Hello ronbakerman and a warm welcome to DC - I have got a degenerative disc at L5/SI which I have had since 2004. For me it is difficult to say how much the disc affects me because I developed Chronic myofascial pain (CMP) at the same time, thus not only did I have lower back pain but pain in the buttocks, pains down my legs (but not past the knees). These pains were hot stabbing pain, shooting pain, muscle twinges, pulling tightening pain. I could only sit or stand relatively motionless for short periods of time. I had MRI scans X 3, 2004, 2008, 2009. It turned out that the pain was due to CMP and the main component of which are trigger points (TrPs). TrPs often go undiagnosed. A pain Dr should be able to rule out if you have these or not. A trained hand can feel them. Once these were treated (there are many ways of treating them) pain and function improved a lot. My ongoing research has revealed that less than 1% of degenerative disc actually need removing and that TrPs should be considered as the source of most of the pain. Treat those first and see what the outcome is. From another question posted yesterday regarding spinal surgery one poster mentioned that there is an artificial disc that can be implanted and another suggested a site called spinal health which I checked out and it is very good (it has lots of videos). Devin Starlanyl covers TrPs well in her work. The question yesterday has some very interesting information for those considering spinal surgery see https://www.drugs.com/answers/friends-newbies-long-you-recover-spinal-surgery-921398.html?utm_source=ddc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Answers. For me what worked best was a muscle relaxant (MR) Valium (which I still take) however most Dr’s will not prescribe this as it is considered addictive. However if you are in the US you have many MR available then I do in the UK. MR work well because they relax the TrPs, but they still need treating in their own right. Another DC member recommended Tizanidine which is a spinal MR and this works when my spine feels tight. A hot water bottle also helps me as does a nice hot bath. Pain killers personally did not help me no matter how strong the narcotic. Yes it did treat the pain but not my limited function. The MR not only treated the pain but it also improved my ability to function – Take care
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