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PAINFUL DDD, 35 years old, Dr. says no to fusion.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I am 35 years old and have had lower back pain for about 10 years now...diagnosed with DDD 8 years ago. My pain has gotten to where it's constant...can't bend over, stand...walking is a chore! I had my first lumbar epidural, it lasted for 3 days now the pain is back. My Dr. said there is "no way in hell" he'd do a spinal fusion on someone my age. Anyone else been told that? Spinal fusion that bad?


  • Good luck and get other Drs opinion like NeuroSurgeon also. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I was told no to any type of surgery at 22 (23 now) for DDD as well. Now a year later it's much worse, and I need something, anything done.
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  • I am working on core strenghting and stretching but the pain really sucks. I was told the same exact thing and I find it good that surgeons arent quick to act just to make a buck, but depending on the level of pain we are all in, something needs to be done.

    For me, I would need a three level fusion because in between two bad discs with DDD I have a disc that only has a bulge and slight DDD and it would only be a matter of time before that went too. I dont know what information this post give you, but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.

    Hang in there.....Mitch
  • ADR Is really just getting started in America.....give it time...
  • I'm really sorry about the pain you are in, have you gotten the other two Epidurals for your lower lumbar I know that sometimes it takes all three to make a difference. I'm 33 and I have been told that it would be the worst mistake if I got surgery also. I have DDD in 4 discs in my lumbar. I'm hoping that I can hold out for the ADR. I just got done with my second Epdurial and it has taken some of the pain away. I still have numbness in my right leg every once in awhile, but the doctor said that it wasn't doing any damage. I hope that you can find some relief, I pray that there will be a new surgery that can help people with multi levels that won't put them in more pain after the surgery. My prayers will be with you!!!
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  • I have had DDD pain for the last 12 years or so and went through all of the conservative treatments and was told that although I needed surgery I was too young. I am now 42 yrs old and just had an ADR this past Thursday. It is too soon to tell whether this surgery was successful or not, my doc says 2 to 3 months before we know for sure. If it isn't successful, he will go back in and fuse. Although on the MRI it shows that I have compressed discs at 3 levels, there was only one disc that was causing me pain. A discogram was done to determine which disc was causing this pain. Please don't give up hope, and don't take the word of only one Dr. as others have said, get a second and third opinion if necessary.
  • One of the reasons why I had a 2 level fusion was because of severe DDD in L4-5 and L5-S1; I was 34. The decision to do one varies from doctor to doctor since they all have their own opinions on the matter. I also recommend to try all conservative measures before having a fusion done because it's major surgery and nobody can give you 100% guarantee that it will take the pain away. I was told artificial disc replacement wasn't for me due to multilevel degeneration all over my spine. The worst of my problems is in the lumbar and that's why it hurts to sit, stand, walk, drive, etc. No matter what I do it always hurts and I also have nerve pain and muscle spasms to deal with.
  • i just had spinal fusion & lunbar transitional surgery done on March 25th. i too had 2 discs fused and was installed with a new lunbar system called dynamic stabilization.
    so far so good. i only wish i had it done yrs ago. i no longer have any pain in my thigh. i can once again ride in a car. i am back to work full-time and lovin it.
    i missed so much work over the last 2 yrs i almost lost my job. finally, my doctor sent me to a big hospital where i met w/a surgeon. he talked to me about dynamic stabilization, as it had just been approved for use in the US by the FDA. i said why not. so far - i feel great.
    my only advice to you - is get a 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinion.
    good luck
  • I never thought it wouldn't go away. You a flare up here and there and then it worsened and worsened.

    I had the epidural inj, PT(excruciating),discogram all of it. I had a MRI of course too.

    well I was told by my 1st doc I needed a fusion, he was an ortho w/a fellow in spine, the 2nd doc said no way because of the worst that can happen,I was too young, he was a neurosurgeon and the 3rd said yes, he was a spine specialist.

    my disc blew and disappeared in short order(not normal) and just about couldn't hardly walk at which point it was time to do something. as my signature says it was bone on bone by then. I wasn't a candidate for anything else like a laminectomy/discectomy as it was too degenerated.

    I don't know if fusing sooner would have made a difference as I continue to deal with worse leg pain and no more mechanical back pain but a different kind that's hard to explain. but I can walk much better with the disc collapse fixed.

    my point & I say it alot is to be vigilant and advocate for yourself as you're the only 1 who knows how you feel

    take care

    ps Mitch that 3rd level "that will eventually need fusing anyway" may also stay as is for yrs even if you get a few yrs out of it it'll be worth it a 3 level has to be really bad as it's major major surgery. you have a good doc but also might try another opinion
  • Thank you for the input, I seem to be stabilizing a bit with the back. I am still in plenty of pain, but able to work part time and as long as I rest for a few hours I'm good to hang out taking it easy with my family for a few hours in the evening. This is a life I wouldnt wish on anyone, but it is much improved from even a few months ago.

    I am self employed and I am convinced that if I were to go down the major surgery route my company would go bankrupt. I have been religious about lightly stretching (I have to be super careful not to do more harm than good with this) and doing very minor core strengthening exercises. I am convinced that with doing this every day and losing a few pounds I still have a long way to go in improving my quality of life.

    The more input the better on this matter. Surgery is such a big step, and its nothing to be casual about. I do feel surgery can be beneficial once all the factors have been considered and a considerable amount of time has been put into conservative measures. Oh, and need I also say....make sure you have a good surgeon that is looking out for your best interest in the matter. I wish everyone well who may be dealing with similar matters, this has been the most trying issue in my life to date...................Mitch
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