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19 years old, advanced thoracic ddd @ 2 levels

katie.e.kkatie.e. Posts: 27
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Im a 19 year old female college student SUFFERING from ddd in the thoracic spine, at 2 levels. t9-t10 and t10-t-11. t9-11 have all already begun fusing together and i am constantly in severe pain. and again. im only 19. i have had 1 MRI and will be going for another in the next week or two as well as having a CT done. it all started with crippling back spasms that finally eased after about 3 weeks of near immobility. i used my entire insurance years allowance of chiropractor visits within about a 2 months. during june-july, i did 6 weeks of physical therapy. i started out with land based, as well as dry needling (acupuncture. I left everyday in tears because of excruciating pain. They decided to move me to a water based pt and discontinued the dry needling. this did not help. at all. i was also taking celebrex (NSAID) during that time and that didnt even being to ease my pain. My spine specialist told me that because i was only 19 years old, no doctor would even consider giving me an injection. well he changed his mind once no progress was made. So i had an ESI in august, and unfortunately, that made the pain worse for a couple of weeks. the pain eased up some, but i was no better then where i was prior to the ESI. Sooooo, i returned to college (texas A&M) and talked to my chiropractor here. he referred me to a neuro surgeon down here, who is wanted a new MRI and CT. unfortunately, he cant figure out either why nothing has helped.
so, i sit here at work, fighting tears because of the horrible pain. ibuprofen, aspirin, and tylenol do NOTHING.
i lose a ton of sleep and cant sit for more then about 30 minutes before i cant handle it anymore.
im 19. i feel like im about 95. not to mention, thoracic ddd is the most uncommon ddd there is... and its at 2 levels. life sucks.
if anyone has any advice, please do share.

katie e.


  • Welcome to Spine Health Katie >:D<

    You might need to get into a pain managment doctor. Find a highly recomeneded clinic (ask the chiro & NS). It has been a fantastic experience for me. I don't want the meds, but I need to function. It probably wouldn't hurt to get checked out by a Rhumatologist (check your blood for various forms of arthitis) as well.

    They should be able to give you much better medication (if you want it) and also start offering you various nerve blocks & other treatments.

    I also recomend a high quality TENS unit, ice gel packs, heating pads etc.... I put my tens on and then lay on my heating pad or ice packs, (it helps).

    Have you tried the Lidoderm Patches (lidocane)? I use these on days when I have trade shows and need to be on my feet all day.

    I am in bad t-spine pain as well. I was in a MVA about 18 months ago and we are now getting down to the nitty gritty. I am going to have some kind of fusion but I am having a new CT scan w/myelogram from T7-L3 next monday. I am supposed to go in for another ESI but since I owe my PM $25,000 they have cut me off (insurances are fighting over my bill). My back has been going numb, along with radiating, tingling pain from T7/8 and now T10/11 has officially joined the party. My left thigh goes numb/hurts/tingles/itches... upper arms/under arms/rib cage hurts/aches/burns... And I have chronic nausea :)

    I would consider more injections/blocks as they #1 can lower your pain levels (at least for a short period) & #2 help the NS locate your pain generator. If your insurance pays for them that is, and if they are floroscopic guided (only IMO).

    Feel better,

  • Katies,

    What did the MRI report say? I forgot to ask. I recomend that you get copies of the report and a cd of the images (might start a 3 ring binder).

    Also I would stay away from chiropractic adjustments until you are cleared from a NS/OS. If you are discy (herniated/bulging disc) it is not a great idea to have adjustments as they can make things worse.

  • hey guys. thanks for such quick replies!TENS units and heat/cold do nothing for me. i havent tried the patch thing. i havent gone to the chiro. in a few months because it was doing absolutely nothing for me. and bcause my MRI was done locally, they have access to it and all i have to do is call to get copies. my mri said that there was disc narrowing and my spine guy diagnosed the ddd. but like i said, im going for a new MRI and a CT as well. so we will see what that shows. the injection actually made it worse. so im trying to steer clear of those now.
  • Im 18 with DDD + spinal stenosis. You're not that bad off! Try massage therapy and stay away from chiro.
  • well yes, it could be much much worse, but i cant make it through the day without taking vicodin, and i cant move most days. so yes, i am pretty bad off. ive started my second round of physical therapy and taking vicodin and flexeril. i only made it through 2 days of pt without crying. and i was told that im not a surgical candidate because fusing the 3 vertebrae in my thoracic spine would essentially set me up for a life full of fusions. fusing those 2 would eventually lead to having to have most of my vertebrae fused together. yes, there are people much worse off. and i understand you are young too, but when youve gone to 3 or 4 dr.s and none of them can seem to figure out how to ease the pain, and basically just crush every last drop of hope you have, and you cant even live because of the pain, then yes, i would say im pretty bad off.
  • and also, i tried massage, and it didnt work. i have literally done everything. and they dont know what else to do, so were just starting all over ang going in circles. i dont go to the chiropractor and havent in months. trust me, im doing everything i possibly can.
  • Hi Katie,

    1. Maybe you could considered trying an inversion table?

    You mention that you can only sit down for 30 minutes, so perhaps daily inversion table 'treatment' may extend your tolerable sitting period. I know the concept of having your spine decompress for 20 minutes in the morning and evening does help some DDD sufferers.

    It might not work in your case but its another idea to add to the overall treatment programme. Its worth doing some research on this.

    2. Also, if you need to be doing alot of sitting for your studies you could also consider 'dragon naturally speaking' software. This would allow you to lie down and talk through a head-set instead of typing, thus alleviating the pain in your back.
  • Katie,
    I don't really have any advice for you (I'm in the same crappy situation) but I just wanted you to know you're not alone honey. I'm sending you BIG gentle *HUGS* and I will keep you in my thoughts. I know how frustrating it is to be young and have no answers and to be in terrible pain 24-7, like most of us here unfortunately we are all really familiar with this crap. I'm so sorry you are getting no relief, hopefully this new dr will be helpful and get a good medicine cocktail for you.
    Big Hugs and God Bless
    Pm me anytime hon
  • hey guys.
    i tried an inversion table last wednesday and it did not do me good. i was in HORRIBLE pain fighting tears all day for two days. friday, i couldnt even do my pt because of the pain. so we are stepping away from taht right now. i have been just hanging from my arms for about 5 seconds 4 times. i can kind of handle that, but it is still complete torture.

    laying down is just as bad as sitting. but instead of the pain being concentrated at my mid back, it hurts every where. which could also be due to my hyper-lordosis, but who knows. basically, there is no comfortable way to sit, lay, stand anything.

    thanks for you advice and "gentle hugs"

  • I could never figure out if an inversion table helped. Im sort of sure it made symptoms worse but then other days I would feel great post inversion.

    You should join a group on fb for DDD. They tend to be much more active than forums like this and its easier toget answers. Its also kind of funny how everyone in the groups is usually much older than us. In a way though I guess its good to have problems like this while you're young because we have nobody really reliant on us, not too much pressure.
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