Fractured L - 5 vertebrate ... Help!

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by Mtn Man, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

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    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. :ear
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  2. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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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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  3. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

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    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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  4. Tonopah

    Tonopah Been here awhile

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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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  5. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Oh, i think lower would be worse, more weight on the spine the lower you go.




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  6. Jud

    Jud Long timer

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    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.:1drink
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  7. Forty Years Ago

    Forty Years Ago I'm not an alcoholic.

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    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.
    #7
  8. Rex Nemo

    Rex Nemo horizon calling

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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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  9. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

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    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!

    :thumb
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  10. Rex Nemo

    Rex Nemo horizon calling

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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. :fpalm
    #10
  11. Tjelle

    Tjelle Adventurer

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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 :D 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/parsstressfractures.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 :thumb

    Say hi to your PT from Denmark :freaky
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  12. unaweep

    unaweep Uses lotsa band-aids

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    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?
    #12
  13. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

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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!
    #13
  14. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

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    Tjelli, thanks for the document! Good read and more good information!
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  15. DougFromKentucky

    DougFromKentucky Just a good 'ole boy

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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.

    Doug in Kentucky
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  16. t30

    t30 Dirty Biker

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    Two and a half weeks ago I was laid up on my back. I landed off a jump at the local MX track that weekend and it really screwed up my back. Not the first back issue, I've had occasional pain for many years.

    About two months ago the Othro Doc said my L3 slipped forward of L4 likely many years ago so I figure this might be related. He wants to do an L3-L4 fusion but the thought of not riding for 6 months to a year has me holding off.

    My back pain has subsided substantially even to the point where I've ridden on pavement but I'm still not even close to 100%. I have an MRI in two weeks to get more data, but I'm hoping like you that through PT I can strengthen the muscles and tendons in that area to avert this issue in the future. I've also decided that at age 53 my days on the MX track are over. No more aerials for me. Its trails, FSR and asphalt from now on.
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  17. Mr_Snips

    Mr_Snips Husky BRAAAAAAAAP!

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    September of 2012 I had a little off on a dirtbike resulting in the loss of 30% of the height in my l2, 4 blushing discs, and multiple fractures along the back of my spine. It's a long healing process and unfortunately any back injury makes the list of shit that will never be completely right again. However I'm riding on road again and some what managing the pain. A chiropractor is my best friend.
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  18. Big-O

    Big-O Been here awhile

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    Hey, I had 2 vertabre ripped out of my neck and all disks removed with the exception of c1 and c7. Fused and plated from c2-c6. Lower spine, L4-s1, all disks removed(discetomies and fasectomies). S1 is still indicating that it is fractured. Currently I have been on a methadone program for 7 years for pain with occasional trigger point injections. Seek the advice of 3 different surgeons, not sharing any input from the others with the exception of the MRI's etc. See what they have to say. As stated above, research the shit out of this on your own, seek others with similar problems. Speak to others at the dr's office, especially post op types, is the follow up treatment good or not. Sadly the scumbag dopers who like barbituates have created such a problem with theft, robberies etc, getting a dr to script anything decent and continue is near impossible today. If you do need pain meds, don't, DON'T, DON"T DARE to take them unless you really need to. You will get screwed up especially if you have a propensity to wanna party on dude. This is grow up time, this is so important I can't stress it enough! I take just enough to take the edge off in the AM so I can get out and moving, as the day progresses and I feel better, I do more. I ride my klr, wr250r and bmw1150rt when I'm up to it. The choices you make now will dictate your life and quality of life for the rest of your life. Be careful, choose wisely and DO NOT DISCUSS THIS WITH ANYONE FROM WORK.....EVER. To them, just say, I feel great, everything is wonderful. The motherfuckers will creep out of the woodwork like sewerage from a leaky pipe and feed on your weaknesses like animals, I kid you not! Especially your employers, they will come to you like caring friends and behind your back the knife is being sharpened to a razors edge. Be careful if you use chiropractors for this injury, I would not; go to PT and do a lot of strength excercises that will support your body after asking the doc. BE CAREFUL, say little and always smile, no one wants to hear about negative things over and over! I never speak of my pain nor complain. This is my life, my cross to bear. Live your life well, always remain humble, positive and greatful , accept this as one of your life's changes with dignity and grace. Only because of these things that happened to me, I strive to help others who are less fortunate than I, and there are many deserving of this help who are good and decent people. Surround yourself with good and emotionally healthy people, that makes a big difference. I know that some of this makes me seem cranky. I'm being very brief here and many of the lessons and experiences I had were incredibly tough and painful. These were my experiences, I kept this very short and to the point, my story and opinions. Good luck and hang tough!
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  19. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

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    Wow, you folks have been great to share your experiences! I continue the PT and things seem to be working better. I have avoided pain meds, stress to my back and I am really surprised how well I am doing. My PT professionals suggested I try a short ride ... Life is good! I just got home from a short ride and I now have new motivation! Things might be better than I thought ... Hopeful anyway.

    Thanks again to everyone who posted and I will keep you informed.

    :clap
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  20. unaweep

    unaweep Uses lotsa band-aids

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    That's wonderful news!:clap

    I'm really happy for you. It's hard work, but worth it. All the best. :thumb
    #20