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35yr DDD can I argue for surgery instead injections Pls Help !!



  • hi, been to see the consultant although must admit seemed more like a junior !!! They have confirmed I have degenerative disc disease in two discs not just one ! they say i have denenerative disc disease in L4/L5 & L5/S1... but the nerve pain/loss of feeling & tingling & numbness & weakness I have in my leg they are saying is not connected to my disc disease. as mri doesnt show a pinched nerve via the diseased disc as expected. so now they cant treat my disc disease untill they know where the nerve pain is coming from & are referring to me to a nerve specialist cant remember what he called it. he said my symptoms dont tally with my mri & had to leave the room to ask someone else. So meanwhile im in agony & they cant/ wont do anything. & ive now got to wait god knows how long till i get that appointment through !!! And Im in totally agony after being examined yet again :(. They are now more concerned about where neve pain is coming from. They said they cant treat the disc pain untill they find where the nerve is trapped,as it could make things worse. Im so fed up. just dont know what to do xx

  • Emg is probably the test you were refering to,To test the nerve,

    I had similar issues for close to 20 years. Discogram was the only thing that confirmed my l4l5 disc being bad and leaking,

    Ddd alone not always cause pain for many people and simply comes with age,

    Injection will always be the best way to start along with pt and see if it can be managed,

    It can be painfull to deal with but i would turn the clock back if i could and deal with the bad disc then to deal with what surgery has done to me after removing my disc and sticking an artificial disc in there with nerve damage,

    If you do have a disc thats bad and causing pain, They can recreate that pain with discogram to find it, And once they do you may get your wish,

    Because in most cases once disc is the pain generator and its not because disc is bulging, You get 2 options,

    1 remove disc and fusion,
    2 artificial disc replacement,

    Both have risk to cause further complications,

    Any time you change the structure of the spine you dont know what else will start to give,

    Best of luck,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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  • Ps. 1 more thing if i may, When disc leaks it dont always show up on mri as this was my case, So when they cant see nerve pinched off by anything the stuff that leaks out of the disc can leak on to the nerve and can explain the symptoms even when mri dont show it,

    Its like a chemical reaction of acid leaking on the nerve and symptoms can be similar to piched nerve,

    When it stays on the nerve too long it can attach itself to the nerve almost like it fuses itself to the nerve,

    When that hapens as this was the posibility i was told could of hapened with me, while removing it off the nerve can cause nerve damage,

    But nobody can confirm 100% what cause the nerve damage after surgery,

    Hope this helps, Best wishes,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • hi alex, thanks for your comments. What is an EMG ? and how do they do it ? As ive not heard of them.I know the ddd doesnt necessarly mean the pain is from there as i know some people dont suffer at all with pain from the disc. But i do have terrible pain in my back as well as limited movement. Also the nerve pain & additional rouble from this seem to be just as much of a problem. Ive had the pt which didnt work also the array of drugs im on only just take the edge of it.Unlike my 1st post im far more educated than then lol(although still reading up on it all) I was just so desperate at the time of 1st post.
    no-body has mentioned anything about either of the disks leaking. when i had the mri they did do cross cut sections too which showed the disc to have a nice clear outline circular shape. And it didnt look like the circumfrance was broken anywhere where they could be a leak as i know they do for anular tears aswell.
    This is just so debilitating not being able to do the basic's in life :-( .

    Thanks for sharing your story without sites like this we would be really stuck & this site is brill x
  • Emg is like shock thearapy testing. Needles will be placed in your legs and electric shock will be read by there program and will tell them if the nerve has signal that shows maybe pinched nerve,

    Its a litle painfull but very short time,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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  • I agree with you needing an EMG/nerve test and your GP Dr. should be sending you to a Neurologist for this test in any case of numbness and tingling in your leg(s).

    I've had pain for 4 years from DDD and bulging herniated discs and on disability and been to several Orthopedic Surgeon appointments and Neurosurgeon and they still say I'm not a candidate for surgery.

    Get a good Pain Management Dr. referral also to help you manage. A Physiatrist can also help diagnose and order any other tests like flexion/extension x-rays to check for spine stability and see if Physiotherapy or aquatherapy with a PT will help. I hope you get these tests and find a good Dr. to help you. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • hi, thanks for reply. yeah the nerve pain is awfull particulairly in my bum cheek. Also the the numbness is from the knee down and very very bad (totaly numb) at times in my foot. Im still in very bad pain in my back due to the ddd in my L4/l5 & L5/S1. which they are refussing to treat untill to source of my nerve has been found. They were expecting the nerve to be pinched by the vertabra's due to the ddd. but my mri has shown the nerve to be free flowing where i have ddd.i deffo need some different test doing. just all the waiting inbetween.
  • Ash,
    Tony here mentioned some time ago that pain relief if any comes as a secondary benefit of surgery rather than the initial objective and that was a good point. I like the idea that others mentioned your condition as mild when the pain is excruciating, that positive attitude will help you in the future. Living a chronic pain life is not easy, I had to stop working at 37 initially, and having surgery is a personal decision only you know what the pain feels like to you.

    You have not offended anyone, we express our views based on our own experience, many alternative options are available, and we all wanted the pain just to stop.

    Have you told your husband you are at your “wits end ” ? who helps and supports you to do the things you need.

    I had three young children at the time of my fusion, so take care and good luck.

  • hi john thanks for your post. yeah we all just want the chronic pain to stop,but its not that simple is it unfortunatley. Unless we can directly cure the basis of the pain then unfortunatley we somehow have to 'Manage'. I have already tried tried lots of different things. I do find not bein able to do or strugglin to do basic tasks just as much a problem. Even if i could physically do stuff but with pain at least I would still do them even if in pain ! I have read up so much since my 1st post lol & unless reccomended surgery would be my last resport now as from what I can see it potentially cause's more harm than good. Im just frustrated at the min as ive been diagnosed with the ddd which they agree is why im suffering my back pain & very restricted movement. it is treatable prefably trying the cortizone injection 1st but they are refusssing to do this untill they find where my nerve is trapped as they seem more concerned about my loss of feeling & pain etc in my leg/foot. I understand they cant even give me an injection at this point as it could do more harm than good. but the pain and dehabiliting lack of movement is terrible :-( luckily i do have a very supporting husband & he fully understands how i feel emotionaly & can see how i struggle with the pain & not being able to move. He unfortunatly has been working away quite a bit of late(terrible timing) but 100% helps in anyway he can when he is here. As you well know having 3 children & all these troubles is extrmley difficult. It certainly makes you put things into perspective (when your not away with the fairys on pain killers). Reading everyone else stories is brill as we can all learn from each other & maybe see things from a different view.

    Thanks again for everyone taking the time to post :-) x
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,518
    ash, by now, i think you know that everyone would tell you that the surgical route is one of your last options. there are so many conservative treatments that can be done to provide you with some relief.

    based on everything you have posted, and your doctor(s) action, surgery is not on the table at this point. degenerative disc disease learn about degenerative disk disease has always been one of the most misunderstood spinal condition.

    effectively, it is just the aging of our spine. almost everyone by the time they reach 30 will show some signs of ddd. even as the condition advances most situations can be managed with an approved exercise program and over the counter nsaids.

    i am not questioning your pain levels or how you are feeling. however, from a medical view point, if the diagnostic tests do not indicate a moderate or severed situation and any clinical examination backs that up, the doctor(s) are not going to write prescriptions for stronger pain medications. if anything, they will recommend other conservative treatments.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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