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degenerative Disc disease help
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degenerative Disc disease help

Hi I have been dealing with back and neck pain for quite some time.i have at times extreme leg weakness,numbness in both legs, and a lot of pain at night ( can't sleep) during the day it's painful but I keep moving.
I am meeting with my doctor today to review my MRI  and he mentioned over the phone that there was Degenerative Disc disease in the neck and back. I also have fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis in my feet. My question is , what kind if specialist or course of action should I be seeking. I am on Lyrica and that helps my inflammtion(to a degree) and  antiinflammatries dont help at all. I am in great shape, I workout 5-6 days a week, walk daily and am not over weight. I have noticed since I started teaching Zumba classes, the pain has been worse.
Any advice is appreciated. When I spoke to my doc he said he had another medbtonput me on.
5 Comments Post a Comment
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1236893_tn?1408490528
You have to do your homework and find a good Neurosurgeon you bring him/her your MRI report and disc. when you find someone ask how many surgeries they performed and ask for references!! Don't be ashamed asking any questions!!! If you have to visit a dozen Neurosurgeon's so be it until you find the one you like.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Dee,

Between each pair of bony vertebral bodies is a soft disc that acts as a shock absorber. The disc is made up of two parts, the annulus and the nucleus. The annulus is the outer part of the disc and is made of many rings of cartilage-like tissue. The nucleus, a jelly-like substance, is at the center of the disc. As we age, the disc can dehydrate, making it less supportive and more prone to injury. The disc height decreases as the disc dehydrates and can produce chemicals locally that irritate the surrounding tissue, causing neck or back pain. There may also be pain in the arms or legs. Disc degeneration is very common in the older population, but also occurs in younger adults. Factors contributing to disc degeneration are not fully understood, but there appears to be a genetic link. It is unclear how much activity “wear and tear,” such as with repetitive bending/lifting, truly affects disc degeneration.

Almost everyone’s discs dehydrate and degenerate with age. In many people, degeneration is not painful. Sometimes the process is painful. Acute disc pain may also occur after a tear or injury to the disc tissue.

Screening and Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of painful disc degeneration begins with the doctor reviewing your history and performing a physical examination. X-rays may be made to investigate reduced disc height or other problems. An MRI scan may be obtained as it helps assess water content of the discs and any resultant “bulging” or protruding of the disc tissue. However, because disc degeneration is so common, many people have discs that look abnormal on an MRI, although they may not have back or neck pain. Because of this problem, other diagnostic tests, such as discography, may be done to verify if the disc is causing pain. Sometimes other injections are also done to rule out other possible pain origins.

Treatments for Degenerative Disc Disease:

Typically, the first line of treatment includes active physical therapy and education. Strengthening of the muscles in the trunk and around the spine may help to reduce pain. Medication may be prescribed. If an unacceptable level of pain persists for several months after other treatments, surgical options may be considered. There are several minimally invasive procedures that are most frequently used for early stages of disc degeneration. Various interbody fusion procedures may be used in which disc tissue is removed and replaced with bone to stabilize the painful spinal segment. Total disc replacement or artificial discs may be used as well. The disc tissue is removed and a mobile disc prosthesis is put into the disc space. It is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor in deciding which treatment, if any, may be best for you.

Apart from Medical solutions, Most neck & back issues have their roots in Stress and tension, stemming either from Work/Relationships.

Please try and meditate and if possible practice Indian Yoga exercises (ASANAS) like:

1.  Bhujangasana (Cobra),
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/471

2. Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward-Facing Bow).
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/473

3. Bridge Pose
http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/472

Avoid caffeine, for restless Leg Syndrome.
De-Stress yourself with 1 hour of meditation, by staying thoughtless.
Thoughtlessness is the key to the life force within.

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2033947_tn?1329441252
Thank you what an informative answer !
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Avatar_f_tn
A very very informative post. Can stress from work cause the discs to degenerate?
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Avatar_m_tn
Dear Kwood,

Yes!
Everything you do during the day while being upright tests the spine's ability to support your body weight. Minor injuries to the disc may occur and not cause pain at the time of the injury. These repeated daily stresses and minor injuries can add up over time and begin to affect the discs in your spine. The disc eventually begins to suffer from the wear and tear-it begins to degenerate.

The main problem with degenerative disc disease lies within one or more of the intervertebral discs. There is a disc between each vertebra in the spine. Much of the mechanical stress of everyday movements is transferred to the discs.

The intervertebral discs are designed to absorb pressure and keep the spine flexible by acting as cushions during body movement-similar to shock absorbers. Without the cushion effect of the discs, the vertebrae in your spine would not be able to absorb stresses or provide the movement needed to bend and twist.

A healthy intervertebral disc has a great deal of water in the nucleus pulposus (the center portion of the disc). The water content gives the nucleus a spongy quality and allows it to absorb spinal stress.

Excessive pressure or injuries to the disc can cause the injury to the annulus (the outer ring of tough ligament material) that holds the vertebrae together. The annulus is generally the first portion of the disc to be injured.

Small tears show up in the ligament material of the annulus. These tears heal by scar tissue, which is not as strong as normal ligament tissue. The annulus becomes weaker over time as more scar tissue forms. This can lead to damage of the nucleus pulposus. It begins to lose its water content and dry up

Loss of water content causes the discs to lose some of their ability to act as cushions. This can lead to even more stress on the annulus and still more tears as the cycle repeats itself. As the nucleus loses its water content, it collapses.

Bone spurs, sometimes called osteophytes, may begin to form around the disc space. These can also form around the facet joints. This is thought to be due to the body's response to try to stop the excess motion at the spinal segment. The bone spurs can become a problem if they start to grow into the spinal canal and press into the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This condition is called Spinal Stenosis.

The most common early symptom of degenerative disc disease is usually pain in the back that spreads to the buttocks and upper thighs. When doctors refer to degenerative disc disease, they are usually referring to a combination of problems in the spine that "start" with damage to the disc, but eventually begin to affect all parts of the spine.

Problems thought to arise from the degenerating disc itself include discogenic pain, and bulging discs.

Over time gravity, spinal joint dysfunction and accumulated trauma cause the discs to compress, flatten and degenerate. This constant compression prevents much-needed oxygen and nutrients from entering the disc. This ongoing starvation causes the once-tough outer layers of the disc to soften allowing the disc to become injured or diseased. Disc damage can occur anywhere in the spine. However, the discs of the neck (cervical spine) and low back (lumbar spine) are the most commonly injured.

Specific Rest:-

Immediately after a back injury, rest is often all your back needs to feel better. Rest is used to take the pressure off your spine and the muscles around it.

You should rest in a comfortable position on a firm mattress. Placing a pillow under your knees can also help relieve pain. Do not stay in bed for several days.

Bed rest for more than two or three days can weaken the back muscles, making the problem worse instead of better. Even though you may still feel some pain, a gradual return to normal activities is good for your muscles.

In most cases of sudden back pain, the sooner you start moving again, the sooner your back pain will improve. If you are sent to see a physical therapist, the first few days may be spent educating you on ways to take stress off the back, while remaining as active as possible. Short periods of rest combined with brief exercises designed to reduce your pain may be suggested.

Physical Therapy and Exercise:-

Your doctor may have you work with a physical therapist. A well-rounded rehabilitation program assists in calming pain and inflammation, improving your mobility and strength, and helping you do your daily activities with greater ease and ability.

Therapy visits are designed to help control symptoms, enabling you to begin moving and exercising safely and easily. Regular exercise is the most basic way to combat back problems.

Consider it part of long-term health management and risk reduction program. Exercises focus on improving strength and coordination of the low back and abdominal muscles.

The emphasis of therapy is to help you learn to take care of your back through safe exercise and self care when symptoms flare up. Therapy sessions may be scheduled two to three times each week for up to six weeks.

REMEMBER:-

Spinal discs do NOT have a direct blood supply. There are no arteries that feed the disc with oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, discs of the spine must receive their oxygen and nutrients from a different source.

Normal, healthy discs are “fed” and oxygenated by the constant recycling of the disc fluid that occurs with spinal joint movement. This joint motion “*****” in fluid filled with oxygen and nutrients and “pumps out” waste fluid. This process of fluid diffusion is greatly affected by internal disc pressure (intradiscal pressure)

The discs of the spine are under constant pressure. The spinal discs are designed to absorb shock and maintain spinal flexibility by acting as cushions during body movement.

The discs act similar to shock absorbers in a car. Car shock absorbers maintain a constant pressure to “push back” against the weight and movement of the car. Spinal discs act in a similar fashion.

The pressure within the discs pushes the bones of the spine apart preventing them from crashing into one another during activities like running and jumping. Unfortunately, this constant internal disc pressure also pushes the fluid out of the disc consistently every day. This makes it difficult for the body to “suck” in new, healthy disc fluid with its much-needed oxygen and nutrients.

Knowing your body and how it is affected by stress and issues in our daily routine life is of key importance, i feel.

Every Body has its own method of letting its owner know whether the Lifestyle we adopt, suites it or not. We have to read the signs.

Stress, no matter what its source, has a habit of affecting our body posture.
Watch yourself after every half an hour, check your posture.

Move away from the desk, take a stroll outside, and stretch as if you are about to touch the clouds. This will pull up the spine and help relive some of that stored Stress.

Please remember to watch your thoughts on hourly basis, avoid negative thinking, Anger, revenge, and pent up emotions to lay stored. Inculcate a feeling of forgiveness towards all, especially those who hurt us.

Power of forgiveness is immense, one has to practice it, to feel it.
When you wake up tomorrow, promise yourself to forgive all.

Release all the anger, emotions and expectations from within.
let it go.

Whenever I try and help someone (selflessly, not monetarily), my pain goes away. I start to find inner peace, which begins the healing within.

Good luck.

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