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Black discs in an MRI?!?!?!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:31 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I looked them up last night and it said that's the final stage of degeneration. Well, I went to a neurosurgeon yesterday and she said this level of degeneration is much more common in some one much older, in their late 60s-70s, I am 32 (I remember!)...Also that the arthritis was very far advanced and it had to be because of STRESS!!!! She won't operate, wants me to learn better coping mechanisms (I have her coping mechanism right here) and keep getting steroid shots even though they only help for brief periods of time!

I am BEYOND infuriated...This was through the university medical system so it isn't my only option, but there were ZERO black discs on the MRI I had 3-4 years ago. Am I wrong to be upset and am I crazy or is this bad?

I am tired of spending weeks in bed, not sleeping, not eating and crying constantly. I am speaking to my lawyer this week to see what else we can do since the insurance company APPEALED an 11-1 jury verdict!! I am about to write a book, I swear!! Any other opinions? I thought black discs sounded terrible.

P.S. She said that I DID need surgery, just to wait as long as possible because I'm so young. I called a doctor friend of mine last night and he said BS, he was 22 when they operated on his back!


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,630
    A number of points:

    1- You are never too young to have spinal surgery. Spinal problems can happen at any age. There is no discrimination in terms of age. Many doctors want to
    'hold' of operating on younger people for hope that other conservative treatments might correct the problem. I agree with that, but for anyone regardless of age.

    2- Arthritis. I cant say I've heard about stress impacting arthritis , but I do know that stress can do alot of things to our bodies. Each situation and person is different. For me, my advanced arthritis was due to the number of surgeries. At my age (59) I would normally have some level of arthritis, but spine surgeries sure sped this up.
    My doctors are recommending total shoulder replacements which I am not about to do. Meanwhile, I do get injections of cortisone every six months. But keeping this up, steroids can cause other problems.

    3- Coping. Ah, such an easy word, but not so easy to achieve. But it is something that you really need to explore. Everyone has a different way of coping with things in their lives. I am not experienced enough on how to tell people to cope. But I do know the benefits of relaxation techniques.
    I use a dark room, very soft meditation music, some essential oils and candles. 45 minutes of doing this does relax me and brings down stress.

    4- Black spots on the MRI. I guess this is why I always say, folks here are not medically trained to provide answers for MRIs. When I've looked at my MRI's, those black spots seem to be where the disc herniated between vertebrates.

    Nancy, good luck with everything. I hope that some of your stress situations in the past have been taken care of or at least minimized.
    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
  • Actually, they have at least been minimized...I don't live at home anymore, yay! Which is why I thought some of her "conclusions" were completely asinine! I don't think she even compared the MRI from 4 years ago to the one now...I don't know, she said the discs were black and it "couldn't" have been from an accident...Sometimes I really hate the bad and dumb doctors, they ruin it for the good ones!

    Well, you know how long I've tried conservative treatments...Black discs seem to scare the poop out of me...I'm meeting with my lawyer to figure something else out, there are plenty of private practices out there...Thanks Papa Ron, I hope everything is good with you!
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  • The only good thing she said was that I DID have reason to be in as much pain as I have been! Thanks a lot!!

    Can you tell I'm not happy with this doctor, LOL?
  • Ron pretty much said everything. You definitely need to find another fellowship-trained spinal specialist. This can be either an orthopedic surgeon who devotes most or all his practice to the back and spine, or a neurosurgeon. It would seem to me if you just let the situation go, you will just end up with that much more nerve damage. Check for posts in the "Back and Neck Surgery" part of this forum for posts by Kattoo13...she recently had a similar surgery after being injured in a car accident and she is quite young, too. Here is a link I found when she was trying to decide about surgery: http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/what-did-you-try-finally-moving-surgery

    Also I am including what I think is a good explanation of the black disc that I found on eOrthopod:

    "These various stages can be seen on MRI scans. When looking at imaging studies of the discs, healthy discs have a white center (nucleus), while the annulus (outer covering) seems dark. The nucleus will get darker as the disc degenerates until it becomes black, which means complete degeneration.

    They call it black disc disease or disc desiccation. Desiccation just means dried out. Completely normal discs have a white center or nucleus. Those with severely degenerated discs show up with a black nucleus. And those in between are gray."

    Hope this information helps a little bit. I know from an accident my father was involved in many years ago that the impact of the crash causes the body to develop arthritis, particularly as one ages. I hope you can find a good spine specialist that will be able to help you.

    xx Gwennie
  • I already have arthritis, but apparently it has gotten much worse in the years since the last MRI. I have a friend of mine who is doing his residency in Shreveport and said to bring my stuff to him! I'm afraid of the reflexes, which are deteriorating, getting even worse and irreversible nerve damage as lately I've started to have the tingling on and off. Thank goodness it isn't always on but I really don't want to sit on this a lot longer.

    I really appreciate your response Gwennie, I love my mom, but when it comes to me being sick she just doesn't want to believe it...So I am going to my lawyer's office to see what we can do and I am bringing my stuff to my friend in Shreveport as well! My muscles have deteriorated ENOUGH, I can't lift my upper body off of the floor! And as everyone knows, chronic pain is enough to start to drive you mad!

    Thanks again!
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  • I have mulitilevel DDD BULGING AT EVERY LEVEL AND SPURS. I aslo have only 2 good disk left in my back the pain is unreal so i know how u feel i am in the same no doc wants to cut cause im 35 and the arhritis dont help much at all plus i cant work so if u find something plz tell
  • I understand your frustration! I wanted to smack her when she said I had every reason to be in as much pain as I'm in but I just need to learn better coping skills...How would she like to cope with my foot up her butt?!?!?! Mine are degenerating at 3 levels and it's been 5 years of this and I'm tired of fighting with certain doctors about it!

    Try and get another opinion, there is more than one doctor out there, see who is in your area and explore those options...That's the best advice I have at the moment, you have every right to find better treatment and relief. According to every doc I've talked to about it DDD is painful as HE**!!! Obviously we know that, but as I said, I'm giving my records to my friend in Shreveport to see if he can get me in that hospital. If not, back to the lawyer and see what we can figure out...That neuro was out of her mind!! And apparently your doc is too! It's like reverse age discrimination!
  • I feel your pain im 29 and my cervical disc are all black also.. I f I cant get the disc replaced instead of fusion i think I will start to get prepared for the end my life. What did the docs tell you about multi level disc replacement?
  • You sound so depressed... Pain is a tough animal to tame. It's like its own disease that can eat a person from the inside out - like rust, if we are not careful and have the support systems we need. This could be family, friends or medical professionals.

    Have you talked with a professional about the way you feel? You are so young, too young in fact, to be thinking about the end of days...

    Of course, I try to get ready for the end of my life by living each day in a way that I can look back on it and think I've done it about as well as I could. I won't lie - some days I get in a bad funk, but my support system kicks in and I feel better (mentally) soon.

    I hope you can find a system that works for you, hon.

    Take care!

  • yea...ive been treated off and on for depression for years...im starting to wonder if the stress and medications have helped to dehydrate my spine and make things worse or better.. I really dont know..
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