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If you have problems in one part of the spine are you likely to have problems in another?

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:29 AM in Chronic Pain
I'm curious - if you have problems in one part of your spine are you likely to have problems in another part of your spine?

As you can see by my signature, I've had surgery on my cervical spine and now I'm having sciatica that starts in my left buttock and extends down the back of my left leg to my knee. This seems to come and go, but I always have pain in my tailbone and sometimes it's very hard to sit.

My doc believes that my cervical issues stemmed from a car accident many years ago. If that's the case, doesn't it seem logical that the lower spine could have been affected as well?

It seems like I see this a lot on these forums where one part of someone's spine is injured, they get surgery, then here come problems from another part of the spine. Is it just my imagination, or are you likely to have problems throughout your entire spine if you suffer from an accident or another traumatizing event?

Cath
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Comments

  • I was in an auto accident almost 5 years ago, that contributed to my cervical issues. About a year ago, I started to have lumbar issues as well. My Dr. says that the lumbar problems aren't from the accident, because they started almost 4 years later. I asked her why I am "falling apart" at my age, and she said my body is aging faster than me.(?) I can't really answer your question, just relate to your situation. I have read on here about others in the same situation. My diagnosis's are on my signature....
    Amy
  • That's a real puzzler. I think it would depend on a lot of factors. Whether the original problem was from aging process or caused by an accident. Also your age, weight, job, a lot of factors. But overall I think it definitely has some effect. If you have cervical problems, and a fusion for example, it's going to put more stress on your whole spine as it adjusts to the fused level. And of course degenerative disc disease is going to affect multiple levels. And an accident like yours might lead to pain later in life. Just my opinion of course, and I'm not a dr. Just a suffering (im)patient :P Has your dr ordered a new MRI of your lumbar spine? Take care, hope you have a pain free weekend.

    Maggie
  • that when i had my first operation ..that i would be back for more surgery by a nurse on the ward ...she was right! and after my second operation 18 months ago i may require even more surgery ..so in answer to your question .i would say yes
    STRAKER
  • That's a very interesting thing that your doc said - that your body is aging faster than you. Hmmm. What steps are you taking for your lumbar issues? And how are you doing after your ACDF?

    Hope you're having a pain-free day.
    Cath
  • It is puzzling, isn't it? I actually have had lower back pain with occassional sciatica for years, long before my cervical issues were discovered. It's just gotten worse this year for some reason.

    I agree that is has to depend on multiple issues. I wonder: if you have DDD in your cervical spine, is it limited to that or are you predisposed to having it throughout your spine?

    I haven't seen a doc for my lumbar issues because I'm in between insurance carriers at the moment. When my Cobra kicks in I'll hopefully be able to go back and finish my post-ACDF PT and talk with my surgeon about my lower back.

    I'm with you - I'm also just a suffering (im)patient. :-)

    Hope you're feeling good today.
    Cath
  • I know that you've been going through an awful lot and I admire how you are able to support other with the chronic pain you suffer.

    It's really sad that once you have a spine issue, it may never really go away - you may fight it for the rest of your life. If I'd known how delicate the spine was, I can think of a million things I would've done differently over the years (one of which is throwing my head forward and back to the tune of "Get Over It" by the Eagles).

    Hope you're feeling good today.
    Cath
  • the spine is a bio engineering masterpiece but damage it and it becomes a nightmare !! .as one section of your spine is damage it puts a strain on the rest of the structure and eventually it too will fail no matter how well one looks after it ..
    STRAKER
  • Well, Cath, as for my lumbar issues I had an ESI in January which has since worn off. I go to p.t. twice a week for both my lumbar and cervical issues. I have been having a hard time healing after my ACDF. Mostly the left side of my neck, shoulder, arm is effected. I have weakness, numb, pain, all that kind of stuff. My phsiatrist is having me continue therapy for another month before addressing other treatments...sick of waiting. She has me on Methadone every 12 hours for pain, oxycodone for breakthrough pain, Cymbalta, Imiprimine, and I take Depakote and Relpax for my migraines. Lately nothing has made me feel better. In fact I have an ice pack bandaged around my neck as I'm typing. By the way, I will turn 39 tomorrow...I feel 75!!!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,065
    to illustrate the question you asked. When I was much younger, I started out with Lumbar issues. Over a period of time, that turned into 4 lumbar surgeries.... Well, my cervical area was getting jealous, so that started to give me problems. Three surgeries later and I figured I was through with spinal problems.
    But, then my thoracic disc were really upset that they did not get the proper attention. Only difference here, is that I haven't and hope to not have any thoracic surgery.

    My doctors have a theory about why.... My lumbar surgeries, no fusions, let me a bit tight and rigid. Then from working at a desk with computers for so many years and some old football injuries and a auto-accident whiplash, that started my cervical problems. The fact that I already had lumbar problems, left my spine somewhat unstable.
    Then with the Lumbar and Cervical surgeries and limitations, there was more stress placed on my thoracic area. In many ways, my doctors were not all that surprise about those T-disc starting to go.

    So, when you do have spinal surgery, there is always a good chance that you can develop problems in another part of your spine. Perhaps if I was better and more dedicated about dealing with those problems, I might not have had continuing disc problems.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    When I was a young man a older guy told me that. And said when he had hurt his back at work, years before he settled with work comp for a small award and lifetime medical.
    He said that was the wisest decision he ever made. Over the years that we were in touch he had had 3 back surgeries.
    I'm glad I trusted his judgement. Because over the years I had many work related back issues. And several surgeries.(read my signature line. "novel") And my issues are ongoing , still, years after the judgment I took with lifetime medical.
    They are only responsible for my lumbar. But L-1 and L-2 are gone.as well as T-11 and T-12.
    Bottom line when I was young I didn't listen to very many peoples advice. I'm so glad I listened to his!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Yes that's true for me. I have DDD in my neck, minor scoliosis now arthropy of my lumber facet joints and herniated disc with anular tear at L5-S1 and sciatica. I haven't had surgery but know if you've had surgery in one part it may lead to problems with the disc doing overcompensation as it protects those discs or herniations. Your body reacts with arthritis at the same time with a back injury. I'm sure I wouldn't have facet joint problems if it wasn't for my herniated disc. I just read about this so I'm not good at where I got the answers about that. Maybe chirogeek guy? Anyways have a great day. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thanks for your responses - I guess my suspicions are confirmed. I was talking with my husband last night about how I feel so frail compared to how I was a year ago. Frail might be too strong a word, but I don't think I'll ever feel the same.

    It's difficult to come to the realization that you aren't who you used to be and will probably never be that person again.

    Cath

  • Boy, have you been put through the ringer. I've read your story and it's unbelievable (not literally).

    I think that what you've experienced and your positive attitude makes you the perfect role model for those of us that are relatively new to this spine stuff. I admire you so much for your words of wisdom and giving us strength and encouragement.

    You truly are...PapaRon.
    Cath
  • Your friend truly did give you words of wisdom. When we're young we don't like to listen to anybody so I'm glad you listened tohim too.

    I'm sorry for all you've been through, your novel reads like a horror story. I hope you're able to have pain-free days.

    Cath
  • I also have arthritis and DDD in my neck. I haven't had a lumbar MRI yet and don't know if my issue is bad enough to even think about one at this point.

    Can I ask you why you aren't a surgical candidate? Do you have a SCS?

    Hope you're having a good day.
    Cath
  • :H My answer sorta kinda relates to your question. :? My doctor said that after my fusion the vertabrates (spelling)? above and below the ones being fused have to do the work of the fused ones and that in the future I will have to have surgery on them! :? :SS I have no way of knowing when in the future but I'm sure it will happen. I have severe DDD and severe Spinal Stenosis. I exercise three to four times a week and that makes me feel so much better "believe it or not"!! :)

    Sorry if I'm off topic!

    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,065
    Sometimes I just wish that I could 'convince' spinal patients to NOT do what I did when I was younger. Instead, if they can listen to this old, well not that old man, I do have something to say that I hope will just save at least one spinal patient from having everlasting chronic pain.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • i had fusion on L4-5. 7 years later the L3 blew out due to stress of the other fusion on 4-5. when you have fusions, it puts more stress on other vertabrae. so now i have had fusions in L3-4-5. so watch out if you have fusions, other ones may blow out
    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I noticed something interesting in one of the posts about having lumbar problems without really knowing about the cervical issues. Another thing I remembered was that I had a heat treatments, to back in April 1971. On one of the notes that the NS put that I have degenerative deformity that is contributing to some of these problems.
  • I have lumbar issues, 2 years ago I had fusion. After the surgery, my arms and fingers went numb and painful. Found that I have bulged disc at the cervical, but not enough to warrant another surgery. The pain was pretty bad. I think I did another MRI and they found tendinitis, the sport doc gave me injections on the spot at the shoulders and back, luckily for me, the pain on the back is way too painful for me to listen to the pain on the arm.
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