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no disc between vertebrea?

lynnsyllynnsy Posts: 197
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I didn't know where else to post this. I have a friend who says that her doctors said there is absolutely no disk between L-4 and L-5. Yet she cleans her house, shops, drives, takes care of her family with no problems. This isn't possible is it?

It seems to me that she would be in such excrutiating pain that she would need immediate surgery!! I know what DDD feels like as two of my disks were in that condition before my 3 level spinal fusion. And I couldn't do anything but struggle to make it to all my appointments scheduling my surgery!!! Other than that it was all about pain pills and laying on the couch or my bed!!! I couldn't move without crying!!


  • I am also wanting to know this. I've lost over 50% of my disc due to 2 surgeries and I know as time progress I will have less.

    Could it be possible that you can have no discs and no pain?
  • Hi lynnsy,

    I am not sure if my case applies, but I thought I would try. I didn't know until I hit 40 that I had only a remnant of a disc between C4/5. I found out after a sudden flare up that I have been fused there since birth, a congenital birth defect. This put more pressure on the discs above and below this area. These areas are now herniated. I also found out that I have 2 herniated discs in the T-spine & DDD. I must admit that I am so glad that I didn't have symptoms when the children were younger!!! I also was a clean freak due to all the allergy & asthma issues in the family. I can no longer do all that stuff.

    I hope your friend continues to be symptom free for her sake. That does not mean that other people have the same result. We are all very different!!

    I just think it is amazing that so many people in here have such different results from all the treatments, injections, surgeries, meds, etc.

    One surgeon told me that with time our entire spine just naturally fuses with age, & we eventually feel nothing????

    I wish you all the best!!!

    glo :)
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  • Hi! When my MRI came back the surgeon said there was no disc remaining between L5-S1 due to DDD and Spondylolisthesis. Just had fusion L4-S1 4 weeks ago tomorrow. Before surgery I was still working (a sit down job) which was torturous as anyone who has back pain can relate I am sure ! But I did get by day to day with just darvocet here and there. So, I do think we are all different. When the surgeon went in for the fusion, he found that the sack my spinal cord is in (dont know the med term sorry) was poking out of opening in my vertabrae (spina bifida) who knew?? I had no idea, he told my family had the sack burst I would have been looking at permanent nerve damage or worse! Thank god I went ahead with the fusion :)
  • thanks guys.... I thought it would be extremely painful, and not able to carry on with our day to day chores, and would require something either surgically, or ESI's or something!! I think someone is "pulling my leg"....
  • I can't speak from exact experience, but I had almost no disc left at L5-S1 prior to my ALIF in January. What drove me to do the surgery was the nerve pain from the herniation, not the back pain from the loss of disc. Yes there was some dull low back pain, not constant, but I would have lived with it. Maybe it is possible...
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
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  • Perhaps your friend has high pain threashold? Is she the type that cannot stand the house in a mess, and feel that she has to do it, whether she complains or not, so why complain? Is she on medication that you don't know about? There could be many factors as why she is not showing her pain. Did she actually said she has no pain? Wow. I wish that this continues for her.

  • No, I hate to pass judgement on a person, but it's called "hypochondriacism". She has been on numerous pain killers since 2004, a ton! She has self diognosed pain in her vertebra when it's convienient to get some attention and sympathy. She loves the drugs and attention, so comes up with numerous ficticious self diognosis's... It's really sad, but true how someone of 53 years of age can let drugs take over and destroy your life. I for one cannot wait till my fusion pain is gone and don't need pain killers anymore!
  • Maybe if they have a high tolarance for pain. I had a fusion and my pain is just as bad, if not worse then before surgery. Surgery is not always an answer to cure pain. Your friend could be exadrating a bit too. You would think that there would be a need for some sort of support in between the vertebraes.
  • I've just had my MRI scan back today, where 3 of my discs have no fluid. Just a black emptiness. I've not had back pain until very recently, where I have a Lumber Disc Herniated (slipped disc) the cause was probably having the wrong chiropractor treatment a while ago when I had minor back pain. Instead of the fluid leaking, it's tissue. Apparently, once the fluid has gone that's it. I think it should be against the law to work on a spine until an MRI scan has been carried out. (The NHS only do x-Ray due to cost) but I would have paid if it were offered earlier. I've had a slipped disc for 3 weeks now and my torso bent to the right, walking like a banana. Sitting a lot and bad posture has a lot to do with it. In answer, yes you can have no fluid and no pain. If the fluid gets squeezed out and touches / pushes nerve then you will get pain and lots of it.
  • I have no disc inbetween L5/S1 and i can do all of what your friend does with very little pain, I've had no surgery and it's been like this for so long calcium is starting to grow to fix it naturally. My only problem i do have is an impinged nerve which causes tingling and burning of the feet. So yes it is do able hope that helps you with your question.
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