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Hi everyone,
I don't have any particular questions, but I struggled for about three years with what was recently diagnosed as DDD. I am 22 years old, and no trauma in my past is related to my pain, which was centered around my lower back, hips, buttocks, and left leg. My exact diagnosis was a compressed, herniated, and degenerated, L5S1 disc, with a pinched nerve.
Eight days ago, I had a discectomy and lumbar fusion with cages and pedicle screws. The discectomy removed my bad disc, and the fusion, over the course of about the next year, will fuse my bottom two vertebrae into one solid bone, making a disc unnecessary.
The day after my surgery, I'd never felt such pain getting out of bed. It was worse than any preoperative pain, but was certainly not unusual due to the surgery affects your spine. But each day since, I've experienced incredible improvement.
Before my surgery, I'd looked everywhere for a lumbar fusion success story, but I just couldn't find one, and it horrified me. Only eight days after my surgery, I can walk without a walker or cane for twenty minute increments, and I'm healing faster than I ever could have imagined. I have weeks and weeks ahead of me in my recovery, and I can only hope that I continue healing at my current rate.
My hope in writing this post is that someone in the same, confused, position I was in, will find solace in the fact that they aren't alone.
Prior to surgery, I tried physical and water therapy, several epidurals, yoga, and everything recommended to me by several doctors. It became clear that surgery was a last resort, and I couldn't be more happy that I went through with it. When I was in pain before, constantly taking medicine, it felt like it was for no purpose, and I didn't want wait for my DDD to worsen with age. I'm still on medication, but at least now I know it's towards a goal, and that I won't need to be on it for years to come.
I sincerely hope that this helps at least one person who reads it, in making the decision that's right for them in leading a normal healthy life.

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I am getting surgery on 6/18/12 for sounds like the same thing. Thanks for making me feel better. I noticed you post this awhile ago. How are you doing now?
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I'm delighted that you found such success, and I hope that you still feel the same after time has passed. But please be prepared for the fact that Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is often a lifetime disease. I too have DDD, and my first surgery was at approximately your age. Decades later, I have had additional surgeries because of DDD. Often the discs above your fusion will also be effected by DDD and will herniate at a later date. Therefore a herniated disc at L4L5 is a distinct possibility. I hope you never have problems with L4L5, or any other disc space, but it is always best to know the probabilities, in my opinion.
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