Recently was diagnosed with cervical ddd, with spondylosis, multilevel foraminal narrowing bilaterally, mixed disc-osteophyte complex protrusion, cervical scoliosis, multilevel effacement of the anterior subararachnoid space, oh let me see, one small herniated disc and 3 bulging discs.........just started physical therapy..........but I am really depressed. Everything I read tells me that I really don't have a good outlook just a long road ahead of me of a bunch of drugs. I don't sleep well.....because there is never a comfortable position. My PT tells me some therapies are dangerous for some of my other conditions so this will be a long road but she believes she can avoid surgery.......others tell me to do the surgery......I just don't know where to turn.
I know where you're coming from, we're pretty much in the same boat.
Avoid the surgery at all costs, except when it gets to the point of permanent damage with loss of function.
Once the surgeries start, they increase the wear and associated problems, with the disks above and below. The surgeries don't always relieve the pain, depending on type of nerve damage at the time.
Avoid chiropractors, and people who say traction will help. Both are dangerous. Both are good, short term, for non-DDD related singular disk issues. Both are bad, for DDD, or anything involving narrowing of the spinal canal. Also, manipulations can increase rate of degeneration in the vertebrae.
What's important here, is the rate of degeneration. Most likely, your NS doesn't know that now? They will watch you, and over time, get a decent judge of the rate.
Start taking steps to reduce the rate of degeneration.
Keep axial load (head pressure) activities to a minimum. Reduce rapid head/neck motion activities, etc...
How do you handle the lack of sleep? I work for family so it's not a huge deal to leave in the afternoon and come home.......but I have always been a very active person and this is driving me crazy.
Right now.....the headaches, neck and shoulder pain are pretty constant......I have to balance headache medicine with muscle relaxants and they recently put me on celebrex too. I have PT 3 times a week now also.
I have rules now like....don't sit for more than 10 mins......never sit in a recliner again.....
My family wants to wrap me in a plastic bubble........can't deal with that either
Stop the muscle relaxers, they are hurting you. They reduce the support, of the neck, and increase instability.
Get a $20.00 memory foam pillow, or about $80.00 if you want the big one. I was skeptical, but completely amazed at how much of a difference it makes.
PT is good, if they are doing the right things. You NEED to strengthen the neck muscles, upper back and shoulders.
Forget the no sitting X 10 minutes crap. Avoid padded chairs and chairs with a back that pushes you forward. (I bet driving is the most uncomfortable?)
At least once an hour, get up and move around. When sitting, avoid a lot of reaching. Try to alter your position frequently. However, the less sitting the better. This type of spinal pressure places the most load, due to legs not supporting any weight. The less you sit, the slower the progression. But, too much standing becomes a problem too.
A recliner is good. It gives you support, yet allows you to alter the angle and pressure on your spine.
Avoid looking up, keep your tv at eye level.
Do not use neck supports, like padded colors and "whiplash lawyer specials." They weaken the muscles. Of course using them occasionally, to give your neck some rest, is ok.
Like traction, don't use those racks that let you hang upside down. Those stretch the spine too. Remember, we have a big concern because of spinal canal narrowing.
Hadn't thought of the relaxers that way. Have tried those pillows with the curve thing in it.....will try the memory foam.....I think we actually already have one. Really tired of the constant headaches and just aching.....I sleep on my side......and it's just never comfortable.....they tell me to learn to sleep on my back.....but I just can't......
Don't have one of those neck support things. The sitting for 10 min thing has been a pain in the butt....what am I supposed to do at restaurants? Wander around and ask everyone how their meal is going?
See I thought a recliner would be a good thing also......but the PT told me not to sit in one EVER again.....I can understand the good posture thing and everything.....but really.....what the heck did a recliner ever do to her? I am just starting therapy so I have very simple exercises right now......they say everything is extremely inflamed right now.....say I will work on strengthening my core and very simple mild neck exercises....say they are worried about damaging something else with an exercise for one of the other conditions....so it will be a long process.....a lot of strange exercises right now.......I have to lay down and look up and "think" about looking down.....not do it.....but think about it....for 2 secs....and do that 20 times.....then the same to the left and right.......other ones where I just barely moved my head an inch or so.....kinda hard....because I want to move it more.
Is your PT a witch doctor?
I said, forget about that 10 minute sitting crap. That's about as realistic as asking the Pope to smoke some weed, with Bill Clinton, and finding someone to believe neither inhaled...
Everything's inflamed right now? That's like saying water is wet. You wouldn't need them if it wasn't.
I truly love that answer. Going to another doctor tomorrow for another opinion on the MRI. Still trying to avoid surgery......going to talk to my regular doctor about some other way of managing pain other than the muscle relaxants......I think you have a really good point about those. Been working on my core exercises.......and trying to treat the neck as delicate as possible.....
sounds like you will need acdf surgery...I got my life back...try all the conventional cures, but surgery may be the lasting cure...it is pretty routine these days. I am a 60 yr old male..active, life is good again
Have no idea what type of surgery that is.......could you give me more info and a little detail about what your rehab was like afterwards......I'm 46 and always been extremely active......it's driving me crazy to think I will lose that.
Exactly the surgery I said to avoid. You are 1 year (or less) older than me. The surgery will end a lot of your life, and drastically increase the rate of the DDD, especially above and below the site of surgery.
Have the surgery, when the pain is too much to cope with and nerve damage is at risk of becoming permanent.
Went to another dr that I trust a lot today. He went thru the MRI with us and even had little spine and cervical sample things showing what everything was and what it was doing. Really helped a lot to understand it more. He believes if I really follow the PT and avoid any further accidents.....that I can avoid surgery for quite awhile. Feels there are a lot of treatments that can be done before that.
I really felt a lot better after this.....was really getting depressed about what my future might be like.
That's good to hear. I'm glad he also didn't jump straight in to surgery.
Good luck, and feel free to e-mail/pm me with regular updates.
I have all cervical except one, compressed, bulging or herniated. 4 reduce the canal, 3 abut the cord, 1 compresses the cord.
I'm less than a year younger, and I led a very active life. (Military, government, combat[s], sports, etc...)
While I'll refrain from sky diving, high diving, tackle football, intentional fighting, bungee jumping, etc..
I wont give up my life. I'll still scuba dive, go on amusement park rides, motorcycle, etc...
You, EdwardPB, provided this beginner with some valuable info. and I'm quite certain that info. is accurate as well if the confidence you project is any indication. It was delightful reading all comments and I'm just sending this short note of thanks to all of you. Given the timeframe, I'm hoping you've had ample time to learn about and understand what you need to clear the hurdles as they relate to you and this difficult medical condition. With thanks, Nancy!
Hi, and welcome to medhelp. I'm glad I could provide some helpful information. However, keep in mind, these are just views, and you should always check with your medical professional for more detailed and specific information.
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