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Old 07-04-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3
backpains HB User
back pain after RTA


I have been suffering low back pain since an RTA. I experience sharp pain/shooting pain, burning sensations and tight back muscles amongst other aches and pains. I am managing my pain with painkillers but have been for 18 months now and have not noticed any improvement. I have also had physio, seen a chiropractor?(back specialist) and since been referred back to physio.
I have recently undergone an MRI scan. Results as follows

L2/3 Posterior annular tear and broad based dsc bulge with mild facet joint degeneration causing mild to moderate canal stenosis. No lateral recess stenosis.

L3/4 Broad based disc bulge and facet joint degeneration noted. No nerve root or thecal sac compression.

L4/5 There is a large broad based disc bulge and a focal disc bulge with facet joint degeneration causing moderate to severe canal stenosis. the lateral recess has not been adequately evaluated, but I suspect there is at least moderate lateral recess stenosis bilaterally, worse on the left, compromising the left L5 nerve root.

L5/S1 Broad based disc bulge noted. No nerve root or thecal sac compression.

My question is this. Before the traffic accident I experienced no problem with back pain atall. Are my symptoms accident related or symptoms of a degenerative condition? And why do I feel it now and not before?

The problem is that the third party solicitors are claiming that because degeneration is present I would suffer problems anyway. Due to my fit bill of health I find it hard to accept this. I firmly believe that this accident has bought about this dormant and asymptomatic condition which I may never had known about if it were not for the whiplash.

Any people with similar experiences. Comments most welcome

I will try not not go on about the legal side of it all but I am confused,anxious and not looking forward to the whole court thing.

Many thanks

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Old 07-04-2009, 10:06 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 353
brendaks1 HB Userbrendaks1 HB Userbrendaks1 HB User
Re: back pain after RTA

Do you just have back pain or does the pain also radiate down one or more legs? If so, where along your legs does the pain travel?

Have you ever had a lumbar MRI and did you get a lumbar MRI shortly after your accident?

This information will help us answer your questions further.

Old 07-05-2009, 03:13 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3
backpains HB User
Re: back pain after RTA

hello and thanks for getting back so quick.

I have and do experience radiating pains into the left leg although it is hard to say exactly where.
The main symptoms I experience is pain in the left lower back and gluteus medius. When I experience what I call a flare up, the pain radiates through to my front left mid section and occaisionaly down the left thigh or sciatic nerve.
Most symptoms associated with shooting pains are experienced with forward flexion but for the majority of the time I experience a dull aching and tight back muscles (left lower predominately).
The other day My left mid and upper section went into spasm and It felt like I had almost been winded with restriction on my inhalation and I could not twist/turn much atall.

My MRI scan was not done until 18 months post accident. Obviously no-one seemed to be concerned enough to get this done sooner and believe me I had to twist arms to get the scan done as the third party would not fund it.

Hope this helps and once again thankyou for showing concern.

Last edited by backpains; 07-05-2009 at 03:18 AM. Reason: forgot detail

Old 07-05-2009, 09:57 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 353
brendaks1 HB Userbrendaks1 HB Userbrendaks1 HB User
Re: back pain after RTA


It's really unfortunate that you didn't have an MRI before the accident to show the changes that were possibly caused by the accident. Also, an MRI 18 months after the fact can be disputed more easily in court as their attorney will try to say the problems are due to anything but the accident (as you are finding out).

The problems identified on your MRI do show that you have some degenerative problems that could not have been caused by the accident. It happens to all of us as we age, but happens more quickly to some than others. So their attorney is not completely out of line by claiming your degenerative problems are causing your pain, not the accident. However, your pain may very well be caused by an injury to some part of your spine or the accident may have worsened your degenerative problems to the point where they now bother you. Just because you did not feel pain in the past doesn't mean that your spine was perfectly healthy - many people are walking around with problems that don't bother them, but that could worsen quickly by just a small fall or wrong lift. It's possible that this accident did this to you.

If you have a good attorney, they can show that you never saw any doctors prior to the accident for back pain and this would help your case. If you have lost any work due to this it would be good to have those days documented. Keeping a pain diary showing the date, time of day, and pain experienced would be helpful.

Normally whiplash causes problems primarily in the cervical (neck) spine, but when your body gets jerked around in an accident, funny things can happen. Do you have any neck pain? Were you wearing your seat belt?

The sciatic (leg) pain you describe is probably coming from your L2/L3 disc. What you are describing is a diffuse nerve pain which does not go below your knees, and may mean there is not strong nerve root compression by a disc herniation, even though your MRI indicates some serious herniations. Just because you have a herniation, however, doesn't mean you have a nerve root that is getting pinched.

So where to go from here?

If you don't already have an attorney, you need one. Sometimes your auto insurance will provide one for you to fight the driver that hit you (in case you can't afford your own). Also, you might find an attorney that is willing to take a percentage only if they win.

For the sake of your health, you have some serious problems in your spine that you need to be evaluated and possibly treated for. This doesn't necessarily mean surgery. I would suggest you get a referral to see a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon that only works on spines. It may be a mess for insurance purposes for who will pay for this, but regardless you should get under the care of the appropriate doctor soon. They will help you determine also if the accident possibly caused your pain and may help your court case. You'll need one or more doctors firmly in your corner as you go through the court case.

I'm sorry you are going through this mess. If the pain is not bad enough, you also are dealing with insurance and court matters.

Warm wishes as you progress through this, and keep us updated!

Old 07-06-2009, 04:47 PM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3
backpains HB User
Re: back pain after RTA

Thank you once again for the info.

As mentioned bedore, there are too many legal issues to post here (unless you are a wizz with them too)

I do have a solicitor on the case but most of my problems lay with them in the first place. I also have legal insurance so I am not to concerned about that either.

What concerns me is that the doctor in charge of my medico legal report has based this report on the notes from my GP and a lumbar x-ray taken last March (which shows only minor degeneration at L2/L3). The report does not include any of the MRI scan findings. In fact it has already been quoted to me that the MRI will probably confirm the existance of degenerative changes and not much else. The scan was done 31/05/09 and only today 07/07/09 do I receive forms for permission to have my GP records and scan results released (clearly they are not concerned about the findings). I pushed for this MRI to distinguish between degeneration and accident related injury.

Do annular tears occur through degeneration or trauma? Or is it a bit of both?

In regard to my back problem, I think I may seek the advice of a neuro surgeon as my GP suggested this too. To be honest I
assumed this meant surgery and I really don't want to go down that route if it can be helped so I didn't bother. I'll probably try to see one. See what he/she says.

I will keep you posted...

Old 07-06-2009, 09:04 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 353
brendaks1 HB Userbrendaks1 HB Userbrendaks1 HB User
Re: back pain after RTA

Annular tears are most often caused by trauma, but if there is a lot of degeneration present the trauma needn't be major, so lifting something incorrectly could cause it.

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