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Old 06-25-2013, 05:19 PM   #1
Mtn Man OP
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Fractured L - 5 vertebrate ... Help!

Okay I have been fighting back pain consistently for a year or so now. I went the route of a bone cracker thinking they could help ... Nope, didn't work. Finally after doing a three day trip down Skyline Drive and the BRP I could hardly walk. Made myself an appointment to the orthopedic spine doctor and did test. Well, I have a stress fracture that when I bend over spreads to 10mm, according to X-rays.

Anyone experience this problem? Recovery time ? Is my dual sport riding coming to an end?


Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:46 PM   #2
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I broke mine twice, not sure which number, but up high between the shoulder blades.
Both times I fell in soft sand landing on my head and shoulder.

For me, it does not seem to get better, but I seem to have more lower back problems/pain.
The problems with the upper back bother me when I do some things that make me stand and work slightly bending over, like say washing dishes over a sink that is a bit too far away.

The lower back and some other bones broken in the past bother me way more then the upper spine thing, but all together, its getting hard to ride (or drive) for long.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
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Wow, not good ...

That does not sound encouraging and I'm sorry you too are losing your ability to ride. The l 5 is the lowest vertebrate so I'm sure your higher pain is more restrictive but good luck! Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:53 PM   #4
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Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are similar procedures. Both are performed through a hollow needle that is passed through the skin of your back into the fractured vertebra. In vertebroplasty, bone cement (called polymethylmethacrylate) is injected through the hollow needle into the fractured bone. In kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted and inflated to expand the compressed vertebra to its normal height before filling the space with bone cement. The procedures are repeated for each affected vertebra. The cement-strengthened vertebra allows you to stand straight, reduces your pain, and prevents further fractures.

Without treatment, the fractures will eventually heal, but in a collapsed position. The benefit of kyphoplasty is that your vertebra is returned to normal position before the bone hardens. Patients who've had kyphoplasty report significantly less pain after treatment [1].

Studies show that people who get one osteoporotic fracture are 5 times more likely to develop additional fractures. It is important that people seek treatment for osteoporosis early, before fractures occur.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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Oh, i think lower would be worse, more weight on the spine the lower you go.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Man View Post
That does not sound encouraging and I'm sorry you too are losing your ability to ride. The l 5 is the lowest vertebrate so I'm sure your higher pain is more restrictive but good luck! Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mtn Man View Post
Okay I have been fighting back pain consistently for a year or so now. I went the route of a bone cracker thinking they could help ... Nope, didn't work. Finally after doing a three day trip down Skyline Drive and the BRP I could hardly walk. Made myself an appointment to the orthopedic spine doctor and did test. Well, I have a stress fracture that when I bend over spreads to 10mm, according to X-rays.

Anyone experience this problem? Recovery time ? Is my dual sport riding coming to an end?


Thanks in advance for any input.

You are saying the L5 vertabra actually has a fracture that pulls apart as you bend??? And it spreads to 10mmm at that! If so,,, that's damned wierd.

In any event, I was in an accident way back 20 odd years ago. I crushed L2,3, fractured L4 and L6. They fused L2-3-4 and let L6 heal on it's own. After the fusion healed, I was fine. Excepting some lose of feeling/strength in my left leg and pain when I slept on my stomach, everything was fine. Matter of fact, after the fusion I ended up getting in the best shape of my life due to me getting into the exercise thing during rehab. So, they should be able to shoot some cement into that crack, shore it up and all should be fine.

Years later bad ju-ju came back for me due to spinal stenosis, pinched nerves at L1-2 {stubburn me lifting weights and running} and arthritis stemming from the trauma in the fusion area. I don't think you will be looking at that because the crack should heal without constant bone growth like you have with a fusion. Even if it did, I'm guessing you are older than 22-23yrs old and by the time that vertabra started closing in, you would have many other things getting your attention. You might get arthritis a bit sooner there???

Best thing,,,,, get that thing fixed and talk to the experts. But nope,,,, I don't think your dual sporting is over. Just my non-expert opinion though. Good luck.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Man View Post
Okay I have been fighting back pain consistently for a year or so now. I went the route of a bone cracker thinking they could help ... Nope, didn't work. Finally after doing a three day trip down Skyline Drive and the BRP I could hardly walk. Made myself an appointment to the orthopedic spine doctor and did test. Well, I have a stress fracture that when I bend over spreads to 10mm, according to X-rays.

Anyone experience this problem? Recovery time ? Is my dual sport riding coming to an end?


Thanks in advance for any input.
Last July, in a crash I have no memory of, I
a thoracic vertebrae and a lumbar vertebrae. I was in a neck brace for the upper vertebrae for six weeks and and a torso brace for the lumbar vertebrae for ten weeks i also broke my right hip and destroyed the ring finger on my left hand. I was in the hospital for 1 month. I have no one depending on me for financial support but my daughter who is financially independent has asked me not to ride again and I will probably accept her advice.

I do not currently have the strength to ride again, but when I do it will be really tough not to. Ride Safe.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:09 PM   #8
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When I was a teenager, I fell off a cliff in Yosemite, burst fractured my L5 vertebra into 32 pieces.

I do have some low back pain, but no more than an average 39-year-old. It has not affected my life--dual-sporting, backpacking, manual labor, more rock climbing, martial arts, I've done it all.

Hopefully you can get the bone-cement patch, do lots of good PT, and be back to it in time.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:13 PM   #9
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Thanks!

Okay, I have read everyone's post twice and really appreciate the time taken to share your experience. I have learned some new facts that now arm me to speak more intelligently with my doctor.

I have done a total of about eight hours of PT this week and do notice a marked difference. So my current plan is three more weeks of dedication to the PT plan, to then be followed up with a diligent workout plan. I plan to research the injection procedure and will try to be well informed for my next visit with the doc.

I am feeling much more optimistic after hearing about your stories and injuries. If an L-5 can be busted into 32 pieces and recover then my situation should be a chip shot!

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Old 06-28-2013, 12:34 PM   #10
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+1 on doing your own research. It's incredible how much we have to advocate for ourselves medically these days, even those of us who have good health care. Always worth your while to learn about anatomy, physiology, drugs and drug interactions, surgeries, and physical therapy and make informed choices.

Good luck and strength! The human body is amazingly resilient. I should go lift my weights and go for a walk on my knee scooter--I'm now recovering from a completely different injury.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:57 PM   #11
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Although I agree it's a good thing to do some research and be critical to what you are told by professionals, you also have to be very critical about what you find on the internet. I've just finished my second year of studying physiotherapy and have seen A LOT of nonsense and very bad advise given on forums like this. I think it's great that people want to share stories, but a lot have changed in 20 years. The stories are still good but don't expect to go through the same treatment as back then.
I'm not trying to talk bad about anyone in this tread, just giving my own personal/professional advice.

On a more serious note - healing time is different for different parts of your body. Muscles heal the fastest (weeks), then bone (+1month), then tendon and ligaments (+3 months - sometimes +12 months).

As you might have had this fracture for a while, it might also take more time to heal. Even if your L5 vertebra is all healed up after a few months, the ligaments keeping it in place might not be ready to do their job yet. They will have been stressed and made longer while you have had the fracture (because the tendons alone can't keep the spine in place), so you need to give them time to heal up properly.
If you could choose between getting back on the bike sooner, but always have pain riding or wait a few more months then you feel like, but be pain free when you get back on the bike - it might be a good idea to take it slow for now.

Here's a little something to read if you want - I don't know if it describes the same kind of fracture as you have, but a lot of it might be the same.

http://www.pamf.org/sports/harriss/p...sfractures.pdf

It sounds like you are dedicated to your PT plan and usually leads to a quicker and better recovery. Keep in there and stay focused.

Good luck and wishes of speedy recovery

Say hi to your PT from Denmark
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Man View Post
Okay I have been fighting back pain consistently for a year or so now. I went the route of a bone cracker thinking they could help ... Nope, didn't work. Finally after doing a three day trip down Skyline Drive and the BRP I could hardly walk. Made myself an appointment to the orthopedic spine doctor and did test. Well, I have a stress fracture that when I bend over spreads to 10mm, according to X-rays.

Anyone experience this problem? Recovery time ? Is my dual sport riding coming to an end?


Thanks in advance for any input.
If you smoke- quit! Tobacco inhibits bone growth.

As for the fx- did he say where it is located on the vertebrae? Is it on one of the processes or the body itself? What is the condition of the L4-5 disk and the L5-S1 disk?
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:45 PM   #13
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Good advice and suggestions ... No worries I do read everything and ask everyone because I believe experience is a great teacher. However, I will make my decisions based on sound and current data. I am very fortunate that my employer is partnered with Mayo as an advisor to all employees. So if the PT and rest doesn't solve the problem then a Mayo Clinic visit is in my future.

As to the condition of my L -4, I am not sure but that question is now added to my list to ask the doc. Thanks for the idea.

My pain is getting better with everyday of PT I do. I am starting to have hope that muscle development and time will make this head in a positive direction!

Thanks again for all of the comments!
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:57 PM   #14
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Tjelli, thanks for the document! Good read and more good information!
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:25 PM   #15
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Mtn Man, I had 3 vertebrae broken in my thoracic area. Mine were compression fractures and somewhat stable. I had a Neurosurgeon go in to my back with some wicked big needles (he showed me what they looked like at his office after the surgery). He injected some kind of epoxy into the bones and partially re-inflated the vertebrae. I was totally pain free for about three months after the surgery. The pain returned but not as bad as before. He tells me that frequently the bones above and below get compression fractures after this type of surgery. He told me to put up with the pain until I can't stand it any more and then come back and we will do more surgery. Great.

I am now three years out and the pain is pretty bad at times but doesn't seem to be getting any worse now over time. I can stand it most of the time so I am still waiting to return to him. I really, really don't want someone messing with my back, too many possibilities for unpleasant things to go wrong. I think I may know too much for my own good as I am a retired R.N. who worked trauma for years.

I wish you luck with your back. Not too many good options out there once your back is screwed up. Sorry. PT is one of the good options for screwed up backs. Works more often than many people know.

I still ride by the way. Just not as far or as often as I used to.

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