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DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE


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Just got diagnosed. Does anyone else here have it? Give up golf.
Well I hurt my back lifting on February 10th... and i knew immediately it was a disc problem.

Months of pain and limited activities (golf 1 time in 4 months) and acupuncture the pain was still bad so i went to see my doctor.

he prescribed a MRI and i took it...i though the worst case it was a herniated disc and a few months off of golf and i would be back..... NO!

He told me i was diagnosed with DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE...ouch... and the kicker... I'm only 27 years old.

I lead a VERY active life style (never a dull moment)... GOLF, SURFING, WEIGHTS, FREE-DIVING, among others.

The doctor now told me i will have to give up golf and surfing and change my active lifestyle for the rest of my life.

My back hurts daily (i get so aggravated when i wake up and i cant even put my socks on in the morning because my back is so sore and stiff now)


Sooo.... does anyone here have the same problem..... how did it effect your lifestyle??? Did you give up golf???

I will start physical therapy tomorrow and work on flexability and core.... ( i've lost 10 lbs of muscle since i hurt my back and had to stop going to the gym which i did 3-5 times a week before)

I'm still young and it pains me to think i will have to become inactive or less active....all i can do is work!!!

Please help if you have had the same condition or similar... im pretty frightened for the future right now.
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One thing else I forgot to mention.   If you went to get the MRI for pain (general aches and pain) and not trauma, the diagnosis of DDD has a much more significant meaning than if you got the MRI for

Can't say for sure that you have TMS, but i would look into at the very least Dr. John Sarno's book - http://www.healingbackpain.com/   Sarno was suggested to me by another very successful highly educ

You won't pay attention to what I have to say but here goes anyway. Change to plant based diet and do some dry fasting. Yeah research the topics with an open mind. Time to learn the miracles of diet a

Very sorry to hear this. I don't have DDD but I am a Ph.D student working in Orthopaedic tissue engineering and my project is developing a tissue engineered intervertebral disc implant. I would pay attention to what your physician is telling you. If you don't you will risk more than just not being able to play golf but not being able to do anything. The pain as you know can be severe and debilitating and there really are no good treatments at this point. I really hope the physical therapy relieves some of your pain and that hopefully I will have a better treatment for you soon.

 

In addition, I had a similar experience with a knee injury a year ago and have had to change what I do dramatically at the age of 26. I have had to drop the running, baseball, and basketball that I loved among a lot of other things. It has been a difficult transition, more than I expected, but I have learned to enjoy other things and have found myself to be quite content. If you do have to drop some of the things you currently enjoy doing it will be tough but you will be fine and things will change but not necessarily be worse.

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Given the consequence of the diagnosis, I would get a second (and third) opinion. I blew out a disk about 15 years ago. I had surgery, but continued to have nagging pain. After a few years of this, I started seeing docs again to see what could be done. Two of these guys wanted spinal fusion. Then a chiropractor suggested a different course of action. It turns out the pain was being cause by very tense muscles in my lower back. When my back was injured, I had "trained" these muscles to keep my back rigid to prevent pain. After the surgery, I still kept these muscles rigid. I had to learn how to get these muscles to relax, and once I did, the pain went away completely. Today, my back is fine and doesn't restrict me in any way.

 

This is a long way of saying that you should keep a positive attitude about your physical condition and talk to as many people as you can about your symptoms. IMO, diagnosing back problems is at least as much art as it is science.

 

Good luck to you.

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I'm a radiologist. I read MRIs every day and see DDD (degenerative disc disease) all the time, young adults, blue hairs, male, female, trauma, no trauma. All that means is that your bushings (discs) are no longer pristine and are getting dried out, just like in cars.

 

Now disc protrusions and herniations are a different animal. Consider yourself fortunate you didn't blow out a disc. Good luck.

 

P.S. Never have back surgery unless it is the last resort. Even in the hands of god there is a significant failure rate.

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^^^^Agreed. ^^^^ We all have some form of DDD.

I bulged a disc out last year in a 40 mile cross country ATV race and have worked really hard on my core and mobility and I am just about 100%. I'm 40.

 

Here's what I did:

 

Do your rehab, get this book (your PT will be using a form of it as well) Treat your own Back

 

Then work on your mobility. Buy this DVD Magnificent Mobility.

 

 

Stop doing bodybuilder stuff in the gym. Buy this book and learn how your body works and how to lift properly. New Rules of Lifting

 

Your golf life is definitely not over. You do have some work to do though.

 

Good luck.

 

Paul

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While it is true that DDD is common, 80% of us will have signs of DDD by the age of 50 (most asymptomatically) and some even argue that a lot of what is considered DDD is actually just aging and a natural loss of your proteoglycans and disc height. However, the severity can vary greatly and just because someone has been able to golf with it does not mean that you can and should. I agree that you should go get a second, and even third opinion, but your doctors are the one's familiar with your case and have seen your MRI. In the end, I would heed what those doctors recommend.

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My two cents worth...

 

Find yourself a chiropractor, one that also specializes in sports medicine. I've been going to one for the last 12 years, since I was 21. My general doctor would just prescribe pain medication, but my chiropractor did wonders for me-no medication necessary other than a mild anti-inflammatory.

 

One time, I had the beginnings of a bulging disc in my lower back. My general doctor was talking surgery, my chiropractor said it was a possibility if alternative treatment didn't work. after 3-4 visits a week for 6-8 weeks I was back to 100%.

 

Two years ago, I had a minor tear of the rotator cuff. Again, my doctor gave me the pain meds and was talking surgery. Thanks to my chiropractor and his in-house masseuse, I was fine in a couple of weeks after a few 1/2 hour massages.

 

I guess my point is to get a second opinion from someone who is probably more knowledgeable and qualified to determine treatment and appropriate activities. General doctors know the basics about a myriad of things, but they don't know as much about any one particular part of medicine as a specialist would. If you have a brain tumor you don't go to a podiatrist, do you? Sure, the podiatrist knows what a tumor is, but you probably wouldn't want him treating you-unless your brain tumor happened to be in your foot.

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Thanks for the input.

 

BTW my doctor is a orthopedic surgeon (and considered to be one of the best in San Diego). He was the one that diagnosed me.

 

I will be going to another spine specialist to get a second opinion.

 

I have been doing acupuncture and light chiropractic for 4 months, but it only numbs the pain and symptoms temporarily... and eventually they come back.

 

I will be starting a physical therapy routine tomorrow and begin biking and swimming to replace weight training.

 

I will also be giving up golf for at least 6-12 more months... (NOOOOOOOO!!)

 

I'm still young and i will do whatever is in my power to try to lead a normal active life again.

 

Thanks for all the support.

 

Look in the classifieds in the next few days for my entire golf collection that will be on sale. (OUCH!)

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One thing else I forgot to mention.

 

If you went to get the MRI for pain (general aches and pain) and not trauma, the diagnosis of DDD has a much more significant meaning than if you got the MRI for trauma and not (non traumatic) pain.........ie it is an incidental finding. Good luck.

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Thanks for the input.

 

BTW my doctor is a orthopedic surgeon (and considered to be one of the best in San Diego). He was the one that diagnosed me.

 

I will be going to another spine specialist to get a second opinion.

 

I have been doing acupuncture and light chiropractic for 4 months, but it only numbs the pain and symptoms temporarily... and eventually they come back.

 

I will be starting a physical therapy routine tomorrow and begin biking and swimming to replace weight training.

 

I will also be giving up golf for at least 6-12 more months... (NOOOOOOOO!!)

 

I'm still young and i will do whatever is in my power to try to lead a normal active life again.

 

Thanks for all the support.

 

Look in the classifieds in the next few days for my entire golf collection that will be on sale. (OUCH!)

 

Eleme, buddy, I feel for you. Do what you have to do to for a healthy life 50 years from now. See all the doctors you can and ask them good questions. I'm sure you have a great doctor, but even the best doctors anywhere are only as good as their patients and their patience. Good luck no matter what and don't give up...ever.

 

I have a suggestion about the "no golf for 6 - 12 months" prognosis. What I'm sure they mean is "don't swing a golf club for 6 - 12 months." However, could you practice your putting and chipping/pitching during that time? Might be a question to ask. Get a belly/broom putter with a ball cup on the end and perhaps you'll become an even better player for the break. Light (but frequent) chipping and pitching practice can't be that stressful on the back once you are pain free and shag bags make bending over a non-issue.

 

Great article in Golf Digest this month about John Newton who suffered an freak injury and had to give up golf (he thought forever, but just turned out to be professionally). Regardless, I wish you the best.

 

Tim

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Can't say for sure that you have TMS, but i would look into at the very least Dr. John Sarno's book - http://www.healingbackpain.com/

 

Sarno was suggested to me by another very successful highly educated professional, i thought he was out of his mind, but desparation and chronic intense pain will make get you to try a lot of things - i could not stand up when i started reading this book... i was Brett Favreing it with ZERO relief from the pain... i had seen back specialists, pain management specialists at hospital for joint disease, chiropractors, acupuncturists, you name it, but nothing helped until i read this book and truly believed the diagnosis. It took an episode of incredibly intense pain before i looked at this seriously - for over a week i couldn't move/could not standup (; a large man wincing, crying, and screaming is not pretty). I also got the DVD series and also a follow up mind-body workbook for one of his former colleagues Dr. David Schechter.

 

YOU SHOULD GO SEE THIS GUY SCHECHTER, he is in SoCal...

http://www.mindbodymedicine.com/6tms.html

 

PS - do not sell your golf clubs...

PPS - if you dismiss this now, hold onto Dr. Schechter's name at least or Sarno's info, i am sure glad i did (i no longer have severe back pain (lil soreness now and a again is worst i see) and i can do whatever i want golf, running, lifting weights, whatever)

 

This is one of my first few posts here so i was hesitent to write about this, but this is something that changed my life for the better - PM me if you want more details. Sorry if this reads like an infomercial - i am not associated with these guys at all, i just know that i wouldn't be playing golf now if the business acquintaince of mine had kept his mouth shut - i am glad he felt comfortable enough to point me in this direction. Good luck.

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Can't say for sure that you have TMS, but i would look into at the very least Dr. John Sarno's book - http://www.healingbackpain.com/

 

Sarno was suggested to me by another very successful highly educated professional, i thought he was out of his mind, but desparation and chronic intense pain will make get you to try a lot of things - i could not stand up when i started reading this book... i was Brett Favreing it with ZERO relief from the pain... i had seen back specialists, pain management specialists at hospital for joint disease, chiropractors, acupuncturists, you name it, but nothing helped until i read this book and truly believed the diagnosis. It took an episode of incredibly intense pain before i looked at this seriously - for over a week i couldn't move/could not standup (; a large man wincing, crying, and screaming is not pretty). I also got the DVD series and also a follow up mind-body workbook for one of his former colleagues Dr. David Schechter.

 

YOU SHOULD GO SEE THIS GUY SCHECHTER, he is in SoCal...

http://www.mindbodymedicine.com/6tms.html

 

PS - do not sell your golf clubs...

PPS - if you dismiss this now, hold onto Dr. Schechter's name at least or Sarno's info, i am sure glad i did (i no longer have severe back pain (lil soreness now and a again is worst i see) and i can do whatever i want golf, running, lifting weights, whatever)

 

This is one of my first few posts here so i was hesitent to write about this, but this is something that changed my life for the better - PM me if you want more details. Sorry if this reads like an infomercial - i am not associated with these guys at all, i just know that i wouldn't be playing golf now if the business acquintaince of mine had kept his mouth shut - i am glad he felt comfortable enough to point me in this direction. Good luck.

 

You are sooooo right about Dr. Sarno. If I hadn't read his book, I probably would have had another back surgery and would still be having problems.

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I had 2 deg disks in my kneck. Similar to your problem but a little different.

 

Vertabrae then were pinching the nerves. Muscle spasms in my upper back, numbness down one arm, sore neck all the time.

 

Spent 5 years trying physio, accupuncture, chiropractor etc. Dr's wanted to avoid surgery if possible. Chiro did not want to touch it after awhile afraid he might cause nerve damage.

 

All that time I still could play golf but not at as well as I used to. The left arm was weak and my swing suffered.

 

I had surgery to fuse the disks in Nov 2007. Started hitting golf balls in Feb 08 and have played about 15 games since the middle of April.

 

Huge improvement. Swing is much smoother and pain free.

 

I am 48. My neck is still a bit stiff, does get sore and I have lost mobility. I have to constantly stretch, work out etc but it is a huge improvement.

 

Who cares, right? But I thought I would point out to you a semi-positive story. You may golf again if everything goes right.

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Sorry to hear your diagnosis!

 

I'm 45 and I have "minor" DDD - Dr. said I should start to act my age - whatever that means. :clapping:

 

I found this site in my search and it has helped me a ton.

 

Biggest takeaway for me - stop doing deadlifts and incorrect hamstring stretches!

 

http://www.healthline.com/blog_profile/jolie_bookspan

 

(no affiliation - just another data point)

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Can't say for sure that you have TMS, but i would look into at the very least Dr. John Sarno's book - http://www.healingbackpain.com/

 

Sarno was suggested to me by another very successful highly educated professional, i thought he was out of his mind, but desparation and chronic intense pain will make get you to try a lot of things - i could not stand up when i started reading this book... i was Brett Favreing it with ZERO relief from the pain... i had seen back specialists, pain management specialists at hospital for joint disease, chiropractors, acupuncturists, you name it, but nothing helped until i read this book and truly believed the diagnosis. It took an episode of incredibly intense pain before i looked at this seriously - for over a week i couldn't move/could not standup (; a large man wincing, crying, and screaming is not pretty). I also got the DVD series and also a follow up mind-body workbook for one of his former colleagues Dr. David Schechter.

 

YOU SHOULD GO SEE THIS GUY SCHECHTER, he is in SoCal...

http://www.mindbodymedicine.com/6tms.html

 

PS - do not sell your golf clubs...

PPS - if you dismiss this now, hold onto Dr. Schechter's name at least or Sarno's info, i am sure glad i did (i no longer have severe back pain (lil soreness now and a again is worst i see) and i can do whatever i want golf, running, lifting weights, whatever)

 

This is one of my first few posts here so i was hesitent to write about this, but this is something that changed my life for the better - PM me if you want more details. Sorry if this reads like an infomercial - i am not associated with these guys at all, i just know that i wouldn't be playing golf now if the business acquintaince of mine had kept his mouth shut - i am glad he felt comfortable enough to point me in this direction. Good luck.

 

You are sooooo right about Dr. Sarno. If I hadn't read his book, I probably would have had another back surgery and would still be having problems.

 

I read Sarno's books as well. Give it a shot.

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I have fought it for 4 years now...and I have tried EVERYTHING!!! I fially heard about a new procedure where titanium spacers are implated between your verterbraes...they are called "X-STOPS" Do yourself a favor a read about it. I spent 3 years on painpills with no relief from Chiropractors, Physical Therapy, or the 6 Spiral Epidurals I received in my lower lumbar area. I had the X-Stop procedure (which is'nt covered by most insurance plans to date) on April 1st...and all I can say is IT'S LIFE CHANGING!!!!!

 

I was hitting golf balls 3 weeks after the surgery and now I'm literally pain free. I still ache a little, but at 35 years old and the pain I went through the last four years, I feel 100% better. I will also add that I have met several people that have had spinal fusions during all of this..and the sucsess rate wasn't even worth me looking into. Feel free to PM me with question.

 

Good Luck..

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Lumbar pain is really a tough thing as it's often hard to diagnose what the exact problem is from. Spinal fusions and any spinal surgical intervention, at this point, really should be looked at as a last resort. Spinal fusions limit your mobility and often lead to disc failure in the adjacent discs within a year to even months after the procedure. This is thought to be due to the altered loading in the adjacent discs. There are a number of new products out like the X-stop but like most of the spinal implants they are new and long term data is not available. They can be great for those who are extreme cases and really need them but you have to be careful. For example, here is an article that can be found in pubmed on the high failure rate of the X-stop device entitled "High failure rate of the interspinous distraction device (X-Stop) for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis caused by degenerative spondylolisthesis."

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez

 

So when contemplating these surgeries realize that these are largely unproven technologies and can possibly lead to worse problems down the road.

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P.S. Never have back surgery unless it is the last resort. Even in the hands of god there is a significant failure rate.

 

I'm one of the lucky ones. Went under the knife in 1990 for a herniated disc (I was 33) and it was the only thing that worked.

 

Best of luck to the OP with the DDD.

 

 

Two people I know had back problems. One had surgery which did not help. They both went to osteopaths and it pretty much solved their problem. This was after chiropractors and regular docs. I am not sure it will help you but it may be worth a office visit.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteopathy

 

I had also founda medical group, I think in new Jersey that had patients from around the world who came to them for their operations. They had an impressive web site with lots of testimonials and photos of each person. I cannot find it on Google and i forget their name. the testimonials were from people who tried everything etc etc and they solve it quickly with minor surgery.

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On inside the PGA tv show the other night. They had Ben Crane talking about his back problems he had for years. He mentioned that he finally went to see Dr. Sarno after many doctors remedies etc. and that most of his back pain is gone now. Thought it was a funny coincidence this came on the air right after these posts.

 

Once again may be worth a look at the books at least. :russian_roulette:

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I'm 43, and I've been diagnosed with minor DDD for many years now. I now have a stenosis as well. Hurt my back at L5 in 1993. Given your age I assume you are in relatively healthy condition otherwise, if not, I suggest losing a few pounds, and working on your core muscles. Not just mindless sit-ups and crunches, but there are some really good core exercises using exercise balls etc etc. Hit youtube and look up core or ab work.

 

It's not the end of your golf life. I'm currently getting more pain from golfers elbow than my lower back. Swing easy and in control, and you'll probably get the same or more distance anyway.

 

hoselrocket

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I've had two herniated discs and have been diagnosed with DDD. I am only 25, and also lead a very active lifestyle. I don't think I could play 4 consecutive rounds in a tournament like I used to, but if you do things to improve your strength and posture you can survive. I still continue to lift heavy weights 3-5 times a week, play sports and what not. Hopefully you can get rid of the inflammation and pain and get back to what you want to be doing. Good luck, there is hope, when I first got diagnosed I took it pretty hard also.

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  • 11 years later...

I would make sure you have a 100% accurate diagnosis. I will just say that I am a physician and I do surgery for a living. I never do a surgery on a patient until I know exactly what their diagnosis is so that I am able to perform the correct procedure on them to actually help them get better. In other words, if you have a bad alternator, replacing the head gasket won’t help. LOL. I had a grade 2 spondylolisthesis since I was 17 years old. I am now almost 50. I lived with chronic sciatica for about 21 years of my life. About one year ago I had an L5 –S1 spinal fusion surgery. It is called an ALIF with anterior and posterior instrumentation. Or in other words, a 360° fusion. It’s the same surgery that Tiger Woods had. However, by definition my problem being a grade 2 spondylolisthesis was very unstable. The only procedure effective for this problem is a spinal fusion. I am doing fine, playing golf, etc. It is not something to jump into lightly. I lived with chronic pain for 21 years until I decided to have my surgery. Now of course it wasn’t horrible for the whole 21 years. However, the last 7 or 8 years was pretty painful. I couldn’t even stand up and do surgery in the operating room. I had to sit down to perform all my surgeries. The nurses told me that when I walked around the OR I limped. I didn’t think I did, but I guess I did. One day I just got to the point where it was too painful for me even to get a good nights sleep and I said that is enough and finally decided to have the surgery. It was easier for me because a good friend of mine is a very meticulous orthopedic spine surgeon. Plus I had the surgery performed at the hospital that I had worked at for 12 years and done thousands of surgeries there. Everybody that was in the room when I had my surgery from the anesthesiologist to the scrub nurse I had known for about 10 years. It felt pretty natural for me to be in there. I have to admit however I was pretty nervous for several months prior to my procedure. The only surgery I had ever had before was a tonsillectomy when I was about three. Everything turned out fine though. It’s OK to have back surgery. Just make sure that it is the correct time, the correct procedure, and a very meticulous surgeon. I wish you nothing but the best in your recovery.

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