One of my worst fears

j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 80
I've been a member for quite a few years now. But may be new to most of you. I've been suffering chronic pain for many years. But my worst fear was for anyone I know and especially a loved one to have to go through any spine problems.
My daughter had issues with cervical problems. Now more recently, lumbar. A bulging disc at L4, and degenerative disk desease like the old man! Luckily she went to a Dr. I know of and respect. He Tries to take the least invasive techniques . For now he's tried a mederol pack that was successful. So  she had a epidural a few days ago. And is having good results with that. She travels quite a bit with her job. So there is luggage that was old and out dated, HUGE! I know it was causing problems, so I got her a new set. 
My son also has some back problems.
They've seen what Dad has gone through. And don't want to make the same mistakes that I have. I'll help them any and every way I can. I really think there are some genetic traits passed down from me!



  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654
    What "mistakes" did you make that you don't want them to make? 
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,340

    I am the child of a spiney, so I can tell you that while I point to my mother and her mother before her, I don't blame them.  I know that they suffered like me, and actually I probably went for surgery quicker because of them.  So I did learn from them - not making a statement about whether or not surgery is the best option, but I saw the improvements in my mother, and the lasting impact of not having surgery in my grandmother.

    More important is that I blame my parents for my personality traits.  Those were things that they could have controlled and I work every day to improve in myself.
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  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654
    I  have to respectfully disagree with the argument that spinal conditions are a result of family history. Neither of my parents, nor neither of their parents had back issues. None of my siblings had back issues. Some of my nieces/nephews had them, but they each played sports year round from an early age. I was the only one in my family (parents/siblings/grandparents) that ever worked out lifting weights. I'm a believer in that, aside from trauma, that back conditions are a result of our habits and that our bodies respond to the environment we put them in. Wanna sit at a desk all day and slouch - then your body will adjust accordingly. Want to be a lineman in the NFL or a catcher in the MLB, and crouch for hours - then your body will adjust accordingly. That's my view anyway:) 
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 55
    My mother had spinal cord meningiomas and starting when I was in my teens she had surgery before MRI's even were around. She passed away about 6 years ago this coming week and struggled with chronic pain related to her surgeries. I was supposed to have surgery this coming week the day before the anniversary of her death and got cold feet. Even though I know my issues are different, herniated disc, I think about how her life was forever changed by her spine surgery. My dad also has spinal stenosis and will not even go to a Dr for this after watching my mom struggle for so many years and his sister died after back surgery for the same issues.
    scary stuff thinking about our own issues and how our families are affected by this as well!
    i know it has impacted my decision to wait it out this time for surgery.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 80
    MarWin,  I made so many mistakes concerning my back I hardly know where to start. But for starters I always lifted things that were too heavy just because I could. And I have a long torso with muscles to strong for my frame. I was too proud to ask for help. And for the most part I could do it faster myself than go get help and the help usually would screw it up anyway. And I'm way to stubborn, I didn't listen to my Drs.. Although the first one did give me bad advice. And I could go on and on. I had back problems as a young man. And because I was too stubborn and didn't listen. It cost me 8 surgeries after trying every possible option available. my life became an absolute living hell buy the time I was 52. And my life was pretty miserable many years before that.
    As for genetics concerning my back and my arthritis, that would be a very long subject. The back portion is pretty much all on me! And I don't want my kids or grand kids to go what I've gone through. And after seeing how I suffer they don't want any part of it either! I'll leave it at that for now.
    j.howie (Jim)  
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  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,340


    I don't think anyone said that all spine issues are hereditary.  For me, my family problem is arthritis not an accident, sports or other activity.  With that said, mine probably wouldn't have progressed quite as quickly if it weren't for my work travel carrying a laptop bag, which used to be heavy.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 80
    MarWin, I don't' think that all spine issues are heredity, or absolutly  passed down from dna. Some may be from accidents or like you said carrying a heavy item when you travel or by doing things that could cause damage to your back but I do think degenerative disc disease and arthritis could be in dna. My grandma had arthritis real bad. But I always thought that was from being obese. None of her children had it. But 5 of 6 of my mothers kids have it. So it skipped a generation. Go figure
  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654
    From what I've researched, I find limited reports (via:SpineUniverse, Spine-Health, and others) that suggest DDD may be in part from your DNA. However, genetic's was at the bottom on the "causes" list. Even on this very website the first line of the report states "Although there is a slight genetic component to individuals who suffer from DDD, the true cause is probably multifactorial." Most reports point to the fact that we lose water in our discs as we age (well, we age first, and lose water second). To me, the most simple and preventative measure would be to start hydrating. As many of us already know, the population is chronically dehydrated and does not take in nearly enough water. To me that's an extremely simple and inexpensive life-style change that certainly could not hurt:). In now way is proper hydration the fix-all though. 

    On the topic of arthritis, nobody in my family has ever been diagnosed with it other than me. According to, Osteoarthritis is the number one type, and repetitive trauma was the largest cause with genetics being classified as "other factors". In my family I am the only one who stayed with sports, weight lifting, etc beyond my youth. Lifestyle differences to that of my family.  

    Now I'm not taking anything away from the fact the genetic's play a part in back conditions. They certainly can and do. Just not in my situation. So I do argue. Not to be mean or spiteful, but to be a voice that offers everyone a different perspective and hope. Maybe next time someone is told by their Primary or GP "it's your genetics", hopefully we won't fully accept that and look to other experts and/or reevaluate our lifestyle habits to find further similarities and differences from our family history. I just don't want anyone thinking that since they may have a genetic predisposition, or let's call it what it is "family history", that there's limited hope for their situation.  

    As an aside....When they say it's genetics or DNA, does that mean they tested and compared DNA to family? Or did they ask questions about family history and then just say it s genetic? Just wondering :)  
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 80
    My reply is I take everything I read with a grain of salt. I would highly recommend it. 
  •  I also agree there is a strong likelihood that if both parents have spinal problems, it is probable that their offspring will suffer from it in some degree or other. Having seen this firsthand, there is no doubt in my mind that genetics also play a key role, especially if hereditary arthritis runs in the family. My biggest fear is that it could be incapacitating as mine. Hope lies in advances in medical treatment and technologies in the near future. 
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