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From a bulging disc to osteoarthritis too quickly!

csbccsb Posts: 4
edited 01/05/2015 - 8:59 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello everyone!

I was actually fairly devastated to hear that I now have osteoarthritis of my spine. I was self-treating (exercise, stretches, etc.) what I thought was a bulging disc and it got worse. Basically my pain went from sciatica pain in my right leg to pain in my hips and lower back.
I had mentioned this to physios and asked if I should have another MRI, but they said not too. It isn't their fault I should have gone back to the specialist who diagnosed my condition. I wonder if someone could help me with a couple of questions.
I've read the site for answers but I am not too clear:

1. Is there anything i could have done about it to stop it getting worse? This is rattling round my head constantly at the moment! It may help others with bulging discs.

2. It is possible to be pain free with this condition? I understand managing the pain, but is it possible to be able to forget about the condition by keeping an active and following the advice on this site regarding exercise, diet etc.

3. I was told disc replacement surgery in contra-indicated for my condition. From what I understand because my bones are rubbing together it is simply not an option. I relative recently has disc replacement surgery with great success! I'm assuming he had some portion of the disc left?

Anyway hope someone can help a little!

Kind regards




  • LizLiz Posts: 9,765
    edited 01/05/2015 - 9:02 AM


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,584
    bulging disc is a pretty common term that is a catch all for disc related problems. by itself, many times that can be healed with therapy and medications.
    osteoarthritis, on the other hand is not so. there really is no cure to stop oa, what everyone tries to do is slow it down.

    take a look at a group of articles on spine-health's sister site trusted site for arthritis
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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  • Spinal decompression is theoretically a good treatment. But I wouldn't recommend Chiro's hard tractions. May be gentle traction based exercises can help for you. If a disc doesn't have enough liquid and nutrients such rapid conditions can occur. So, I would make sure to drink plenty of water and take specific nutrients such as Mg. Probably a good naturopath can analyse the body chemistry and recommend some specific supplements. The beauty of the gentle traction based exercises is that they pump in new liquid/nutrients and help to get rid of rubbish deposited in the inner disc.

    What you are doing is very wise. Try to control and improve it prior it get worst. You have to do the right thing and be patient as it takes months/years to heal.
  • Thanks for the answers.

    Is spinal decompression OK for someone with osteoarthritis? As I'm now bone on bone...

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,584
    needs to be directed to your doctor. There is no one on these forums who has the medical knowledge to provide such an answer.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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  • One day I was a normal active 34 year old single mom. The next day, I woke up and I couldn't move. I hadn't done anything special the day before that I can remember. Nothing really out of the ordinary. I had an active 4 year old who loved to crawl up me like a monkey. That day I managed to get to my GP who prescribed some pain meds and muscle relaxers. When that didn't work after a few weeks she sent me to get a CT (because I can't get MRIs) and found an anomaly that had to be looked further. Then I had a CT Myleogram with contrast, and it was determined that I had Osteoarthritis and degenerating discs. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

    Arthritis at my age? Really? I expected it later in life as my father and grandfather have it, but 34, was just too young for me to fathom. So, I started to try to manage the pain as best I could. I started working with my pain management doctor.

    Now 2 years later, I still work with my pain management doctor. For those that ask me how my back feels, I tell them, imagine a mortar and pestle with nothing in it.. Now take that pestle and grind it against the mortar.. it feels just like that.. bone on bone. As much as I have wished in the last two years that it would just disappear it hasn't. So, you just have to keep your head up and keep positive as much as you can.

    Also, listen to your doctor. My doctor is very good at giving me the information and saying "research and let me know if you feel comfortable with the treatment I am suggesting." If your doctor doesn't make you feel comfortable with your treatment find a doctor that does. This is everything I have learned within the last 2 years of dealing with my OA. While my OA is on a rapid progression at this time, I have every hope that it will slow soon. So, I do hope that you feel better soon, and that you find the answers you are looking for.
  • Mine came about very fast as well. I had a MRI two years ago that just showed a couple of bulging discs, and now I have moderate osteoarthritis with DDD, stenosis, enlarged joints and ligaments, and its cause all of the discs to bulge in my lumbar spine. I went from being a very active 35 year old, to pushing to get through my work shifts. Even on meds, it doesn't take care of the pain completely, but I wouldn't be able to even function without them. I guess its all about making life changes with your diagnosis. I understand how you feel... I was devastated. Wish you the best!

    Retrolisthesis C4 of C5 and C5 of C6
    Spondylolthesis C5/C6
    Disc protrusions with Annular Tears C3/C4, C4/C5, and C5/C6
    Disc Material Compressing Spinal Cord C3/C4
    Severe Forminal Stenosis C5/C6
    Ankylosing Spondylitis 
    Annular Tears L3/L4 and L5/S1
    Enlarged Facet Joints/Facet Anthrosis L3/L4/L5
    PLIF with Rods, Cage, and Pedicle Screws-L4/L5
  • Thanks for your replies....Totally appreciated. I actually feel slightly luckier than some...

    Reading through all the information, it does lead you to believe you will be able to be pain free if you manage it correctly. But pain is difficult objectify. My pain is better during the day, but it's horrible in the morning and worsens at night. But at the moment it isn't the searing pain I have had, and at the moment it's not too bad.

    The problem is that I'm constantly feeling something that isn't pain, for instance extended from a crouching position is so difficult it feels that I'm lifting a huge weight. I'm hoping this can be improved by strengthening exercises.

    At the moment I'm still in some kind of shock I guess that my situation had worsened, so a lot of what I'm going through is also physiological. I keep thinking of this spine without a cushion, and it drives me mad!

    I'm sure most people on the boards relate to this!

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