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Not happy with diagnosis...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
Hello everyone,

I'm a 36-year-old female with lower back pain for at least 6 years. No injury to my back.

I had x-rays two years ago that showed a loss of disk height in the lumbar spine (sorry, I don't have the specific sites). The doctor also mentioned some spurring.

I had a complete arthritis workup done recently with a rheumatologist because I want answers about my back, and chronic pain to my right wrist and both knees since I was a teenager. He said the blood tests were normal, and the only problem that showed up on the x-rays was loss of disk height, which he called "degenerative disks". He also said there was no spurring, so apparently the first doctor was mistaken. So I got no explanation for my wrist or knees. He diagnosed me with Unclassified Polyarthritis, which pretty much tells me nothing.

I'm here in this forum because apparently I have DDD. But my symptoms don't seem to be the same as what I am reading in these forums. One of the main symptoms with DDD is a major increase in pain when sitting. This is definitely not the case with me. If I sit for a long time, I have pain and MAJOR stiffness to my lower back when I first stand up. When I stand for a long time, I have pain and MAJOR stiffness when I first sit down. I have some pain pretty much all the time at the base of my spine no matter what I am doing. Every so often I'll get sciatic-type pain shooting down my right buttock.

I was taking Mobic for a while, tried Lodine but it didn't work for me, and now I'm on Celebrex. If the Celebrex doesn't do better than the Mobic, I may have to ask for some type of pain med such as Ultram for the really bad days.

Anyway, my reason for posting here is - do these symptoms sound like something any of you have experienced? Or do I need to look for some other explanation for what is happening with my back (and other joints)? I'm really frustrated with this. I went to the rheumatologist to get answers and I left knowing the same thing I knew when I walked in - nothing!

Sorry this was so long and thanks for any info!



  • Welcome to spine-health,was it just a xray you had? have you had a mri or bone scan?
  • It was just an x-ray. My doctor mentioned that I may have to have an MRI later on - I guess when the symptoms get worse. Looking forward to it! :W
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  • I definitely think an MRI is in order. Now, I'm not a Dr and certainly not diagnosing you, but it sounds to me like your symptoms mimic those of stenosis with the pain/stiffness when standing, or upon getting up from sitting which is some of what I deal with as part of my problem is stenosis. I also have DDD, OA and multiple herniations, but if you research spinal stenosis you can see for yourself if your symptoms are in line with stenosis or not.

    I hope you're able to get an MRI soon. There are so many things that just a simple X-Ray can't show.

    I hope you feel better soon!
  • DDD, degenerative disc disease, does not really have a set body of symptoms. All it means is that your discs are degenerating at a more rapid rate than normal, it doesn't imply they are symptomatic. There is not a rigid set of symptoms that accompanies this disorder.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347

    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 remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is NOT
    formal medical advise. You should always consult with your doctors.

    To get back to the Forums, you can always click on Forum Home

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    Its good that you have proactive in seeking medical advice. Having the blood work done to check for things like Rheumatoid Arthritis was important, but that all came back normal.
    DDD is a very misleading term and condition. Basically it is NOT a disease, it is really just the aging of the spine.
    Almost everyone over 25 will start to show some signs of this. Trauma and surgery can create more problems and sooner. In almost all cases DDD does not require surgery. An approved exercise plan along with some NSAIDS should be enough to control the situation. There are times, when the condition is so advanced surgery would be in order.
    Stand up, Sit down, it can be strange, for different people with the same problem, certain movements or positions can bring on the pain or make it subside a little.
    Everything that Spine-Health members post here is NOT
    formal advice. Please always consult with your doctor for any action plan or diagnostic testing that should be conducted.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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