These are two of the conditions I've been diagnosed with, both moderate to severe. Can someone explain what this means (other than the obvious) since my doctors have never bothered or had the time to explain what this means for the future. I have had 2 cervical anterior fusions due to herniated disks. It was explained to me that the surgery was necessary because of the numbness, weakness and pain in my arms and hands. My neurosurgeon said without it the damage would become permanent. But now I have chronic pain and starting to have similar problems with C4. The fusions were C6-C7 and C5-C6. I am also having some pretty severe pain in my lower back. Is this to be expected? I'm scared, frustrated and very depressed. Any information is greatly appreciated.
I have degenerative disk disease and facet disease. Can anyone explain what this means?
Added 26 Oct 2011:
Will these conditions eventually affect my entire spine? Since I had the cervial fusions am I now severely limited as far as treatment options go. I really DO NOT want any more surgery!!
I have degenerative disk disease as well, as i see it actually everyone has it, we all degenerate as we age. However when it starts to early as it did with me, seems fusion is the only way to help with numbness, but as you can see somtimes doesnt help with the pain, which in turn frequently cause deppression. most definatly tell your dr. you dont understand,thats very important. Have you asked your dr. about the pain in lower back? make sure he knows this.
Degenerative disk disease is an all encompassing diagnosis for something that doctors really don't understand. It means that the disks between your vertebrae are losing their 'gel'. Think of a jelly donut between bones, piled one on top of the other. Some people, NOT ALL, get this syndrome called degenerative disk disease. The jelly in the donuts start to squish down, and sometimes out of the donut, so to speak. The reason doctors don't really understand, is that not everyone gets this condition, so in fact, when you do get it, it just gets worse, hence degenerative. I was told at age 30, that I had it. At age 52, I can barely walk, and I have many bulging disks, and several herniated ones. Other people have this syndrome, and don't even realize, and it NEVER hurts them.
Facet disease is a bit more complicated. You have to explain more. Is it that you are getting growths down your facets? That is to protect your spine from compressing completely and keeping you upright and walking. Unfortunately, it also hurts a lot, The growths are sometimes interfering with nerves, or the bulging disks. I've also heard that facet disease is just a fancy name for arthritis in your spine. Either way it causes pain.
There is also spinal stenosis that generally goes along with this problem. That is when your spinal cord starts to narrow, and when that happens, the narrowing also puts pressures on your nerves and disks, which hence, cause pain!
The one problem is trying to decide whether or not to have surgery. If you see a surgeon, their specialty is cutting, and hence, they like to cut. If you see a PM, they can give you other options besides surgery which you might like a lot better, such as epidurals in your spine to numb the pain, and other treatments that don't cause permanent damage such as a fusion. Once you cut, you can't undo what you did. It starts scar tissue, and arthritis.
Good luck, and if you have any other questions, PQ me. I'll be more than happy to answer.
I agree with the other responses I am 28 and about 3 1/2 years ago I feel and ruptured a disc and found out that the other was bulged and leaking as well as having the degenerative disk disease and facet disease so this is not only something that happens as you age it can start pretty early and because of this they do not want to do the fusion on me and I do no want to have it anyway. I am on a pharmacy of medications from this and have found no relief from the pain I wish you all the best. I recommend you make an appointment with your doctor with the intent of going in with a list of all your questions and have a copy to hand to them as soon as they come in and as they answer just write them down on your copy. Then once they are answered let them do the asking I find that if I ask first then I don't feel rushed out the door without asking my questions.
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