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Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: degeneration in L4 and L5


 gb25 - Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:26 am

I am 25 years old, and I have been dealing with lower back pain for the last six years, and recently it has become unbearable at times. There are times when I take a step and a severe pain shoots through my lower back and into my buttock(left and right). I can't get comfortable sitting, standing, or lying down. When my doctor sent me for an MRI, the results showed degeneration in L4 and L5. He prescribed me an anti-seizure medicine that has not helped at all. My chiropractor had requested that he prescribe me a steroid pack but my doctor refused. I have quit taking the anti-seizure medicine(Gabitril), because it didn't seem to help, and the potential side effects scare me. Can degenerative discs heal on their own? What can I do to ease the pain? I mean, it doesn't stop me from my day to day activities, but the pain makes me miserable!
 Shannon Morgan, CMA - Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:08 am

User avatar It's very unfortunate that you have this problem at such a young age, did you have a back injury years ago?

Unfortunately, DDD is degenerative, meaning it gets worse gradually, as the discs are losing the fluid that absorbs the shock between the vertebrae when active. When it gets to the point of the vertebrae rubbing together, there is surgical intervention to consider. Are you taking a daily antiinflammatory? If the antiseizure meds don't work, those will usually give you some relief. Did your doctor give you back excercises to do? They help immensely. If he didn't ask him for a handout describing them, or look them up on the internet.

I am sorry to hear that you're having to suffer at such a young age.
 gb25 - Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:09 am

I cannot recall having had a back injury, but it is possible. I have worked in a factory for the last 8 years, and had to do alot of heavy lifting daily. I am sure that did most of the wear and tear to my back. Along with learning of the degeneration in L4 and L5, my doctor also told me my tailbone was broken in half, (don't know how or when that happened). I do take 600mg of Ibuprofen 2-3 times a day, and it does give me some relief.
As far as back excercises, he did not tell me anything. I really want to strengthin my abdominal and back muscles, but sit-ups are difficult, (always wondered why) due to my broken tailbone. What would you recommend?
All my family and friends want me to take it easy but I hate feeling so restricted from any strenuous activity. Reguardless of the pain, I enjoy working with my sister at a local sawmill, mowing, weed eating, etc. They are afraid I am going to really hurt my back to a point where surgery is inevitable. Is that possible?
 Shannon Morgan, CMA - Mon Jun 20, 2005 9:26 am

User avatar Continuing to do things that put strain on your back will indeed speed up the degeneration and put you at risk for needing surgery.

There are excercises designed to lessen or eliminate back pain, ask your doctor about some physical therapy, they can show you what is safest for your back to prevent further injury. Until then, do not do things that put any strain on your back.
 lilamae0204 - Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:02 pm

[quote="gb25"]I am 25 years old, and I have been dealing with lower back pain for the last six years, and recently it has become unbearable at times. There are times when I take a step and a severe pain shoots through my lower back and into my buttock(left and right). I can't get comfortable sitting, standing, or lying down. When my doctor sent me for an MRI, the results showed degeneration in L4 and L5. He prescribed me an anti-seizure medicine that has not helped at all. My chiropractor had requested that he prescribe me a steroid pack but my doctor refused. I have quit taking the anti-seizure medicine(Gabitril), because it didn't seem to help, and the potential side effects scare me. Can degenerative discs heal on their own? What can I do to ease the pain? I mean, it doesn't stop me from my day to day activities, but the pain makes me miserable![/quote]
I am 41 yrs old and in 12-03-03 had back surgery for same thing L4, L5.. after the surgery i came within 2 weeks of death. It was a freak thing. I came in contact with MRSA>< which led to Bacterial menn, spinal fluid leak, 3 more exploratory surgeries. a total of months in hosp. finally made it to Mayo in j-ville fla. where they found abscesses on brain,. and non-active TB in spinal cord.
As i said:" it could have been just bad luck. but, if I could go back and take my daddy's advice who had had a total of 7 back surgeries, I would never let anyone touch me on my back with a knife..
All i have to say is good luck, and if you can find a med. that will help you through the day.. take it and live with the pain.
I know it is easier said than done, Just had a BAD experience!!!!!

lilamae
 PMeadows - Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:05 pm

I understand completely what you are going through. I have DDD as well. I take an anti-inflamatory (Mobic) twice daily as well as 1 10 mg. Flexeril every night at bedtime. These medicines help. I also go through pain managment and have epidural steroid injections twice a year in a series of 3 shots. These have been the best help so far. I have also had a fusion at L5-S1 and it worked for 4 years before other discs began to degenerate. My suggestion would be pain management.

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