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here goes...

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi Everyone,

I have been using your website off and on for a while now, and despite my nervousness, I decided that today is the day for my introduction!

I just have to say though that there are some amazing people on this site. My hat really goes off to you for the courage you have to keep going, and not give up. Except for 4 or 5 short periods of back problems earlier in my life, I’ve really only been dealing with what I would call ‘intense and life changing pain’ for about 4 or 5 months now. When I read about people dealing with this for years and decades, I feel sad, but hopeful as well, that if this is my ‘fate’, then maybe I can find the strength too.

The start of my adventure begins back in March, I slipped on some ice in my laneway and as soon as I hit the ground and hear that audible ‘crunch’ and felt that excruciating pain, I knew this wouldn’t be good. After several tries, I made it to the house and eventually made it to the hospital. I was diagnosed with a stable compression fracture of my L1. (I do not have osteoporosis, never been on steroids, don’t smoke, etc. I’m a relatively healthy 32 year old).

I was admitted to the hospital for pain management, prescribed a brace to wear for a few months, and went home after a week.

Things progressed as I expect would be typical of a healing compression fracture. Eventually, I felt I was ready to try going back to work. (this was 2 months later). I work in health care, as an office worker, and my employer was very good about making ergonomic adjustments to my desk. But my first day back, I began having a new pain in my right leg. I pretty much ignored it (very intelligent, I know) and let it escalate over a 3 week period until I was unable to sit, stand, walk, or lay down. I had constant pain in my lower back, thigh, back of the knee, calf, and foot, which, with the exception of 1 or 2 days, has not gone away since, though there are days it is significantly less.

My GP ended up sending me for an MRI, which showed the following:

L1: anterior wedge compression fracture
L3-4: facet joint osteophyte formation, bilateral neural foraminal stenosis
L4-L5: spondylolisthesis, (grade 1) tear to the disc with ‘broad based disc osteophyte complex bulging (still don’t really understand what that means….), bilateral foraminal stenosis, and bilateral facet joint osteoarthritis.

I was fortunate to see an ortho. Surgeon (where I live in Canada, if you are lucky enough to get on a waiting list it is not unusual to wait 3-5 years to be seen, unless you are referred through the ER department, which I was). He did not seem concerned and feels that physio will help me return to my normal activities. When I tried to tell him about my concerns re: my leg and foot pain, he dismissed it and said I do not know what real pain is. But then at the end of the appointment he asked me what I was taking for pain, and prescribed me Lyrica. (I have not starting taking this yet.) I have been in PT for about 2 months now and just recently switched to a new one that is more specialized in dealing with backs.

Even though the specialist was quick to dismiss my situation, my reality still is what it is. Because of my leg and foot pain, I am only working 4 hours a week (and struggling with it), and except for medical appointments, I barely go out. If I do, my greatest anxiety is centered around having a place to lay down when things get unbearable. I’m not able to sit more than about 5 minutes at a time, and I’m still not driving, so I’m dependant on others. ( No public transportation anywhere close to where I live).

I am very aware that my pain/situation could be much, much worse, and that I am fortunate in so many ways. Everyday I am grateful for what I have and that things are no worse than they are, but this is still a big adjustment to make, to go from a ‘normal life’ one second, to everything changing the next.

My plan is to continue with this new PT for a while and see if I experience any improvement, especially now that I’m not immobilized in a brace as of two weeks ago. If this doesn’t produce any lasting improvements, than I guess I will start the Lyrica.

Thanks for taking the time to read this long winded (yet at the same time very condensed) version of my story. I’m sure many of you have read similar stories hundreds of times, so I appreciate you taking the time to read this one.



  • Hi Brightside,
    Welcome to spine-health. You will find many here who are facing the same issues as yourself. Take a look around besides the forums are some great articles in reference to you issues that are doctor written and per reviewed.
    I can certainly relate to life changing in a instant, as I am here from a MVA. Was happy healthy fine one minute and the next everything changed.
    I am confused to why you are wanting to wait to take the lyrica. Lyrica is one of the drugs of choice for nerve pain, which i suspect you are experiencing. You may find by getting the pain under control therapy would be more beneficial to you as well. Of course those are just my opinions, as I am no doctor. But possible by getting the pain under control, you can get some more movement in therapy and regain some motion.

    Do you have another plan to seek out another doctor should therapy fail. As I understand the waiting list are quit long in Canada. Maybe while you are in therapy you should see about scheduling a appointment for a second opinion so you know your options and possible another doctor maybe a better fit for you, as well. You have to have faith in the doctor who is treating you and have a open line of communication, i think to have any success. Good luck and once again welcome to spine-health.
  • :H Welcome to the forum. Bless your heart, no doubt you are having a rough patch! I'm a southern girl and I've read so many posts from people up north whose lives have changed due to slipping on ice.

    Just wanted to say that I'm on Lyrica (75 mg x2 day) and I wouldn't be without it. Of course, it's your decision whether you want to take it or not but I just wanted you to know that for most people it is very beneficial for dealing with nerve pain. Are the pain medications helping you?

    Since your back as been "assaulted" so to speak from your fall, your nerves are all whacky and will take a while to settle down. Like you, my sciatica came on all of a sudden and I had to quickly get educated about what was happening to my body. Still learning something every day, especially from the members of this forum.

    This is a great place to express your feelings about the change to your life. It's a lot to deal with emotionally and financially on top of being in pain. But, the people here will help you through it.

    Lots of good, solid information about back and neck issues on this site.

    Take care an please know you are not alone in this -- you've got the "spineys."


  • Thanks for your welcomes and replies tamtam and deltalady. I have read posts from both each of you and think you give great feedback!

    About not taking the Lyrica….the specialist prescribed it a couple of weeks ago, at the same time that my back brace was coming off, and at the same time I was starting with a new PT. this may sound funny, but as much as I want the pain gone, I also want to be in tune with what changes may be going on with my body, and to be able to report back accurately to my PT. But, if I don’t see a change within the next couple of weeks or so, I’ll give it a try. I tend to have sensitivities/reactions to a lot of meds, so I’m a bit leery of that as well. Also the fear of it not working is probably another part of the hesitation.

    Regarding a second opinion/another doctor, I was thinking of broaching this with my family GP, but it’s a little tricky. I don’t know how many other members here are from Canada (specifically Ontario,), and I don’t know what it is like in the US/other countries, but here at least, you have to be careful with what and how much you request from your GP. If you don’t play your cards right, or adhere to the ‘good patient’ role, your relationship with your GP – your gatekeeper to the health care system – can become strained fairly quickly. If anyone has any advice with this, I’m all ears!

    As for if the pain meds are helping, well, not really. I have just been taking Tylenol and advil, the occasional Tylenol 3. I don’t find they help much with nerve pain. Only the spasms in my lower back/and area related to the fracture. I understand they aren’t really effective for nerve pain for most people, and that lyrica may be the better route to go.

    Deltalady, you said,

    ‘Since your back as been "assaulted" so to speak from your fall, your nerves are all whacky and will take a while to settle down’

    I guess what I’m wondering is, how do you know if they will ever settle down? I’m guessing there is no straight answer to that….

    I agree…there is SOOOOOO much helpful info on this website. (can be overwhelming too!) I’ve learnt a lot already but have so much more to learn!

    Thanks again for your thoughts/advice/interest, and sorry for rambling. I think I’ve been storing some of these things in my brain for too long now!
  • I just wanted to welcome you to SH and let you know that you're at the right place because we relate to what you're going through.

    I'm glad that you were able to have access to treatment right away. There are several members here who are from Canada and the UK, and from all parts of the globe too. They have helped those of us in the US to understand how your healthcare system works.

    I'm also glad you had an MRI done already so that your doctors and therapists can give you the right treatment.

    Well, I hope things work out and that you get to feeling better. Take care
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. drop by anytime! :D Jenny :)
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