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Spinal disorders

Started by sunnyd50 on 03/11/2010 5:41pm

Hi all, i am new here and have replied to a few post. i wanted to do my own discussion to explain my
back problems. this may be a long read.
cervical spine:
all disc levels: moderate ddd, moderate reduction in disc height & water content, moderate degenerative facet arthropathy bilaterally.
add c2,3 & c6,7 small disc protrusion..
add c4,5 & c5,6 small disc bulge
add c4,5 neural foramen stenosis
add c5,6 mild osteophyte
add c3,4 medium sized posterior lateral disc herniation to both sides,mild neural foramen
stenosis, mild to moderate spinal canal stenosis at diameter 9mm at
mid sagittal line
note: normal spinal canal at this level is ap 17-18mm, therefore how is 9mm only mild to moderate,
and neuro says we have to watch closely because if it gets to 7mm, surgery is warranted..
2mm is not much room to play with. i think 9mm should be considered severe in that case.

lumbar spine:
t12-l1 , l1-2,l2-3,l4-5,l5-s1 moderate ddd, reduction in disc water & height: l5-6 mild of same
t12-l1, l2-3, mild degenerative facet arthropathy (arthritis) bilaterally; l3-4,l5-s1 mild to moderate;
l4-5 moderate
l1-2,l2-3,l3-4 osteophyte
l1-2,l4-5,l5-s1 small disc bulge
l5-s1 mild neural foramen stenosis

straightening of lumbar spine curvature from t12 to l5

other diagnosis:
motor & sensory peripheral neuropathy in lower extremities, bilateral sacroilitis, arthritis & tendonitis in knees, myofacial pain in bilat trapezius,osteopenia, anxiety,insomnia
foot disorders: tendonitis in arches of bilat feet, mortons neuroma (left foot), bunions at base of big toes, taylor bunions (small) throughout foot bones, arthritis

for pain: tramadol,darvocet,flexeril, mobic, naproxen, neurontin
topicals: flector patch, voltaren gel
anxiety: amitriptyline (elavil)
insomnia: ambien
stomach upset: prilosec
supplements: potassium, b12, d, folic acid,calcium,
devices: cervical neck brace, cane

symptoms: pain,stiffness, weakness in neck, upper and lower spine, hips,legs,feet, and
frequently arms and hands.
numbness & tingling in feet and toes, and right thumb.
limitations are many as you all know..

current doctors: pcp, rheumatologist, neurologist

social security disability claims:
initially filed in oct 2005, denied at all levels thru appeals council (just denied 3 weeks ago). alj denied in july 2008... c-spine, neuropathy, osteopenia not then diagnosed --appeal attorney currently looking at case to determine if merited to file civil suit in us district court.

new claim filed in feb 2010 with all medical records since july 2008 submitted. ssdi currently gathering the same documents direct from doctors. they have received all but rheumatogist records from dr, as i stalled the doctor sending them until i have a copy of the records to
review & approve. she may add a letter to the records to help me get approved without further fighting.
if new claim is approved, they can set disability onset date as far back as july 2008, maybe further if they so choose. if i am approved on this claim, depending on how far back they go, the original claim is still open to file in circuit court for remand back to alj. and get backpay from this onset date to date of original claim. if the old claim should get filed in circuit court and remanded back to alj, and i go to alj for another hearing (before new claim is decided), the 2 claims will become one.
hopefully the new claim gets approved quickly, so i can get benefits started asap, then settle the old claim for all that backpay.
fingers crossed....

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11 Responses


I want to first say i wish the best of luck with this diiability claim. I dont know how old you are ;or even how old you were when your back problems started. but I was 13 when i had my first issue with my back I was in a wheel chair for many months and told Id never walk agaib. Thanks to a wounderful chripractor he helped me to walk. well I was told to never have childeren because id be back in the wheelchair well I have 2 and 5 grand childeren.I was diagnosed with ddd the first time in 97.Then again every year there after . they say now surgury i would have to have 7 verterbrea in the lumbar fused and 4 in the cervical but would have to get another or two in each in any where from one month to two months later ultimately resulting in having a broomstick spine wont even be able to (excuse my french)wipe my own.*** ....well you know. still i cannot get dissabillity.I have worked all my life as a laborer now when i need help i cant get it.i wish you the best of luck it sounds to me you have attorneys that want to help.


Hello I am new to this site, and wanted to comment on your stenosis. I had a MRI done on the cervical spine and at the c6-7 location I am just under 9 mm and my report indicated moderate to severe stenosis, it may depend who is reading the report. My Neurologist didnt seem to be to concerned either, didnt mention anything but having DDD. My pcp finally explained it to me so I understood what I was looking at myself. I currently have a wonderful job and will try everything I can to continue working for as long as I can but if the time comes that someone has to file a claim for disability that they will have compassion and review throughly because we pay are dues in pain!!! Good luck!


Wow Sunny! I hope and pray you get your disability or even ssi. I've been fighting and fighting with them myself. I was always told Appeal, appeal, appeal. Almost felt like a banana... Why can't this system get it through that there are us back sufferers that truly need help? They need to have just one person in every SSA office with back problems, of course that falls asleep all the time because of all the meds.... The government looks at nation wide health coverage, but not at the SSA guidelines for approval. They need to change their books on who should get approval the first time around. This is just my opinion of course. Your back is no where even close to being right at any angle. I wish you the best!
I do wonder though if a machine at the chiro's office maybe for you...DR5000. It's glorified traction but feels OH SO RIGHT! But you'd have to find that one chiro that wouldn't look at your MRI's and tuck tail and run the other way. I couldn't go back because I had to pay out of pocket for each session and I started to lose control of my bladder just three months in.
My fingers are crossed for you and my prayers are with you too!


havent updated in a while, and i have new treatment and diagnosis.
first off, i had called my neurologist office and talked to the nurse to see if the dr would write a script for a TENS unit. seems the nurse "left employment" within a few days after i spoke to her and she did not discuss it with nor leave a note for the doctor.
i went to my pcp a few weeks ago with a short form of something similiar to an rfc that the attorney gave me. i asked the pcp about getting a TENS, and after filing out my form, mostly by asking me the questions about my limitations-- he said he wanted to send me to physical and occupational therapy. i knew this was coming at some point from one dr or another, so i had already checked my insurance provider for therapist they will pay in my area and spoke to one of those locations.

my therapy treatments/exercises so far have been neck traction, laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, and a few simple exercises (but they do cause some discomfort), working on neck and shoulder pain first. got my TENS last thursday and it helps, some areas it helps more than others. odd though, if i move or turn my neck/head certain ways, i can not feel anything from TENS, but other ways i feel it more than normal. the laser & ultrasound therapy are soooooo soothing, but short lived once exercises begin. neck traction helps too, but again, short lived.

on 2nd visit, she decided to toss in one exercise for my lower spine- sitting on the large ball and doing circles. that was very short lived! on 2nd circle, i had a horrid and out of the normal pain that ran from my left hip to just below the knee,including the knee and the muscle hurt down to the thigh bone. it was very painful.. the right hip/thigh/knee hurt the same way, but the pain in hip and thigh was not as intense as the left. i stopped and yelped. i described the pain to her and she asked a couple of things. we have not done that exercise anymore. she recommended i have the issue checked by doctor. same day as 3rd therapy, i had later appt with neuro, and told him about what happened. he had me do a couple of things, then began looking for trigger points at hips and thighs. well, afterwards, he said trochanteric bursitis. offered an injection in hip or said use my flector patches. i declined steroid injection.
i have still been having pain in hip/leg/knee (worse on left side) since. i called yesterday and got appt with pcp for today. i went in saying that i wanted xrays to either rule out or rule in any issues, which they gladly did xrays of both hips and both knees. dr said arthritis in hips, with the trachanteric bursitis possible (would not be visible on xrays). he said behind knees showed popliteal cyst..he explained that one for me. he did a TnP check like the neuro had done. he gave me a steroid injection in hip to see if that helps. offered me a cane of various types, which i told him the neuro had given me a basic one, and my husband had gotten me 2 other types at the flea market really cheap.
i decided on my own, that it is time for me to return to an orthopaedic for their opinion of my spine, hip and knee problems. i will be seeing an ortho that specializes in my problem areas, but he no longer does surgery (not a candidate yet by report of my other dr's). i see him on july 8th in the am.
the other week, after my atty asking me a few questions about my health issues and the fact i have anxiety/panic attacks for years now- atty wants me to see a "mental health" doctor for those issues.
the earliest appt i could get at a psych that i know anything about, is also july 8th in the afternoon. i will let the ortho know when i sign in that i have to be outta there asap, as i have the other appt a few hours later. having my xrays from my pcp, mri reports and such in hand, will save a lot of time once i get to the back room.
my rheumatologist---- i was informed recently, there is some "re-organization" taking place, and right now she is not accepting insurance. my appt with her is july 22. i hope she gets it sorted soon, or i will have to find another rheumatologist until she does get it sorted. i can not afford the cost for her if she doesnt. i hate to do that, cause she is the best around here. she will listen to you, explain to you and takes her time with you, not just rushing you in and out like most. and is NOT rude.
with all this going on, it should help my ssdi claim even more.
more later as needed..


hello sunnyd50, glad to here you were able to get your TENS unit and working for you. Most things out there seem to be temporary but helpful along with other treatments to manage the pain. Good luck with your continued care.


since my last post, i am still doing therapy, but not for much longer. my ins will only pay for 20 visits per year, and i dont want to use them all up, so will only go for 2 more visits i think.
my rheumatologist i found out that she is not filing any insurance, but will help us file our claim with our ins, and they are self pay.. i talked to my ins and they said my ins will NOT reimburse the claim, so i should find another rheum.. i cancelled with this rheum and got an appt with the rheum i was seeing in 2008. that appointment was yesterday. after asking me a boat load of questions, doing a quick exam, he diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.. i have felt for a long time i had this due to symptoms not related to spinal disorders.. my PCP diagnosed me last week with TMJ/TMD, as my therapist felt i had this problem.my attorney had requested i go see a mental health dr, which i did 2 weeks ago. tmj/tmd and myofascial pain in which i was previously diagnosed with are symptoms of fibro...the psych i chose to go to is the one my stepson has seen for 9 years, and when stepson was living at home, i was usually the one who took him to this dr.. stepson has major mental issues, and this doctor often talked to me one on one about stepson and asked how i was doing with it all (stepson was a major problem). he saw me ( with stepson ) come in depressed, crying, shaking, and having panic attacks, so he said i had been suffering from those factors for many years. i told him the atty had requested this visit and he said NO PROBLEM.. told me to tell the atty to fax him the paperwork to fill out and he would take good care of me.. the notes he made on my visit that day, i got a fast copy to send to atty. he noted severe depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic, and tons of symptoms. also noted SANE, good judgement and good insight. the atty wants me to have him fill out the papers with me in the dr office at my next visit. i am gonna ask the doctor to do a letter to ssa stating how he knows i have had the problems all these years. so, to sum it up- new diagnoses: TMJ/TMD , fibromyalgia, severe depression- anxiety-panic..
this should certainly help my ssdi claim at recon stage...
more later.. carol
more later


Dear sunnyd50,
You absolutely have countless health issues that seem to me that you should have no problem getting your SSA Disability benefits. I have noticed in your writings, or should I say I did not notice in your writings where your doctors have provided any statements to SSA Disability stating that you are disabled and are absolutely NOT ABLE to maintain "SUBSTANTIAL GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT" !!! The substantial gainful employment phrase is extremely important for the doctors to utilize in the statements provided to SSA Disability Review Board is what my attorney told me. I went through the SSA Disability process in Indiana and it took me right at 4 years and a hearing with the ALJ before I finally won my disability benefits. Anyway, my attorney informed me that if I had not had the statements from my 3 doctors and "FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY EVALUATION" from the doctors as well that I would have never won the disability claim. Also when I did get in the hearing in front of the ALJ she actually said to me that after her reviewing of my claim file that there was NO REASON WE SHOULD EVEN BE AT THE HEARING. She said that my claim should have been approved when first reviewed. But anyway sunnyd50, I suggest that you ensure that you get your doctors to write the statements and the functional capacity evaluations as soon as possible in the process and make sure that these statements are sent to the Disability office ASAP !!! Good luck to you and I hope you have positive results with everything you face ahead of you.


Are you prescribed Darvocet and tramadol to take on same day?


sorry i have been mia for so long..
to answer the last question,.... yes, i WAS prescribed both to take the same day. the darvocet was for breakthru pain... as it has been pulled from the market, that was changed..

update: pain/neuro dr put me on lortab 5 back in january, as darvocet was pulled off the market. he was only giving me 15 day supply, so i had to go every 2 weeks for followup & get refill. on the 3rd followup, he asked when was the last time i took a lortab and i told him 3-4 days ago. even knowing that, he ordered urine test which came back negative. so he noted in my chart that he will not be issuing any narcotic pain meds to me anymore. i have asked him repeatedly if there were any med changes we could do that might be more benefit than what i am currently on, and he said, only narcotics which he can not longer give me that i will have to get them somewhere else..
all he says is i am on a "good mix" of medications, yet my rheum addressed concerns of taking certain anti-depressants with tramadol.. i have asked the pain dr on that 2-3 times and he says since i dont have seizures, i should be okay- wtf???

finally found a physiatrist & pain dr clinic that also billed most things as in-office, so i am checking reviews on those drs online and will make an appt with one early next week..


update on medications:
for pain: tramadol HCL 50mg , naproxen (inflammation), neurontin (nerve pain)300 mg @ bedtime 200 mg 2 x during day), elavil (amitriptyline) 25mg @ bedtime
topicals for pain: flector patch, voltaren gel, lidoderm patch, TENS unit
anxiety/panic: valium 2mg 2x day
depression: effexor 75 mg 2 x day
insomnia: ambien 10 mg @ bedtime

devices: cervical neck brace, cane

thank goodness i did apply for copay assistance (even with insurance) & was approved for $1500 over a 12 month period ! that does help !


Wow just got my first denial. All I want is my money a little early. I am 58 had neck fusion . I have had lower back surgery got damage lower disk problems spur s bulging disks. I take oxycodone two three time a day. I can't even mow my yard and not b layed up for few days. I can't work as a landscaper anymore. I built a very successful business for twenty years. The recision took it away I stayed in to long being loyal to my people oh well
Gonna get bender and bender and fight. Did I mention I am former Marine.