View Full Version : Degenerative Disc Disease due to Osteo-arthritis

06-13-2008, 12:15 PM
I have SLE and have had it for 44 years and I am 49 now. Last December I had to have a disc replaced in my lower back due to degenerative disc disease. I was told that there are other discs in bad shape but not bad enough for replacement. I have constant back pain all along my spine and bad in the shoulder area. I have asked the doctor if this is Lupus related and he tells me no. I disagree with him about this big time. Does anyone else who comes in here have this problem and do they think that it could be Lupus related? Any advice would seriously help. Oh and I can not get disability and can not work with this horrendous pain. The Neurologist that operated on me told me that I will always have problems with my back due to the degenerative disc disease and arthritis. HELP.

06-14-2008, 05:37 AM

I haven't seen anything relating DDD to IT. I have both I am 47. First one blew when I was 37. I had back problems dating back to my teens. I've had three spine surgeries. Two lumbar one cervical with hardware and cadaver bone. I suffer from failed back syndrome. Currently, I have a herniation in the thoracic and a bulger in the lumbar.

If offered I may opt for a disc replacement in the thoracic.

DDD comes with getting older. Sometimes is some of us, it occurs faster, earlier...drying from the inside out. Why, no was have given me that answer nor have I found it.

DDD is a natural part of aging and over time all people will exhibit changes in their discs to a greater or lesser degree of degeneration.

As you get older, your discs become drier, less cushion to absorb movement. Less bounce. . This can show up on a x-ray...depicting less space between your vertebra..

In some people this can cause back pain, herniation, impeding on a nerve, or directly on the spinal cord... like you and I...

So, a correlation?..I don't know....

I found this one paragraph using SLE and DDD in the same paragraph on the Internet.....

Among the conditions treated by rheumatologists are the systemic autoimmune diseases, with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) the prototype, systemic immune-mediated diseases that preferentially target the joints, with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the prototype, and osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. Cells and mediators of the immune system contribute to all of these disorders.

Have you tried PT, acupuncture, massage therapy, cortisone shots....sought another opinion?

I have an appointment on the June 23..I'll keep you posted on the outcome. I need relief too...but need to be personally assessed first with the neurologist..only had the two MRI's thus far, indicating the herniation and bulging...

I know the pain of DDD, the pain before and after surgery....I am sorry you have to feel this...it hurts...


06-14-2008, 05:55 AM
Hi Aluwa,

Thank you for answering my post. I have a lot of pain in my back and the surgeon that operated on my back last December told me that I have a lot of damage to the discs in my back due to arthritis, but that he did not want to operate on anymore of them at this time. I just basically have to live with it and take the muscle relaxers for it. I try my darndest to stay away for narco pain meds as I do not like them and had a problem with addiction to them years ago. I dislike Neurontin, because it makes my feet swell up. I take NSAIDs and otc arthritis pain meds and they do help. I also take the medications for the Lupus and vitamin B12 shots every month. I hope that the shots also help somehow to slow the progression of degenerative arthritis. Oh I also have mild cerebral palsy and spinal scoliosis. I just have a lot going on at times. I will do ok. I was just wondering is all and I thank you for giving me some good answers. I hope that you get to feeling better and that they can help you out too.

Oh I forgot. I did do Physical Therapy, but it did not help that much and due to the fact that I had to drive in the sun a lot of times to get to the therapy, it put me into a Lupus Flare, so they decided to stop that. I just try to walk and basically be careful with my back. God Bless


06-14-2008, 08:00 PM
i too have had pain in my spine for nearly five years now due to degerated discs. im no where near surgery though (thank god!) my doctors have always just told me that it could not have been caused (or involved) with lupus. im 17 years old and degerating discs at 12?! are they trying to say i just happened to get both? may i add that it all started after a pretty bad flare when i was taked out of school for a month.

i REALLY REALLY hope that your pain recedes(or however u spell it) or that you can find a way to relieve it. maybe you should try oluwa's suggestion and go with cortisone shots? my doctors have been trying to get me to get one for years but i have major issues with needles around my spine, i used to freak out when anything touched it (from the pain when something did, not just crazy =D ) so thats not an option for me.

06-15-2008, 06:51 AM
Hi Amber,

Wow you are very young to have Osteo-Arthritis in your spine. I did not develope the arthritis in my spine until I was nearly 40 years old. My doctor told me that it is not related to the Lupus, because it is a muscle skeletal problem. It is a seperate illness of its own. I believe though that the Prednisone may have caused some of the problems. I have Osteo in all of my major joints and spine. I am glad that you do not have to have surgery on your back. I had to have a disc replaced with a resin disc and that was very hard on me big time, but I am doing better from that. I would like to caution you to not let yourself get overweight if the arthritis is attacking your spine. That tends to make it worse. I got fat and that was disasterous and I am losing weight now. Always try to stay active. I hope that I have helped in some way. I have SLE (luspus) for many many years as well as now the Osteo of the spine. I try my hardest to avoid taking Prednisone if I can. I hope that somehow I have helped. God Bless.


06-15-2008, 10:42 AM
ive never heard of a connection between the back and joint issues(they have yet to truely name it anything) ive been having and prednisone. that makes a ton of sense! i try to aviod steroids in general because they make me very mean, not to mention chubby, person. have you found anything that you can use instead of steroids during flares and organ involvement? im currently on 150mg imuran which seems to be helping for now =)
im so happy to hear that your doing better after your disc replacement, but not so happy to hear that you had a horrible time getting to where you are now.
and you definatly have helped me!! thank you! =D

06-16-2008, 04:32 AM
Hi Amber,

I am also taking 150 mg of Imuran and that helps a lot. I am taking 400 mg of Plaquenil a day and 200mg of Sulindac twice a day. I just came off of a low dose of Prednisone. I was taking 15mg a day for a week due to a mild attack on my lungs. I try my darndest to avoid Prednisone, because to me it seems like a dangerous drug when there are other medications that work that are not as dangerous. I am doing much better since they replace my herniated and bulging disc in the lumber part of my spine. There are some other discs that are damaged, but not to that degree. I also take muscle relaxers, Soma for that. It helps. I try not to get any narcotics for pain and just live with the pain. I do not like any medication that alters my ability to think clearly. I guess I have always been like that. I try to stay within my limitations so as not to let the Lupus flare, but as you know there will always be times when the illness will flare as this is a life long chronic illness with no cure as of yet.

I am doing a lot better. God Bless


06-16-2008, 04:15 PM
i was on plaquinal for several years and it just wasnt helping anymore. i tried muscle relaxers but they didnt seem to work for me either. ive been taking vicodin for the pain in my back and joints but i hate the way i feel while taking it so i take it only when i really cant take it anymore. Im so proud of you for staying strong on your no narcotics ideals. i really hope i can learn to just deal with the pain or find another way. have you ever tried a chiropractor for your bulged disc or is that a no-no after your surgery?

06-17-2008, 04:01 AM
I think that the muscle relaxers tend to do the best for me. I have not gone to a Chiropractor. I try to take over the counter arthritis medication when I absolutely need it. The only thing that brought me relief from the herniated and bulging disc was to have surgery and have it replaced with a resin disc. I had tried the nerve blocks and the steroid shots in the spine and they did me no good. Some people they tend to help, but they did not help me. I am very careful about lifting anything up and do use the proper mechanics required for any lifting of anything. I also have Scoliosis of the spine. I try to stay active. The worst thing that you can do is to do no exercise. I walk a lot and that helps a lot. Like my doctor told me use it or lose it. I just try to take each day as it comes.

06-26-2008, 09:33 PM
yes, I have degenerative disk disease, osteoarthrits, malopathy, scoliosis, and bone spurs up and down my spine. I am now having severe hip trouble and sometimes cant walk at all. My neck hurts so bad i cant even hold my own head up sometimes. I have many other issues as well. I am new to all this lupus stuff. I am just getting started. But as far as disability goes, It took my brother 3 years to get it. You will always be denied the first time. he told me that is standard. usually even a second time. You need to get a dissability lawyer. That is what my brother had to do. He finally qualified and got all the back pay for all those 3 years. Just don't let your case lapse. Keep it going non stop. The government would just asume not pay. You really have to fight for it. From what I understand, It is usually fairly easy for people with lupus to get it. I have a feeling i will be filing soon myself. don't give up.