Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

18 with DDD, moderate stenosis, and 3 herniated discs, what do i do?

Grace44GGrace44 Posts: 18
I'm 18 and I have currently been on the couch and in bed for the past two weeks. I have DDD, moderate stenosis, and 3 herniated discs(L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1). This is my second time not being able to really do anything but lay down. When i stand i can barely stand for 5 minutes. I've been seeing the chiropractor, and it helped a lot the first time, but now I'm kinda at a stand still. The first time i was still in high school and it was during midterms so i couldn't not go to school and forced myself to deal with it, standing up every time the teacher wasn't talking and leaving class just to walk around the hallways because i couldn't even sit and eventually it got better, to the point i was completely pain free. Now I'm heading up to college in Boston(I'm currently in South Jersey) in August and i haven't even started packing because i can't do anything but lay.
Should i force myself to sit and stand? Should i inquire about pain meds stronger than advil? How do i get myself back to normal and stay that way?


  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Who provided your diagnosis? Before heading off to school you should consult a reputable Orthopeadic Surgeon or Neurologist to review your MRI ... Cat Scan .. X-Rays .... your symptoms ... etc.

    Stay away from Narcotic pain meds if at all possible .... Bad stuff ... NOT JUST A PARTY!

    One other question? .... Is this post trama? (accident)(auto)(fall)(other)

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • No, there was no real trauma, it was the beginning of basketball season when it happened the first time, i just woke up one day at my friends house from sleeping on the floor and when i went to get in my car, i could feel the pain all the way down my leg.

    The spine specialist provided my diagnosis, told me pretty much the only thing i can do if it happened again, which it has, is get an epidural, but then the chiropractor told me the other day to talk to my medical doctor about a steroid pack.

    I just want to be able to stand for more than 5 minutes or sit.

  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Was this "Spine Specialist" a Orthopedic Surgeon or Neurologist? Thats who you need to see. Steriods (Depo-medrol Dosepack) or even an epidural injection are not treating the cause of the pain, they are treating the symptoms... If you indeed have three heriniations ... then surgical intervention maybe needed. Make sure you are seeing the correct practitioner for the diagnosis and symptoms you are having. Spinal Manipulation maybe further progressing your problems ... I would avoid it.

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • i saw an orthopedic surgeon but he told me i shouldn't get surgery because it's multi level DDD, but you think i should stop seeing the chiropractor?
  • Hi Grace,

    I am 2 weeks post surgery for microdesectomy on L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1. I am doing much better. i started off just like you. I wasn't able to move, I took meds,didn't do anything long term. I went to the chiropractor, that worked for about a year. I had 3 epiderals, the 3rd didn't do a thing. I finally after 2 1/2 years of suffering decided to have surgery. I wish i didn't wait so long. I am no longer in any pain I am going back to work soon. I took 2 1/2 weeks off and will return full force on Monday. I have nerve discomfort but I can deal with that.
    When i first had my injury the orthopedic spine specialist said the worst thing to do is sit around. You back gets weak and you lose your range. You should take short walks, stretch a lot and do a lot of core strengthening. You will notice a difference once you regain your strength and retrain you back/muscles. Not moving is the worst because when you do have to move it hurts worse.
    Find a good specialist that you trust and go with what he says. Don't wait to long because your nerves get really irritated quickly and it takes time for them to heal.
    I wish I didn't wait so long, it's the best thing ever, I am in no pain.
    Good luck, I wish you well. Remember everybody is different and everyone's situation is a different, Everybody heals different and everyone has there own story good or bad. Take yours and don't get discouraged and develop your own thoughts.
  • I'm starting to consider surgery since i am young, glad to hear it helped you.
    I was reading through this site and found out you should only rest for up to 48 hours, i've been down for almost 2 weeks, so that's bad, and i started walking a little today, but after 3 minutes i feel like muscle is just gonna rip right of the bone.
    The chiropractor said he was on the couch for 5 weeks once, though.
    Thanks for responding.
  • Sorry that you are in this situation.It's cruel when you are only 18.Now about your options.i dealt with this crap for 10 years before I started thinking about surgery.This should be the last resort.Even thou you have 3 herniations(btw,have you had a MRI?),it doesn't necessarily mean that all of them are causing problems.There is a test called Discogram that can pretty much pin point the culprit/s.Talk to your doc about Medrol Pack or Prednisone course.These are steroid meds.I've taken them 4 times.Worked every time.You can try Epidural injections,too.They have somewhat of success.Then comes Physical Therapy.How much Advil are you taking?For back and leg pain doc's usually prescribe 3x800mg/day along with muscle relaxant so,you don't feel like you muscle is ripping right of the bone.If you are in severe pain,it's OK to take pain meds, if you doc has given you some.
    All I'm trying to say is,try conservative treatments.If they don't work,then consider surgery.
    Hope that helps a little.If you need more info or experience shared,feel free to PM.I'll be glad to help.Hope you feel better.

    Cheers,G. 8)
  • The less meds the better. The doctors will give you almost anything for medication, but ultimately you know your own body and they will only work for so long.Yes try conservative things first. Medication just masked the underline things. Its easy to get hooked, you are young and don't need that. Steroids only help for inflammation but the minute you stop the inflammation will come back if you haven't taken care of the situation. Been there done that. They also make you hungry and thirsty, you tend to gain weight on them to, which isn't helpful. The more you move the less your will feel that ripping feeling. I have been there. Just take it slow don't do to much. Short spurts more often is better than long spurts and then down for hours. I would take 20 5 minute walks verse 1 20 minute walk if it hurts you. Core strengthening is good. You can never go wrong with it. Its helpful in many different situations and they are small movements that don't hurt that much, you can even do them in bed. Good luck, find a good doctor, strengthen yourself, it will help you IF you decide surgery is the way for you.
  • Hey

    Thanks for your replies, they really help. It just bothers me that my chiropractor told me i could be on the couch up to five weeks when all the information i've read says you shouldn't rest for more than 48 hours.
    I will defiantly be taking your advise about 5 minute walks and core strengthening, i just need to find the right exercises.
    Part of my problem might be that i haven't been taking any pain medications, i stopped taking advil because i just didn't feel like it was doing anything.

    Yeah, i've had an MRI and we brought it to the spine specialist, that my mom said is the best in my area(south jersey), and she just reminded that he said they can't really do surgery because there is no real way to attack the problem or what not? They can't get to it, or something along those lines.

    Thanks for the advise.
  • Slow and steady. Even after surgery they get you up and make you walk. Pain or no pain you have to push through. The more you move the easier it will become. When I get out of bed being post surgery, I know turning on my side will hurt, but I just do it knowing it will hurt but it will go away when I sit up, its knowing your pain and how to deal with it. But not doing it because you know it will hurt you will never get you through it. I would find a spine specialist. With technology these days, there is always something they can do. They might not fix you 100% but they should be able to relieve part of your pain. Try an epidural or PT. Be careful taking advil, it will tear your stomach if you take it to much. I tend not to take anything if its not helping, why put it in my body. I will try a new medicine for at least a good 2 weeks. Sometimes it takes awhile for them to kick in, but after that if I feel no improvement than I would stop it. Some meds work better for different people. I am on Lyrica, my friend was on it and says it did nothing for her, she stopped taking it. if I don't take it than my nerves go crazy. Just be careful and don't get caught up on taking to many. I hate taking meds, I forget all the time until my body really tells me then I remember. Don't give up or get discouraged, there is something out there that will help you, you are young and will heal fast, its just the matter of finding it. Do your research, go to the doctor with all your questions written down so you don't forget. I went with a page and my doctor went through each one with me, most was from the internet and what if questions. Don't be afraid to ask!
  • My name is Amanda. I am 27 years old, and have similar problems in my back as yours. I had a lot of problems in High School, and it would come and go since then. Since last December the pain has been terrible. I finally got an MRI in June, and am FINALLY on the right path!

    Let me just say from experience, that if you feel you need to try a stronger med, in order to - well - move... (and I know how that feels) By all means ask your doctor. They probably wont have a problem with it, AS LONG AS IT'S FOR SHORT TERM USE. Most primary physicians aren't comfortable treating pain for longer than a month or two... then its off to specialists for treatment. I would also like to say, I have tried every pain med from A-Z. Yes, they have helped... as in I can move... but I was, and am, still in a lot of pain.

    The medication I am on now worked great for a few weeks. There was still pain and I put up with terrible side affects, but I felt better than I had in months. I have been taking this med for about a month and a half, and I believe it has stopped working all together. About two weeks ago, I couldn't even move without excruciating pain. I am going to see my neurologist on friday, and discuss stopping this med, since I believe it is no longer working. No point in taking medication that isn't helping right?

    One last thing... you mentioned going to college in Boston? I live in Massachusetts, and from what I have heard, Boston has some of the best doctors and hospitals in the country. Hopefully, you can get the proper treatment here, and be free of pain!! Feel free to PM me anytime, if you have any questions, or if you just want to chat =)

    Good Luck to you,
  • So while i was actually at the chiropractors today my check blew off the counter and i bent down to pick it up, and i felt something tweak in my back, but it doesn't effect my sciatic, it's higher up, but i'm having a hard time walking and like "twisting" what did i do?
  • If it doesn't worsen the sciatic pain,it could be a muscle spasm.Those could be very painful.Having 3 herniated discs should keep you away from chiropractors.That's just my opinion but this kind of manipulation could do more harm than good.
    One more thing.From now on you should be very careful about how you pick up things from the floor,should avoid twisting too much,avoid bending.

    Hope you feel better!G.
  • I think you need to see a good neurologist. Possibly need a new MRI if yours are more than a year old. I don't understand why a spine dr would tell you they can't do anything. You mention you have DDD. Who gave you that diagnosis? There are a lot of advances in the treatment of spinal issues. I think you should re-visit this issue. As the above posters say, medications help with the pain, they don't treat the original problem. A muscle relaxer should help with the spasms from walking, but you do need to be moving, especially at your age. I'm sorry you are having this much pain. Life just doesn't seem fair sometimes. Good luck, and keep posting.
  • Annoying I know, but the problem now is my left lower back, like cramps especially when i'm laying on my back then go to my side, cramps, then to my stomach, cramps. Or when i bend down, cramps. Or try to sit up, cramps.

    And i still am having a hard time sitting down for a medium/long period of time.

    Any one have any advise or ideas?
  • Have you seen a gastric doctor yet?
  • no i haven't, but i don't understand how a gastric doctor will help, what can they do?
  • If your having stomach cramps they might help you find out if you are having problems with your stomach,you could ask your doctor...
  • thank you for replying, i'm sorry i was vague, but my cramps are in my lower left back, like the muscle that circles kinda around my hip and in my gluts.

    but thanks for replying :)
  • Grace:

    I think it's time for you to see a neurologist and start from scratch to get a proper diagnosis. Personally, I have dealt with terrible chronic pain for 14 years now as a result of a tumor in my spine. We did surgery on that and then the pain has led me down a path I hope you can avoid at your age. First and foremost, I would not go back to the chiropractor......they are certainly good for what they do, but it's time to see someone else. If I had continued to see one, my tumor would have killed me because it didn't show up in simple X-rays, just an MRI. Secondly, and this is in contrast to what everyone else is telling you, if you need stronger medications to deal with the pain, by all means TAKE THEM. I know the other comments are meant to warn you about addiction, but remember, there's a HUGE difference between "addiction" and "DEPENDENCE". Do I depend on my meds to help me? Absolutely. Can I function without them? Simply, no. My life depends on those meds (which are given to me by my pain specialist) to have any life at all. So, before you go off to college, find a good neurologist, get the proper diagnosis and start from there. I sincerely hope and pray that your pain journey will be a short one.
    Bless You.

    PS The person who wrote about nerve pain, WHAT DO YOU DO to get relief??
    This is a new problem for me.
  • Hi Gracie: I have been following your activity and the response and I have to agree with everyone that you need to stop going to the Chiro, see a good neurologist that specialized in conditions like yours, start working with a good pain specialist that is not afraid to try new things. Not the type that just pushes pills on you. If all this fails, then surgery is the only solution but I hesitate any type of fusion surgery at your age. There are many different types of minimally invasive procedures available today and more coming on every year. Relieving the compression on the nerve may be the solution and that can be accomplished without major surgery if you see the right pain person or surgeon. Unfortunately many surgeons take the path of least resistance and that pays them the most money. Find a pain person or surgeon that will put in the time to work with you rather than just jump to major surgery. Try alternatives first. You are too young to be stuck with a triple fusion for the rest of your life if you can avoid it. I have a very similar condtion as your but am 59 years old and believe me waiting is not the solution. I am scheduled for a minimally invasive treatment called TruFuse (but there are many others)soon, which should help. Check out TruFuse.com and do your research but please do yourself a favor an get away from the Chiro and start working with specialists that care. It may take time to find the right doctors and pain people but you will know fairly quickly if they match your personality and show empathy for your condition. Good luck and I hope you start going down the right, not wrong, path soon.

  • Hi Grace:

    I am sorry so for what you are going through at such a young age. I started young too. :( You need to deal with this quickly because back and nerve issues may become chronic if not addressed properly. Here are some things that I have tried that helped:

    1. Go to a physical therapist. They will show you what exercises are safe for you. They will also educate you on proper body mechanics and posture which is key to preventing reinjury.
    2. Avoid sitting as much as possible.
    3. Do not bend forward - squat to get something off the floor or if the item is small, quick it to wall and use the wall for support.
    4. Do not lift anything more than a few pounds during a flare.
    5. My doctor told me to avoid car trips over 15 minutes.
    6. I had better luck with neurosurgeons/neurologists (as opposed to orthopedists.)
    7. Walking is good for the back - even if it hurts, try to walk around as much as you can tolerate.
    8. I joined a fitness center and took water therapy classes in a therapy pool. When I improved, I progressed to water aerobics classes in the lap pool. The water classes helped me IMMENSELY and were key in my recovery. (Everything else pretty much aggravated my back and sciatica.)
    9. Try ice packs if your back is inflammed. Usually, there is inflammation associated with sciatica. Also, anti-inflammatories help with inflammation. You may need prescription strength anti-inflammatories. (Take with food as this can wreck havoc on your stomach.)
    10. I would avoid chiropractors when sciatica is present. It may be too aggressive and worsen your condition.
    11. Hot showers or hot packs can help with muscle spasms, which also tends to occur with back problems. However, if you are very inflammed, I would advise getting the inflammation down first. Sometimes doctors and physical therapists will have you alternate between ice and heat.
    12. Avoid standing in one spot for too long - pace back and forth instead. Avoid any static postures for that matter as this loads the spine like crazy.
    13. Prone press ups/extension exercises are specifically used for disk and sciatica problems. Your physical therapist can show you the proper way to perform them.
    14. Even sleeping posture is important - I sleep on my side with a big body pillow between my knees and hugged towards my upper body. This stops me from twisting. I also sleep with a cervical neck pillow (temperpudic). Pillows have helped my night pain greatly.
    15. Do not twist - move your whole body in the direction you want to go.
    16. Try not to lean forward. When I eat, I pick up the plate to my mouth, instead of leaning forward to put the food in my mouth. When I was really bad, I ate standing up.
    17. When sitting, use a lumbar pillow and make sure you sit up straight.
    18. If you need help, ask for it. (My parents helped me immensely - especially my mother.)
    19. Surgery is the VERY last resort. I also had multi-level degenerative disk disease with 3 disk herniations L3-S1. The more levels/disks that are a problem, the higher the rate of surgery failure. It's not to say that surgery is not a good thing - it can be, but all conservative methods should be employed first.
    20. Once you feel better, keep doing the above as it will prevent reoccurences.

    Sorry this is so long - but because of the trickiness of treating spinal problems, the whole lifestyle must be addressed in a wholistic manner. Good Luck! Lisa in NJ
  • **Edited**

    artificial disc replacement ADR
    S1 L5 disc was worn in so much pain I could not walk had disc replacement after 6 months fine.
    E mail MRI scans to him for diagnosis the three surgeons are best in the world.
    good luck

    Doctors name and contact details removed by forum Moderator (paulgla). We do not permit publishing specific doctor's or institution names and contact details
  • Thanks everyone for replying.

    I've had a sciatica earlier this year, and it was gone relatively soon, but i never had the problems i'm having now then.

    Sitting is impossible, but if i lean on my left side which is the side of my sciatica it doesn't hurt as much, it's weird, but i'm trying to force myself to sit longer because i leave for school in two weeks and need to sit through classes.

    I find that walking hurts a little in the morning but if i keep myself walking there is no pain after a while.

    But the muscle cramps in my lower back are what kills me, like the muscle rips my body forward sometimes, or trying to go from my stomach to my back, cramps.

    It's sad but i can't even remember what it feels like to sit through a movie, and i want to see Dark Knight and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants so bad!

    Thanks for all the advise, i'll keep you guys posted. :)))
  • So, i've gotten worse, and i leave next weekend.

    Current Problem: I can't stand up straight, i stand hunched over to the right, my "good" side. I can't lay down on a flat surface at all, in any position. I believe it's a muscle spasm caused by a pinched nerve, the family doctor gave me ibuprofen 800mg and flexural and they don't really do anything for me.

    I try to stretch but i can't get into a position to actually stretch the muscle with out it cramping up into a ridiculous pain.

    I plan to make an appointment with a neurologist monday for asap.

    What do i do to make this go away in 7 days when I'm due in Boston?

    Does a cortisone shot work for this? what is the success rate for relief with them?
  • wow Im sorry to see you in pain! I to was 18 whan i had my surgery im 30 now my whole 20s was full of pain but i brought tHAT on myself after working as a painter for 9 years
    please dont let the chiro adjust you anymore!!

    my low back was all that was wrong 2 years after surgery my mid back started to hurt still have no exact answer as to why but i have a fealing it was from the chiro adjustments that did not need to be done! good luck i think if i took it easy on myself after surgery id be in way better shape. I killed myself working in construction

    the dumbest thing i have ever done in my life!!
    i wish i could go back and start over.
  • I sent you a private messege, but basically I was wondering if your parents have back problems. I've been fighting a workers comp. issue for over a year now I've had my attorney tell me about a study called the "Twins Study". Which basically says that our degenerative disc problems are hereditary.

    I drive a stand up forklift that delivers me whole body vibrations and this new study is trying to change the rules on us workers by saying our problem isn't work related, but is genetic. This is why I'm asking about your parents.

    You are a rare case, being that you are so young. But my guess is your height and how your body grew too fast. My daughter is tall also and she has feet problems.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    Doctors suck. Many don't have the knowledge you need. Good luck.
  • I agree that Doctors suck. Many don't have the knowledge you need.
    I think they are trying to take the easy route. They dont want to deal with anything complicated & sometimes shuffle you off to another Doctor to get you off their hands. I am 46yrs old & had an anterior cervical discectomy C4C5C6 with fusion (weeks now & wish I had kept on searching before making this drastic decision. I was told that my shoulder injury which made my left arm weak would be paralyzed if I didnt have surgery.
    was due to spinal stenosis. Guess what? Half the world has spinal stenosis!
    2 months later my shoulder is still the same. I believe that intense physical therapy would have been the best solution. I've seen the best Drs. They all suck,
    I am now on my 4th neurologist & 5th shoulder specialist.What I'm trying to say is- Please do your homework before jumping into anything
  • welcome to this bunch of pain people....just curious...did you have any other symptoms beside bad shoulder before your surgery?.....pete
Sign In or Register to comment.