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Not sure what to do anymore! DDD in your 30's!

amcof3aamcof3 Posts: 2
edited 12/26/2015 - 8:39 PM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hi, I am new to the forum. I never knew I had Degenerative Disc Disease until I was in a car accident earlier this year. Since then, it has been a complete nightmare to say the least!!! Here is my story: I was hit from behind by a vehicle going way over the speed limit and reckless driving and my life has forever been changed. I had zero back problems until this accident. I went to the ER and had x-rays and they looked good, so I was told to follow up with my regular doctor in a week. I did this and continued to work through the pain and when I saw my doctor, she told me it was probably a very bad back sprain and gave me muscle relaxers and I was sent to physical therapy. The pt made me way worse and I left in tears almost every time. After a month of this, I was finally referred to an ortho surgeon. The ortho still at that time didn't seem to think it was that serious. I was given more muscle relaxers, pain killers, and was told to come back in 2 weeks. Then after 2 weeks, an MRI was ordered because I still wasn't better. My MRI showed protruding disc from T-6, T-7, T-8, and T-9. Also I had protruding disc at L4-S1 with degenerative changes at L4-S1 with facet arthropathy. I was told that my DDD was pre-existing and was exacerbated and pain was triggered by my auto accident. But, the ortho stated that my thoracic issues were a direct cause from the auto accident. Again, I was sent back to pt and was ordered epidural injections in my thoracic area to start. I did two of these and it helped a little with the wrap around pain and that's it, not much help at all. I had to stop pt because it caused my pain to be much worse. I am now scheduled to have an epidural injection in my lumbar spine in a week to see if that helps. I am not very optimistic at this point because nothing has really worked.

So, at this point I am ready to throw my hands up! I just don't know what to do anymore. I am in pain every single day now since this accident. I have lost my job of 15 years because my doctor put me out of work after my MRI results and I haven't worked in 6 months. There is no way I could continue working with my pain levels. I have applied for long term disability and am waiting to hear the word on that. If it's not approved, I don't know what I will do. My income is half of our household income and we are a family of 5. I have never had to deal with chronic pain like this in my life and I just don't know what to do. I feel like I am a totally different person now and I can't do anything like I used to. A simple trip to the grocery store, takes me hours to recover from. Going to my child's ballgames, take me hours to recover from. Doing simple chores around the house, takes me hours to recover from. I am on medication everyday, which I hate because I have never been one to like to take medicines!

I guess what I am looking for here is mainly a place for support and a place to vent. My family is as supportive as they can be, but they just don't understand how I feel and how pain now rules my life and everything that I do. I keep a good face on for my family even though I am in pain all the time, but this is getting harder and harder to do! Please tell me there is hope in dealing with this! I'm afraid surgery is down the road and I don't even want to think about that!

Thanks so much for listening! And I would love to hear any similar experiences!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SueM111SSueM111 Posts: 1
    edited 12/30/2015 - 4:03 AM
    Hi amcof3,

    Did the surgeon recommend surgery? I would never recommend surgery if it is not needed, however, if the nerve is compressed, surgery may be your best way to go. I was in pain for over a year from a disc herniation and was told to go to physical therapy. It wasn't until I ended up with foot drop that surgery was recommended to me and I can't tell you how glad I am now that I had that done!!! I thought it was the end of the world when they told me surgery was needed asap, however, the surgery alleviated the pain immediately after and I am as active now as I have ever been. Disc herniation surgeries are now minimally invasive, I went home the next day and was back to work in 4 weeks. I know your situation is different in that you have more than one area affected, however, if the surgery will alleviate the pressure on the nerve, then it is worth it before more damage is done.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
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  • amcof3aamcof3 Posts: 2
    edited 01/06/2016 - 7:19 AM
    I am going for a surgical consult next week! I am so scared!!! I had another epidural on my lumbar performed last week and it has given me a very small amount of relief from pain. And my mid pack is still killing me. I was basically told that at this point that I have failed all conservative therapies and that surgery is usually the next step but that the surgeon will decide what and if he can do anything. They are mainly concerned with my L4, L5, S1 area than my thoracic area at this point.
  • Hello,
    I can relate to your pain! I have many back issues at 34 - DDD at L2-L5, spondylosethesis at L5-S1, mild scoliosis, annular tears arthritis facet. After trying all conservative methods, I had PLIF on L5-S1 Nov 3 to fuse that level and hopefully improve pain/quality of life. Recovery from the surgery has been long. I am still in a lot of pain after 10 weeks, but hopeful for a successful result. Dr says all looks fine and different people recover at different paces - but he originally told me I'd be back at work in 2 weeks. I took about 4 weeks off, and now am at a reduced schedule. Good luck - I hope your surgeon appointment goes well!
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