Degenerative Disc sufferers ... ?s

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Engel, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. Engel

    Engel New Member

    Please helllllp ... I was just dx'd w/DDD (C5, 6 & 7, probably more) and am wondering how it is treated? and what to expect. The rheumy wants me to see a neuro surgeon. I also have FMS and OA (elsewhere).
  2. debhun

    debhun New Member

    I have it in same place as you. there is nothing they can do for me. They have gave me shots in my neck. But my pain can be really bad at times.
    I hope they can do more for you than they did for me.

    Deb
  3. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    Dear Engel,
    I also have degenerative disk diseaase in my lower back and my neck. I find that acupuncture and/or chiropractic help. I also use Traumeel as a rub-on. Believe it or not, posture correction and relief of stress can also help, especially the position in which one sleeps.

    Please investigate as much as you can before you go in for surgery. Some doctors recommend surgery very easily, without really understanding the side effects that it has on a person with an autoimmune disease, such as ME of Fibro. They dont' even think of it. Also, it shifts the responsibility off from themselves to someone else.

    Good luck,
    Terry

  4. obrnlc

    obrnlc New Member

    hi engel--i've had this to some extent but had a recent mri that shows it has progressed significantly, which is what the neuro was looking for, i think (she's not a big fan of fm/cfs). there is a problem called cervical myelopathy that has symptoms that look as i just wrote them off my list--hyperreflexia, ankle clonus, pos. hoffmans, weakness in arm and frequent dropping, stiff legged gait while walking, spasticity of legs--etc--i couldn't believe when i looked at it that it looked just like me!


    anyway, my mri didn't come out and say that is what it was, i was just blown away at the sim. of this problem and mine, then when i saw my mri--sure seemed like the case, and I read alot of fm/cfs have cervival spine disorders. now as to treatment--don't see her til june, and ANY person over 30 will show DDD on an MRI as part of the aging process, so it just depends on the degree of nerve encroachment, bony spurs, spinal canal narrowing, alot more than DDD by itself.

    when it rains it pours, doesn't it? but i do like to see a BLACK AND WHITE explanation for symptoms!
    have a great day--L
  5. springlakeorphan

    springlakeorphan New Member

    Dear Engel, In 2000. I had fusion of C5,6,&7. I had tried EVERYTHING first to avoid surgery. When I got to the point of not being able to hold anything in my hands, and a pain level that was off the charts; I knew it was time. The surgery helped a great deal. At that time I was not DX with fibro. The recovery was 3-4 months.
    I am now about to have spinal fusion in lower back. Good luck! I'll be happy to answer any questions about my expierance.
  6. Fmandy

    Fmandy New Member

    Engel, I have DD disease also and lower spinal problems. I know of more than a few people who have had various surgeries on their backs and it seems it helped 50% and 50% are miserable from the surgery. Surgeons DO SURGERY for a living... (no kidding, lol)

    As Terry mentioned, there are ways to work around it (the pain and injury), such as ALWAYS bending your knees while lifting, etc.

    If you are brushing your teeth and your back starts hurting, bend your knees. This transfers weight from your back to your legs.

    The final decision is up to you. If I had 2 different surgeons to tell me that this is a fairly simple corrective action to perform on my back, then it would help me at least to make a decision. The 2nd, totally objective opinion would help and I think most insurance companies cover this 2nd opinion.

    Just make sure the 2nd surgeon is with a totally different hospital and group.

    Hoping you make the best, rational decision,

    Andy
  7. Mini4Me

    Mini4Me New Member

    Yes, I have it in neck, upper and lower back.
    Physical therapy, heating pad, hot tub, and dual headded massager all help with the excruciating pain. Also painkillers help.

    Best of luck...
    Mini
  8. Engel

    Engel New Member

    I really appreciate the input. I guess I am still upset that I am only 53 and have the body of someone 73+++ :-( . I was wondering about the injections and the fusion surgery. I have been dropping things for many years now and my neck cracks. I am nervous about driving since I have difficulty turning my head and sometimes turning the steering wheel. I can no longer sit straight upright for over 15 minutes or so. I started wearing a soft collar around my neck at work just to try to manage but even that stopped helping. I have heard that you have to be really careful when it comes to manipulation of the neck and spine. The rheumy only x-rayed the neck and shoulders ... so he wants me to contact a neuro surgeon and get a full MRI. I have been messing around for 4 years with a PCP about the neck issues (and longer for all kinds of things which I later found out were FMS related) ... grrrrrrr. I don't know if earlier detection of this DDD would have made a difference? How is fusion done? Surgery?

    Unfortunately I have OA in both knees, ankles (and probably hips) so I cannot bend at the knees. I have to use a walker to get out of chairs now.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/29/2007]
  9. minkanyrose

    minkanyrose New Member

    I have seen many friends and a relitive get back surgery and it didn't work my cousin is in a wheel chair at 30 years old who had back surgery that didn't help. the friends that had it done said it worked for a couple of years but the pain is back.

    I had a friend (who is 60 some)who just had surgery 2 years ago for the neck and he had bones from a dead person replace his he says it was a great releif.

    as with anything It seems the ones it didn't work for you hear about it and the ones it did just don't seem to talk about it.

    I am getting releif from chiropractice care and pillow possitioning while sleeping, and he put me on calcium and magnisum suppliments.

    I am one who want's surgery as a last resort. As long as I can alleviate the tremendous pain and only have a 1-4 on a pain scale I am happy.

    Hope you find the answer you are looking for.
    Have a great day
    Brenda
  10. Empower

    Empower New Member

    I am SO glad you posted. I was just at the pain clinic on Friday, and the dr siad I have severe arthritis in my neck.

    I am 50 and he said I had the cervical spine of a 75 year old!!!!

    I was very depressed

    I am going for PT - Got Ultram, don't know if I will take it or not

    What are your symptoms??
  11. Engel

    Engel New Member

    well ... for one thing my neck cracks (some people have even heard it), I drop things easily (but that could be the fibro), I can hardly turn my head side to side or up and down w/out a lot of pain, I was having horrible shooting pains in my shoulder (that has eased some while on STD), I have trouble sitting for very long, lying for very long, balance issues (again could be fibro), all kinds of things ... actually. I have OA in most of my joints.
  12. Empower

    Empower New Member

    I hear you

    My upper back is so stiff and tense, feels like I have a steel bar across my back

    My neck cracks when turning and I have problem with turning it from side to side

    I get alot of headaches in the back of my neck, and now I know why!

    I DID fall down stairs and put my head through a plaster wall (whiplash effect) and I wonder if this has anything to do with it

    I will let you know if PT helps any
  13. Jeanette62

    Jeanette62 New Member

    Believe it or not I had a urologist send me to an orthopedic spine doctor for overactive bladder because it started after I fell and landed on my tailbone. I also had neck and arm pain, chronic migraines, dizziness, lower back, hip and leg pain, and leg weakness, etc.

    I already knew of an excellent orthopedic spine spine doc that came highly recommended by doctors, PT's and others who had already had succesful surgery by him.

    When I made the appt, I was mailed an Rx for x-rays. After the consult he ordered MRI of the cervical and lumbar spine.

    The MRI's showed cervical stenosis/myleopathy at C5/6 and lumbar DDD at L4/5 - S1. Since my bladder sx started right after the fall and I had leg weakness he felt the bladder sx were related to the spinal compression.

    I chose to have the cervical decompression and fusion because at 45 I felt I was to young to be stuck with chronic severe bladder problems that could get worse. I'm glad I did because my bladder problems are doing better. The nerves didn't heal immediately and still have a little ways to go, but it's much better. My neck and arm pain was in the process of healing and I was doing great. It will be a year Jun 13.

    Unfortunately I tripped and fell forward hitting my head and hands last Sep, just 3 months after my surgery. It caused the C4 and C7 to bulge, but there was no injury to the surgery area or new stenosis. I ended up with rotator cuff injuries and the neck pain,arm pain and headaches came back. It's was real disappointment to have screwed things up just as I was getting better.

    When the surgeon told me and my daughter it was an easy surgery, I thought he was crazy. To me it was a scary thing to go through. From his perspective this is the easiest surgery considering he does so many that are much more complicated.

    It turns out he was right. While it was no picnic, it was definitely easier than the 2 C-sec I had. I was severly nauseous for a month after the surgery, but I recently found out why. It's because I have autonomic dyndunction/ orthostatic intolerance that was not diagnosed. Now I have instructions from the cardiologist if I have surgery again.

    Jeanette
  14. rpatzer

    rpatzer New Member

    I work for 2 chiropractors. If your condition is critical, i.e., got to the point where it is pretty much bone on bone, then DO NOT get adjustments. That will just create more bone on bone and more pain. There is really nothing that can be done for the disc. It is of a material that with age deterioriates and gets thinner.
    The best treatment is a decompression table. It is computer operated and puts a stretch on those vertebrae, giving some additional space between the discs.
    You can try it out and if it helps, then you can go to your chiropractor who has one or anyone who is permitted to RX for you and they can prescribe one for you and you can order one online for around $450-500. They have them both for the cervicals and the lumbars.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/29/2007]
  15. Crispangel66

    Crispangel66 New Member

    there is nothing they could do for me. they had gave me so cortisone shots in my back and due to the act I am a diabetic they only raised my blood sugar they never really helped the pain enough tohave it done again.

    Pam
  16. rosemarie

    rosemarie Member

    I am 51 yrs old and yet I walk like I am either 90 or 20 months pregnant.Since I have had a total hyesterectomy over 17 yrs ago I am postive that the over due pregnancy is not the problem.I also have end-stage osteoarthritis in both knees.

    It was so depressing to go to a rehumy and his first words were "You need to ahve both knees replaced asap. When are you going to have them done?" I said " I am 51 yrs old and I am in NO way ready for this kind of surgery.
    I don't want to have it done knowing that dispite the fact that this surgery has imporved and the new knees last longer they still don't last 20 years. I would have to have them replaced when I am in my 70's and that is not what I want to be doing.

    My back problems are DDD, spinal stenosis, radiculotpathy of the lumbar spine, facet syndrome, bulging disc L4-L5** L5- S1, siatcia{SP}.I know that my back is bad and needs help as do my knees.

    But I can't have any kind of steriods as they only make my pain twice maybe 3 x as bad as before the injections. They also feel like I have been injected with red hot liquid lava. And it takes weeks for the added pain to go away.

    With the end-stage osteoarthritis in both knees bending is out and I can't straighten out my knee's they don't work right.
    My knee's cause me alot of pain but so does my back. I am not ready to have surgery done. I don't have that great insurance and I am on disability but will not qualifiy for medicare for 2 more years. FUN HUH? Right.
    I am currently on strong pain meds.

    Such as MScontin, MSIR, Soma, Xanax, visteril. Some of the meds are for itching, I hear that fibro can cause itching and so does the Mscontin. It is randome itching and no hives.

    Between the low back pain from sitting too long, or standing too much which makes my knee's throb and my back ache I feel as if I am older than my mom.I ride in the electric cart at the grocey store and my 79 yr old Mom walks behind a cart pushing it. She can walk farther than I can. So I feel really OLD.

    I was told that there was no realy surgery DDD. AS it is a degeneriitive process and can't be replaced with the same ease that broken bones are.
    OI Just live with this never ending pain and hate it. But there is not much I can do.

    I do water arobics in the deep end of the pool in the summer as we have a out door pool in town that offers classes.But I have not found a high school that offers this class in the winter. Here in Utah we have heat one week and snow the next. Just wait 24 hours and you can be in all 4 seasons.

    I wish that I could give you some really good advise but I can't. I had to resort to taking the strong pain meds as the ones like darvocet don't do any thing to ease the pain. I also have lots of back pain when I sit typeing too long.
    I wish you hope to find some thing that will work for you. MANY ~HUGS~
    Rosemarie
  17. LouiseK

    LouiseK New Member

    Get a two inch thick exercise mat (so you don't lay on the hard floor). Lay on the floor with legs elevated so your thighs are at a right angle to the floor -- use a chair to support your calfs. Stay there for a long time relaxing and breathing deeply. Put a little neck pillow under your neck so it doesn't get strained. Seriously, do it an hour a day. It lets your spine relax and gives you a little space where the spacers between the bones are shot.

    Use a really good desk chair -- at home as well as at work. Use good posture which you might have to learn about (it's about the hardest thing in the world to do and requires the strengthening and stretching of just about everything since we all abuse the posture thing)

    Don't sit up in your bed or hang around on a squishy sofa.

    Strong muscles will take stress off the spine. Mine are weak and I feel like my whole body is hanging off my spine rather than my spine being suspended in the middle of my body.

    I'm 57 with three gone in the neck and two gone in the lower back. I feel your pain . . .

    Good luck.
  18. springlakeorphan

    springlakeorphan New Member

    I go to a chiropractor who uses a decompression table. Have gone daily for a week now I will go 3 x's a week. I LOVE IT!! I also bought an inversiom machine to use at home. That is the only time I am truely out of pain. You can feel the pressure being released. Hope this helps.
  19. mossrose101

    mossrose101 New Member

    The exercise laying on the floor with thighs on the chair...where did you hear about that exercise for back issues? I never heard of it and Im trying to make sense of it; how it helps. It sounds like the position is exactly the same as sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor so I am trying to figure out the mechanics of how this helps.

    thanks
  20. Engel

    Engel New Member

    I cannot lie on bed (hardly) let alone on the floor. I can get down there but cannot get back up ... lol. Helllllllp ... I've fallen and I can't get up. I would be like a beached whale.

    I am looking for TREATMENTS (ie surgery, shots)