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Back Problems Message Board

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Hi all. I saw a spine specialist in Manhatten on Wednesday and was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease in my lumbar spine at L4/5.

This all started for me in November last year when I woke up and could not move my neck. A week or two after that I started having weakness in my legs with tingling in my feet and minor aches and pains. Severely herniated cervical discs were found on MRI and I had surgery in February, 2003.

After I was out of bed and off meds the symptoms came back and have been worsening ever since. I was tested for everything under the sun - multiple sclerosis, lyme disease, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, etc.

The pain is totally unbearable at times. I wake up all stiff in the morning and tired from not getting any quality sleep because of tossing and turning all night. Sitting at work aggravates my sciatica symptoms down my right leg - buttock pain, pulling in thigh, squeezing in ankle, etc. I also have less severe pain in my left leg. Hip/pelvis and lower back constantly hurt. The pain dominates my consciousness every waking moment, I get irritable and depressed; I cry.

The doctor said that he would hate to do any more fusion on me and highly suggested I try to wait it out until the artificial disc is approved by the FDA, which he hopes will be early next year. He is actually one of 15 doctors in the US who are participating in the trial and he has down several of this type of surgery already. Unfortunately, I could not participate due to certain exclusions. (If anyone is interested, it's Dr. Fabien Bitan at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.)

Anyway, I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has DDD and how you have managed it. I'm 36 years old with 2 kids and a full-time SITTING job. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your replies!
Renee :angel:

1982 Fusion surgery for scoliosis with stainless steel Harrington Rod (T5 - L3) using pelvic bone for grafting
1999 Neck problems began
2001 Cervical Kyphosis
2002 Diagnosed with Epstein-Barr (level was 7+) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
2003 3 Herniated Cervical Discs - C4 thru C7. One disc (C5-6) pressing on the spinal cord (no nerve root compression) causing leg weakness, tingling, burning and numbness - diagnosed with myelopathy and ACDF recommended.
2/24/03 One-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy with donor bone and titanium plate (C5-6)
Post 2/03 - Symptoms returned and worsening. Weakness in my legs is like walking against a 50 mph wind - pain in lower back and all the way down my right leg to the ankle - vertigo, muscle spasms in trunk and legs
7/03 EEG, BAERS and MRI of brain all normal
7/03 MRI of lumbar spine showed mild herniated disc (L4/5) with moderate to severe DDD and edema in the endplates. HOLDING OUT FOR ARTIFICIAL DISC REPLACEMENT!

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