Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

How bad is this likely to get

Spinal problems have developed over the past four years. I am now a young 74 otherwise very healthy. I am most concerned re the apparently rapid worsening of my condition, particularly over the past two years. I've had all the xrays and two MRI's the first in 2011 and the second in August 2013. They show lateral recess stenosis in a number pf places in the lumbar region and central core stenosis in the area of L5. Also present is arthritis and DDD together with anterior osteophytes (Whatever they are). My specialist discussed the possibility of surgery and was not very enthusiastic about the possible outcome. Any surgery for my problems would apparently take more then 12 monthts to recover from and the possible benefit could not be sensibly evaluated. This was last October. I was passed back from the Spinal Unit to my GP who prescribed Neurontin and paracetamol. As this did not control the pain she just kept increasing the dose til the maximum was reached. This nibbled at the pain but I was still severely disabled and in a great deal of pain night and day. My personal waste management system was also seriously affected. I suggested patches but she refused these. The pain has now seriously affected my right hip, knee and the rest of the leg.
Mr Google suggests this could be sciatica caused by the stenosis. I can only gain some relief by raising my legs and I have purchased an adjustable bed which helps. I also have to use a wheelchair outdoors and a walker indoors. I can do virtually nothing. I have always been reasonably active and have worked as a volunteer local councillor for the past 16 years, something I am now forced to give up. My wife has been wonderful even though many of the things we did together we have had to give up.
How bad can this get is there more can be done to lessen the pain. I can handle the restriction on my life and the disability but I can't handle this level of pain.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,835
    I can not speak for any of your doctors, but I can understand their position regarding surgery. Any spinal surgery is an invasion of your body. Recovery times vary from person to person and from the type of surgery that was performed.
    As we get older, those recovery times take much longer and the eventual outcome may not be as bright as with someone younger.

    I had my spinal surgeries when I was younger (from 28 through 50). At 60, I went through my both total shoulder replacements and now have close to perfect shoulders. At 61, my total left hip replacement went ok, but recovery and physical therapy time took me longer. At 63, my total right hip replacement has been taking me much longer to recover from and I am at a point where it might be as good as it gets (and that is not where I would have hoped it to be)

    The point is at older ages, surgeons have to weigh that factor along with everything else. Degenerative Disc Disease, if you have only be feeling the impact of that recently, consider yourself almost lucky. Most people will show signs of DDD by the time they reach 30, its basically the aging of our spines. Osteophytes are bone spurs. When they become severe, surgeons would like to remove them. But that would generally occur when they are performing some spinal or joint surgery.

    Arthritis, again, as we get older, that becomes a bigger problem. A lot depends on the type of arthritis that you have.
    Rheumatoid Arthritis can be managed with medications, but still may be associated with pain and discomfort. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand has no cure. It can be managed with exercise and diet and with severe cases surgery.

    I started to develop osteoarthritis after I hit 50 and after those 7 spinal surgeries. Surgeries can be an accelerate for arthritis. My OA rapidly destroyed both shoulder and hip joints and has recently being breaking down my right knee.

    Sciatica is generally the result of irritation of the sciatic nerve. Read more about this in All about Sciatica

    John, How bad is this likely to get?, is a very difficult question to answer. There are so many variables that come into play with this. Your general health condition, diet habits, exercises, genetics, etc

    Personally, I realize what the longer term impacts of multiple spinal surgeries has taken and most recently what arthritis can do. My main defense against all the pain and discomfort is through exercise, diet control and relatively low dosages of pain medication, muscle relaxers and nerve medications.
    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
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 05/15/2014 - 3:43 AM
    I can only agree with Ron here, he has hit the nail on the head. I have had severe osteoarthritis since my early 30's. I could bounce back quickly from surgeries rather quickly but over the years it takes a bit longer. I am very physically active, still work hard at it but as I get older it is more difficult. Now at 57 and 6 weeks out of a major cervical/thoracic spine surgery I understand why doctors are hesitant about doing these types of surgery on friends of mine that are older. It is a very difficult recovery and if you can make their life easier to cope with without major invasive surgery it is much safer.

    Personally someone close to me had back problems but because of his age 87, the doctor decided it would not be in his best interest to have a laminectomy of his lumbar spine. This person was very inactive, overweight, and just not a good candidate for this type of or probably any type of surgery. He convinced the doctor to do the surgery signing off so the doctor would not be responsible despite his recommendations. The surgery went well, for the first few weeks he started doing very well. But as time went on other health problems arose. Cancer which had probably been with him pre-surgery flared and took him down within months. Was it because of the surgery? Maybe, maybe not, but maybe because our body's are trying to fight infection, mend, and do all it can to get back up to speed other organs suffer hence cancer can move faster if within the body.
    Try and get another opinion John, not only from one but maybe two other doctors, and then you may be more comfortable with your decision on which avenue to follow.
    Good luck to you, keep us posted on your journey towards pain relief.
  • I have to agree with Ron and Ranger.......spine surgery is no picnic, but the issues with the bladder and bowels are concerning...what you were told a year ago may not be applicable now, given the onset of those above mentioned issues.
    Osteophytes are bone spurs.....just so you know.
    I would consult with at least two other surgeons and see what they tell you.......no surgery is without it's risks but there is also your ability to function and comfort that has to come into play as well.
  • I hope you don't mind me asking.. Is it your choice not to take stronger meds to control your pain more? My Dads your age & lives in the UK, he recently moved & changed docs. Both of his recent docs have been in agreement that they would rather he took narcotics for pain than paracetamol. I know each case is different. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • I've been in pain for almost five years now with L5-S1 degeneration. After much research and experimentation, it would seem that the best medication for some types of chronic pain (if indeed not all) of this type benefits from treatment with both paracetamol as an ancilliar, and/or Ibuprofen along with whatever opiates your doctor deems fittomg/. I also take Gabapentin which helps with the nerve pain of sciatica which anti-inflammatories don't touch. I've been put on Buprenorphine patches (5mcg so far) for the last week, leaving m one less dihydrocodeine to take...it's at least slow release and helps with sleep even at that low dose. The doc said long term paracetamol use was not harmful if taken correctly. My tip is to keep the opiates as low as possible whilst taking all the supplementary meds available. Good luck John.
  • I agree tippe but since getting into his 70's my dads advice & treatment has changed. He's been treated for pain for over 45 years. Antiinflamatories are a complete 'No!' now & paracetamol/Tylenol is greatly restricted. His docs think that his (mild) narcotics are the best option.

    He's now actually suffering less pain than he has for those 45 years as I've posted before. Age has been good for him! ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
Sign In or Register to comment.