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Old 03-06-2009, 03:25 AM   #1
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Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

Hi, my name is Jeff, I'm a 22 year old water-well driller from Saskatchewan, Canada. On November 20th, 2008, I rolled the work rig, breaking the seatbelt, and got ejected from the truck. To this day, I have no recollection of the accident, doctors suspect that I had at least a minor concussion, which is totally fine by me, I don't want to remember it. I spent 9 days in the hospital(and I never want to go back!), and now I attend physical therapy three times a week, and I see both a physical therapist, and kinesologist each time I go.

My list of injuries was pretty extensive, I broke 7 ribs, 4 on the right side, 3 on the left, one of the ribs punctured my right lung. I also fractured my sternum and right scapula, as well as dislocating my right shoulder, and a 2nd degree tear of my right LCL. But the worst of it all was the 4 compressed vertebrae - My T9, T10, T11, and T12 were the ones that were fractured. I guess I got off pretty light for what I went through, I walked out of the hospital under my own power, without a single cast on me.

I do have a prior back injury, I slightly rotated my L1, L2, and L3 vertebrae playing football, that barely causes me any problems to this day, just stiffens up a little every several months, I go see a chiropractor/accupuncturist for that. After an hour of treatment, I walk out feeling like a new man. Somehow I managed to not damage those vertebrae any worse during the accident though.


Anyways, I digress. These compression fractures in the vertebrae are driving me up the wall! It has been 3 and a half months since the accident, so 14 weeks, and I am in constant pain and always stiff and sore, even with seeing the physio. The worst I find is if I lay down to sleep. But that's the problem, with the ribs/dislocated shoulder, I'm limited as to how many positions I can sleep in, and none of them seem to help my back.

I'm not really a fan of intense painkillers, I was on Tramadol for just over two months, and just got over the minor withdrawl symptoms I had. I obviously can't see a chiropractor yet, for fear of damaging the vertebrae/spinal column.

So I ask this in all sincerity, how long should I expect to have to deal with this pain and stiffness? What can I do to try and alleviate the problem?

I'm not afraid to hear it will take several months, I just don't want to hear it will be a lifelong problem...if that's the case though, so be it. I'm still thanking the stars that I'm still around to have this problem.


Sorry for such a long post, but it seems like any doctor I see doesn't really want to listen to me, they want me in and out as fast as possible.

 
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:35 AM   #2
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Re: Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripwire View Post
Hi, my name is Jeff, I'm a 22 year old water-well driller from Saskatchewan, Canada. On November 20th, 2008, I rolled the work rig, breaking the seatbelt, and got ejected from the truck. To this day, I have no recollection of the accident, doctors suspect that I had at least a minor concussion, which is totally fine by me, I don't want to remember it. I spent 9 days in the hospital(and I never want to go back!), and now I attend physical therapy three times a week, and I see both a physical therapist, and kinesologist each time I go.

My list of injuries was pretty extensive, I broke 7 ribs, 4 on the right side, 3 on the left, one of the ribs fractured/compressed vertebrae. I also fractured my sternum and right scapula, as well as dislocating my right shoulder, and a 2nd degree tear of my right LCL. But the worst of it all was the 4 compressed vertebrae - My T9, T10, T11, and T12 were the ones that were fractured. I guess I got off pretty light for what I went through, I walked out of the hospital under my own power, without a single cast on me.

I do have a prior back injury, I slightly rotated my L1, L2, and L3 vertebrae playing football, that barely causes me any problems to this day, just stiffens up a little every several months, I go see a chiropractor/accupuncturist for that. After an hour of treatment, I walk out feeling like a new man. Somehow I managed to not damage those vertebrae any worse during the accident though.


Anyways, I digress. These compression fractures in the vertebrae are driving me up the wall! It has been 3 and a half months since the accident, so 14 weeks, and I am in constant pain and always stiff and sore, even with seeing the physio. The worst I find is if I lay down to sleep. But that's the problem, with the ribs/dislocated shoulder, I'm limited as to how many positions I can sleep in, and none of them seem to help my back.

I'm not really a fan of intense painkillers, I was on Tramadol for just over two months, and just got over the minor withdrawl symptoms I had. I obviously can't see a chiropractor yet, for fear of damaging the vertebrae/spinal column.

So I ask this in all sincerity, how long should I expect to have to deal with this pain and stiffness? What can I do to try and alleviate the problem?

I'm not afraid to hear it will take several months, I just don't want to hear it will be a lifelong problem...if that's the case though, so be it. I'm still thanking the stars that I'm still around to have this problem.


Sorry for such a long post, but it seems like any doctor I see doesn't really want to listen to me, they want me in and out as fast as possible.

Hi jeff,

I don't really think you would like to hear my story and I'm not too sure if I should tell you because everybodys backs are different!! and I don't want to put you on a downer, but this site is here to provide help and support to all fellow chronic pain sufferers, so I'll carry on. Did the dr's treat your back in any way while you where at the hospial??
Have you tried ice or heat to help with your pain? Most people find that either the ice or the heat will help releive some of the pain, and have you tried a TENS machine, these are very effictive for some people. When I was 18 I was involved in a car crash on the motorway and I also have had 4 fractured/compressed vertaebre, broke 5 ribs and had a punchard left lung along with quite a long list of other injury's. Ever since I have suffered from chronic pain in my back which radiates to my chest (due to broken ribs) and down the backs of my arms and legs, I'm really sorry that you have these injury's but your back may be different to mine and you might (hopefully) heal a lot better than I did and you won't suffer for long. Other people that I know who have fractured/compressed vertaebre have made a full recovery from their injury's and once the fractures have healed after a couple of months they have had no long lasting pain or any problems with their back , so keep your fingers crossed ( I will too) that you are one of those people who make a full recovery, this site has been a fantastic support to me and I'm sure (hope) that it will be a great help and support to you too, because people on this site have suffered simular situations and your speaking to real people who have already been through pain, so they understand. I really hope you well, we're all here for help, advice and support, I hope your outcome is a good one and hope your pain gets better real soon, take care xx robochick

Last edited by robochick; 03-06-2009 at 11:39 AM. Reason: forgot something? woops

 
Old 03-06-2009, 04:30 PM   #3
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Re: Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

Wow, your accident happened 3 days before mine. The majority of my T's were compressed and/or fractured and a lot of repair work was done during surgery.

The fracture pain you are experiencing is what I have been experiencing, too. I have been in constant pain, as well.

I'm in the process of weaning myself off my back brace and will begin hydrotherapy next week.

This is my first injury and I would like to know how painful the physical therapy is and what to expect?

I have been walking around the block with my walker in the afternoons... something I have not been able to do since November. I really can't offer you much help, but I sure do empathize with you! As you stated, I welcome any input from others and what to expect over time.

Best wishes to you and I hope you start to feel better soon!

 
Old 03-06-2009, 04:31 PM   #4
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Tripwire HB User
Re: Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robochick View Post
Hi jeff,

I don't really think you would like to hear my story and I'm not too sure if I should tell you because everybodys backs are different!! and I don't want to put you on a downer, but this site is here to provide help and support to all fellow chronic pain sufferers, so I'll carry on. Did the dr's treat your back in any way while you where at the hospial??
Have you tried ice or heat to help with your pain? Most people find that either the ice or the heat will help releive some of the pain, and have you tried a TENS machine, these are very effictive for some people. When I was 18 I was involved in a car crash on the motorway and I also have had 4 fractured/compressed vertaebre, broke 5 ribs and had a punchard left lung along with quite a long list of other injury's. Ever since I have suffered from chronic pain in my back which radiates to my chest (due to broken ribs) and down the backs of my arms and legs, I'm really sorry that you have these injury's but your back may be different to mine and you might (hopefully) heal a lot better than I did and you won't suffer for long. Other people that I know who have fractured/compressed vertaebre have made a full recovery from their injury's and once the fractures have healed after a couple of months they have had no long lasting pain or any problems with their back , so keep your fingers crossed ( I will too) that you are one of those people who make a full recovery, this site has been a fantastic support to me and I'm sure (hope) that it will be a great help and support to you too, because people on this site have suffered simular situations and your speaking to real people who have already been through pain, so they understand. I really hope you well, we're all here for help, advice and support, I hope your outcome is a good one and hope your pain gets better real soon, take care xx robochick
Doc's did absolutely nothing to my back in the hospital, I was basically left to my own devices. The only real treatment I got was the chest tube for the pneumothorax.

I usually have ice on it after PT, and I do have an ice pack here at home that I use sometimes, as well as a heat pad. It gives a very temporary relief sometimes, but it's a small blessing if the pain flares. My doc says I should avoid using the hot tub(yeah, I'm a little spoiled, I have a hot tub) for now, I guess he's waiting to see that my chest is clear(I did have some fluid filling the right cavity again after I got out of the hospital) before okaying it.

I used to get TENS with the acupuncture, with my prior back problems, it was pretty effective at loosening up my back. I'm waiting on my physical therapist to talk to the acupuncturist(who also works at the rehab centre) to see what they think about it. I usually get put on the IFS machine, which is similar to TENS, just not nearly as effective.


And thank you for sharing your story. I hope you can one day find something that solves your back pain. I can only hope that I don't have to fight this for the rest of my life, but if that's the case, then I'll deal with it day-to-day!

 
Old 03-06-2009, 04:41 PM   #5
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Re: Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TTLC View Post
Wow, your accident happened 3 days before mine. The majority of my T's were compressed and/or fractured and a lot of repair work was done during surgery.

The fracture pain you are experiencing is what I have been experiencing, too. I have been in constant pain, as well.

I'm in the process of weaning myself off my back brace and will begin hydrotherapy next week.

This is my first injury and I would like to know how painful the physical therapy is and what to expect?

I have been walking around the block with my walker in the afternoons... something I have not been able to do since November. I really can't offer you much help, but I sure do empathize with you! As you stated, I welcome any input from others and what to expect over time.

Best wishes to you and I hope you start to feel better soon!
I didn't get any surgery for mine, and it's never been brought up since then. I never even saw an orthopedic specialist about my shoulder or knee either. It was kind of sad at how minimal my care was in the hospital.

As for physical therapy, expect a lot of low-intensity, no-weight stretches/exercises. I started off with just the bike and stretches, nothing else, and that was after two weeks of seeing a Physio first.

My normal routine now, after a month of PT, includes 10-15 minutes on a recumbent bike with no resistance, a whole mess of stretches, then some isometric exercises. I found that the isometrics tend to bug me the most, thanks to my shoulder mostly, and then my back, because all the ones I have are for my shoulder, and I have to stand for them, so it gets quite sore. I usually have a Kinesologist watching me to make sure I'm doing things right, and to gauge how I'm handling the workout program. After that I see my Physio, who might do ultrasound on my knee/shoulder, range of movement stuff, or light and gentle manipulations to the unaffected vertebrae. Finally I get the ice pack and the IFS treatment.

I hope you recover from your accident, this is not fun to deal with at all!

 
Old 04-22-2010, 08:16 AM   #6
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Re: Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

im sorry to hear about your wreck jeff but i have a similar story to yours that i am curious to hear any tips and advice from anyone as well

On November 16th 2009 i was driving on a back road with a friend of mine on our way to a funeral sadly enough, when i was coming into a left hand turn on a straight away and coming around the turn towards me a semi sized dump truck filled with smashed car parts flew around the turn and all i remember seeing was the truck tip onto two wheels and me scream drew!! (the passengers name) and then waking up laying in the street not knowing what just occurred.

apparently the truck rolled on top of my car while iwas unconcionce and my friend remained aware of what was going on and grabbed me and pulled me aside onto his lap to try and save me from getting smashed. luckily me on my way to a funeral wearing a tie trying to look nice decided to not wear my seatbelt which is rare for me and i believed that saved my life making drew able to pull me aside.

i remained in ICU for 4 days with only a broken nose, 7mm contusion, and fractured L2. and not a scratch on me which is hard to believe with the car being completely flattened.

i was released with the knowledge to take it easy for a couple weeks and no activity that would be strenuous on my back which i did for about 2 months. and continued to see doctor after doctor about the pain and not until 3 or 4 months after the accident was i put in a back brace. the brace made a world of difference for my back, was a bit uncomfortable but did the job.

until recently while working (dishwasher @ restaurant) did the pain start to revive itself with wearing the brace, i let my employer know my situation so i was not expected to lift anything heavy at all. but thick headed me having my back not hurt at all at first would carry totes of dishes and ect.

the pain started at the location of the break (L2) at first with muscle ache and felt as tho i needed to stretch or even crack my back, an overall very uncomfortable. and then the pain started to move upwards probably due to me being stiff and my muscles trying to work around my stiff back.

but now 5 months later my back is still in an amazing amount of pain and its starting to concern me. should i be working? should the bone be healed by now and its jut the muscle that is in strenuous pain? and would physical therapy help?

and not having the best doctor in the world in my eyes who tells me for the last 2-3 months lets just see what it looks like in a month and then well look at physical therapy.. and not telling me why we continue to wait to do therapy but just saying lets wait one more month and does not show me x rays im becoming confused and worried about wht i should and should not be doing. i told my doctor about me working now and he asked nothing about what i do at work or what it consists of makes me angry and think that im not getting the advice or the best advice that i should be

so any tips or info anyone has would be greatly appreciated!
thanks!

 
Old 04-22-2010, 10:54 PM   #7
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Re: Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

You definitely walked away pretty luckily too, that could've ended a whole lot worse.

As a quick aside - They finally discovered last May that I had an avulsion fracture of my fibular head, and complete tears of my ACL and LCL. I've had two surgeries, and I'm waiting for a third still.

Anyways, back on topic.

Your pain could be for numerous reasons. It could simply be from not using your muscles for a few months while you healed up, it could be from over-exerting yourself at work, it could be from your muscles not taking a bigger load off your spine.

I had an X-ray taken today of my spine, and the orthopaedic was kind of amazed, for all the damage I had done to the spine, it looks almost like nothing happened. So I can vouch for the fact that the bones do heal. They should've been healed in the first 2-3 months though. This is now 17 months later.

As for your doctor, I would recommend finding a different one, this one seems to not be too concerned about your well-being. Beyond that, hammer on him for discussing your x-rays, working, and treatment options - most notably physiotherapy.

Just don't lose your head with the doc, that'll get you nowhere sadly.

As for treatment/what you can do to help.

Physiotherapy could help quite a bit, they'll do focused workouts to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine, which should make it a little easier on you. That and they have modality treatments that will give you some pain relief - be it ice, heat, IFC, acupuncture.

For at home, try to take it easy, use heat/ice, and get a good mattress, or as many pillows as you need to get comfortable. A good night's sleep is better then any painkiller....I find it so much easier to deal with the stiffness/soreness if I've managed to get a decent sleep.

I don't want to be a downer, but I still notice quite a bit of stiffness, and soreness. No crippling pain though. I mostly notice it when I wake up in the morning, or after doing something physical(This is where my point about disuse comes into play, quite heavily).

Anyways, keep your head up. It will get better with time.

Last edited by Tripwire; 04-22-2010 at 10:54 PM.

 
Old 05-22-2010, 01:15 AM   #8
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Lynette Mc HB User
Re: Compressed vertebrae in wreck, help?

You need to see a Orthopediac Surgeon, DR are not qualified to treat or know the ins and outs of compression fractures. It depends how much you are out over 25% should have surgery or may suffer from chronic back pain the rest of your life! I only have 1 compressure L1 fracture but was out 33% so I had surgery with the rods in my back until i heal, then 2nd surgery to remove! I am pain free after the surgery and up and walking around wearing a back brace for 3 to 5 months. It will probably take me this year to heal and my accident happened late February. Just do not wait, I was told you only have one chance to heal straight and any kind of malilgnment will cause long term problems and pain.
Good Luck!

 
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