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Thread: Degenerative Disc Disease

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    16

    Degenerative Disc Disease

    I've been visiting this site for some time, and never seen any mention of DDD along with the scoliosis. My first scoliosis specialist visit is scheduled for next week. Two MRIs done 3 years apart have identified the scoliosis and 4 "dessicated" disc (originally only 2 disc). Do these two problems run hand in hand, or are they two seperate conditions? Sure this is probably a stupid question, but I've just always "assumed" the two were commonly connected to one another and have never questioned the physicians.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,293

    Ddd

    Yes, the discs involved get compressed in an abnormal manner. It happens sooner in scoliosis than with persons with straight backs.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    544
    I was told I have severe scoliosis with osteoarthritis of the spine with DDD when they were doing x-rays a few months before my surgery.
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    16
    I always thought, it just made sense for DDD to rear its ugly head with the scoliosis.......but, I'd never seen it mentioned. Thanks ladies for the reply.

    Theresa,
    I'm not familiar with the procedures you mentioned. Were they able to repair/replace your disc? Were you experiencing much hip/leg pain? My appointment is 4/17 and I'm getting anxious.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    544
    Are you questioning what an osteotomy is? That is where they go in and cut a wedge piece of bone out of the spine and then pulling the spine back together it pulls you into a straighter position. Click here to see some diagrams of ostetomies.

    I have not been able to stand completely straight since my first scoli surgery in 2004 which in turns causes horrible back pain. I am now getting ready to go back for my third surgery for the same problem plus hip and leg pain.
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    16
    Thanks for the link, that explains alot. So sorry to hear that you are having so much pain. I pray that your upcoming surgery will do the trick for you. Have you tried swimming? I'm no athelete......but, something about the water really helps me(mostly mental I'm sure). The pool is the only place that I'm near pain-free. Best of luck to you!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    544
    Being in a warm pool really feels good. I have had a few long sessions of PT in the pool. I was going about three times a week for a couple of months. This past summer I started swimming. Swimming is not all that easy for me anymore. When I do the freestyle or the breast stroke it puts too much stress on my lumbar spine. I think it is connected somehow to my back not being positioned right.
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    16
    Totally understand.........sometimes my strokes are a little on the "creative" side and my turns at the end of the lap are pretty ugly.......but the water feels so good and hopefully, nobody is videoing the event. All that said, there are times when swimming just isn't possible (usually because of muscle spasms). I am glad you mentioned the PT......there is a class at the YMCA that might be worth checking out.

    Well, best of luck to you, and please let us know how the surgery goes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    360
    I have 2 degenerative discs. One at the top and one at the base of my curve. My doctor said it was from aging (I was 24 at the time!!!). It only makes sense that it is from the scoliosis since there is more pressure on those discs than on the other ones.
    Chemist, 30

    1998- 18 degrees
    2003- 33 degrees
    2005- 37 degrees
    2006- 44 degrees
    May 2007- 47 degrees
    December 2007 - 50 degrees X-ray

    Surgery May 27, 2008
    Fused T1 to L2
    Curve corrected to 15 degrees X-ray

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    16
    I have been confused about the lack of discussion on DDD. All doctors that I have seen so far (first specialist visit is today ), have cautioned me about allowing ANY surgery. One back dr. saying "you will start a domino effect that cannot be stopped". He went on to tell me that any disc repair would place additional strain/pressure on the adjacent disc, forcing me to have more and more repair work done. At the same time, I see alot of surgical success stories, that seem to have lasted for many years. This propmpted me to wonder.....Doesn't every scoliosis patient have disc damage, and if so, why are they not experiencing these problems. I know that each situation is unique, but hopefully, the dr. visit today can clear up some of my questions.

    At 24, I can't imagine a dr. having the nerve to tell you that the problem was age related..........I'm 52, probably too old to treat.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas now live in Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    544
    This is just me guessing out loud, but once you are fused your spine doesn't move anymore. I also thought I had read somewhere that since your spine doesn't move anymore your discs harden up from lack of lubrication. Just like my doctor told me that even though I have arthritis all over my spine it shouldn't be bothering me anymore cause there is no movement going on. I not sure how correct any of that is but I believe due to the fusion you don't have the problems with DDD anymore except the disc at the top and bottom of the fusion.
    Theresa

    April 8 & 12, 2004 - Anterior/Posterior surgery 15 hours & 7 hours
    Thorasic - 79 degree down to 22
    Lumbar - 44 degree down to 18
    Fused T2 to sacrum
    June 2, 2005 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @L3 7 hours
    MAY 21, 2007 - Pedicle subtraction osteotomy @ L2, extended the fusion to S2 and added pelvic instrumentation 9 hours

    FUSED T2 - SACRUM 2

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    16
    Theresa,
    Well......saw my specialist, so all of my questions have been answered. More questions will surely come up after I've had time to "process" the info. I am now left with only one more question for you.........In the Perfect World, where hindsight is 20/20, how do you feel about the results of your surgery? If you could go back to pre-op, would you do it again? I don't mean to put you on the spot, but would really appreciate your thoughts.....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    3

    Degenerative disc and scoliosis

    I dont know how old you are but I am 42 and have both. I was just diagnosed with the Degenerative Disc Disease and I have had severe scoliosis since I was 12. I am now having alot of complications from both. I am also in alot of pain and full of arthritis. I am going next week for epidural pain management to put off any surgury but yes having both is tough, the only thing that got me this far is that I used to be an aerobic instuctor and kept my joints moving . I just hope my pain managment works

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,293

    Thumbs down putting off surgery for severe scoliosis

    I dont know how old you are but I am 42 and have both. I was just diagnosed with the Degenerative Disc Disease and I have had severe scoliosis since I was 12. I am now having alot of complications from both. I am also in alot of pain and full of arthritis. I am going next week for epidural pain management to put off any surgury
    holygirl111

    I personally wished I had done it sooner both as a child when a cruder method of surgery (no rods were used) was performed and when I lost that correction as an adult requiring a re-do.

    Why?

    1)Because the larger the curve the more damage to the spine and discs.
    2)The larger the curves the less correction which can be obtained.
    3)The larger the curves the more risk involved and technically difficult for the surgeon
    4) A longer recovery is required.
    5) A person with severe curves becomes more easily deconditioned and presents for surgery in less optimal physical health; coming sooner would have been easier on the patient.
    6)Progressing curves in adult life continue to progress forever regardless whether the pain is masked by medication.
    7) We become miserable and it affects our friends and loved ones-who could not possibly understand our situation.
    8)We become unable to work with resultant financial impact.
    9)Life is passing by and we only go this way once.
    10) All the above is mostly avoidable and can be remedied with the correct surgical technique.

    Every single person with scoliosis is terrified of surgery; if hanging up-side down from poles, physical therapy, exercise, chiropractic, and wishful thinking would straighten our spines permanently we all would have done that long ago.

    I had revision surgery at age 60(2002). I am working, pain free and planning on hiking in the Alps in June. I regret having to live with that deformity so long.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    19

    Question DDD in 54 year old female

    I am a 54 year old menopausal female with an untreated curve of 45 degrees living in Montreal. I am presently on a one year waiting list to see Dr. Ouellet. My orthopedic surgeon moved to the States a few years back after informing me that I would probably need surgery in about 5 to 10 years. I am in "scoliosis limbo". I suffer from degenerative disc problems and am in almost constant pain. I had a cervical herniation last year. Does anyone know if scoliosis promotes ddd and herniation. My orthopedic problems read like a grocery list. Would surgery create unnecessary pain and suffering? Any educated opinions out there?

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