Hi. I am a 23 year old femal who was just digagnosed with ddd. I have a desiccated l4-5, tear in the annulus, a 3mm difuse bulge, a herniated disc and minimal stenosis. All my doctors seem to vary in their opionions of just how serious this is... From orthopedic surgeons saying I need fusion to my general who just keeps pumping me full of pain meds. I do physical therapy 2x a week, accupuncture 2x a week (which helped when I ordiginally hurt myself but I am just starting again after about a year off), aqua aerobics 2x a week and sooooo many doctors appointments on top of 15 units of school, 30 hours of work and trying to plan my wedding in july!!! I am losing my mind and getting soooo depressed, on top of it my fiance and I seem to not be getting along because I am turning into an evil b*tch :twisted: . I have an appointment for the epidural steroid injection, in two weeks. I have been told it may not help me b/c the radiopulthy isn't really that bad and the back pain is what my main problem is. I am wiling to try anything but am scared to death of the idea of undergoing fusion, I don't have time and it seems so severe!!!
... But I would love to hear stories/advice from people who have lived through this.
Advice? Personal experience? Words of wisdom? This is so hard right now!
I feel for you I really do I know how bad a toll it can have on your personal life.
Basically I had abit of back pain somthing of which I know now wasnt that serious, a small buldge in the middle of my back.
For some reason the sugeon wanted to perform facet joint injections on my facet joints in my lower back?Anyway I now have constant pain caused from the injections even 6 months on.
Anyway nothing shows on an mri scan. I dont know how this compares to your pain but I do now how seriously it can affect your personality and therefore effect those around you especially loved ones.
I split up with my girlfriend over this and was with her for 5 years.
Hi there! I too live with ddd, djd along wit fibromyalgia and other medical conditions. Although I am older than you and I realize what you are talking about with the pain meds but what I have learned is that stress makes it worse if pt is helping, stay with it. I learned after having two neck fusions that one leads to another and so on but we are not all alike I do not want to be cut on anymore because I have learned that after sugery, then you also have scar tissue thrn artritis to deal with. If my Dr. Would tell me that it would make me 50-60% better, then I would seriously think about it, just my opinion. Only you mainly, your dr, fiance and family can help you to decide.
Keep us posted on your decision.
I have always felt with ddd that you just had to live with it even though my problem is l4 to s1 with it being degenerative that it would just get worse.
i have not seen your mri, but the fact that some surgeons advised surgery is a serious issue. If there is significant foraminal stenosis or canal narrowing you may need surgery. But stay away from those epidural injections usually given by some orthopedicians. These epidural injections temporarily relieve pain, but eventually you need another shot in your back soon! Also these steroid injections induce severe epidural and perineural fibrosis which make your pain worse after some time. If you contemplate surgery in the future, then you wont get good relief because your nerves get scarred due to steroids. In fact many recent studies have shown the dangerous side effects of these injections. I have not used any epidurals on my patients in the last decade or so. Whether you need a simple microdiscectomy or a fusion can be told only if I see your images. Feel free to respond.
I appreciate everyone's advice, truly... This is very difficult!
My decision is to start the injections-i refuse to remain on them forever and am pretty sure 3 will be my max! I do have some stenosis, but was told it is minor-does that get worse with age?
Any help would be great!
Yes it will get worse with age. I too have ddd, degenerative joints, osteoarthritis, etc. But the good news is that you are still young enough to do something about it. As you age your back will continually break down, or age faster than the rest of your body. The stenosis normally gets worse and the ddd can spread to other levels. The trouble with the shots is that you get to feeling better because the shot has numbed the pain, you end up being more active during this time and doing more damage to yourself. Then another shot and the same thing happens all over again. What you have to realize is that you have a chronic condition that needs to be addressed and not covered up with pain meds and injections. Deal with it directly and see if you can get long term benefits, not just a bandaid that ends up causing more damage that it helps. I did great with my first fusion and if ihad of listened to the docs then I don't believe I would have hurt myself the way I am now. I'm married and according to my wife a total most of the time due to pain. I'm in pain all the time with no way to get any relief outside of narcotics, you are young, find yourself a good neurosurgeon and get some treatment that will give you long term benefits. Check out Spineuniverse.Com to do some research of your condition. Also there is another board at spineyat42.Conforums.Com/index.Cgi where the people there all have and are dealing with chronic back conditions, you will find alot of support, advice and resources to help you. Take care good luck and have a wonderful wedding.