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Degenerative disc disease

edited 04/04/2015 - 11:01 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hi everyone,

This is my first time here. I suffer from Degenerative disc disease at L4S1. I have suffered for 12 years now. Back in 2006 I went to my pain management doctor for the first time. I was put on pain meds, and given steroid injections but continued to suffer so I just quit going in 2008. I started back in January 2015. In October of 2014 I saw a neuro- spine doctor. He wants to exaust all options before surgery. He said I'm going to have to have it in maybe 2 years. Anyway, I take pain meds, doctor will not do steroids injections anymore and I am now wearing a DDS brace ($600 that my insurance refused to pay. Its South Carolina state employee insurance by the way). I still hurt with the brace and pain meds and continue to have severe flar ups. Pain so bad I just want to die or be put in a medical comma. PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME. Is there anything I can do to get relief Im VERY scared of the thought of spinal fusion.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • There are a lot of different treatments available that can make life more tolerable. You and your Dr have to find which ones work for you.

    What meds are you taking now? Most of us chronic pain patients take (or have available when needed) an extended release med, a breakthrough med, so.etching for nerve pain, and a muscle relaxer. Some of has still get the occasional injection.

    My regimen is the Butrans 7 day patch, Tramadol daily as needed, Baclofen muscle relaxer, and gabapentin for nerve pain when all else fails. I recently researched Topomax to take the place of gabapentin.

    Work with your Dr. What about physical therapy? Review your diet, habits, activites. There is a lot that goes into living with chronic pain. And if and when the day comes for surgery, learn all you can.
  • kevin118kkevin118 Posts: 2
    edited 05/26/2015 - 8:58 AM
    Need help with my DDD tryd all meds over 3 years please help me

    Welcome to Spine-Health

    It would be very helpful if you could provide us with more details. So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong,

    Here are some questions that you should answer:

    • - When did this first start?
      - Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
      - What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)
      - What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?
      - What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)
      - What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)
      - Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
      - Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
      - What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

    Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
    of your situation and make it easier to respond.

    Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

    Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
    Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
    As such, no member is permitted to provide

    • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
      - Medical advice of any kind
      - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

    What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
    You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

    It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are
    I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

    Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways its like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then its up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

    Specific comments :

    Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

    --- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator :
  • It took me six months of agony, £1100 GBP of my own money and a hell of a lot of determination to get correct diagnosis and treatment. Never give up on yourself and keep asking the doctors, "what else can you do to find the problem."

    I've posted my blog on my profile. Have a read. I got there in the end, thanks to my own tenacity.

    L5-S1 herniation. Both knee meniscus tear. L4-5 herniation - 2 x nerve block injections. L4-5 discectomy. L1-2 nerve block injection. L4-5 reherniation - TLIF fusion. 2016: L1-2 and L5-S1 retrolistheses and multiple facet joint degeneration.
  • 3 months after a tlif fusion now have mri evidence of drying out and disc bulges of l3 s1 . What happens now. Pain still constant lucky I don't get withdrawal from meds .lucky but I just want to be med and pain free. This seems unlikely . More meds more pain. Annoying , not much of a life . It's been a while since I was at a tolerable pain level. Unfortunately still have a long road, I do exercise . Doing nothing hurts more. Disability means a life of poverty. So saying prayers and meditating . Shame I used to play semi pro baseball. Not a fun life even though I'm a funny positive person. People just think you're lazy just cause they see you upright. Sad.
    James rinaldi
  • rinoguy said:
    3 months after a tlif fusion now have mri evidence of drying out and disc bulges of l3 s1 . What happens now. Pain still constant lucky I don't get withdrawal from meds .lucky but I just want to be med and pain free. This seems unlikely . More meds more pain. Annoying , not much of a life . It's been a while since I was at a tolerable pain level. Unfortunately still have a long road, I do exercise . Doing nothing hurts more. Disability means a life of poverty. So saying prayers and meditating . Shame I used to play semi pro baseball. Not a fun life even though I'm a funny positive person. People just think you're lazy just cause they see you upright. Sad.

    I hear you James. Unfortunately I have very little "funny positive" to share at this moment. Be strong and use meds when a "pain break" is needed.
    All the best.

    May 13, 2015. L4/L5
    2X bilateral lam
    2X s. process removed
    2X lumbar sten
    1X discotomy
    1X synovial cystectomy
    4X f. joint modifications
    4X foramenotomies
    1X spondylolisthesis
    1X bilateral post. Llumbar fusion
    1X instrumented fixation
  • caroline2caroline2 Posts: 92
    edited 07/31/2015 - 9:41 AM
    and I'm 77 soon. Lower back issues came on at 18 and I've gotten thru my life with chiro work, PT, massage, exercise and now HOPING the Serrapeptase I'm now taking with help a LOT with pain and inflammation. I stretch every day,, stretch and use ice/heat as needed....have not back back surgeries but dealing with a messy hip replacement. I wear back support, knee support and foot/ankle support.....thinking as the Serrapeptase "kicks in" the supports will be less needed.


    Before you try any supplement, herb, over the counter item, exercise program, mechanical aid, brace, etc always consult with your doctor to make sure you get their approval.
    Some of these products may be very effective, but no two individuals or medical conditions are alike. What works for one, may cause trouble for another..

    Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator

    Bodywide OA, Fibro and complications from Hip Replacement.
  • I have had back issues stemming back from 2002. It wasn't until 2 years ago that one of my many doctors over the past decade called it what it really is. It seems that doctors aren't real comfortable giving that diagnosis as it gives a patient loss of hope. Because as much pain as you are in now, it can get worse as your spine deteriorates some more. Originally I had 2 disc problems. Now, 15 years later I have 8 ruptures. Spinal fusion seems to be the road the doctors are headed. But it'll be a multi-tiered fusion. L2-S1 are all shot. I'm not looking forward to the surgery but am looking forward to losing the sciatic pain.
    When you have this issue, everything becomes a compromise. You have to be willing to make those compromises in order to find relief. Most of us don't WANT to take all the pills, but you HAVE to. Fusion pain from my understanding is excruciating, but you are willing to just to resolve the sciatic pain. The best you can do is make sure you are involved in your own treatment and not let the doctor dictate the terms. Stay educated. Its your body in the end so you're the one who has to live with the actions you agree to. Make sure you are making those choices. And keep the faith. Always keep the faith in yourself and your support system.
    Herniations T3/T4, T4/T/5, T5/T6, T6/T7
    L2/L3, L3/L4, L4/L5, L5/S1
    Surgery to correct in 2005, reinjured 2012
    Zero stability or movement in base of spine. Impingement on both sides of spine, with varying pain/numbness on both sides.
  • edited 10/17/2015 - 10:30 AM
    I am 71 and am recovering from my 8th spine fusion, 6 weeks ago. I am fused from T9 all the way down to my sacro. Not all 1 surgery. First, L3/4 done in 1977 after paralysis from a ruptured disc which then traveled and damaged every other disc in my back. 1991 did L4/5/6. Then 2 discs in my neck, then 2 more levels in my spine, continuing every 4 to 6 years until 9/3/2015 and 3 levels at T11,T10, T9. I have met people who have had wonderful outcomes, like me, from their surgeries and those who have had terrible outcomes, or "failed surgeries." Bottom line seems to be for a good outcome get the best surgeons (2 of them) possible, by asking for referrals and asking their staff if they would use that doctor. Get a second opinion and even a third opinion; pay for them yourself in the long run that will be cheaper. If you are over weight - Lose the Weight. Even 5 pounds can make a difference. Then, remember, if you have done your homework and gotten the best surgeon you can find, the pain afterwards will not be as bad as what you have now. It may be excruciating, but every day it will get lesser whereas now there is now foreseeable end to your pain. Your goal is to NOT be in a wheelchair the rest of your life. Not to never have pain, that can not be promised nor delivered. Take pain medication for the pain; go to a pain specialist, they can help you stay as much out of pain as possible. I am telling you what I learned over 38 years. Believe me.
    Still Walking
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