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autumneveaautumneve Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I have recently been diagnosed with severe multilevel spondylosis, stenosis, herniated disc at cervical and lumbar level, osteophytes, nerve impingement at multilevel and other things. I have been in pain for 14 years after a fall and continued to work as an RN for 12 years until pain became too much and advanced into legs. I am wondering if and what kind of exercise can I do for this problem. The specialists all tell me I am not a candidate for surgery because of so many problems but have never told me what kind of exercise I can do. Do any of you have an answer for me? Thanks for any help.


  • its not a cure
    but i have found swimming about the best thing .we are not talking olympic standard ! but just a slow swim if you can .pain from your spine is awful and no one can cure it totally .that's why there are so many people with back pain and so many pain pills floating about .try swimming ..you never know ..i do it and feel good when i am doing it but later on my back locks up ...can't win !!
    tony UK
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I went to a Physiotherapist when I injured my neck and back. I found inferential treatments were helpful and the PT did ultrasound and gentle manual traction for my neck. I know aquatherapy can be helpful also perhaps finding a PT that does that may be helpful. Has your Dr. referred you to Physiotherapist yet?

    Also get more than one opinion from a Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic Surgeon especially with severe stenosis. I have mild DDD and herniated disc in c-spine and lumbar spine also but not severe and I'm not a candidate for surgery after seeing 4 Ortho and Neurosurgeons. I stopped working as an RN 4 years ago due to lumbar issues. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thank you, Tony for your response. Unfortunately, I live in a very rural area and the only places to swim are very,very cold springs. I have fibro and had to stop swimming in anything cold years ago. I was walking every day up to a couple of months ago but for some reason the pain started to increased and was forced to stop. I am waiting to see a Professor at the University who specializes in Pain Mgmt, but he has been on sabbatical for a year and will not be back until July. At that time I will have to travel (which is super painful) a ways to see him but he has a very good reputation in his field so feel it will be worth it. I just feel so helpless not able to do something for myself. I have always belonged to a gym,and exercised daily but can't do much in that regard any longer not that we are far away from anything of that nature. Thanks again for your response. Hope you are doing well with your problems.
  • Thank you Charry. No they have not suggested that. I have had epidurals that were of no effect. My neurologist gave me those but when he saw the MRI's he had a kind of defeated look and said surgery won't help you have too much degeneration at multiple levels. I live so far from my docs and because it is so painful to ride in a car they have not suggested anything but pain medication. I would love to get an injection that would help enough that I don't have to take the medication. I have scripts for narcotics but do not take them. I have taken Ultram 100mg BID for 14 years and even though the pain is much worse I prefer taking that rather than anything else. It of course does not relieve all of the pain but I had to retire early due to cancer and a cerebral hemorrhage 2 years ago so I have nothing but time to rest. Just wish someone would have given me exercises I could do on my own. Again, thank you for the welcome and suggestions. I really appreciate them.
  • If you can't get a referral to a Physical Therapist or a Physiatrist I would suggest getting one of the books that were written to help people cope with back issues that don't want/can't have surgery. I don't want to recommend anyone in particular but if you go to Amazon you can find them pretty easily.
    I've had one cervical surgery with no help on the pain but did stop strength loss and have had wonderful results from lumbar blocks.
    Will see the OS tomorrow as I've developed some new tingling and arm strength issues and EMG shows irregular signal from C6/C7.
    Best of luck to you in getting some relief.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • I would go to google and search for PT exercises for your specific problem. Lots of info out there, might just need to use some good key words. You should also do a search on this site.
    I hope you find something! I hate that you can't do aqua therapy, it really is the best for me and feels great.

    Grade 4 tear in l4/l5 was missed in first MRI so did injections for a year
    SI joints "messed up" not sure if I will get them fused at a later time
    Had Open PLIF L4/L5 5/28/13
    Woke up to permanent nerve damage in legs and feet.
  • Thank you, Davrunner and Techgurl for your kind responses. Dav what would I look under on Amazon for the type of book you suggested? My brother has had surgery on his neck for same reason and it was not successful so I do not want to go there. He also had surgery on lower back and it was better than the neck. He and I inherited some of this from our fathers family and the other 4 did not. I am hoping that the new specialist I will be seeing will give me a nerve block also because the epidurals did nothing.I have the same issues as you with hands and arms from C6-C7. Hope you get good news tomorrow.
    Techgurl, I hesitate to do anymore than stretching until I see the specialists and I,like you, have so many problems and don't want to exacerbate any of them or do more damage, but it will be one of the first questions I ask.I have had pain since I fell 14 years ago so I guess I can wait a few months more.
    Once again, thank you both for taking the time to respond.
  • Because I have multi level problems the only surgical option for me is a 3 level fusion, not ready for that right now. I'm going in on the 3 of May for a block and if necessary a series to hopefully get some relief from the symptoms I've been having.
    To search amazon try non-surgical solutions for backpain. I'll look for the books I have at home and send you a PM.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • Thanks, Davrunner for the suggestions and hopefully the block in May will help. Keep us posted.
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