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Need Some Advise

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I have been officially diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease. I started to have symptoms after picking a large tote and the pain seemed to get worse, and progressed to an unbearable state. I went to see a sports medicine doctor which did not take me seriously. Then in turn I went to see a chiropractor just grasping at straws. The chiropractor told me that he would not be able to do anything for me in the state that I am in now. He told me that I needed to go to the hospital right away. They gave me pain killers and steroids to help try to get my pain under control. After all of the poking a prodding I sought out an orthopedic doctor which prescribed me an MRI along with (3) epidural spinal block treatments every two weeks. My orthopedic doctor told me that if I am not feeling much better by the end of the week after the second treatment was administered then I would have to make an appointment to see him back for possible surgery. I had my MRI read and it shows that I have DDD in my L4 & L5 and was described to me as if someone has squashed my jelly donut. There are also signs of bone swelling just above my L4. My orthopedic surgeon has not yet to see the MRI but has reviewed the report. I am hoping that there is someone that is familiar with what I am going through and could help me with what I should expect when I see my orthopedic doctor next week. I have so much pain that I seem not to get rid of and I am not sure what to do. I can't live this way! I have two children that I home school. What are my options?


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,433

    for a spine-health site introduction, click on :

    welcome to spine-health

    if you have any questions, feel free to contact (pm) any one of the moderators here priestess , bruce , paulgla, dilauro

    the spine-health web site offers so much more than these member forums.
    check the various tabs at the top of the spine-health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message

    let me start off by saying that ddd is one of the most common conditions and also one of the most mis-understood.
    ddd is a condition that almost every person will have at some point in their lives. just like our hair turning gray, ddd is the simple aging process of our spines.
    ddd can happen at very early ages. surgery and trauma are two situations in which ddd can happen sooner and more aggressive than in normal cases.
    the good news is that most ddd cases do not require surgery and are managed with nsaids and through exercise. very rarely does ddd require surgery.
    now, the only thing that does sound alarming is when you mentioned that they viewed your l4/l5 as a smashed jelly doughnut. when i hear that condition, it is normally associated with disc related problems. another widely and misunderstood term is bulging, slipped and herniated disc.
    when the disc material between vertebrates starts to ooze out, some articles will refer to it as a smashed jelly doughnut. when its at that condition, there could also be
    nerve impingement, which in turn can cause sciatic and nerve damage.
    i strongly suggest that you review your total mri report with your doctor to identify what is your exact problem and what are the options
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. for one thing i would consider a second opinion. surgery is a serious, no turning back decision. the more qualified opinions you have the better. DDD is very common especially with age and surgery isn't always the solution. you may need to try some conserative treatments first. your doctor will be able to give you some concrete answers. good luck and relax until you talk to your doctor!! Jenny :)
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  • Does anyone have an opinon or comment on having cervical spine fushion performed by a Neurosurgeon vs an Orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine surgery.

    I need a spinal fusion of the C6-7 and C3-4. A local NS that I saw, said that I had 40% compression on the spinal cord and that my situation was critical. I do not have faith in this NS but have verified that his diagnosis is correct. I am trying to find a competent NS and one has been recommended by a member of this forum. However, because this NS is in such demand it would be two months before I could see him. Based on my conversation with his nurse, I get the impression that my condition and the required surgery is somewhat routine and they prefer to have their Ortho Dr's handle these cases with the NS used for brain surgery or other more critical surgeries.

    I have been told by family and friends that, if I need surgery on my spine I should have it done by a NS not an Ortho. But, I am wondering if a good NS will be difficult to find whereas Ortho's that specialize in spinal surgery would be more available for surgery.

    I'm of course anxious to get this surgery because of the risks I currently have and the warning I got from the local NS.

    Any comments or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
  • i don't have any advice, but im very interested in what you get for advice, this is also something i have been thinking about. ..... ladybug -aka- patsy
  • Well I went to see my doctor today and it went in the direction I thought that it would. He suggested that I have a spinal fusion surgury done. He also told me that given my family history, that I have inherited this problem....Lucky me! I am so tired of poking and prodding. I just want to heal! So I agreed on the surgery and should have it within a week. I am so tired of not being able to do anything and if I can, with so many limitations. My doctor seems that I will heal quite fast given my age. But I must confess, I am very nervous. I have two small children, 4 & 6 that I homeschool. They need their mommy back to her old active self. My question I ask myself everyday is: Will I ever get back to where I used to be? I am really hoping that this works. I hate using a cane and a back brace to walk, and six (6) pillows to sleep. I can't sit for more the 20-25 minutes. I feel like my lower back bones are rubbing against eachother, and the pain goes into my hip. What kind of life is this at the age of 30? To all of the people that have the same kind of pain, I truely hope that you are getting all of the love, support, and kindness that you deserve, because it is hard just being like this. You are in my thoughts.
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  • I was looking into the disc replacement procedure, sadly I am not able to have that procedure preformed on my L4-L5 area. He told me that part of the back is usually the first part of the back to wear down. If he was to preform the disc replacement he would have to get FDA approval and I would end up back in surgery 10-15 years later. Which I do not want. He told me by having my back fused, I would not loose as much mobility as some may think. However I will have to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days and will be released when I can walk and tolerate pain on pain pills, not a drip. He said that I should feel the difference with that week, some it takes two. I should not carry more then 5-10 pounds the first 2-3 weeks, 10-20 pounds 3-4 weeks and so on. He told me that I will have to undergo physical therepy for sometime. He wants to get me back to an aerobic exercise. Something interesting that he also asked me, which I never thought of. He asked if I was planning on having more children in the near future. I told him that I was finished. He told me "that was good, because if I where, I would have to wait 9-12 months after the surgery to have children." I found that very interesting. I hope that this information helps some people seeking information.
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