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Degenerative Disc Disease...Now What??

This post is actually about my wife. Really long story short, she has always had lower back pain but last November she had to have surgery on her ankle due to a ligament tear.

Now her ankle is great but experiences significant low back pain. It’s excruciating pain at worst and very irritating at best.

The orthopedic surgeon had a cat scan done (has MRI scheduled to see if any other discs affected) and she has a disk that is really bad (L5 I think) and has degenerative disc disease. On a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being the worst, the ortho said it’s an 8. He said it would never improve and she has 3 options…

  1. Learn to live with the pain (since she’s only 33 that’s a lot of pain to look forward to)

  2. Have it fused (sounds like a horrible idea to me)

  3. Have the disc replaced (this is a new procedure).

Any thoughts out there on possible rehab or other options. We’re both active bodybuilder types and this condition really sucks.

Thanks for any advice.


Try a chiro. See what he has do say about the issue. Sounds like your wife doesn’t have much to lose by trying all of her options.

I strongly urge anyone with back pain to check out the book “Healing Back Pain” by Dr. John Sarno.

I don’t know if this treatment will be appropriate for your wife, but it has certainly worked for me. I used to have severe back problems and this book changed my life.

My wife is 34 and she has DDD in her 2 or 3 levels in her lower back. She tells me that her back actually feels better when she is lifting consistently (including squats, deads, etc…). Not neccessarily reccomending this for your situation, just to let you know that there may be other options.

I suggest you find a naturopath and look at alternative medicine. There is always a reason…treat what is causing the problem not the symptoms. If you cannot find a naturopath let me know, I can help you locate one in your area.

I agree with concreteguy. Last summer I was diagnosed with a herniated disk in my neck (c3-c4). I was experiencing tingling down my left arm, especially in my left hand. I took out one of John Sarno’s videos from my local library and watched it several times. That led me to Fred Amir’s "Rapid recovery from back and neck pain ". Both books have helped greatly by giving me a new way to look at my pain. Hope this helps.