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sudden symptoms

I am 23 years old, and I had what I would consider normal back pain. It would come and go, be here and there. I was in a car accident a couple of years ago, and had more back pain after that, but shook it off as normal. A little over a year ago I had a baby, during the epidural it took her numerous tries! She asked if I had a back injury, I said no. It sparked my curiosity but I had bigger things to deal with and again shook it off. About a month ago I started working out, trying to get back into shape. One night I noticed my leg was numb, just like that. I didn't do anything to injury my back.. And then I started noticing burning pain in my thigh, the sensation of pop corn popping under my thigh, sciatic pain, and the back ache. I went to the Dr, he gave me some medicine, told me to follow up in a month. Things got worse, I would be driving and my foot would go numb, my leg kept giving out on me. Oh the pain! I can not sit or stand in one position for more than 4 minutes with out getting searing stabbing pains and cramps in my legs. So I scheduled another appt. Had an MRI with contrast and an x ray done. The radiologist gave me my results right there. I have 7 bulging discs (from t2 to l5), ddd (which i believe is the same as the bulging discs?) and athritis at I believe at l4 and l5. I was dumbfounded! I haven't seen my doctor yet. But I am very anxious on some information. I don't want to go into my appt not know the right questions to ask. I feel as if I an too young to have arthritis, and with the symptoms. I'm worried I will be nearly bed riden at the age of 60.


  • DDD is a misnomer- the term is degenerative disc disease- which really is NOT a disease, it is simply a normal part of our human bodies getting older.....for the large majority of the population, you could send them for an MRI and you would find that almost all of the population if they are over the age of 18 or so, are going to show some finding of DDD on their images. It is simply a naturally occurring part of aging...the disc don't have their own supply to hydrate them so as we age, they very, very slowly start to loose some of their height and fluid. Radiologists will list any conditions that are found on the results of an imaging study but that does not mean that it is always serious or a reason to be concerned.
    A bulge in a disc can simply be positional- from the way you are laying or leaning during the time that the picture is being taken. It simply means that the disc lies a bit outside it's normal anatomical position at the time that the image was taken. A large bulge can be a bit different , if there is contact with a nerve or it's position is abutting the nerve, but those are rarely the case......again, it is usually a result of a minor broad based position of the disc at the time of the image.
    Many of the population are going to show some arthritis depending on the activities, and histories regarding how we used or have had injury to our spines....a diagnosis of arthritis is not the end of the world, and can usually be managed with some injections and oral NSAIDS to manage the flare ups of pain when they occur.
    The numbness is a reason to be concerned and should be evaluated by a board certified spine surgeon , who using the images you have had taken, can help come up with a treatment plan based on his findings and exam of you, and may or may not recommend surgery......usually, they start with the least invasive treatments first, physical therapy, injections, over the counter NSAID's and muscle relaxants to see if those things will help first. There is alink at the bottom of my post called the Step by Step Guide to getting treatment for Chronic Spine Pain. If you read it , it will help you to understand the steps to getting treatment and the different options available for you to get you back on your feet.

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