i called the pcp doctor's office today. dont know what i was thinking. he is an oaf. i sat here all day thinking they wouldnt call me back. a different nurse just called and wanted to know how i knew the ct scan had showed degeneration of my spine. i explained that i had requested my records and even tho there were very few actually released to me, that was one of them and that it was plainly written on there. she told me that the mri was normal and then went into the story that my brain mri was normal as well. then she asked me why i had one done. i told her my symptoms and she said i needed to see a neuro. i told her that that was who ordered the brain mri. after she spoke to me for awhile, she told me that the pcp wasnt going to change his mind any and that i should indeed continue on in my direction with the neuro and dont stop until i got some answers. then she said that i had DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE. but that it was normal for a 39 year old. now how the heck is that? i dont think that that is true at all. i could see that could be possible for someone much older but 39? could someone tell me if this is anywhere near true? or are they just trying to shut me up again? AND the thing about the brain mri being normal bothered me. i wonder just how normal that was. degenerative disc disease and normal mri doesn't make much sence either.
completely confused here....amy
Hi Amy...the following is a short explanation of Degenrative Disc Disease and I hope that it will clear up a bit of the mystery as to what it is and why you may have it...it seems that is doesn't matter how old we are...we all have it just at varying degrees.
Part of the confusion probably comes from the term "degenerative", which implies to most people that the symptoms will get worse with age. The term applies to the disc degenerating, but does not apply to the symptoms. While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the low back pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better over time.
Another source of confusion is probably created by the term "disease", which is actually a misnomer. Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc.
Disc degeneration is a natural part of aging and over time all people will exhibit changes in their discs consistent with a greater or lesser degree of degeneration. However, not all people will develop symptoms. In fact, degenerative disc disease is quite variable in its nature and severity.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease:
The low back pain is generally made worse with sitting, since in the seated position the lumbosacral discs are loaded three times more than standing.
Certain types of activity will usually worsen the low back pain, especially bending, lifting and twisting.
Walking, and even running, may actually feel better than prolonged sitting or standing.
Patients will generally feel better if they can change positions frequently, and lying down is usually the best position since this relieves stress on the disc space.
Types of pain from degenerative disc disease
Most patients with degenerative disc disease will have some underlying chronic low back pain, with intermittent episodes of severe low back pain. The exact cause of these severe episodes of pain is not known, but it has been theorized that it is due to abnormal micro-motion in the degenerated disc that spurs an inflammatory reaction. In an attempt to stabilize the spine and decrease the micro-motion, the body reacts to the disc pain with muscle spasms. The reactive spasms are what make patients feel like their back has "gone out".
The severe episodes of low back pain from degenerative disc disease will generally last from a few days to a few months before the patient goes back to their baseline level of chronic pain. The amount of chronic pain is quite variable and can range from a nagging level of irritation to severe and disabling pain, although severe, disabling pain is quite rare.
In addition to low back pain from degenerative disc disease, there may be leg pain, numbness and tingling. Even without pressure on the nerve root (a "pinched nerve"), other structures in the back can refer pain down the rear and into the legs. The nerves can become sensitized with inflammation from the proteins within the disc space and produce the sensation of numbness/tingling. Generally, the pain does not go below the knee.
These sensations, although worrisome and annoying, rarely indicate that there is any ongoing nerve root damage. However, any weakness in the leg muscles (such as foot drop) is an indicator of some nerve root damage.
I hope this has been of some help to you honey...I think you need to make an appointment with this doctor and discuss it directly with him...second hand news is never a good thing and perhaps he will have a better explanation as to this disc disease than I have. I wish you luck honey and regardless of what it is I hope you get some relief soon!
Rena said it well! The only thing I might add is that degenerative changes can begin in people as young as in their 20s
I'm one of the ones that has degeneration aggravated by injury, so I have nerve pain that refers all the way down into my big toe. I've found that ice helps reduce the inflammation, and lessen my pain. I'm 46, and had my back injured in a couple places since 1987. The pain only started bothering me in 2002 or so, and I continued working out until December '07 when I herniated a disk. The pain from that is improving, so I'm thinking about physical therapy and starting an exercise program that fits with my body.
I definitely feel better walking around than sitting or standing. Lying down can be an issue, because it can put pressure on my disk protrusion and aggravate my back/leg nerve pain.
Amy, I hope the doctor or neurologist can help you understand just what your MRI shows, how it relates to what your CT showed, and most of all, help you find a way to reduce your pain.
I took a pain management class; they said that stress and anxiety increases your pain level, so try to relax and not stress to much over waiting for answers. I know that's MUCH easier said than done, but it does help to distract yourself if possible, do something you enjoy, that absorbs you.
thanks to both of you. i googled it and found that yes it is common for my age. i couldnt find alot of info because it is painful to sit for very long. sorry for jumpin to conclusions. it just didnt sound very normal to me. especially when there is such awful pain. that stinking doctor doesnt care one bit either.oh well, maybe some day some light will get shed on this painful mess of a body i have. thx again and take care
I had a spine xray done a year ago (was having bad back pain) and my chiropractor told me I had signs of the beginnings of degenerative disc disease (I am 38 now). My lower two vertebrae are basically without any "cushion" inbetween, they're flattened together and I have horrible chronic pain in my lower back because of it. My neck also had two mild buldging discs and bone spurs. My chiro told me this is common in my age group for it to start to creep up. Sorry you have it too as I know how painful it can be.
It was said exactly like Rena said it !!!! The only other thing that I can tell you that will help but only temperarily is my husband will get at the end of the bed and pull gently on each leg at one time and that will take some of the pressure off of the spine. GOOD LUCK. Harleygirl1211
Degenerative Disc Disease isn't normal MRI Comment :)
Degenerative Disc Disease is often diagnosed in people between the ages of 30-50; it can be evident at anytime and at any age.
The reason I'm posting here is because of concern, that too often when people have certain types of medical insurance/ health care, that their symptoms and even diagnosis are over shadowed, and later these patients suffer irreversible damage to their health, including life-long chronic PAIN, that can be corrected, or at the minimum alleviated to some degree.
There are numerous procedures set up to help correct problems in the spine for patients suffering with DDD, Degenerative Disc Disease. The sooner the physician properly diagnoses the ACTUAL problems, such as protruding disc/or budging disc, and other issues, the sooner the person can get the RIGHT treatment.
I have been suffering with chronic pain for over twelve years now, and under gone epidural injections, therapy, medications, hot tub, massage, chiropractic, and five rounds of Radio Frequency Ablation, where they burn the nerve endings. Unfortunately, when the pain lessons, you may life something incorrectly and re-injury your spine, and the pain does return. Sometimes, with undesirable side affects, such as permanent nerve damage, tingling sensations, itching that cannot be relieved and additional pain.
The Laser Spine Institute is a great place to check out for what types of technologies are available today for the treatment of chronic pain, such as DDD.
I have trouble sitting on my sofa, vacuuming, and even doing simpler things like the dishes. I have fallen off of chairs and spilt hot water on myself because my hands are weaker, and my fingers went numb after RFA. I have more pain then I ever did right after my accident.
more medical treatment should not equal: less treatment.
What doctors seem to be doing more of today is slapping patients with a overly generalized diagnosis like : Degenerative Disc Disease, or Fibromaliga, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, etc...Etc... so that they don't have to deal with the cost of actual CARE.
It's time patients become advocates in their own treatment plan. If one doctor won't do their work, it's time to call another, and continue until someone LISTENS!
Fight back; it is your body, and your pain you have to live with.
Trust me, the pain won't gradually decline.
Degenerative.... means it will continue to do just that, until either the disc buldges, herniates or worst yet, ruptures. People have become parallelized because of poor treatment.
Never treat one case of an SCI spinal Cord Injury like another.
*** I'm writing this more to the doctors, not to you :)
Please let me know how you are doing and together, we can fight back and get the proper care.
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