Degenerative Disc Disease

Sounds like something your computer would get, doesn’t it? "Yeah, I haven’t looked at these discs in years and I’ll bet they’ve degenerated some." But, a Nurse from Group Health called me up this afternoon and said that the results from my x-ray the other day shows Degenerative Disc Disease L5 through S1 and asked why I didn’t take the Rx for pain meds. Told her I wasn’t having any pain; just a numbness & burning sensation. (SWMBO later asked me "Well, isn’t burning pain?" Well, yes, sort of. I think of pain as being something you get when you break a bone or bruise yourself or something like that. What I have isn’t really pain, to me, but really annoying.) And that Narcs made me "feel funny" personality wise and won’t take them unless I’m really in pain. She made an appointment for me to see my Doc next Monday. We’ll see how that goes.

Here’s some on DDD from Spine-health.com

A large part of many patients’ confusion is that the term “degenerative disc disease” sounds like a progressive, very threatening condition. However, this condition is not strictly degenerative and is not really a disease:

  • Part of the confusion probably comes from the term "degenerative", which implies to most people that the symptoms will get worse with age. The term applies to the disc degenerating, but does not apply to the symptoms. While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the low back pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better over time.
  • Another source of confusion is probably created by the term "disease", which is actually a misnomer. Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc.

Disc degeneration is a natural part of aging and over time all people will exhibit changes in their discs consistent with a greater or lesser degree of degeneration. However, not all people will develop symptoms. In fact, degenerative disc disease is quite variable in its nature and severity.

And later in the article:

In addition to low back pain from degenerative disc disease, there may be leg pain, numbness and tingling. Even without pressure on the nerve root (a "pinched nerve"), other structures in the back can refer pain down the rear and into the legs. The nerves can become sensitized with inflammation from the proteins within the disc space and produce the sensation of numbness/tingling. Generally, the pain does not go below the knee.

These sensations, although worrisome and annoying, rarely indicate that there is any ongoing nerve root damage. However, any weakness in the leg muscles (such as foot drop) is an indicator of some nerve root damage.

So, it appears it’s not something I have to get overly excited about as long as I take care of myself. Cool!

Not much else going on around here. Been staying home mostly as the weather is really starting to suck. And I really don’t have that much to do at the property. Even with gas prices coming down I don’t want to "waste" gas driving out there and back unless I actually accomplish something. So I’ve been doing things around the house and getting all the scans of family pictures in one place so I can finally see what the hell I’ve accomplished there. I was really surprised how many duplicates I had of pictures & video’s! Daymn!

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