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Does one injured disc give way to more disc injuries?

NotGivingUpNNotGivingUp Posts: 33
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Chronic Pain
I had x-rays a few months ago, which showed degeneration in my cervical and lumbar areas. No big deal. We all have it. I was only having lumbar pain, so I didn't really worry about my c-spine much.

Then, I suffered an annular tear of the L4/L5 disc in my lumbar region. Then, it kind of became a big deal...quite quickly, actually.

That was 4 wks ago, but in the last 4-5 days, my neck is now hurting. I've never really had neck pain...just lumbar pain. But this is nasty pain...worse than a crick in the neck, even. I'm also having nerve pain in my armpit, crook of my elbow, and in the palm of my hand (right side).

I remember reading that sometimes one disc going can cause other weak ones to go (or bulge), as well. Has anyone else had a similar experience?


  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I began with L-5, S-1. And to make a long story short. In time the lumbar discs went out 1 or 2 at a time. Till now. I'm fused from S-1 all the way up to T-12. If you want the long version, click my user name for my medical history.
    Take care of what you've got. A lot of this was inevitable. But a lot of it, I brought it on myself!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    but so much of that depends on how you handle things for this point on.

    If you do all the tings you have been told to do, the limitations, the restrictions, the exercises and more, you will reduce the odds of having additional problems.

    Or you could d what I did when I was young. Ignore the warnings, the restrictions,etc. Heck, I was feeling good, so I could get past everything.

    Fast forward to 2012 and I really dont know how many of the 12 surgeries I have had since 1978 could have been avoided IF I did the right things.
    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
  • The actual statistics are that 90% of all disc issues will resolve themselves with conservative treatment or on their own...(no surgery)...

    That's why if you were to grab 100 random people 30 and over on the street, you would see that they have disc issues....DDD....etc.

    Many people have zero pain...some have a twinge here/there....

    But since you have found out what is going on, as mentioned...it's now critical on how you take care of yourself.

    Keeping a healthy weight and proper exercise program with strenghtening is crucial....especially your core.

    Peope don't realize how every extra pound puts so much strain on our spine.

    NO smoking is another key to having healthy discs. Smoking causes dehydration which can cause discs to fail.

    Work with your Dr. to do a Physical Therapy program to strengthen your muscles.

    Doing things like aqua therapy, massage, acupuncture, using a TENS unit, and yoga....using ice and heat.

    As well as even light traction (under Drs. supervision)...

    Wearing a back brace and even a neck brace when needed.

    And yes..following all the restrictions and limitations the Dr. has set is very important. Especially when in a flare.

    Even asking for a muscle relaxer to be able to take when needed.

    Many people think that these things don't work because they read all the stories online or on boards like these.

    We are the chronic pain patients....There are hundreds of thousands (even millions) of those who don't come online because they were/are able to manage their symptoms and only have pain once in awhile. They end up maybe taking some Advil or a muscle relaxer...When people are doing great, out living their lives....they don't come on the internet to post about it.

    Now...that is not saying that you may end up needing surgery down the road...

    But the key is doing everything and anything that you can to prevent this. There are many modalities that can help.

    I also believe our attitude has a lot to do with it. Taking charge of your life now and keeping a good spirit. For me...without hope in life...there is nothing.

    Good luck...Keep us posted..

  • all i know is that if you have a fusion on a disc, it can put stress on the disc above it and then that one will go out. This happened to me. I had a fusion on L-5 and then about 2 years later the L-4 blew out due to the stress on it so I had to have a fusion on that one. So far no problems with the L-3. It seems to be stable
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Absolutely agree with Jon....Once a fusion is done, it definitely puts strain on the other discs above and below. And the more discs fused, the more pressure.

    It's all based on a normal, healthy disc is moveable, gel like. That provides movement for our spine.

    When we are fused with hard bone, and added hardware like cages and screws. Obviously this makes that part of the neck/back immovable.

    I just watched a great segment on CBS This Sunday Morning (you can probably find it online now) that shows how biologics are slowly being approved by the FDA.

    It is a non invasive procedure of injecting natural sources that are found in our blood plasma called Thrombin and Fibrinolysis inhibitor. No incision...no hardware.

    These components come together in concentrated form injected into the disc space, over time the become like a sealant within two months. The great news is it acts just like a normal, healthy disc with making space again betwen the two vertebrae.

    This is of course so much better than putting hard bone and hardware surrounding it which inhibits movement as many of us know as well as causes a domino effect of other discs because of the fusion.

    Lots of the Spine specialists are very excited about this...

    ****The cost difference between this and a fusion is about 95% less.

    Anyway...it's always great to hear about reputable trials and new things on the horizon where it really is about treating the patient and not about making more money.
  • As an update...I was inquiring about this due to neck pain that was coming on after a lumbar injury. I thought the two might have been related.

    It turns out that I *probably* have uncomplicated viral meningitis. My symptoms are starting to resolve, so the docs said an MRI or spinal tap aren't necessary.

    Apparently, I can't catch a break. lol Very odd!

    Thanks for all the advice.
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