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Degenerative Disc Disease

I endured a back injury almost 4 years ago. I have had 2 MRI's and it's shown mild degenerative disc disease in the L4-L5. I've masked most of this pain with pain medications, ending up in a serious addiction. I am trying to find ways to cope with this pain without the use of any opiate or any medicine other than IBprofen or Tylenol.  My pain is mostly in my low back, tailbone area, and buttocks, also causes pain in legs. I've had a nerve test done, and it showed nothing. Also was told by a Dr. that my MRI or X-rays show nothing of a pinched nerve. But it feels like it. I've even gotten pain in my pelvic area. I have had a physical therapist tell me I have one leg longer than the other. And also when I stand on my right side I am shorter than standing on my left. My pain is pretty constant. And I notice the more I sit the worse I get. Even if I am laying in a certain position for too long.

I know that due to my addiction to pain medicine that I need to introduce healthier life changes, such as exercise and healthy eating, but what other options do I have to minimize this pain. I've been told to do aqua therapy, but having children it's hard to set in stone on doing it, without knowing if I can acutally attend the sessions as often as I need to to get the maximum benefits.

So what options do I have?? Please anyone. And I am 27 years old with two young children and I can not live in agony my whole life. I've had enough negative and pain in the last 4 years to last a lifetime, I really need some help:)
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Avatar universal
Welcome to the Pain Management Forum. We're so glad that you found us.

Do you have a PM Dr. (Pain Management) or PCP that prescribes you your opiates? If it isn't a PM Dr. you might consider finding one as they have MANY treatment options that might be of help to you.

I have severe DDD and they relieved a significant part of mine (the lower back) by doing an RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation). They give you a test first to see if you are a candidate for it and if you are it's well worth trying it. It will last anywhere from 3 to 18months even as long as 2years before doing it again. I received sooo much relief that I won't hesitate to do it again even if it quit working tomorrow. It kills off the nerves that are causing the pain. They will regenerate themselves eventually but in the meantime you have terrific pain relief.

There are numerous other things that they can prescribe for treatments also while staying away from the opiates.

Do you already have a PM and has he offered different treatments?

If when you became addicted were you released from your Dr.? If so you can still find another one under the provision that it would be for treating you W/O opiates. There are many new NSAIDS coming out now that might be available to you.

Please let us know what happens and once again thank you for joining our forum. There will be other people on here to help you also with excellent options.

Looking forward to hearing your updates....Sherry
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1315260 tn?1275662446
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547368 tn?1440541785
Hi Ready,

Welcome to MedHelp's Pain Mangement Forum. I am glad that you took the time to post and share your challenges.

You site addiction issues. Was this a true addiction with addictive behaviors or were you merely dependant on opiates to control your chronic pain? I ask because there is a huge differance and your options will be dictated by it.

It is important to consult with the right physicians. A rheumatologist can be very helpful in controlling DDD. As Sherry stated there are new NSAID's on the market that a rheumatologist will be most aware of and can prescribe for you.

Additionally you talk about alignment issues. Have you consulted a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy)? because of my severe alignment problems and SIJ Dysfunction I am treated by an Internal Medicine DO. She performs OMT (Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy).  Not all DO's practice this therapy but the ones that do can make a huge difference in your pain levels.

There are other options that a PM Clinic can offer besides opiates. In my state PMP do not prescribe opiates. They only offer treatments. So don't dismiss a PMP just because you cannot take opiates. And again is it a true addiction or a dependancy. There are also other medications that are not addictive and not NSAID's that can be prescribed.

In my opinion there are other multiple options available for you so please pursue them. I hate to see anyone suffer needlessly with chronic pain. Addiction is a disease. If you are an addict you should not be punished and deserve at the very least alternative treatments such as the RFA that Sherry mentioned.

My heart goes out to you. Please let us know how you are doing. I will look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Take Care,
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Avatar universal
Thank you for responding. I have had other addiction problems in the past, but needless to say I absolutely can't ever take opiates unless I am in a serious problem in the ER or being monitored by a professional. I also haven't gone very long without taking opiates so I am not fully sure if the pain I have at the moment will be the same a month from now. But I do know that there is pain in the areas I have mentioned.

I have seen a few PM docs, and the one was prescribing me opiates. Also, I forgot to mention that I was supposed to get a disc block done but ever went. Reason why was I've already had a discogram done that was shown more than one disc cause pain so therefore I wasn't a canadiate for disc replacement surgery. So my other option was a fusion, but I absolutely refuse that. That is why I never insisted on getting the disc block done, because it was just an extra test that the Dr. wanted done before he agreed to surgery.

I was in physical therapy, but was taking opiates at the time so don't know if it helped. Went to a chiropractor in the first stage of my accident, and it made it feel worse.

Some days I feel like I can tough it out, but again I had such a severe addiction that I'm not 100% sure this is what my pain will be from here on out. But it does affect me mentally for sure. I am not disabled in any way, and I can usually force myself to do things. I try doing lifting in the proper way. Sometimes when I do too much, I can tell. But keep in mind I haven't worked outside the home in almost 4 years.

I'm sorry I am a lost person looking for answers to things I am not even sure how to explain at the moment. All I know is if I have to feel what I feel today for the rest of my life, I know that I will be depressed as ever:( Thank you for your time responding.

I think maybe first I need to get into more exercising and healthier habits. Maybe get ahold of my old pain dr. let him know I can't take any opiates and see what he can offer for me.

Has anyone notice by losing weight, making your pain decrease. I do have some weight I need to lose.

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