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Any other young adults suffering from degenerative discs?

Harrydog1HHarrydog1 Posts: 4
edited 05/11/2015 - 6:15 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I just turned 24, my back problems began in April of 2013 with several degenerative discs in the lumbar. Laminectomy was performed for 2 large herniated discs at L4/L5 and L5/S1 in June of 2013. "Diagnosis" of Degenerative disc disease made shortly there after. Both discs reherniated in August/September of 2013, was referred to pain management clinic. Pain management looked at my post op mri and immediately sent me to a different surgeon. Had pain in legs consistent with a pinched siatic nerve, he wanted to schedule me the next week for a repeat discectomy of L4/5. I got multiple more opinions from every surgeon I was recommended over the next several months. I was told that what I really needed was a fusion for those levels but due to the lack of disc space from L2 down they had no stopping point and I'm too young to have that kind of surgery. Fast forward to May 2014 after being on narcotics for over a year... I see a surgeon my sister saw several years ago. He sends me in for diagnostic injections (I've already had multiple steriod injections, they just never help). He determines the pain is in fact coming from L4/5 region, and repeats discectomy at said level. I was alright for probably a month tops... went back to work did physical therapy. Go back in and tell him pain has returned but this time it's starting to hit my hips/pelvic area more so than legs. I get another mri... shows I have a pelvic tilt where left side is higher therefore putting more stress on right (most of my problems are right sided) also my degeneration has progressed to the point where I'll be looking at surgery MUCH sooner than I thought for that fusion. I am currently in pain management and have been getting RF treatments in my sacrum and lumbar. They help but nothing at all is long term my relief is so short lived it is making me ABSOLUTELY HOPELESS!! To top it off in November I began feeling a very brutal pain in between my shoulders as I have come to know as a bad disc. I was told by EVERYONE except my Pcp that I am way too young for a thoracic herniation so it was put off for about a month getting an mri... well.... I have a BADLY damaged T7/8. At the time of my mri the bones had been rubbing and the bottom of t7 was rigid with literally no space left. I have just in the last 2 weeks had this area RF'd and since then it has gotten significantly worse. My arms are going numb while laying flat on my back, ribs ache and get pins and needles feeling in stomach if I lay on either side. And I have had to pull my car over everytime I sneeze, yawn, or have to take a deep breath it hurts so bad into my back I can't even catch my breath lately. I was told these discs would fuse together naturally but can't find anything on how long it takes or anything and even with muscle relaxers and pain medication I am MISERABLE. Sorry this is all so long but I am just wondering if there is someone else around my age or even older who has experienced this and gotten some treatment that made it better?


  • Hi, Harrydog1, I am 23 and in a very similar situation. My pain started in January of 2011 in my throacic spine. After several months of being miserable and going to the chiropractor 3 times a week, figured out my t9-10 and t10-11 are both VERY degenerated. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can really do for your tspine unless it REALLLLYY herniates, from what i've been told. They definitely don't do anything surgical for DDD here. These will fuse naturally, mine are already about 50% fused on their own. Ive been told that the degenerating of the disc is the worst part and once they are gone it should feel much better. I have had those nerves blocked so as to not send pain signals anymore, which has significantly helped, but its not permanent, nor is it 100%. so i just have to stick it out for those. Back in October of last year my lower back freaked out just like when my tspine did. After amking a trip to the hospital and missing a week of work, we figured out one of my lumbar discs (l5-s1) is degenerative and protruding, and i also have osteoarthritis in l4-s1. between both areas, i have done about 6 montsh of physical therapy and countless other procedures. i also didnt have any relief from the ESI's or nerve blocks in my lumbar or facet injections for the arthritis. i ended up doing a discography to confirm that it IS my disc that is the problem. I am going to see a surgeon next week and plan to do a disc replacement. i take pain killers everyday until im "fixed." not that this helps, but you arent the only one. its rare; it was really rare when i was only 19years old and had thoracic damage. dont lose hope, thats the worst thing you can do. Ive been there, trust me. It took me going through doctor after doctor after doctor before i found one that was encouraging and did everything he could to help me (he was pain management). the surgeon i am seeing is in his office and works very closely with my PM dr. but anywho, dont lose hope. it WILL get better. it may take several years (i hope not) but it WILL get better.

    best of luck
  • Hi there mine is a little different I had an accident when I was 15 a piece of lead fell on me whilst I was tying up my shoelaces from about 80 ft I blacked out & was sent to hospital but wasn't given an mri so didn't know if I had damaged my thoracic spine. I went on to have 2 children at age 18 & 21 but after my 2nd pregnancy I started coughing & felt something pop in between my shoulder blades accompanied by excruciating pain so gp sent me for mri and discovered curve of the spine & depression of mid thorax. Been in pain ever since. Got pregnant again and experiencing chronic neck pain so I was having adjustments twice a week with a chiropractor this made me worse my neck swelled up and iv got tinnitus & lots of pain im not 32 and live in constant pain I have herniations from c3 -c7 spinal stenosis osteoarthritis & nerve impingement iv tried acupuncture, heat , ice , tens machine & ibuprofen morphine dihydrcodine.helps a little. I been asked to have steroid injections in my neck but im terrified of complications. What do you guys do for pain relief nothing helps very much for me good luck take care :-)
  • Hey I just wanted to ask if any of you have experienced difficulty with sex since you've had your DDD (I am particularly interested in what the men have to say but women if you have something to share I'm all ears).

    I am a 27 year old male (almost 28) who had an acute episode of herniated discs (L4-L5 and L5-S1) when I was 25, at which time I was unable to walk for a period of time, or sit etc etc. But gradually with physio and progressive degeneration of the disc the pain became managed and after almost 3 years after my initial injury I have been able to resume most of my old activities (I am very sporty by nature), albeit with reduced intensity and the need for supportive pain management with medication and frequent rest.

    However, I find that I have had very little confidence in my sex life. Today I have sciatica in both legs, and when I lay down I have muscle spasms in both legs. I can only stand in one place for about 10-20 minutes until I need to sit down, and sitting in one spot for beyond an hour can be a problem. When I am standing or in certain positions I feel like even if I am not experiencing acute pain my muscles can tighten up as sort of a protective reflex, or it is difficult for me to feel like I can just act naturally. At the time that I first had my injury I was actually in a long term relationship, and my partner was good and patient with me and we were able to have decent sex. With my current partner though I am finding it really difficult (maybe this is partly a communication issue) but I feel like my physical problems are starting to become psychological problems ...ex lack of confidence etc. As a man, the biggest turn off is feeling stressed to perform and I am starting to feel that. It is very discouraging, as I said, and I am only 27! Has anyone else experienced this? How did you deal with it and did it take you awhile to get over it? I've read some different websites that say just experiment with different positions, take meds before you start etc, but those are all very "official" sort of doctor advice sites that don't give you any insight into what it was actually like for someone living with the problems. Any insights you can share would really be appreciated. I am hopeful that I can get past this but it has been very stressful for me, especially early in relationship. Not a conversation that I want to have, that I might not be good at sex because of my chronic back pain. Part of the problem is I don't know what my limitations are, since it's been almost 3 years since I last had sex with my other partner, and I'm worried that my current partner won't be patient enough to wait and find out (we broke up twice already but she is back for the 3rd time).
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