I am a new member with only two days or so under my belt but a long-time sufferer of the manifestations of DDD. I have lived without seeing a spine specialist for five years because they did not have much to offer me.A degenerating spine in which every lumbar and cerviical disc is involved is not all that treatable until something terrible happens.
The best thing I learned from previous doctors was the value of physical therapy. It is so easy to dismiss exercise when you are in pain and frightened of ending up in a wheelchair. Yet it gave me years of low-pain - not pain free- living. Pain was manageable. Very manageable and I learned how to behave so that I could get up the next day.
I adopted good self-talk (for people with degenerative problems):
"No, don 't dig that shrub out of the ground.". "No, your house does not have to be spotless." "No don't push through the pain; when it hurts, stop." "No, don't sit in front of the TV." "Yes, go exercise."
I have lived for many years with pain ebbing and flowing this way. Now I am in my 60's and, contrary to what I expected from my reading, the pain is much worse because the degeneration is much more advanced. More bone spurs, more radiculopathy, more nerve damage.
Here is the new question for me - how can I be an effective partner in my medical care when I must consult so many other people? How do I learn to trust doctors who don't agree with each other?
Example: My new spine specialist says in the near future the bone fragment in my spinal canal will have to be removed. My family doctor said, "You just jumped up on the examining table. You can't need surgery."
Of course, the spine specialist is looking right at an MRI and foretelling the future. I could see it,too. The family doctor did not have that slide show to consult.
Still, how can I be confident and educated without turning into a patient no one wants? (a big pain in the ***) What do doctors want in patients?
What is a good patient?
Does anyone else think about this? Does anyone have some wisdom here?
Sorry, not an easy question, I know.