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Too Young for this/Helpless

  First, I would like to say that I am so glad to no longer feel completely alone. I am a 26 year old mother of 2 and am so fed up with chronic pain limiting my life and robbing me of certain things. I should be able to keep up with my kids and play with them the way they want me to. I can barely pick them up and anytime I play with them, I pay for it with pain 10 times worse.

  I recently was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease/disc bulge. My doctor said that from my MRI my spine looks like one of an 80 year old. Ever since I was in middle school, I've suffered from terrible knee pain but my parents always said it was just growing pains. No. As I got older it got worse and more difficult to bare but I was afraid to see a doctor too. Big mistake. I have been to multiple types of doctors and just keep being referred to somewhere else with no help for pain. My knees look great in the MRI and I was so frustrated. Finally, a new PCP ordered xrays and other scans for my back and was shocked at the results.

  I have now been sent to physical therapy and have my first appointment at pain management this week. I was open minded and desperate for any kind of help or relief but physical therapy was a nightmare and I left there in tears and my pain since has escalated.

  What makes me feel so alone is when I try to explain my knee pain, everyone seems clueless and doctors just throw their hands up and say they don't know. Whether I'm sitting, standing, laying down, etc, I am in severe pain. The cold is unbearable and causes my knees to feel as if they are being pulled apart from behind my knee caps. I wake up often at night in excruciating pain and limp a lot..especially in the mornings.

  I have done tons of research online, tried supplements, home remedies, excercises, etc and the only slight relief I get is from heat and that is only for a few moments. My back pain was always there but dull and not as bad so I overlooked it possibly being the cause. I try to not let it control or define me and push myself to do most things I want to do. Especially for my kids but it has become so awful and depressing. All my hope is on this doctor I am seeing this week and I'm terrified that I may never get help. I welcome any advice that y'all may have.



  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 1,033

    Hi Lightninbug34,

    You are not alone indeed, my symptoms appeared in my early 20's, and with a lot of research, getting several opinions from some highly recommended medical professionals, I got answers. Since then I've had quite a few spine surgeries and fusions but I live with more confidence that I won't have a catastrophic spine failure and I can do most anything with few limitations. My first neurosurgeon said back in 2007, "you have the spine of an 80 year old man." That's a whole nuther story, presently I have the best medical team at one of the best medical facilities in the world. I couldn't be more lucky.

    Keep doing your research, don't stop until you get answers that you are comfortable with. We must be our own advocates for our health, nobody else is going to do it for us. You don't want health insurance to dictate your health for you.

    Physical therapy is required first, you may be sent for some spinal injections next, and at some point possibly to confer with an orthopedic or neurosurgeon. Again, get more than one opinion. It will help you make a more confident decision on what path you will take in this journey.

    I'm much older now but remember what it was like starting out at your age. It has taught me a lot, especially patience, something that wasn't in my vocabulary. Patience and persistence pays off in the end. If I you have any questions about my journey feel free to ask.

    Bet of luck to you, keep us posted here.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,531
    @Lightninbug34 @Ranger has some very words for you. I too had my initial spinal problems in my early 20's I had the first spinal lumbar surgery when I was 28 and now that I am 67, I've gad 8 Spinal Surgeries, 4 complete joint replacements, 1 reconstructive Achilles tendon and just recently a quadruple bypass heart surgery.

    Let me start by there is no such thing as age when it comes to your spine. Chronic pain does not discriminate regarding your age.

    I dont want to minimize anything, but Degenerative Disc Disease is still the most misunderstood of spinal alingments.
    Please read Degenerative Disc Disease Information Did they tell you what disc is bulged and to what extent? Many disc bulges that are identified as mild can be treated conservatively and there are chances of the bulge to go away. And with DDD, as it is the aging of our spine, so much can be managed through approved exercise programs and OTC NSAIDs. Only the more severe cases many need aggressive actions.

    Dont worry about the doctors statement "You spine looks like the one of an 80 year old" That is one of the most lines you hear from doctors if its true or not In fact that making that statement may be considered a compliment. A person who reached 80 had to be in relatively good health and shape. And perhaps they never had any type of spine problem.... So , in fact their spines will look pretty good overall. Now, take a 30 year old who has had some lumbar surgery, spinal stenosis and more, then I can see the doctor saying "Wow you have the spine of a 30 year old!"

    Do research become an semi-expert on the spine and the conditions you are being presented with. Learn about the various treatments many which may not include opioids or surgery. Please read The Blend This is not a cookbook , but I wrote that more as a concept of the various modules you can use in overall pain management.

    Many of us have had spinal problems when we were young and we are still plowing along. I have not had to give up all that much, instead I needed to learn modifications and alterations to what I was doing. Before I learned how to do that, I did have problems that I thought would be for a lifetime.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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