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Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: Degenerative Disc Disease L5/S1


 kmartta - Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:45 pm

I have just been diagnosed with DDD L5/S1. Don't understand how this happened. I am the right weight for my height, active (avid runner), youngish (female, 51). Married, no bad habits (don't smoke, don't drink in excess, don't overeat).

I went for an x-ray because I was starting to have pain in my lower back, esp. on the left side around my hip & buttock area. Also, when I turn over in bed or go to lift something like a laundry basket.

The diagnosis said there was no sign of spondylolisthesis or spondylosis which I take to mean fractures. It said I have modertae disk space narrowing at L5/S1.

What do I do about this? My doctor suggested rehab but I tried rehab before and it really didn't help. Is acupuncture a good choice?

I appreciate your help.--M
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:26 pm

User avatar Hello,
Last question first: acupuncture may help with the pain but will not change the disc degeneration.
Xrays will only look at space between the vertebral bodies and not give the best image of the discs themselves. Xray would show spurring too however since no spondylosis then no spurring.
In terms of terms, spondylolithesis is a slipping forward of one vertebrae on another. Spondylolysis is a fracture on the vertebrae which may cause spondylolithesis. Spondylosis is general term for back abnormality. Confused yet?
Anyway, I would recommend a bone mineral density to check for osteoporosis. And to reassure you that this left low back wrapping around pain may or may not be directly related to the discs.
May want to try some water rehabilitation as this would take some weight off the spine.
Let us know how it goes and I hope this gives you some direction.
p.s. An MRI may be in order as this views the disc much better than xray.

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