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goin2pa

Lower Back - Degenerative Disc Disease

11 posts in this topic

Like many, I've suffered lower back problems for years and have received PT, MRI and lots of drugs over the years while active duty. I retired with 27 years active duty (AD) last year. I recently received a copy of my C & P exam from Sept 2010. While AD I was always told that the pain in my LB is caused by "Bulging Disc" at L4/L5 and the sporadic pain and follow-on numbness down my right leg is Sciatica. But the C & P calls it Degenerative Disc Disease instead. <BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">

My question is – does the VA look at long-term chronic pain when judging for award or only range of motion on that one particular day of the C & P? My range of motion is stricly determined by my level of pain . . . on C & P day it was minor, and I had full ROM.

Thanks in advance - Jim

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ROM on the day of. The usual canard is to approach the C&P as if it was your worst day, or, a bit more drastic, don't medicate for a few days prior.

CAS

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I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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Thanks to everyone for the quick replies and information. I am 50 years old now (retired last year with 27 years AD), and have had LBP since 1992. I was injured in the line of duty as a flight mechanic with the Coast Guard. Luckily mine is no-where near as bad as most of the cases I've read. I had my C & P while still on active duty (Sept 2010). I just wanted to make sure that it was listed in case it gets worse as time goes by; I agree that there is likely a herniated disc pushing on nerves. That's why I was surprised to see it listed as DDD rather than the original diagnosis I received from the flight surgeon. I did have an MRI back in 2006 which merely showed compression and "slight" bulging at L4 L5.

I haven't received my results from the VA as of yet – I was told that I currently have a suspense date of July 18th.

Again thank you all - I really appreciate your time.

God Bless America - Jim

I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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