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Hello Everyone!

Hi everyone! I'm Sarah, I live in Hawaii (lived in Virginia but was born in Alabama), will be moving back to Virginia in January, and am almost 21 years old. I have 3 dogs: a Miniature Pinscher, a German Shepherd/Black Lab Mix, and a Daschund/Chihuahua/Corgi/Fox Terrier mix. I'm currently close to 30 weeks pregnant with a little girl who is due at the end of October, but I also suffer from Degenerative Disc Disease and Arthritis. I was diagnosed with DDD when I was 16 (right before I finished my sophomore year of high school) and arthritis at 19 (a few months after moving to Hawaii and a month or two before I turned 20). I'm in daily pain, even with medicine, and have to force myself to get up and do little things around the house (like get myself food/drinks, let the dogs out, help with making dinner, etc.) Without medicine, my pain averages between a 6 and 7 (I've grown accustomed to the pain, somewhat, but will have to use the walls for support or have to get my husband to help me walk around), and with my medicine, my pain averages between a 3 and 4.

I've had multiple MRIs (around 3 or 4) since being diagnosed with DDD and was actually going through Physical Therapy before I was diagnosed because an orthopedic believed I had inflamed Facet Joints from having mononucleosis (a friend had it, drank from my drink, and I got it after drinking from them). I saw 3 different therapists who all said it was a disc, so that was how they treated me. With my first MRI, I was told that I had 2 herniated discs (L4/L5 & L5/S1) but L4/L5 was the worst and was pressing on the sciatic nerve. I had surgery for that and was told that I should be fine and wouldn't need medicine after I healed from the surgery. Well I was still in constant pain, although it wasn't as bad as it was before my first surgery. My senior year of high school rolled around, and I was out for a month for inflaming my back after picking up some boxes at the grocery store I worked at. A steroid pack helped, and I was back at school within 6 weeks or so of having hurt my back. The end of my senior year rolled around, and I was out once again only a steroid pack didn't help that time. I had a second MRI and was scheduled for my second surgery to take care of L5/S1. I was then told that I would need a double level fusion by the time I hit 30 years old, if not sooner.

I moved to Hawaii in 2012, after my husband got hurt during his deployment, and majorly inflamed my back that June/July by walking a few miles around the base we're on. I was put on Tramadol, Neurotin, Lidoderm Patches, and a muscle relaxer. The combination somewhat helped, but it got to where, by the time I was referred to pain management, I was up to 6 Tramadol a day. Before going to Pain Management, I did Physical Therapy for the third time, but it only made me feel worse by the time my appointment was over. I also had a 3rd MRI which didn't show any difference other than a bit more degeneration in my discs. Pain management got me in, and they kept me on all of the medicines but the muscle relaxer. I also had a steroid injection in November of 2012, and it helped for a few months, but I've been iffy on getting another one between the pregnancy and because the original neurosurgeon I saw in Virginia advised me against them (they sped up the degeneration progression in my grandmother and dad).

As of right now, the only medicines I'm on are Percocet. They took me off of everything else (that was for my back) due to my becoming pregnant. The obstetrician is actually the one treating my back right now since he can monitor my baby's growth and everything. I also use a TENS Unit, but it only helps so much. My prescription is 1-2 Percocets every 6 hours as needed for pain...I was to where I could do 1-2 every 12 hours, but because of a mess with the doctors, I went 3 weeks without anything (and the pain was HORRIBLE!), so I'm to where I'm having to do 1 every 6 hours otherwise I'm in horrible pain again.

I've actually been dealing with pain induced nightmares (haven't had nightmares in a few years other than nights I'm in really bad pain) as well as pain induced hallucinations (had one last week where I thought there were spiders crawling all over one of my dogs' cone that he has one due to an eye infection; I probably freaked him out because I started swatting at the cone when I thought I saw spiders). But my back pain leaves me to where I can barely cook, clean, etc. It honestly makes me feel worthless because my husband has to do the majority of the work around the house, which I hate because he deals with enough stress at work. If I try doing anything around the house, I'm in bed for a few days because of the pain and have to get him to help me out of bed or to help me even roll over from one side to another because it just hurts so bad to move.
29 Weeks, 5 Days Pregnant
Degenerative Disc Disease
Diagnosed @ 16, 1st Surgery @ 16, 2nd Surgery @ 18
Diagnosed at 19


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/20/2013 - 10:31 AM
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    One thing that I would strongly urge you not to do is spend your time laying down or not being active. All that serves to do is to make the muscles weaker and your endurance/tolerance to pain even less. You really need to be up and moving about, even just walking many many times per day. Short, multiple times a day walks, will not only increase your endurance but also help to help your body adjust and strengthen.
    DDD is a normal finding, anyone on the street is going to have some level of it if they are over the age of 18 or so. All that it means is that there is some drying of the discs as we get older. It happens to all of us and normally is not considered a finding of any significance, unless there is some other problem going on- herniated discs, etc, nerve impingement, or canal stenosis.
    The longer you are physically inactive, or minimizing your physical activity, the worse the pain will become due to the inactivity.
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