinics. After the massaging/stretching my back feels a lot better, but I know that it is only temporary. Even if I keep up with my stretching, sports or anything else physically demanding seems to ruin my back. Even if it didn't, I don't want to have to stretch so much every day (though, it is a lot better to the alternative).
    Hi Gabe,

    Sorry to hear about your back pain. I am in a similar situation, am looking to really exhaust all surgery alternatives before looking into it any further. Could you possibly explain a little more about the type of PT you did? Do you have any exercise routine outside of PT?

    This is a very old thread, the original poster has not been on the forum for more than 4 years
    Liz -Spine-health Moderator
This discussion has been closed.
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