203342 tn?1328737207

Degenerative Disc Disease

I just got back my X-Ray results today. I finally know why I've been having neck & arm pain, along with tingling and hands that fall asleep. Apparently, I have Degenerative Disc Disease. I asked what can be done. They said try Physical Therapy for a few weeks and if that doesn't seem to do much, then make an appointment and see the doctor again. They also said to take Motrin or Advil but according to my Gastroenterologist, I shouldn't take those because of my past GI problems with ulcers. They also said for my to not do a lot of heavy lifting. I'm a CNA plus I watch two babies during the day. I love my work. I don't want to have to give it up. They also said this is a form of arthritis? I thought only older people got arthritis. I'm only 43! The last two years my hasn't been too good for me, health wise. Is there ANY thing that can be done to stop this from progressing? Is there anything besides PT that will help? I don't want to be old before my time.
Please, does anyone know anything about this and can you tell me a little more and what to expect, etc.? I'd really appreciate it.
Thanks so much!
15 Responses
177382 tn?1253041140
i have no idea about the subject, i hope you feel better soon tho.  PT is a wonderful start,  i have had arthritis since i was 33 and ugghh but i know pt has helped me b4.  it is a pain in the butt i know but I hope things get better for you soon   ~d
Avatar universal
Go the a good neurologist, explain your problems, get an MRI (much more precise then an exray), hopefully after the neurological testing the doc will send you to a "pain clinic" where they treat each person individually.  If the PT isn't working (same for me) my Internal Medicine Doc is starting me on Methadone after I finish a course of two weeks of Hydrocodone 7.5/350.  This is what I HOPE will help ME.  This advice is not directed to you, but just to let you know there a bunch of other options 'out there' for you to chose from.

Good Luck to You,
Avatar universal
April2 ~
After a quick proof reading of my original message what I meant to say in the first sentence was "Go to a good Neurologist......"
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed a year ago with Cerv. Degenerative Disc Disease with Radiculopathy (that is the numbness and tingling) The only thing that has truly helped me IS the physical therapy. The only time I have had no pain since this mess started was the week that I took the Medrol Dose Pak (steroids), and if you stop the physical therapy you will be right back in the same boat you are now. Try to avoid pain meds too, that is what brought me to this site. It's so easy to become dependant on them and it is not a cure and not going to make you better. The more exercise and weight training you can do, the better and don't ever stop doing it.
565239 tn?1307874590
I was diagnosed with Cervical Disc Degeneration Disease and Cervical Arthritis nearly three years ago. I had to try several doctors and treatments, but have settled with two pain management doctors that do the trick. One does Facet Injections of cortisone about four times a year, and the other uses some alternative medicine techniques which combine the use of electrical stimulation, acupuncture needles and lidocaine injections. He also strongly recommends exercise, which I do when I can. The exercises are very similar to what the physical therapists had me do when I first had the symptoms. I only did PT for six weeks, but it helped a lot for the initial pain I had. You may want to check with your doctor about the weight restrictions, because my doctors only had me be careful until the MRI showed exactly what the problem was. I'm not currently under any restriction unless the pain kicks in. After a set of treatments I'm pain free for 2-3 months.
Avatar universal
I had the same symptoms as you describe back in 2002, and after the X-rays and MRI's, they told me I have degenerative disc disease. But what was worse was that I had a severely deformed disc at C6/C7, and it was causing me excruciating pain in my right shoulder and arm and my two smallest fingers on my right hand were numb as well. I had surgery scheduled for about a month out then, and I went on my way. Well, about a week later, the disc ruptured, and I passed out from the pain. Long story short, emergency surgery fixed the problem 2 days later, and there were no ill side effects from it. They went in from the front of my neck, and the scar is hardly even visible. This was the first of 3 back surgeries I've had, and the only one that went well.
Good luck to you.
Avatar universal
hi there...how are things going for you?  i was just informed today the same as you...Cervical Disc Degeneration Disease...and the word Arthritis was thrown in there too...i was told to see a PT which i will schedule tomorrow...C4 C5 and C6 are my disc that are goofy...
just wondering how you are doing and what i can expect...thanks!
203342 tn?1328737207
Hi there! I saw the PT once. He is really into health food and vitamins so was recommending some of that stuff to me. He didn't do much, just manipulated my neck and arms and stuff. I think he was looking for where it hurt. He thinks a lot of my problems are from poor posture. I dunno. I'm trying to watch that!

The discs that are affected with me is C5-6 and C6-7. I don't know exactly what that means!
I hope all goes well with you. Stay in touch and let us know how the PT goes.
Avatar universal
how is your pain level?  its hard for me to lie on the couch to watch tv or to even get comfortable in bed...no pillows for this head anymore! once im up it seems to be a little better but the pain is going down into my shoulders and back...the tylenol arthritis stuff doesn't really do anything...i called the pt and i can't get in for an evaluation until next thurs...another week of this ****...i've been doing some head/neck exercises to see if it helps...but i think that i am tense in my neck (afraid im gonna hurt it more) and that might be why i now have fricken back pain!  this *****...the pain isn't dying bad just annoyance that ends up giving me a headache!  how are things going with you?
203342 tn?1328737207
Mine's not too bad. I've been getting some back pain this week but like you it feels better when I'm moving around. If I've been sitting for a long time I really feel it.
I also still get the tingling down my arms sometimes with my hands falling asleep and I have to rub them or shake it out. It's not constant, though, or unbearable.

I just came back from the PT today. My back hurts a little. He said it's normal for me to feel a little pain in different areas while he's manipulating things. He thinks most of my problems comes from poor posture and is trying to help strengthen those muscles, etc. He wants me to walk more. I know I need to, just gotta find the time.
I hope you can get in soon and feel better! Take care,
203342 tn?1328737207
I'm not sure if anybody sees this thread anymore, but here it goes. I'm wondering if it's normal to feel WORSE after seeing the physical therapist? I've gone to him two times in two weeks and my back has been hurting last week and this week (whereas it wasn't really hurting before). This weeks is worse (although he did do more this week). I'm actually getting pain from my neck, down my arms, shoulders, back and even down my legs! It feels like a pinched nerve kind of thing. Is this normal? Will it get better as my body gets more used to the physical therapy or something? I'm wondering if I should hold out the next couple of months or quit going. I can't believe I feel WORSE!
515954 tn?1227923103
Having DDD and OA with 8 disks giving me trouble, my Doctor ( I use the VA as I am a veteran) has sent me to 2 pain management doctors Both made me feel worse after the visit. PT did not work, way to much pain and I had difficulty with getting out of bed for a week after PT.  I Told my doctor about the pain after PT and after an hour talking to him He canceled the PT program I am in I am currently taking 800mg Gabapentin 4X daily and 30MG morphine SA 4Xdaily for pain.  Ambian 10MG to help me get to sleep
Morphine is a wonder drug for me. It takes away 75% or more of the pain I feel. Gabapentin helps with the bone pain.
I hope this helps.
203342 tn?1328737207
I'm wondering if a chiropractor would be better than PT?
515954 tn?1227923103
I have had my primary doctor manipulate my back by having me lay on the bed, face up,and he would raise my knees to my chest and apply pressure. I would hear and feel my back pop in different places and their was immediate relief. The next morning thou, the pain was greater with stiffness and swelling that went away in a few days.  For a day of relief, it really was not worth the trouble.
I would say its up to that individual and their Doctor. I am well past any more manipulations. I wear a back support that covers from L-5 to T-7. Ridged with tightening straps to adjust to my body shape. That helps more then anything because it limits my ability to bend thus keeping my back in alignment. Do yo know what a TENS unit is?
Do your research on TENS units. Mine is from Biomedical Life Systems. you put the pads on exactly where it hurts then turn the unit on slowly increasing the amount needed. I have two re-chargeable battery's and the charging unit with extra pads.

I hope this is helping April2 Any information that helps you, puts a smile on my face knowing I have helped.  
Avatar universal
My 98 year old mother complained of "burning cold deep inside her right leg" a few days ago.  I was able to track down what I believe is the source on your site--neurological, deriving from her Degen.Disc Disease, arthritis and osteoporosis.  She recently had a trip to the ER for severe right-side pain, dx'd as costochroditis.  I, myself, am 68, male, and suffer from DDD and arthritis in right back and neck for a number of years--more severe in past 5.   Thank you for this site.  Information like this is extremely useful and saves me a trip to the U.of WA medical research library.  Of course, we continue to medically monitor my mother closely.
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