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Is there anybody else out there like me?

Started by Malli on 06/12/2010 7:56pm

I'm only 44 and prior to a motor vehicle accident 8 yrs ago I was a fitness consultant and perfectly strong and fit, not a pain in the world.

I left the fitness industry soon after the accident and had been working as a legal assistant up until a year ago when I started having debilitating back pain. Now, in addition to the back pain, I have intermittent pain shooting down my arms and severe headaches in the back of my head that radiate to my forehead, and a constant burning, twisting the nerves kind of feeling in the back of my head and neck. Sometimes it feels like I have a strap running over the top of my head ear to ear.

I was sent for an MRI, the results came back as: Advanced DDD with moderate central canal stenosis with a dessicated L4-L5, L5- S1. I also have had a lot of problems with my neck over the years. My most recent MRI revealed the following: Degenerative changes of the ADI are evident, straightening of lordosis. Dessication of C3-C4 intevertebral disc. Annular bulging and broad based posterior disc protrusion of the C3-C4 disc with posterolateral marginal osteophyte demonstrated. Bulging of C4-C5, C5-C6, C6-C7 intevertebral discs identified There is facet and uncovertebral joint hypertrophy at multiple levels and osseous encroachment on multiple neural foramina bilaterally as described. Prominent neural foraminal encroachment upon C3-C7 bilaterally.

My questions are how is it possible for someone so young, who was so fit, to have so much degeneration? I have had many treatments, I currently get Botox injections in my head and cervical spine, high doses of Oxycontin, and Zanaflex, however I still have pain and headaches. Why does it cause such tremendous pain and what can I expect in the future. Will I ever be fit enough to return to work? Surgery.....What????

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4 Responses


I do know to an extent how you feel: I am 39, and just last week found out that I have degenerative arthritis throughout my entire spine, after a year of blood tests, x-rays, EMG, etc. I have had a few minor back sprains, but other than that, completely healthy. I have never been overweight, my cholesterol is perfect, blood counts are perfect, etc. From the research that I have done and stories I've read from others, the only commonality is that we are very active, hard working people that just hit an unlucky patch in life. The prognosis: you will most likely not be able to do work that you did previously - no lifting over 20 pounds, no repetitive type jobs (including secretarial or administrative work unless you can find a job that allows you to take frequent breaks), and no high impact excercise. That doesn't mean that your life is over, though. I am actually taking Cymbalta once per day since last Friday, and feel better than I have in a very long time. There are treatments for the pain: physical therapy, disc fusion or replacement, natural supplements. You have to keep trying things until you find something that works. And keep talking to others who have similar conditions to see what they are doing for the pain. I believe that with the right attitude - anything is possible. I wish you the best in your search for answers!


I am sorry to hear how bad you feel. I too have Advanced DDD in L5-S1 and spreading. I'm a 45 y/o police officer with RSD/CRPS and I have to agree with the former post, it is because we worked and worked our bodies harder than most people. Cymbalta works for some, it just didn't for me. Neurontin or Lyrica might help. Like me, I doubt you will able to return to your previous work, and that is sad to say. Some of your DDD is inherited. Consult a good neurosurgeon. I hope you find peace and comfort soon.


I know how you feel, I always walked three miles a day and worked out with weights and was in very good shape. Did not look or act my age. In 2004 when I was 43 I got very sick and was in severe pain from head to toe. I went to Dr after Dr, even went to the emergency room a couple of times, I was treated like I was out of my mind or something. But finally i went to a Dr who cared and found out that I have all the stuff you are talking about, lupus and fibromyalgia. I have arthritis in every joint in my body. Then I became depressed because I had to quit my job, the Dr. I went to could not believe I was even working. A neurologist told me he didn't even know how I was walking. So yes, there are other people out there who understand what you are going through. I never would have believed that I would be in this kind of shape, after all I took care of my body, exercised, ate food that was good for me, did all the things they say you are suppose to do to be healthy and live a good long life. Well, so much for all that. Now I am completely disabled. Some days I can hardly get off the bed my back hurts so bad. After sleeping about 4 hours I have to get up because of my back. The pain and stiffness is constant. I have started walking again, a little, I gained over 40 pounds after I quit work. It has been devastating.


I'v have the neck and back pain for a very long time10 years,I'v done therepy had knee surgery been told I have arthritis. now I have had numbness and loss of sensation in parts of my body I can't sleep. I'm not big on pain meds. in my tspine and down my legs now it has radiated to my arms and hands no Dr. believes me. I'v had dr say I'm not giving you med. I just walked out of that office, I have pressure on my right side they did a upper gi and a colon osp. I told them I didn't have a problem with my digestive, guess what all those test came back good. I just wish I could find a Dr. that will check what really needs to be checked like a mri or even an xray of my whold spinal system, no they just ordered a cspine xray and when I called to find out the results of that the nurse said the notes say to contact a nuro surgon if the systems persist. Isn't that a hoot, I guess 10 years isn't enough persistance. The dr try to make you feel like you are going crazy. I did contact the place that took the cspine xray and the impression on the findings was Degenerative Cervical spondylosis, greatest at c5-c6. and Osseous encroachment on the Neural foramina. I wonder what they would find if they checked wher the real problem is.