Lumbar spine degeneration

Posted by mnpat @mnpat, Mar 27 11:49pm

I am a 78 yr. old female with osteorarthritis. I had a hip replacement in 2003, a knee replacement in 2017 and the other knee replaced in 2020. Reviewing what medical records I have, I found that there have been comments regarding degeneration of the lumbar spine starting with L1 perhaps15 yrs. ago. No one discussed this with me and I was doing well, so didn't pursue it. Following PT for the knee replacement in 2017 I rehabbed very well, but within a year began feeling like one leg was shorter than the other. After the 2nd knee was done last year, I saw the same (very good) PT, but couldn't overcome the tendency to limp and bend to the right side. Now one side of the pelvis is higher than the other and I have been told that PT has done all it can. There might be a surgical possiibiity, but no one has recommended that.

I felt blind-sided. The lumbar spine has degenerated from L1 through L5. I had really expected that I would be able to exercise my way out of this, but now that looks doubtful. I am currently going to deep water aerobic classes twice a week and then to the gym for a round on the machines.

Is it likely that my spine is also degenerating higher up? I don't really understand the whole process. I have one more follow-up with the orthopedic who did the 2nd knee replacement. He mentioned a spine specialist but didn't give me a referral. Ideas?

Hi @mnpat, That must feel like a slap in the face to know that your physicians never discussed it with you, but noted it in your medical chart.
Here is some information on Degenerative disk disease (DDD) from the Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato and Medical News Today
Degenerative disk disease, Mankato – Mayo Clinic Health: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/mankato/services-and-treatments/neurosurgery/spine-conditions-and-treatments/degenerative-disk-disease
"Degenerative disc disease is an age-related condition that happens when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates or breaks down, leading to pain." – Degenerative disc disease: Causes and treatment: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266630

@mnpat, did your ortho doctor tell you the name of the spine specialist? I would either call and ask for a referral or ask during your follow-up visit.

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@amandaburnett Thanks for the information ,this wasn't addresses to me but found it very useful in my back situation Have stnosis,stenosis, disc all low back @nerve entrapment Have P.T this week

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@amandaburnett

Hi @mnpat, That must feel like a slap in the face to know that your physicians never discussed it with you, but noted it in your medical chart.
Here is some information on Degenerative disk disease (DDD) from the Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato and Medical News Today
Degenerative disk disease, Mankato – Mayo Clinic Health: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/locations/mankato/services-and-treatments/neurosurgery/spine-conditions-and-treatments/degenerative-disk-disease
"Degenerative disc disease is an age-related condition that happens when one or more of the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column deteriorates or breaks down, leading to pain." – Degenerative disc disease: Causes and treatment: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266630

@mnpat, did your ortho doctor tell you the name of the spine specialist? I would either call and ask for a referral or ask during your follow-up visit.

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He did not have a name to recommend to me. This degeneration has resulted in one side of the pelvis being higher than the other, with the symptom being a feeling of that leg being shorter. Inserts help, but orthotist told me that any more height would probably lead to other issues. Maybe I should make an appt. at Mayo.

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