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degenerative disc disease and bone spurs

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I have been having lower back pain for many, many months and the other day I woke up and could not get out of bed. I've been to the docs several times over the last year and she just gave me pain pills every time. On Monday, I demanded they do an x-ray and it seems I have degenerative disc disease and bone spurs. I asked them...okay, what do I do now? They said nothing. There's nothing that can be done. I asked if I'm supposed to live the rest of my life not being able to move and they referred me to a pain management doctor who would give me epidurals.
I'm still sort of in a state of astonishment...in this day and age, they would just totally give up on someone like me. I'm 55 but except for my back feel like 35. My mom is 80 yrs. old and still going like the energizer bunny. I'm just not ready to lie down and stay down.
Appreciate any and all advice.
I already requested a second opinion and the pain management doc wants an mri. I guess my main question is it normal to just give up on people with this problem?
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replied June 20th, 2007
Experienced User
dee,
I too was just diagnosed with the same thing. I think degenaritve joint disease is the same things as degenerative disk disease. not sure.

I don't think the medical feild is giving up on us but they really don't know what to do for people with arthritis. scientists and people are in full force tyring to come up with things and devices to help treat people with it.
I just read something in the readers digest on an article about back pain and the multiple things that they're using to help people. i found it very interesting.
one person has even put his own money in doing the research on a device he thinks will work. it's worked so far but causes the skin to turn a dark pigmented color. it's some type of band that stimulates the back.

at least they're trying right? I was referred by my family dr to have phsyical therapy and I can't afford the weekly fee's for six weeks. the radiologist who read the report stated and MRI shoudl be done but my insurance company is denying coverage without me trying physical therapy first.
that's usually the first course of action that drs do.
then they do the MRI, and sometimes they do surgery, but surgery is not 100% effective.
so basically, we have to take care of ourselves and do our own research and do excersises to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
I use a heating pad and it really really works for me. plus I use muscle relaxers at times, but don't like to take them.
I wonder if I'm going to wind up in a wheel chair up the road because it's detoriating at a fast pace.
it hurts especially at night when I'm trying to sleep. just to turn over from my right side is excruciating and god forbid if I fall asleep on my back without knowing it while I sleep. then I can't move at all and takes a long time to sit up to get out of bed.
I'm sorry you're suffering and have no answers as to what can be done for you.
I hope you get this reply, being you posted at the beginnning of June and it's not the 2oth.

good luck and let me know if you find out anything we can do.

Linda
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replied June 20th, 2007
I'm 26 and also have degenerative disk disease, along with two hernaited discs...

Sad
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replied June 24th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
I also have had degen. disc dis. for the past 7 yrs. and no relief yet. Was on big-time pain meds for 4 yrs. and am now trying pain mgmt.

Surgery is not possible so I am suffering in silence. DDD is similar to arthritis in the spinal column except the nerves are usually involved. It's the worst in bed at night like lintek said so I have to be careful to sleep on one side or the other and not on my back.

Life is almost not worth living when you face chronic pain every day. But you have to keep trying different approaches because something might work. Watch--they'll come up with a cure for back pain the day after I die!
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replied April 19th, 2011
stay strong
I suffered with a ruptured disc for 10 years.My right leg had no knee or ankle reflex.When they did the Bobinski reflex test i could not feel a thing.I suffered to the worst part is the pain meds.There is no worst feeling than being 25 with 2 kids and unable to provide a stable income.Lost my wife and kids,but there is hope stop taking the meds it will make you want to kill yourself.I had surgery and thank god it was a sucess,still i'm fighting with Workers Compensation.I dont know your situation but there is always hope stay strong try to do as much as you can everyday do not use heat it is your enemy use ice.Always sleep with a firm pillow between your legs.This is very important it will take awhile to see results but ice is the best relief for pain.When you have intense pain not the normal pain of every day use the ice 10 to 15 minutes every hour never ever use heat it mkes your pain worse.It might provide temporary relief but it will inflame the problem.If you ,ever need to talk i will set up an account and you can reply somehow.Peace from someone who knows your pain
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replied April 19th, 2011
stay strong
I suffered with a ruptured disc for 10 years.My right leg had no knee or ankle reflex.When they did the Bobinski reflex test i could not feel a thing.I suffered to the worst part is the pain meds.There is no worst feeling than being 25 with 2 kids and unable to provide a stable income.Lost my wife and kids,but there is hope stop taking the meds it will make you want to kill yourself.I had surgery and thank god it was a sucess,still i'm fighting with Workers Compensation.I dont know your situation but there is always hope stay strong try to do as much as you can everyday do not use heat it is your enemy use ice.Always sleep with a firm pillow between your legs.This is very important it will take awhile to see results but ice is the best relief for pain.When you have intense pain not the normal pain of every day use the ice 10 to 15 minutes every hour never ever use heat it mkes your pain worse.It might provide temporary relief but it will inflame the problem.If you ,ever need to talk i will set up an account and you can reply somehow.Peace from someone who knows your pain
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replied June 27th, 2007
Experienced User
Hi everyone,
lonestar, it's so good to hear you have humor despite the pain you suffer. you have an exceptional attitude considering what you go thru everyday.

it is miserable to have to suffer everyday despite the fact that modern medicine has answers to almost everything it seems and they can't cure or stop the pain of arthritis?????
I wonder.

they say osteoarthritis is the most debilitating form of arthritis and how it effects so many people to miss work. yet they still can't do anything about it.

I thought I was the only one with the night pain lonestar and see you too have it and especially falling asleep on our back.

when I was at work last week and moving boxes of files to put them back into the cabinets that were moved from one loction to another, I thought to myself "how am I going to do this"? and not suffer the next 3 days for it?
but guess what??? I wound up with NO pain what so ever in my back.
only the cuts in my cuticles on my fingers and a scratch I got from the metal cabinet hurt the next few days and not my back.

so I'm seeing that excerise really does work. I didn't really give excerise a chance in my life because i have no time to make for it.
I work eight hours and come home so exhausted that the last thing I want to do is hop on the machine we have and excersise.
but I'm seeing I have to become more motivated if I want to at least try to alleviate the daily pain.

I wish you all the best.

Linda
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replied June 27th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Lintek...bless you girl for your kind words. Every little bit of encouragement helps in this trip down the pain highway. I have also tried many hours of physical therapy and few of the exercises worked for me.

I am glad that stomach strengthening is helping you because that is the first thing the dr and PTs tell you to try.

You are wise to stay away from pain meds and muscle relaxers as long as possible. They do work but there are so many side effects and, of course, the dependency can also be a problem.

One med that might help you is a nerve pain reliever called Lyrica. It does not work as well for me but it could be a non-narcotic answer for you. Remember, few people, even doctors, have any idea what type of pain you are feeling. It is difficult for them to empathize with you if they've never had this type of major-league pain.

Let me just say that you were lucky that you got through the files deal without incident. That's how I originally hurt my back in 1990 and then cruised for another 10 yrs before my present back problems began. I ended up having to go on long-term disability from work and was forced to retire early.

Please listen to me. I don't know what your situation is at work but make sure that they know you have back problems. Don't tempt fate and don't do any unnecessary lifting because you never know when a nerve might be pinched. If that happens, you will not be able to walk and the pain is unbearable.

It happened to me a few times at work and it was very embarrassing to be wheeled out in a wheel chair. Chin up, it sounds like you still have chance to find a pain specialist who might be able to solve your problem. There are still epidural nerve blocks, steroid injections, etc., to try.

At any rate, here's hoping you get help and don't give up. There are still people out here in the dark who want you to be pain free. Please contact me if you need anything explained because I have had most procedures.

lsc (rick)
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replied June 28th, 2007
Experienced User
thanks Rick. which procedures did you find to be most helpful to you?
I don't think i"m going to go the distance though.
it's more of a gnawing deep pain and not a sharp pain all the time.
it hurts sharply for breif instances such as when I turn abruptly.

the neck part, where the middle of the back of the neck is seems to be getting worst. there's always a lump there now, where it would only become enlarged when I was under stress. Now it's there all the time and I can hear the bone crackling when I turn my neck and it feels like my neck is going to get stuck permanently in one positon at times.

I can't imagine having to be wheeled out in a wheel chair because you get stuck in a position of excruciating pain. this has happened to my ex husband. he had to call the ambulance to get him to the hospital because he couldn't move.
he too has degenerative disease in his spine and was told he'd one day wind up in a wheel chair permanently.
he can barely walk anymore and sits in a chair all day every day. he refuses to use a walker or a cane to assist him.
he is on disablity for a couple years now and he's in his late fifties.
he's 12 yrs. older than me and I'm afraid to wind up like him.

we thought he had some type of neurological damage. when his symtoms first started, his ablilty to sign paper work or to write anything looked like a grade school child had written it.
he started walking as if he was intoxicated and even a person had called the cops on him when he was at a deli getting beer a few years ago.
he had been drinking, but not enough to make it illegal for him to drive.
they treated him so cruelly.
there's nothing they can do for him, so basically he's given up and will die that way. he has a miserable attitude towards life and has no positive attitude what so ever to fight. I think bitterness only makes ones life end sooner, don't you?
he's not a fighter like me. I will not give in and am determined always to try and change a situation I am faced with.

it just blows my mind to see a person who one day was so normal and then years later wind up looking like he's on his death bed and has lost his sanity.

he used to spray chemicals on trees when he worked on an estate.
back then they didn't require certification to be able to handle chemicals and they didn't have suits or face masks to protect themselves.
plus he used chemicals on the rose garden alot too. I wonder now if chemicals have a play or role in this degenerative disease?

I want the MRI and I'm not going to stop complaining till I get one.
it's all up to the insurance companies of course and the doctors have no say in it like they used to.
physical therapy is not going to tell us the amount of damage that's there. I want to know the extent of it.

did it take you a long time to be able to get an MRI? and did they too send you for therapy first?
I wonder if all insurance companies are the same when it comes to getting procedures ordered by the doctors?

how long have you been suffering now?

I didn't tell my job that I have a problem with my back. I wrote it on some paper work on my orientation when I was first hired. they ask you if you have any medical conditions. this was after I was hired, so had nothing to do whether it would effect them hiring me.
when you work for a hospital and are going to be working with the public, they have to know your medical history.
I don't know the extent of my osteo's, so there fore can't say to my company that I can't do anything demanding as far as lifting things goes.

I was just very very careful and took things slow. I slid the boxes to the cabinets rather than lifting them. I took breaks in the bending position because I do know that aggrivates my back even further.

last summer when i was doing a project on my property for weeding out bushes and things, I thought I was going to wind up stuck in a frozen position. I was sore for many many days and even though my mind wanted to finish up the job, my body would simply not allow me to.

I knew then that this was going to be a problem and that was before i had the xray to show what I had.

my mom had a bone disease called "gorhams disease" she had in different bones than my brother who had it only in his ribs.
he is on pain medicaiton for the rest of his life and has been on it for many many years. another name for this bone disease is called "vanishing bone disease". it's pretty rare and because of this, my brother went undiagnosed for many years while in pain.
it started when he just joined the service back when he was 18 or 19. he's now 59. the pain is horrible they say. but his pain meds work for him. he jsut has to go off them from time to time because he builds up a resistance to them. they put him on something else during those times.

I've written far too much and I apologize for going to the extreme.
I tend to do this from time to time so please forgive me. I promise I will keep things more brief in the future.

I'd be glad to hear more from you if you have the time.

sincerely,
linda
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replied June 28th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
linda....I don't know where to start. Maybe we should try a private message instead of tying up the posts. Just send me a pm if you want to continue to discuss the back problems.

rick
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replied April 15th, 2009
No subject
Today April 15th Wed my mom was diagnosed with having Degenerative Bone Disease. She has alot of spurs on her back plus arthritis in her back. She may have to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. My question to you is what can i do to help her? I wanna be there for her she needs me. She needs my dad more than anything though.
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replied January 8th, 2010
Degenerative disc disease and pain management
I have had degenerative disc disease for many years (over 10). One thing I recommend trying is a TENS unit. That is a transcutaneous nerve stimulator. I have one on right now and would be on the floor crying without it. It doesn't stop all the pain but is still a good partial solution. I am going to look at getting the TENS implanted this spring. I have heard that it is even better. Right now they are trying nerve blocks. Also, I have had four back surgeries Two lumber and two cervical. I hope this offers some help.
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replied January 8th, 2010
Extremely eHealthy
hi bumbackdude
just wanted to clarify one thing. i have had the electronic spinal cord stimulator inserted into my spine. i think you mentioned a tens unit being inserted. as far as i know the tens is not suitable for insertion into the human body. the unit i have has a battery pack and a stimulating device. both are inside my body. the actual stimulator is sergicaly inserted next to your spinal cord. it gives off a low amperage electric current which puts a shock into your spinal cord. that shock can confuse the brain into thinking there is no pain.
the tens is a device that just sends a current into the skin and barely reaches the muscles.
the nice thing about the spinal cord stimulator is that it can be charged through the skin so you can swim without it being affected by water.
the stimulator is an expensive device...about $75,000...the tens is more like $150.....pete
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replied November 9th, 2010
DDD (degenerative disc disease)/DJD(degenerative joint disease)
Hi everyone.

I have degenerative joint disease (another name for osteoarthritis) and my hubby has had degenerative disc disease since at least 1987 (that's when he was diagnosed). Up until that time, we'd never heard of DDD and were afraid he'd soon be in a wheelchair. However, he even managed to continue working until 1993, when his neurologist finally said, "no more". At that point he was only 45 years old and had to go on disability retirement. He got depressed for a while, feeling useless.

Anyway, he was told by at least two surgeons that there was nothing that could be done for him. We know of several people who have the same thing and have tried different methods for pain relief. Nothing helps forever, although they may get temporary relief.

The last week, he's had extreme pain in his left butt cheek and leg. He tried his TENS unit and also called dr and got new pain meds, etc., but isn't getting much relief. I'm thinking he needs to ask for possibly Lyrica and/or Lidocaine patches. The patches work well on nerve pain and don't have the side effects of oral meds. Also, he's on so many meds and has been for such a long time. For instance, I think he's been on Flexeril, a muscle relaxer, almost since he was first diagnosed. I think the meds are losing their effectiveness after he's been taking them for so long.

Good luck to everyone that has this and similar pain.
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replied January 30th, 2011
degenerative disc disease
I have just been diagnosed with DDD. My age is 36. It is very painful. I can't sit for a long time or stand up. When I stand up I feel tingling in the back of my legs and numbness. When standing I have to shift my weight on one side of the hip. Also, when sitting in a chair I have to move around in the chair to where I don't feel the sharp pain in the lower back. I have taken all kinds of pain meds. I am fixing to start PT therapies such as Tanget machine, apidural steriod shots and inversion table plus core exercise. It is getting to the point that I can barely walk without pain and sit down. It takes all my energy. Sometimes, I want to cry when I pick up things. My doctor told me I can still work but how? If I am in so much pain. I hate being in pain. I want to cry and ask myself why me? I have been in a head on car accident in 1995, then fell 2 stories landed on my back fractured back in 1998, also had head concusion last Oct and made the DDD worse because I landed on my back.I am to the point that even cleaning house has become a pain to bend over. Please, give me some advice on what to do!
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replied September 1st, 2011
hi everyone i have a question! i was diagnosed 3 years ago now with ddd at the age of 23, and at first the pain was bearable would mostly come in the evenings and not every day, however lately ( 2 months) it has been everyday day and night infact its 2.30 am now and im in agony waiting for the pain killers to kick in!!! im sure i dont have to tell all of you how painful tho ay! has anyone else had it get so much worse so quick like this?
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replied September 30th, 2011
I was diagnosed with ddd a couple of years ago. I work a hard physical job so was always in pain and couldn't take the meds during the week while working. I am not sure which vertebrae your ddd is in but maybe you could go back to your doctor and talk about spinal epidurals. They gave me relief for about a year. I finally had to have a anterior cervical fusion which was a relief. It got rid of all the pain in my neck and shoulder as well as the numbness and tingling in my hands. I would definately get some new xrays done if its been 3yrs.
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replied November 21st, 2011
Degenerative disc and narrowing spine
Hi! i have read over everyones post. It makes me smile knowing i am not alone. I am 24 yrs old. I too have ddd in L5 and forminal narrowing in L4. I have been to many doctors including 3 specialists, different medications i think too many, and have 6 months of physical therapy. My back has not changed. I work on my feet which makes my pain worse. Been only able to work no more than 4 hr for the last 8 months. It will b a year total of my pain in Jan. It is debilitating and i understand. Why cant they do anything for us? Its really stupid especially now a days with all the medical advances. I see an orethpedics surgeon this fri. I hope theres more anwsers n not just another person comin in. I wish u all hope n luck. Back pain is no joke
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replied November 21st, 2011
Active User, very eHealthy
Quote:
Why cant they do anything for us? Its really stupid especially now a days with all the medical advances


They are completely on the wrong path, working AGAINST not WITH the human body. Most have no clue as to HOW the body works. Instead choosing to medicate, inject and cut up the body as if it was some lifeless blob.
I walk past a new medical center. I call it "The Monument To Misguided Thinking".

There would be a public outcry except very, very, few want to do what it takes to get better. The solution is there but no one wants to take it. People do what THEY want to do, not what it takes to get better. And the most appealing thing is the lousy (in many, not all, cases) solution doctors offer.

I feel so alone and "out there" as I cure my injury knowing that no one will listen. I see so much pain and get frustrated at the thick-headed stubborn people who REFUSE to listen and follow the path to healing.

As my ex-girlfriend told me, don't worry about other people, fix yourself is what matters most.
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replied November 21st, 2011
trapped nerves and spinal stenosis
Hi i got sudden severe pain in my lower back hip area and then it went to the front of my thigh 9 weeks ago.I had xray and MRI which showed spinal stenosis and herniated discs with two trapped nerves.the pain was unbearable with severe pins and needles shooting up and down my left leg i am on lyrica diflac and morphine which help a lot until i get a breakthrough pain which floors me.Has anyone else had anything similar and how did ye get help for it.i have great sympathy for anyone with back pain best of luck to everyone trying to find relief from pain
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