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Hi everybody, I am a new member!

My name is Rocky. I am 51yo married woman. I am as active as I can be. I enjoy kayaking, camping, internet browsing/shopping and spending time with my friends. I used to be very active in Girl Scouts, 16 years, Boy Scouts/Venture crew, ran a concession stand for many years. My kids were always very active so my family and I always kept real busy.

I am very fortunate to be married to a man who supports me 100% and always has. My two kids have always been a great help to me also. I consider myself very, very fortunate to have God firs in my life, family and friends who all get me through some pretty tough days.

I have had chronic low back pain since my first pregnancy back in 1990. Giving birth to my daughter caused a couple of herniated discs, fractured tailbone and sacral pain. I have had just about every injection there is, several procedures and five years a go, spinal fusion. My condition has deteriorated to the point where I began disability through SSI since last October.
I have had to give up many of the activities that I once enjoyed. I try to keep active, I keep my weight under control and my Christian faith helps me to count my blessings and be thankful for everything in my life.Things could be a whole lot worse, right?

I started taking narcotics in the year 2000. I have tried everything at least once. Pain meds, in spite of my small 145 pound body, don't work well for me. My current status is that I have Degenerative Disc Disease, including dehydrated discs, shrunken discs, bone spurs, arthritis and scar tissue.

I recently took a genetic test to find out if the reason medications don't work for me is due to a high metabolism. Maybe my meds run their course too quickly. Also, a new diagnosis called Hyperalgesia Syndrome. Still doing research on this but it can be caused by being on opioids too long or be connected to this high metabolism thing.

Has anyone here ever had these kinds of issues?


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 09/05/2014 - 5:03 AM
    Welcome to Spine Health.......DDD and dehydrated discs and shrunken discs are all the same thing. It is natural part of the aging process in human beings. Everyone on the planet is going to have some form of DDD in their spines as they get older than 21-25 years old. The discs don't have their own hydration system, so over decades, as we get older, they loose a tiny bit of their hydration and thus wind up getting a bit smaller ( shrunken) over these decades. It is normally not considered a finding of significance, but it is listed on MRI's because it is an anatomical finding.
    In some few cases, DDD can be more advanced for someone's age than normally it would be, and can result in some pinching of a nerve or other contact with other structures in the spine, and can cause pain if it is more advanced than it should be.


    Arthritis is also a by product of aging, and wear and tear on our spines. This is also a fairly common finding on MRI for someone your age ( my age also). The best medications for treating arthritis are usually anti inflammatory medications for those days when the pain flares.


    Hyperalgesia simply means that no matter the amount of medications you take, you still experience worsening pain and it is has occurred that the use of pain medications can actually cause more pain in some people. It appears that this is something that your doctors are leaning toward in your case. Since you have gotten no substantial benefit from the different medications, they believe that it may be causing you to experience more pain. The best solution is then to take you off pain medications, and use other modalities to manage the pain and flares , physical and aqua therapy, injections, TENS, regular excercise ( which is best for both conditions you have), stretching, and possibly the use of alternative measures to manage the pain flares.
    People often claim that they have a high or fast metabolism, but unless you have had medical testing done to confirm that, it really doesn't explain why the medications haven't worked. Your metabolism has to do with how fast your body processes foods, and nutrients, weight, etc.
  • Hey Rocky! Your situation seems really hard for you. I'm so sorry. Is your fusion considered 'failed' or is it further damage that's causing your pain? What kind of "Genetic Testing" did you have? There is a test which shows how you metabolize meds. It will show which meds (if any) would work best for you. Just saying you have a high metabolism doesn't really explain your problems...you would just need strength or frequency adjustments. I was told that I have a fast metabolism & they prescribed every 8 hours rather than 12 etc.
    Have you tried all the different nerve meds? Maybe your pain is more nerve based.

    Does anyone know if hyperalgesia is believed to be something that certain patients just have or is it something that could happen to anyone after long-term narcotic use? Is it something that would go away if a patient stopped taking meds for a while? I mean tolerance can be delt with by switching meds or coming off long enough for your body to adjust & become 'clean' again. Is hyperalgesia the same?
    I need to do some research. It's a word I'm hearing more frequently. I don't really know enough to offer any suggestions on it...

    I know you've lost a lot Rocky. I'm glad you have your faith & family to support you. It sounds like you've managed to keep a very positive attitude & that's so important. I've managed to adjust a lot of my hobbies so I can carry on with my pain. I know that art & kayaking are very different!! I hope you can find some new interests to keep your mind occupied. Finding something, anything to think about other than pain has helped tremendously with my mind/attitude & that's been half the battle for me.

    It's nice to 'meet' you Rocky. I hope to see you around on the forums. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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