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    Old 05-14-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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    Was in a car accident and...

    Hey all,

    On Easter I was rear ended at a red light in a compact car by a Jeep doing 60-65 mphs and had minor arm and neck burning, tightness, hip pain, my back wasn't hurting me that much because the pain was overwhelming me in other areas. The car was totaled, the trunk disintegrated and can see the back seat through the trunk. I was sent to the ER Trauma and did a CT scan which came back with no fractures or broken bones. Within my research many details lead me to believe I had a mild concussion but I wasn't diagnosed with it.

    Following next two weeks were most crucial. I've been doing PT for 5 weeks and seeing a Chiro for the past 4 weeks. I was told by my Neurologist to stop seeing my Chiro as of last week. My chiro insist that I see him but I'm confused what to do. I believe the chiro is working, but hours later when I leave the pain just comes back so it is temporary.

    I've had MRI's of my thoracic, cervical spine, which both came back negative. MRI of right shoulder results were: Mild supranspinatus and infraspinatus tendinosis, and Mild subacromial subdeltoid bursitis. Bone island in proximal humerus. I am still waiting for my MRI results of my lumbar spine.

    Pain shifts one location to the other, the stiffness pain in my neck goes from mild to extreme and I don't know what causes it to "stiffin up". I get tightness pain and tingling in my upper back in-between my shoulder blades from time to time, and this also goes for my mid-lower back and lower back, sometimes it hurts so much I get confused if I just want to sit, stand, or lay. I try all of them until the pain becomes tolerable again. Most of the time the pain doesn't last longer then a minute, but I'm worrying because every is too new to me. I decline pain meds because I do not want to become addicted to narcotics and since the pain is tolerable I don't see the need to take something to "alter my perception". Good friend passed away after he hurt is knee he suffered pain and addiction which let to his passing so I hope I don't need to rely on these medications.

    I have dull ache in my right hip (weird because after the accident my left hip was hurting me, now its flipped). The pain goes to my right mid thigh area, almost feels like someone is stabbing me with a needle. Most of the time it doesn't go further then my thigh but have also felt sharp pains in my front calf as well as my foot and heel.

    My right arm worries me the most. At times it feels ALMOST normal, but then the pain comes back shortly after I noticed it was feeling normal lol? Today there is no doubt that my whole arm is feeling heavy every movement triggers a different type of feeling, its very hard to explain, but it stretches to under my arm pit down to my fingers mostly felt in the ring finger.

    I'm just stuck and I'm giving myself anxiety worrying about this and its making me depressed. I don't know which direction to go in, this waiting game is crucial. Next week I am taking a EMG test, can't be any sooner. Anyways this felt good airing it out, can anyone tell me what they think this may be a cause of? Other then the simple fact that I was in a car accident...

     
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    Old 05-14-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Welcome to the board. I'm so sorry you were involved in such a horrific accident and glad your injuries were not worse. Of course, I'm sure they are sufficiently bad that you don't feel particularly grateful.

    I would pay attention to your neurologist and stop seeing the chiropractor, particularly until you know for sure there is no nerve damage or nerve involvement. You don't want to risk having the chiropractor make a situation worse.

    You will probably feel the effects of the impact from the crash on your spine for a long time. Just because nothing is broken doesn't mean there are no injuries to soft tissue, muscle, fascia, discs and nerves. Some of these things may not appear for a while yet...and chances are, you will develop arthritis of the spine as you age. This is a common occurrence in those who have been involved in an impact crash.

    When there is pain in an arm, it can be from a cervical nerve that is being pinched or irritated. Pain in your hip and thigh could be indicative of a lumbar nerve issue. When you get the results of the lumbar MRI, you can post about it here and we can tell more what is going on.

    You can use ice or a cold gel pack for pain. It is often as beneficial as the pain medications. Hope you begin to feel better soon. I imagine it takes a long time for the body to get over the type of impact you experienced.

     
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    Old 05-14-2012, 11:48 PM   #3
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Hi there -- welcome!

    Since the chiro is not much helping and your doctor advised against to discontinue, I see no harm in holding off on further treatments until you receive all your imaging results, at least. You noted that your hip pain has switched sides. If the hip pain is referred pain from a lumbar issue, the switching sides can signify instability, in which case the chiropractic adjustments could be problematic.

    You could take anti-inflammatory medication (non-narcotic), which might help with your pain and may reduce any swelling you have. This would avoid the concerns you mentioned after your friend's struggle. Short-term use of naproxen or ibuprofen might be helpful while you wait for definitive answers from your imaging results.

    Finally, you only mentioned seeing a neurologist and chiropractor. Do you have a sports medicine doctor or a physiatrist coordinating your care? With so many different potential injuries and pain generators, you might want to consider a doctor who can help you navigate among specialists.

     
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    Old 05-15-2012, 02:13 AM   #4
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    I don't surf the web much, I'm very happy I found this site. You guys are are very nice and helpful I wish I would've signed up earlier! I'm 25, so thankful that it wasn't worse and most grateful that I am alive. This experience is more then life changing, I am seeing and thinking much differently now, and would definitely say that in a good way !

    I never really read over my initial review over as I stepped away for quiet some time. I forgot to mention that I've been taking an anti-inflammatory and at times taking muscle relaxers to help me sleep, I guess they're working but not really sure. I don't really take the muscle relaxers much anymore because I don't feel like they're doing anything. I can still lay there and catch myself still up at 9am some times.

    At the rehab center I am going to they have a neurologist, physiatrist, acupuncturist, sports medicine and orthopedic. They are the most helpful people to me. I stand to be corrected but it was my Physiatrist who told me to halt Chiropractic care. I've been so against doctors my whole life, I'm very new to this "doctor game" I get confused as to who does what and why. Should've looked more into this before posting and telling my Chiro it was my neuro, now I feel bad, but was an honest mistake if it makes any difference.

    I called the Physiatrist today and asked the rep when I should be expecting my results. She said unless it was something major I wouldn't be contacted but he will go over them my next appointment one week from now (sigh). I wish the Open-MRI place gave me a CD like the other ones I had done. I don't even want to know what something more severe like this would feel like, scary stuff.

    My next appointment with the Physiatrist I will also be getting an EMG test. I *******'d it and looks like an interesting thing to have done. I just hope its not as painful as it looks. In the meantime I am scheduled for 3 days of acupuncture, and physical therapy this week.

    Today I was getting a light massage at a local place and when the girl was massaging my calf my foot started getting pins and needles for some time. I also remember in that same foot sometimes if I rubbed near my ankle I would get that same feeling in my foot (so weird!). This whole nerve damage is giving me the worst anxiety, I wish there was a faster solution. I am an avid snow boarder and love basketball I just hope this feeling can go away so I can get some activities going before the summer is over. I feel useless, my life is doctors and staying home, and if anything doing much limited activities.

    Thanks for everything - Still praying that all this will go away with no long lasting effects. God forbid I get arthritis of the spine, just thinking about it I get a weird feeling over there :/ sigh. Wish the best thanks in advanced

    Last edited by pubbies; 05-15-2012 at 02:16 AM.

     
    Old 05-15-2012, 10:43 PM   #5
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Glad to hear you have a team of people working on your case! It doesn't much matter which doctor: having an MD advise against the chiropractic adjustments signals that it's best to abstain until fully diagnosed and medically cleared to return. Chiropractors can be very helpful for certain conditions but can worsen others.

    The radiology center should be able to give you a copy of their report. It's your medical record. Call ahead and ask to pick up a copy of the written report, if you want one before the appointment and the location is convenient.

    I've had one EMG and may need another. An EMG is certainly not pleasant, but is worth the short-term discomfort for the valuable information. I would say it's no more painful than the acupuncture appointments I've had. The needle insertion is quicker, so each pinprick is shorter. The pins-and-needles sensation you are describing could indicate a nerve impingement, and the EMG may help with information about whether you have a nerve pinched and where.

    Last edited by SweetPeainSF; 05-15-2012 at 10:52 PM. Reason: Innocuous word mistaken for cursing?

     
    Old 05-29-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Whoa sorry for the delay. At the Rehab they're great, last week it rained the entire week and my neck was soo tight they suggested I go back to my Orthopedic which I am tomorrow. I just left the Physiatrist after a EMG test of my lower back and reviewing my MRIs, told me I had a Slipped Disc in L4/L5 and he looked over my Cervical and Thoracic MRI and saw another Slipped Disc! I forgot which region but I will find out tomorrow. I am shocked, worried, and with all honesty I'm just trying to "live" with this "feeling" that I have now cause the past few weeks it hasn't changed or gotten better. It's like the song, I've been down so long it's feeling like up to me.

    I'm confused as to is a Slipped Disc considered a Herniated Disc or is something entirely different? What are the treatments for this, best case and worst case? I'm only 24 is this going to be Permanent?

    Sometimes I felt lately like the pain in my leg was getting worse but it's just more Irritating and Discomfort then it is Pain. The L4/L5 disc problem is just the Icing on the cake mentally. Keep telling myself I think I'm getting better and more crap starts coming along. Frustrating and I think I'm Depressed.

    Thanks for your help everyone. SweetPeainSF - I would suggest getting another EMG just because like you said the minor discomfort is worth the results! Best of luck I hope you feel better!

     
    Old 05-30-2012, 11:25 PM   #7
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Hi there -- a "slipped" disc and a herniated disc are the same things. Typically, in terms of severity, radiologists will describe them as a bulging, protruding, or extruded disc. Treatments often start with physical therapy, a short course of oral steroids, and epidural steroid injections. If these treatments are not effective and the patient's quality of life is affected OR if the patient has a sudden onset of weakness or loss of bladder or bowel control, then surgery is considered.

     
    Old 06-01-2012, 01:15 AM   #8
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Oh wow. The radiologist did say on the report that it was "bulging" so does that mean its not that bad? My Physiatrist wants to do the shot course in 4 weeks of oral steroids if I don't feel better and I think the pain is just getting worse. The though of a needle into my spine is scaring the crap out of me! As much as I hear people saying it works I hear from a lot who say it makes it worse!

    The MRI impression is: L4/5 demonstrates posterior disc buldge indenting the thecal sac without central canal, lateral recess or foraminal stenosis.

    Flexion and extension positional sequences do not reveal any additional findings or dynamic instability.

    The Orthopedic pretty much brushed it off like I was fabricating the pain, claiming it's not bad. He didn't really give me a reason as to why I have the pain in my hip, butt, thigh, and sometimes the knee. Everyone keeps saying :in time: it should get better. Whenever I'm driving in a car seat I tend to feel the "pain" more.

    It's frustrating that I know how strong my arm is and how weak it is now. I attempted to play Around the World with my friends and after one shot, I couldn't even put any power into it so I played left handed, bummer. I just hope something works that's natural cause being afraid of needles and doing surgery, this isn't how I thought my life would be like. Thanks again for helping it feels good to talk to someone who understands.

     
    Old 06-01-2012, 09:53 AM   #9
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Since you are having some back issues at an early age, I hope you will take some time to do a little research. There are some terrific diagrams of the spinal anatomy online that will help you to understand your problems.

    First I would like to mention that here in the US we send people to have a MRI far more quickly than in any other country on the planet. In some ways it can have a detrimental effect because a "problem" the MRI picks up in many cases is not what is actually causing the person's pain. A goodly portion of the population if given a routine MRI would show a bulging disc...and in many cases, the person would not even be aware of having any back issue.

    The spine is kind of a weak part of our anatomy...not quite as perfectly designed and engineered as other parts and organs. The discs are primarily composed of moisture and yet there is no way to directly supply them with blood and nutrients, so they tend to dry out as we age. The problem is that the spine begins to age for most people in our twenties! People often lament: "I'm so young to be having back problems..." but in reality, a great number of herniated discs occur in people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

    In many cases, people are able to deal with a disc herniation conservatively. My husband ruptured the L5-S1 disc many years ago and was really laid up for a bit. Back then they didn't give ESIs -- you just went to physical therapy and were offered pain medications -- and hoped it would "heal." There wasn't a big rush to surgery back then either...so my husband faithfully did hs back and core exercises, and was very careful otherwise to avoid bending, twisting or lifting anything. I remember when he went back to work for the first week, I went with him and carried his briefcase! Anyway...despite having a very bad rupture, his disc recovered without surgical intervention. He still does those exercises faithfully every day and he has not had further problems (20 years).

    What some people are not aware of is that every segment of the spine has a pair of nerves that innervate a particular area of the body. While you are online, look for a "dermatome map" and you will see that the area covered by the L4 and L5 spinal nerves runs in a pattern that is similar to the area where you are having pain...When the disc bulges it may be pushing out into a space that is needed by those nerves to perform and function normally. This can irritate the nerve or it can push into the nerve causing compression, which can result in feelings of tingling, numbness, feelings like an electric shock, sometimes you might even feel like water is trickling down your leg, etc. Nerve compression or irritation can result in many different sensations. They can be intermittent or constant; sharp or dull; pain can vary and be a different quality at different times.

    A mistake that many first-time disc sufferers make is in returning to "normal" life and activity as soon as the pain lessens or goes away. Instead of carefully and slowly building back up, they jump right back in to all kinds of strenuous things and the result is predictable. The disc reherniates; the pain returns and the cycle begins. So I encourage you to be aware of this tendency and to be very mindful of your back, what is good for it and what is harmful. Your days of helping friends move should be over!

    Instead of feeling bummed out over your new lot in life, I would encourage you to become pro-active about your health. Read and research about herniated discs; learn what it takes to keep your back healthy and realize that there are many things you can do to help your disc heal and for you back and core to get stronger so they will better support your discs.

    You might be interested to know that a sedentary lifestyle is primarily responsible for the increase in back problems in our population. Sitting puts 30% more stress on the discs than either standing, walking or lying down. When you are driving in a car, take a small, rolled towel to put in the "small" of your back to better support your spine. If you have a long drive, plan ahead so you can stop and get out and stretch and walk for a couple minutes just to stretch out the muscles and nerves and give the discs a chance to move a bit. If you are a student or spend a lot of time at a desk, be sure that your set up is ergonomically optimal -- you can find all this stuff online.

    You'll have to excuse your doctor. They spend most of their day listening to people complain about being in pain. They also see people with multiple, complex spine problems that do not necessarily have a solution...so I think they get a bit jaded and as a result, do not respond to each of us with what we think would be the appropriate amount of empathy. Also from what I've learned from boards like this, young people's pain seems to be taken somewhat less seriously. I guess you are supposed to be tougher!

    In any case, even though you are in pain, your issues can be dealt with, and you have every reason to believe you will fully recover and will be able to lead a fairly normal life -- and if you play your cards right, you won't ever have to help someone lift anything heavy ever again.

    Let us know how you are doing. We're here to help.



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    Old 06-01-2012, 03:38 PM   #10
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Hello,
    I am so sorry, I can imagine what you went through and how scary this is. Being a car accident victim with a lot of damages/ surgeries, etc. I can relate to how you felt...
    I don't believe in Chiro;at one time I was believing in it, but regretted since. While they may help some mild issues, it can be more damaging if one has OA, RA, some age related issues, and of course damages after accidents.
    I was told this by numerous doctors and yet, went to check if this is true not knowing that my problems are more complicated and that Chiro may cause more damage than good. So he did.
    If I would be you, I would get all reports and go to see your Dr. who specializing in Ortho. This is important before anyone does any manipulations to your back or other body parts.

    Symptoms you describe may relate to your muscles. While MRI or CT show nothing is wrong with your bones or soft tissue, muscle pain is real even though they don't see it on xrays. It hurts and it may last long until it heals in time. Your neck area stifness, burning pain is also tells me this is muscle related pain. Ice is great, for some people steamed heat is good, I love hot bath, helps to relax muscles.

    Make sure you get all your reports and get good check up and if you still see something is wrong, just keep going until you get your answers.

    Wishing you well
    Moldova

     
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    Old 06-01-2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    I think I learned more about the human body's anatomy these past 2 months then I have in my life-time of education. As understand the basic's I never imagined it was this complex.

    After looking at the dermatome map, It's just so hard to register with me that I have pain exactly where the map is showing. I personally just don't understand how something in my back can cause this pain, very frustrating. In my case the Bulge is indetenting the thecal sac without central canal, lateral recess or foraminal stenosis. What's so mind boggling is that the first 3 weeks after the accident I didn't really have the pain in my lower back, it only surfaced after everything else started to settle down. The pain in the lower back has progressively got worse, but the pain in the leg and hip has remained the same. It's much harder to twist my body without feeling large discomfort, honestly I feel like my body is rejecting me from twisting to far. I used to be able to crack my back sitting down, leg over the other leg, and turn, I simply cannot perform that stretch to crack my back anymore.

    I try to stay positive, I try not to complain to my doctors when I see them, cause every time I do I get the "everything you're experience is normal, be positive". I stopped bothering them every time they ask me, How are you feeling today. Usually respond with, I'm good, same old stuff. It's very hard to remain positive when you know that everything you're experiencing is indeed not normal. I'm just trying not to be that guy.

    Today I attempted to do a push-up, and failed terribly. The message therapist told me last week, a person of my age and this long after an accident should be able to do a push up. So it stuck there in my head, today I had the courage to try, and nope. I have this fear of putting pressure on my right side so when I attempt to do a push-up I'm mainly using my left hand. When I try to shift the weight over to the center, or right side, my arm just gives out. Laying down and trying to lift up is an absolute no. I get a sharp pain under my arm, shoulder blade area, and in the deltoids. At least once a day I get this "soreness" type feeling in my forearm, and when usually felt I get a sharp pain that goes to my fingers (pinky, ring finger area), but not always. Driving home from the doctor today I had sharp pain in my wrist, right below my thumb which was something I don't recall ever feeling (so weird!).

    I'm not sure how to go about this with my doctors, cause once I start bringing a problem up that's on the other side of where I was complaining, they're always like "you weren't complaining about that last time". They're also the ones that tell me pain will shift, etc... so why are they so uptight when I mention something different. God this is so annoying, some times in my head I'm like, "I just wanna chop it off!".

    I don't think I understand what you mean by putting a towel in the "small" area of my back to support my spine. I changed the way I sit in the car and have my back straight up with a minor recline. I want to go back to work but it's long hours of standing up and sometimes carrying heavy objects which I don't think I will be able to do anytime soon. I just don't feel the same anymore. I catch myself zoning out a lot more often, reflexes are slowed, and sudden loud noises and touchings get me very jumpy (was never like this).

    Appreciate your help, you guys are great, I'm doing a lot of research for my own benefit, not sure if its actually helping me or making me worse yet but just like my doctors say... In time we will tell haha. Thanks again!

     
    Old 06-01-2012, 04:47 PM   #12
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Try to just read for general information, not to try to diagnose your own problems! One can become a bit of a hypochondriac otherwise.

    If you look at a one of those skeletons that is used for educational purposes, or at a diagram of the spine from the side, you will notice that rather than being a straight line, the natural shape of the spine forms an "S" --

    The cervical spine curves slightly inward, sometimes described as a backward C-shape. This is called a lordotic curve.

    The thoracic spine curves out, forming a regular C-shape with the opening at the front. This is called a kyphotic curve.

    The lumbar spine curves inward and, like the cervical spine, has a lordotic or backward C-shape.

    The "small" of the back is that curve in the lowest part of your back slightly below the waist.

    I think the really difficult think to get your mind around, especially for a younger person, is that realization of how quickly life can change in a split second's time. One minute you were fine, minding your own business; a second later, life as you knew it was gone and you find yourself having all kinds of new things to deal with.

    It is common in car accidents to think less is wrong shortly after the accident. Often it takes awhile for the full extent of the injuries to reveal themselves. If there is an insurance settlement involved, keep this in mind. People that are involved in a high impact crash such as yours almost always develop arthritis in the various joints earlier than normal. Of course, there is no way of assessing this potential damage...but, statistically this turns out to be true. Attorneys that deal with victims of accidents such as yours could tell you the likelihood.

     
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    Old 06-01-2012, 10:06 PM   #13
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    What alternative treatment would you seek other then Acupuncture, Message, and Physical therapy? If I don't feel better by next week I think I will stop the Chiropractor. At night time it's unbearable I mean come on already. The thought of people in my position involved in high speed accidents develop arthritis much quicker is a problem I hope I do not face. I can only imagine and I get chills just thinking what that would feel like.

    Moldova, sorry I completely disregarded your post I never saw it till now. Thank you for your support I appreciate it. What happened with your experience with the Chiropractor, how did it effect you? When I went to the Orthopedic he pretty much said my case isn't that bad and made me feel like he thought I was fabricating the issue. He said, sounds like muscle damage too and will take time to heal. I do take hot baths and they help, temporarily. I've had much muscle damage/soreness with my years of Snowboarding and I've never felt this bad for this long, and this pain feels different and more severe then what I've ever had. However when I did mention to the Orthopedic that I was seeing a Chiropractor, he never said anything good or bad about it, so I left it at that.

    It is very hard for me to get over the fact that what happened was serious and my life could've been over before I even knew it. Teteri66 you hit me right on the money, and it's a killer that it is the harsh reality that I can't seem to accept. I always felt "untouchable" and never thought I could get hurt, now everything has done a 360 and the life that I thought was so safe isn't as safe as I thought it was. I feel fragile, and broken.

    As for the insurance lawsuit, I have absolutely no clue how this process works, or what to expect, truthfully it's the last thing on my mind, too much things on my plate for me to even think about it. I just don't want these medical bills to put me in the poor house, so I'm hoping the lawyer can avoid that. I do have health care in the event I do get cut off from no-fault, but the co-pays would exceed way more then my income can handle and I haven't been working for 2 months so... stuck in a tricky situation when that happens to take place.

    One of my best friends is a personal trainer and wants to help me get back into shape, says he helps people like me all time who've been in car accidents. I just want to get all my testing done so we can get to the core of the problem before I start doing anything that will potentially make it worse. I'm going to try to towel technique tomorrow.

    In the first 3-4 weeks my lower back wasn't much concerning me, it was my neck, upper back, shoulder, and right arm. My lower back was minor and has now became the most painful. Not to say I am not still experience pain in the other areas, but the lower back pain is keeping my mind off the pain in other locations. Now the pain in my arm tends to bother me only when I'm moving the arm, every direction triggers a different type of pain, hard to explain. Gonna try to hit the hay, but I'm sure it'll be hours before that happens. Thanks in advance again guys!

     
    Old 06-01-2012, 10:22 PM   #14
    pubbies
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    I also wanted to add. Does anyone get more back pain by wearing the back brace? I feel it makes me stand straight up and it's putting more pressure on my lower back. I tried readjusting it so many times to get comfort and within 10 mins or more of wearing it I just want to take it off. Not sure if I should be wearing it and if that's a good thing or not. Thanks!

     
    Old 06-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #15
    SweetPeainSF
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    Re: Was in a car accident and...

    Sorry my last reply was so short -- I have had a long couple of weeks at work. Big project, short deadline!

    One thing to keep in mind is that whenever there is a traumatic injury, severe or "minor", there are chemical inflammatory processes within the body. So, even though a bulging disc is relatively minor, your body may still be emitting chemical responses which are causing your pain. The anti-inflammatories and oral steroids may help with these chemical responses.

    It also sounds like you are trying to jump back into your old life. Oh, if only! In sports training, the recommendation is to find a good baseline, then increase time or reps by ten percent per week. Your trainer friend might be able to help you regain that conditioning. Anything that hurts should be off-limits, and you should work with both your physical therapist and the trainer to coordinate exercises.

    And, please don't do any twisting! Cracking your back may feel good, but any time that you are engaging in passive stretching (using an object or another person to push your body past its natural range of motion), you risk injury. A better way to stretch your back muscles is using a wall for support.

    Stand with the wall on your right, place your right hand on the wall, reach overheard with your left hand and try to form your body into an arc, pushing your hip away from the wall. Repeat on the other side. Again, use the wall only for support, and let your body do active stretching.

     
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