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I have spinal stenosis & Degenrative disc Disease

Started by Kevin Chambers on 12/18/2010 11:44am

I have had 4 fusions in my upper back and neck area. My Dr. told me that he had to rebuild that part of me because of not having enough bone to work with. This was done about 2 years ago. I still need the lumbar area done too. I was wondering if any one might have the same problems as I do?
#1 my legs always hurt.
#2 I constantly feel like I have electric shock going threw my whole body when I turn my head or move my arms or walk. mornings are the worse, Right after my surgery I felt good, but now this is happening on a daily basis some times lasting up to 48 hours straight. My meds help a little bit but not as much as they use to. This is driving me up the wall, and I cant seem to find the answer of why this is happening or what could be causing this problem.
#3 I also am a feeling of having to urinate and need to have a bowel movement way more frequently then I ever have. When I try to go I have a week stream and only have a B.M. 2 times a day, but it feels like I always have to go. Could someone out there please explain this to me. I'm scared out of my wits. My Dr. also told me that he really dose not want to do my lumbar section, because it will take 6 to 8 hours to fix all the damage and he also said that he gives it a 30 to50% chance of it working. He also told me that my whole spine is turning and leaning to the left side. Can someone please help me understand this a little more. P.S. I am only 49 years of age.

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7 Responses


Dear Kevin
I am so sorry to hear about your pain. Can you get another opinion from a different doctor? I wish I had some answers for you. I am very frustrated with the medical community myself; am looking for alternate ways to reduce pain.

I had a single level fusion L4-L5 6 months ago with laminectory, foramenectomy and a bunch of other stuff. I thought I would be well on the way to recovery by now but have regressed since attempting to do physical therapy for the second time. I now am on pain management regime, have to take disability from my job (my neurosurgeon thinks it was my job that made me worse post surgery but I think the surgery was a mistake to begin with) and figure out how to live the rest of my life. I have two college age daughters so really didn't want to stop working.

Anyway, the odds the doctor gave you are not good. I was given a 90% chance of success--all it meant was a successful spinal fusion, not an end to my pain. In fact my pain level has increased
tremendously since my "successful" surgery.

I don't know what your insurance covers but if you can see another specialist outside your medical group, he/she might have some answers for you.
Keep trying, you're still young!
Praying for you,


Hi Kevin
I am 35 years old and I have severe degenerative spinal stenosis myself, so I can sympathize with you on this one. I underwent C3-C4 spinal fusion with the removal of osteophytes (bone spurs) that were indenting my spinal cord. I basically lost feeling in my body from my neck down, lost a tremendous amount of muscle mass and weight (35 Ibs). I continue to have shooting shock like sensations that go from my ear down my arm and numbness in my extremities and fluctuating bowel movements. My neurologist believes that I will also have degenerative issues with my T and L spine and I also still have disc bulges in my cervical spine. At one time I owned a personal fitness training business which entailed training clients that had sustained a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident. Interestingly enough. Anyway I must say that I have don't take medication because I find they bother me more than they are useful and believe that you can obtain amazing results to help you with pain management through diet and exercise. See inflammation can cause your symptoms to be a lot worse than what they could be. Inflammation thrives in an acid environment. Let me explain when you take medication of any sort it turns your body to an acid state, especially if your diet is already lacking in nutritional value. Chlorine and fluoride in the city waters are acid based chemicals and carcinogenic to boot, more so fluoride which can actually cause spinal stenosis in high levels, called flourosis of the body. As a natural remedies advocate let me tell, there are several foods like 1/2 a fresh pineapple, turmeric, rose hip teas, valerian root, alkaline foods etc. that are way more helpful than medication. You need to get your body into a alkaline state through your diet. I have a very strict organic and free ranged diet as well. Also a good fitness program will help to built strength, muscle endurance and bone density. Although I have to be very straight with you and tell you that I can only do the best I can. What I mean is I still experience the numbness and shooting shock like pains and will have to live with them probably the rest of my life unless GOD heals me, but that is okay I continue to be thankful I still have legs and remember that there is always someone out there worse off than me. People always asked me if I was afraid of the surgical procedure that I was to have because of complication that may arise from it, making me never able to walk again. I live by faith not by fear. I truly believe to die is to gain, although I want to be hear to help and support my family and feel this is the responsibility that God has given me. Once people believe in JESUS CHRIST fear and being scared should no longer be an issue. I say this because I think a lot of people are afraid to die. Live for today while it is called today and don't worry about tomorrow. I try to enjoy my time that I have today with my family. I hope this helps you and I will keep you in my prayers. GOD Bless Kevin.


everything youve said is typical ..im 57 and have had all the above ...8 neck surgeries with hardware
4 lumbar surgeries with hardware..in fact i just had an odd hapening...i felt a pop and then a crack in my lumbar spine whle on the floor doing some housewrork.two mornings later i was in excruciating pain .I needed a cane just to get on the toilet..this lasted for 6 days..then it popped back in place(or it felt like it) and the horrible pain was gone.I had my neck hardware get loose also..went to an ER and the dr on call asked me why i let it get so bad.????huh?
like its MY FAULT?

Had another time that i had no paid just had to crawl to a chair or a table to lift me up off the floor...
If I were you...I would really think hard about the Lumbar surgeries...I was in a brace for 18 months and 3 surgeries...two were same day since they put a screw too deep and had to open me back up.Anything can happen..its been ten years since the last lumbar surgeries...but listen to this...The Neurosurgeon left the state shortly after ..and sent all my medical records by mail to me...Her group of Dr's would not take any of her cases.Left me high and dry..Now my regular doctor just gives me meds and i see him very often...but I have go to spine teams ( those are Orthopedics) they only want to give steriod injections and physical therapy...being allergic to Lidociane, getting a horrible side effect from steriods is gaining weight...
they would have to inject my entire spine becase I now have bone spurs in my thorasic spine that never goes away and is like I have no blood flow in my spine and im extremely stiff when gtting up n the mornings
the electrical pain your having sounds like a impinched nerve..I have an ICE COLD FOOT and no one can say why..
my spine has also turned...its amazing what doctors wont speak about...
When I had the low back surgeries I aged 15 yrs...dont do it unless you have to.

I have been disabled since 1989...cant go anywhere without knowing where the nearest bathroom...the new drugs like Toviaz and helping the leakage is very constipating..I have had lots of stomach problems since..Im so emmbarrased at times to talk about it..I have lost bowel control a few times...you just have to keep trying different drugs to see what works for you..I have become allergic to all the opiates and cant take the good drugs..

oh and last but not least....was sent to a pain management clinice who put me on the nerve pain med called Neurotin..I slept 22 -23 hours a day for 3 weeks
the Methadone...made me sick and want to vomit....soooooooooooo
there is a huge chance the doctors could make you worse with that surgery....
get a lot of other doctors opinions before making your desicion.



Kevin, I just turned 33 and I've recently been diagnosed with congenital spinal stenosis and congenital degenerative disc disease. I don't have all the facts, yet, but you should definitely see another neurologist or neuro surgeon. I've had some good doctors and some not so good doctors, so I know that its ok to change doctors and keep seeking help. Don't give up. I'm having the same symptoms, and I've been told my spinal cord is "kinked" in several places. I am now facing surgery. the electric shock feelings sound the same as mine, and it is the result of your spinal chord being touched and pressed on by your discs. You definitely need to see a new neurologist. This problem will not go away by itself. I wish you the best of luck and will pray for you and everyone else here that is suffering with this condition.



Hi - Does any one know which doctor is better to see if you have the shooting pains down your leg? Is it a neurologist, ortho surgeon, or just a chiropractor. It is hard to tell. Thanks.



Hi.. I just wanted to let u know that u would need to see a neurologist for that type of pain, I mean yes u can see the other doctors but in the end u will end up at a neurologist , If u have a primary care doctor that can refer u to one that would be good to do and if u can get ur primary to set u up with an MRI before u see the neurologist that would make things even better.. Just so u can skip all the crap and get right down to what is goin on.. Trust me I had to fight for yrs to get an answer and no one helped me in the right direction so I just guessed at which way I needed to go and it took a long time. Dont brush it off to much longer I would hate to have u go through everything that I did then and am going through now.. Good Luck!!! and Take Care.....


Ive had 8 neck surgeries with plates and screws,,,,C-3,4,5,6,7
Ive had 4 lumbar surgeries with 2 cages....was 3 but had to take one out 6 months after the worst surgery of my life...I aged 10 yrs after that in a very short time...Now after the final surgey in 2000....I have had many episodes of the hardware coming loose.pinching nerves and putting my daily life on hold for weeks at a time...suffering 10 times worse than anything I remember. when I was in my 20:s ...L-4,5,6,7& S1.DDD,AND failed back syndrome and every other diagnosis possible...DO NOT GET HARDWARE!..This crap started in my 20's and i am now 58..I suggest you get on an anti-depressive medication with a combination of Osteo arthritis meds, anti-anxienty and a pain medication.It is just the only thing I can do for my back& neck...the sicatica is not causing nerve damage.it is just part of it.I have all the specialists
including a Urologists.Urethral stenosis is also due to back problems &.been going for over 30 yrs...
I describe my lumbar pain when its acting up is like a Telephone pole up my rectum...I am sure you can relate to that descrition...the lumbar surgery was done through the stomach and that was horrible with 18 months in a brace..you DONT want surgery !
Now..I have midback burning pain that is OFF THE CHARTS and way past 10 on the 1 to 10 scale...not one single doctor will treat it....and i have stayed on the internet trying to find new treatments !
My GP just shakes his head and says ....failed back syndrome.....like its no big deal.
Digestion issues are worrying me now...maybe some scar tissue..im betting...but I dont want to go through that Test....Grrrr !

Good luck !
you will need it..