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Severe DDD at 23

NatashaDolbyNNatashaDolby Posts: 2
edited 10/18/2014 - 5:28 PM in Lower Back Pain
For the last 2 years I had been seeing an orthopedic surgeon about my back. I was having sharp stabbing pains in my back, but was pregnant at the time, so they had to wait 5 months before they could do an MRI. The put me on Vicodin for those 5 months for the pain. When they were finally able to do an MRI they said I had DDD in every disc of my spine Along with hip bursitis and advanced osteoarthritis. First we tried Physical Therapy, Didn't help, in fact it made the pain worse. Then they did sacroiliac injections, again no relief. They tried steroid injections in my lower spine and it felt better for about 15 minutes right after, then the numbing stuff wore off and I was in even more severe pain. I lost 100 lbs to help my back and I still have the severe lower back pain. The surgeon said that I was too young for surgery and said I just needed to see a pain management specialist. I had been going to her every month for 2 years and my tolerance for the narcotics was very high. They put me on 60mg of morphine ER twice daily, and Oxycodone 10mg 4 times a day for break through pain. Before the morphine Iwas taking 35mg of Vicodin every 4 hours. I absolutely HATE the narcotics. They are controlling my life now. I want off them, but I don't want to be in pain. I tried to do detox from the meds and it was unbearable. The dr.s told me I couldn't go through detox because I was in too much pain. I went through 7 different dr.s all of which told me I was too young for surgery. "The road after surgery is so rough that we don't want to do it this early on you" was what they all said. I'm depressed all the time, the anxiety attacks from the pain are killing me. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm 24 and honestly can't imagine living my like like this. counting time till i can take narcotics to relieve me of enough pain so that it is at a 5 on the pain scale. I have NEVER had the pain go below a 4 even after the meds. I am miserable and don't know what to do anymore.They said the reason it started so young was because i was hyperflexable. They can't Fuse the discs because too many are affected.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi Natasha. My spine is a mess to & I've been through pregnancy & I'm raising a young family with unrelenting pain & the emotional roller-coaster that comes with it. It bloody hard isn't it? How many years have you been going through this? I'm nearly upto 9 years of 24/7 pain. Before then it came & went. I didn't want to take the narcotic meds either & took a lot of convincing by different docs that it was for the best. I've also detoxed on a few occasions but found it impossible to function with those pain levels. Unmanaged pain puts an incredible amount of stress on our bodies & minds...even 'managed' pain at our levels are brutal. When my pain spikes my vitals go through the roof.

    I've reached the point of acceptance most/some days. My life has become a routine of pain management. Hot epsom salt & airomatherapy baths followed by gentle stretches or massage. Doing chores. Relaxing with a hot water bottle & my prescription ketamine cream. Little walks with my kids. Laying with ice. Making dinner. More cream & heat!! It's become my life! To be honest my life isn't too bad!!! It took me a long time to reach this point. I'm on less meds with less pain than I was a few years ago even though my spine is deteriorating. It's not all the 'slippery slope' of more & more meds & more & more pain. Chronic pain is a journey with its highs & lows. I'm constantly trying to find new ways (or revisiting old ways) to chip away at my problems & pain.

    I know it's hard to believe but things do get better. Acceptance & banishing the depression & anxiety when they rear their ugly heads makes a huge difference not just to quality of life but also how we perceive our pain. I always get second & third opinions on everything! I have to be secure in my head that I'm doing everything I can & I'm doing on right things. I know how incredibly hard it is for you. I just wanted to say "I know & I'm sorry".
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • It's important to understand the root cause for your issue. Probably you are the best person who knows about your body. I suspect you have some nutrient deficiency and I would go to see a naturopath to analyse body chemistry. For instance I have had some severe back issues and it turns out that I am lack of Mg, Zn, Vitamin D/B and etc. Take specific supplements.

    Drink PLENTY of water

    Alkalize your body

    More importantly, try hydrotherapy with gentle spinal traction exercises. You have to do little bit of traction based exercises to ship nutrients into discs in order to heal them and make them healthy.
  • vizbukvvizbuk Posts: 2
    edited 10/21/2014 - 4:49 PM
    Hi Natasha

    I'm sorry you are in so much pain. You are not alone believe me. I suffer from DDD too.

    The problem with this condition is it causes damage and inflammation to the spinal attachments around each vertebral disc segment that are degenerated.

    Edited to remove medical advice/information

    To counteract this I do gentle spinal decompression , gentle spinal rocking and gentle core strengthening exercises.

    I bought a book recently called 'The Back Sufferers Bible' by Sarah Key. You might research it on the internet if interested.

    I am determined to fix myself. It will take time and and perseverance but the alternative is not an option.

    Hope this helps :)

  • Be really, really careful with traction & decompression particularly the machines at chiropractors. With herniations, arthritis & 'mess' it's best not to do anything like that unless it's cleared by a spine specialist (neuro etc) first.

    I have horrible arthritis (from a very young age) & truly believe that diet & suppliments can help a lot. If I don't take magnesium for a while my nerve pain increases & I get restless legs when trying to sleep. I'm a big believer in trying everything & anything that's safe. No ONE thing is ever going to take our pain away. I've been told by different people that because our discs don't have a blood supply there's not a lot we can take to 'heal' them.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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