Degenerative disc disease questions................

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by alaska3355, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    My mom has been diagnosed with this and her spine is in pretty bad shape. Has anyone here had surgery for herniated discs or spinal fusion? I'm collecting info for her, since she is not a computer person. Thanks, everyone!
  2. cats3

    cats3 New Member

    Here is a good web site to get information on degenerative disc disease ---- Spine-health.com

    They have a section on the subject.

    I have this disease in my neck and low back. I have had nerve blocks in my neck which has helped with the pain.

    Haven't had any surgery yet and do not plan on having any.
  3. lookingoutthewindow

    lookingoutthewindow New Member

    I have the same condition. I had C3 and C4 fused August 2005. With FM it took longer to diagnose the problem. I could not comb my hair. I had to wash my hair by hanging my head down in the shower. I used 2 hands to brush my teeth. The DR told me to wear a sling to work so people would realize I was in pain. He thought it was all FM. I demanded an MRI-Thank God I did. After the surgery I felt better for a short while then all the symptoms returned. I was taking PT and not improving. I had a whole series of muscle and nerve tests, MRI's, CT scans followed by a myelogram. I have bone spurs all over my spine, degenerative disks and bulging disks. After a Nuerologist, Nuerosurgeon, GP and Bone and Joint DR told me there was nothing wrong with me, my PT sent me to a spine specialist. August 2006 I had another fusion done from C2-C7. He said C1 also needs repair, but it is dangerous and I am too young (44).I also had bone spurs removed from my toes. I was told arthritis cause spurs, but have been tested numerous times and been told I don't have it???? Anyway, I was told the degeration can not be stopped and it will eventually move down the whole spine. I don't know what to think. It's good that I know, but not something to look foward to. Since the last surgery I have less pain and more mobility than I imagined--It was worth it. I was lucky not to have permenant damage because I had a pinched nerve bundle that all the tests did not detect.

    I hope your mother has a good doctor and encourage her to get at LEAST 2 opinions. Help her to listen to her own body. My last surgeon was amazed at "what a mess it was in there, and it a miracle that I could even write". He asked if I had practiced biofeedback. Thinking about it, I did 20 years ago. This might be helpful for her. The book I used was The Relaxation Response.

    Although I still get a bimonthly migraine, the headaches have decreased in number and severity. The fusion also put stress on the disks on either side. I now am very aware of the problems at C1 and have been experiencing more pain between the shoulders. As bad as it sounds I am living a better quality of life after the surgery.

    Dr Tsahakis has a website; google--Total Spine Specialists in Charlotte NC. There is some information on the site. They are a fantastic group.

    I hope this has been helpful. Bless you for your concern and love for your mother, I wish I could say my daughter knew the first thing.

    Johnna
  4. happycanuk

    happycanuk New Member

    for a herniated disc. Actually, I had a Lamenectomy and not a disectomy. I did not have a fusion. The Surgeon was a neurosurgeon and he didn't believe in fusion if he didn't have to do it. I had this done over 20 years ago and for the most part, it was a good choice. I have now developed Osteo-Arthritis in the facet joints (caused by the lamenectomy).

    The pain from a herniated disc gets to intense that surgery is welcome. I wish her well.
  5. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    I knew someone would know about this condition- I think she's had it for many years, just never had a name to it.
    She has problems with her cervical region and her lumbar...especially bad disintegration at the 2nd thoracic vertebrae. I have looked up other doctors for her, but she and Dad are content to take their time and do what their GP says. I think she will get a specialist soon, since today she is having a bone scan. She's had the MRI and that was bad news. They are also checking a suspicious spot on her upper spine that could be cancerous or maybe something benign like a cluster of blood vessels. Of course, I'm praying for the latter.....she has enough to deal with. I wish I could be there- they are in Arkansas and I'm in Washington state. I'm hoping to go down in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks for writing!
  6. BlueSky555

    BlueSky555 New Member

    Hi alaska,

    Yes, I had fusions at the cervical area; the first surgery was performed in march, 1997; had to wear neck brace, couldn't bend over, truthfully, a horrible recovery. The bone was fused with bone from the bone bank rather than the hip. (I had heard the hip was the worst recovery area for this.)

    I continued hurting; went to another neurosurgeon; in Dec. 1997 he went in and "fixed" what the first surgeon did, which WAS a fusion the first time. This time, the surgeon placed titanium metal in my neck and I see it when they do x-rays, if needed. I'm sure that won't break but now I'm left with a stiff trapezius (sp) muscle that will never heal due to not being able to move neck/arm prior to surgery.

    If you asked me if it helped? I don't think I can honestly answer this because I still have pain in arm/neck. If asked would I have it done again at that time? NO, absolutely not. However, I would have very possibly had to have it sooner or later; who knows?

    Now, I have 2 buldging discs in lumbar area and now face the same delima.

    Hope this helped a little but I honestly think it depends on the person and possibly the surgeon.

    I wish her luck and continue to ask questions; we're all different.

    BlueSky555
  7. sh2angel

    sh2angel New Member

    I just had the surgery done on my neck they fused c4/5 6/7 they used bone from my hip ( which was more painful then my neck) but I think it was well worth it and the recovery...I had this done on Jan 9 of this year..and am still in the recovery process..and have to wear my neck brace till next month....but I only have to wear it while I am sitting or walking..I have a plate in my neck and some screws so my head is screwed on tight now...but I am much better now then before surgery...the muscles in my neck are now pretty soft they were always like a rock before and I also had herniated discs and spinal stenosis causing pressure on my spinal cord...before I had the surgery I would pee my pants all the time I couldn't tell when I had to go..It took care of that problem I have problems with my balance and walking still but the doc said it could take awhile to see if that repairs it self...I had a really good Nuerosurgeon...and would find one if she is going to have this done...I don't regret having this done I also have all sorts of other health issues...oh yeah and no more killer head aches I use to get..I have CFS, FM, osteo arthritis, osteoperosis, and the list goes on and on.....hope this helps...Shirley
  8. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    Her bone scan is done but she won't get the results for at least another week. I will keep pushing her to get more than one surgeon's opinion- I'm afraid they will tell her there's nothing to do for her pain. Thanks for your help-
    Terri
  9. swehling

    swehling New Member

    I've had a degenerating back/spine for several years. It's pretty bad now. One thing your mom should do is have a back brace made. I recently did this and it makes all the difference for supporting the weight away from your lower back. Also get lumbar supports where ever she sits. There is a wbsite for Relax the back- they sell all kinds of helpful things. In the meantime some really good grocery/drug stores sell back braces like "homedics" this is a good one because it has a removable ice pack and velcro makes it easy to wear. She should also get the picker upper -medline.com has these. If you can't bend down to pick things up.
    Good luck
    Susan
  10. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    Mar 1 I am seeing a neuro about my neck and back pain. From what I am reading and hearing from others the back/neck surgery is risky?
  11. tkslave

    tkslave New Member

    Alaska 3355, Hi I had anterior lumbar interbody fusion with bak cages, donor bone and a metal plate on L5-S1 disc Feb. 10, 2004. I have been in constant pain since, I have not been able to work since july 2003. i had surgery hoping to get some relief but the surgery didn't help. I would never advise any one to have this done, but your Mom will be the only one to make the decision to have or not have the surgery, when you are in so much pain you'll try any thing no matter what others tell you. I know this because people told me about their experiences but I hurt so bad I just had to try, i was not one of the lucky ones that the surgery helps. It's a decision your mom will have to truly make on her on. what ever she decides I will pray for her. Lisa
  12. RatsWife

    RatsWife New Member

    Hi! Guess I can join the Club and share my experience. A local neurosurgeon fused my neck after removing 2 cervical discs. In recovery I was able to fully control my bladder, something I had been unable to do for several years. My migraines and all pain/loss of functions related to the degenerative damage in my spine were completely take care of for over 3 years. The disease is progressive as others have shared with you. I am a Realist and Portrait painter -- or should I say, I was. I haven't been able to complete a painting in 3 years now. Sadly, the symptoms have all gradually recurred, including the loss of bladder control. Now this is where I become confused. Last week I had a Nerve Conduction Study done, Xrays and an MRI. According to the neurosurgeon, there is nothing he can do to help me surgically. There is change within my spine but he says it is negligible. He recommended nothing but the use of antidepressants and/or antiseizure medications for the burning pain which settled in to my left side in late July '06. He told me the damage is permanent and is the "old" damage. Can you see what's confusing me? I had full recovery until early 2004. Is the reappearance of migraine, loss of functions (right arm and hand, bladder), and pain due to the FM or the arthritis or both? I would have the surgery again if I believed it would help me. The years of having my life back were priceless. I hope your Mother can have such a great result, too.