Anyone with disc degeneration ?

monica_paOctober 24, 2012

No - not old CDs....back.

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I have severe spinal stenosis with arthritis and degenerative disk disease in my neck which requires surgery I do not want to have. I need to have three disks removed, new spacers added, disks replaced and fused. No thanks.

Also need lumbar surgery because of degenerative disk disease which is causing me severe sciatica issues.

I am no longer working because of it but I am hiking more and my lower back is much better. The neck pain has subsided significantly and is more manageable since leaving my job and the resulting stress.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:28AM
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monica, Are you on that road? I hope not! I will tell you I am now a huge believer in physical therapy. By the end of the week of my diagnosis, I had put away the pain killers, not even ibuprofen. Weeks later and I am feeling like I used to feel. It helps that I am fairly young, 45. Do you have a diagnosis? Mom has full blown degeneration, and I have the beginning stages.

Jodi, I hope you don't have to do the surgery. Surgery can make the other areas weaken. I've watched my mom go through it. To say the surgery was arduous would be an understatement. And it really didn't do any good. Now the rest are weaker. When my physician was explaining the progression, and told me fusion was an option on the down the road, I practically jumped out of my skin! He said I was right about the weakening. So much so, he added that I "understood well what my condition was" into the chart. I'm not being a know it all, just really cautioning you. Just keep up physical therapy as best you can and do any prophylaxis (sit right, sleep right as best you can) that will keep you out of the OR.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:14AM
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Me too. My neurosurgeon just injected cortisone in my cervical spine and it really helped. However there's no guarantee that I won't need surgery in the future. This is the third time I've had the shots. The first time it provided relief for 7 years, the second time it worked for about 15 months. I'm hoping it lasts longer this time.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Result of last scan, 6 years ago:

Degenerative disc and degenerative joint disease throughout the lumbar spine. the findings are aggravated by an extruded calcified disc fragmented just above the level of the L4-5 disc in the midline producing a moderately spinal stenosis at this level. There may also be nerve root compression above and below this level, as well.

When my Rheumatologist received this report she called me and said the report says "your spine is a mess!"

That was 6 years ago. I haven't had any scans since then. I refuse to have surgery. I have had several rounds of therapy, and two rounds of Spinal injections. They are each helpful, short term. I've tried every nsaid that has come along. Short term relief and or bad side effects. I just tolerate the pain and stiffness. Exercises themselves are painful. Standing for any length of time is the most intolerable .

I keep telling the docs I am waiting for that Magic Pill.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:57AM
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woodsy_1 Zone 5b Illinois

My 81 year old Mom just had the surgery 4 weeks ago. 5 level fusion plus laminectomy. She was forced to do it because her spinal cord was becoming compressed, causing weakness in her hands and arms. The doctor explained that if she ignored the problem any longer she was at risk of paralysis. He also explained that the weakness wouldn't get any better because the spinal cord doesn't regenerate. The goal was to prevent it from getting worse.

All things considered, she is doing extremely well in rehab. I am just starting to have issues and have promised myself that I will not allow myself to get to that point. As soon as surgery is an option, I'm doing it!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:01AM
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my mother did, but at the time (she passed in 2005) they hadn't some of the methods they do she was always afraid of 1950's actor had surgery and died,,and that always stuck with her...

she also "broke" her back 3 times..(osteorperosis(sp) as well)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:22AM
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I don't but I have a co-worker/friend who does and he goes to my heavy weightlifting trainer and has so far avoided surgery for the last 5 yrs. She has several clients who only come to her for their disk, neck or back problems. She uses special machines not found in most health clubs or even rehab facilities, each machines is $10k-$15k, the set is 30 machines. They are called MedX and were invented by Nautilus for the medical profession and physical rehab particularly involving the spine. they branched out into other physical rehab machines and started being used by serious weight lifters. Among a bunch of others' I use the Abs Isolator, Lumbar strength and torso rotation machines which are part of the spinal system. one of the special things about these machines is you are strapped in and different pads are clapped down to isolate your movements so only the sole muscle you are working can move. take a look at some of the video's for examples of how these work. she is expensive at $35 a session, you go 2x a week for 20 min and it does take a full 2 days to recover between sessions. you do these exercises till you can not do another rep and then do 2 more reps LOL till the muscle is fully exhausted. i absolutely love this workout and especially the lumbar strength machine which i did this am! it makes me feel 6" taller and completely removes all the stress & tension i have in my back, i feel fantastic after that machine LOL! ~ liz

Here is a link that might be useful: MedX Online Core Spinal Equipment

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Thanks for the info. Yes, x-rays showed degenerating disk(or discs) going for MRI. My RA just makes it more complicated.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 1:32PM
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I am sorry to hear that. Yes, RA compicates things quite a bit. Have you decided your course of action? Obviously we all disagree on one course. I realize surgery can be really necessary, no one should be paralyzed, after all, but then there are loads of factors. Treatment is a personal choice, for sure! so feel free not to discuss if you don't wanna. I'll be thinking of you.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Gosh I hate to be the "nay-sayer" here, but.....I strugled for 10 years with stenosis and ruptured disks and severe back pain. I cannot count the 'practices" I have tried...from chriopractor, acupuncture. that stretching machine and neurologists from Modesto Ca, to Oregon....all telling me that they could not rid me of any of my pain. Oh Pain Clinics too....horible, and epidurals...several. When my Balance became impaired and I went to a balance clinic...they alarmingly sent me to a spine clinic, fearing that the stenosis was begining to impact other functions (like bladder and balance) and immediately sent me to a spine surgeon at the Oregon Spine Clinic in Medford, where I met the most remarkable young surgeon (recently finished training in SF) who performed two separate surgeries over 3 days. First day going in from my side to take care of the disks, rest a day...then doing that lamenectomy (sp) where they usually put in pins and plates. Andy put in bone grafts....I was on my feet the very next day and had a spectacularly short recovery time with no limitations, to this day.It was so successful. I do not have the back pain that had nearly crippled me. My back still gets tired and I have not lost the weight I needed to lose ( that part is looking better today, as my knees and severe anemia are finally under control and we have started an exercise progam) I am 77 and feel today that I have been given back 10 years of my life. BTW I did have to develope kidney failure to get the anemia attended to, and I do get injections every two weeks.....kidney failure due to taking too many OTC pain medications. I think that the treatment for my anemia is how they are stabilizing my kidneys...and I am good so far.

Sorry this is so long. I guess my message is that you should not give up trying to find "your" way. I am sure my guardian angel put Andy in my path just when my back really needed an answer to a prayer. The same with the kidneys. I have had the aanemia for years with no answers or cure except for a bone marrow those red blood cells are perking along famously....and I am so grateful.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 2:24AM
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