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Pain, Fracture & Osteoporosis

Mindymork62MMindymork62 Posts: 207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hello everyone,
Can anyone help me with a question I have. I fractured my T12 this past November 19th. I had the vertebra fixed with cement a couple of weeks ago so that part no longer causes me pain. About 4 weeks after the fracture I noticed my tummy pooching out in the front, and I also have been having severe pain in my back and my ribs in the front feel like bone is rubbing on bone. Can Osteoporosis show up so quickly like that, as to cause these things to happen? I'm seeing an Ortho. Dr. on Friday.


  • I'm glad to hear that the cement took away your fracture pain.

    Regarding the tummy pooching and rib pain... I still have that. (And, of course, the back pain). I'm not sure about the Osteoporosis. My surgeon told me that I would/do have arthritis throughout my spine, due to the trauma and fractures. I, too, have felt that the arthritis set in really quickly.

    I have an appointment this afternoon with my Neurosurgeon to go over my recent CT scan and tailbone Xrays. I have a bunch of questions to ask him and will let you know if he has an answer to the rib pain, etc. I will be anxious to hear what your doctor says, as well.

  • I really don't have any concrete answers to give you, regarding the rib pain, tummy pooching and Osteoarthritis. My surgeon told me that I'm still in the healing process from my fall and it just takes time for things to settle.

    The arthritis is a "given", which he had already told me last summer and I am to continue working closely with the Pain Mangement team he lined me up with. If I should notice any kind of severe changes in my thoracic area, I am always to let him know right away.

    He receives all of my monthly reports from my Pain Management team. Right now, I am seeing the lead doctor at my Pain Management facility... as he is the person who makes the ruling on disability issues. He is close to retirement in age, but I hope he doesn't leave... lol. He is highly, highly educated and has seen everything under the sun. On my visit last month, I told him about a book my Primary Care Physician recommended. I was excited to order it... it apparently was on the top seller list 10 to 12 years ago and from my Primary Care Physician's recollection, it is called "The Back Book" or something along those lines. Anyway, my Pain Management doctor told me it would do me no good to order it. I said, "Really? Why is that?". He then said, "Well, you're in a category of "special" people". I was thinking, "Gee, thanks a lot guy"... but, I understood what he was saying. What I did to my back isn't something you can google and get a bunch of hits on. I've reached the conclusion with my thoracic area that "it is... what it is". I will continue to strengthen my core muscles the best that I can and have been told I will need Pain Management treatment the rest of my life. If I can continue to reduce my narcotic intake, great. If not, I'm glad I have some kind of pain relief.

    My Neurosurgeon can't fix my tailbone, which was a real bummer to hear. He is the Director of Neurology and Neurosurgery at our big neurology health care foundation in my state, so I was certain he could fix my tailbone. His expertise is in spinal trauma cases and the brain. He showed me where my tailbone is broken off in two places and the dislocations go the opposite way and up...in relation to where the tailbone is suppose to go. He referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon, one who specializes in the pelvic area. The doctor happened to be two doors down from my surgeon's office, so we went in to schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, the guy he referred me to... doesn't work on tailbones. So, today, I need to make some calls and find another Orthopedic Surgeon who can help me. My surgeon told me they might have to surgically remove the two pieces...as it doesn't look like something that can be snapped back into place at all. I'm kind of bummed about that. I was ready to endure the shots and pain to have my tailbone snapped back into place.

    So, that's where I am at for now.

    Please let us know how your appointment went, Mindy.

    Take care,


  • Hi Tammy,
    It seems like things have been moving so slowly on this end. I went back to my Neurosurgeon a week ago and he took Xrays, and it looked like the cement in the vertebra (T12) was doing okay, so why am I still having MAJOR pain there? he has a partner in the same practice with him who also is an Ortho. man. This Dr. ordered an MRI of lower spine and upper spine. Again I was crying and in severe pain when they got me off the table. Then today I had another MRI only it was an MRCP because I have been having pain in my right side, just above my ribs. I had a blocked bile duct there about a year ago and they did an ERCP and removed the blockage and fixed me up. During this MRCP my husband was right there with the tech., and the tech. made a comment about the back side of the "cement" vertebra. Almost looked like it was crushed. He had to be careful what he said so as not to interfere with Dr. reading the films. Could that vertebra actually have collapsed, and if so what do you think they can do about it. I have real problems with walking, or being on my feet for more that a few minutes. Only relief I get is laying on my right side when I'm sleeping. Do you have any ideas? I go back to the Ortho. Dr Wednesday, and my primary Dr. will get the MRCP tomorrow.
  • Hi Mindy,

    Ugh... just thinking of those hard tables for scanning purposes makes me ache all over. They are the absolute worst kind of table to lay on, for thoracic pain sufferers. Thee worst! Next time you need an MRI done or a CT scan, see if your doctor will prescribe Valium to take. I had such a time of it during my last CT scan, that I actually created a post about pain levels during Xrays or CT scans. There are others who experience the excrutiating pain like we do and Judy recommended liquid Valium prior to an MRI, as she has a time with these scans herself.

    Did your Ortho say anything about the cement at your visit today? If you aren't feeling satisfied with what he says, you can always ask your PCP for another referral. It never hurts a thing, to have a different set of eyes view your Xrays and reports. You need to feel satisfied and until you do, keep reaching out for other opinions. I'm hoping the visit went well today.

    As far as other options for your fracture, I would ask about a brace. A lot of doctors are against bracing for fusions, but it's different with fractures.

    It might take several months for your fracture to heal. My hardware fusion to T11, T12 has healed, but I'm still healing in my T6,T7,T8 area from compression fractures. My Neurosurgeon said it could take several more months, before I feel improvement in that area.

    Those thoracic vertebra are tough, so when we fracture them... it sometimes takes quite a while for them to heal.

    Please let us know how your appointment went.

  • Yes, those MRI tables feel like torture for laying on. I'll remember the Valium next time, for sure! Dr. said the cement looks alright. He said what you said; these kind of fractures take awhile to heal. Some people start dancing after they have Kyphoplasty, but not me. I feel so much pain in that area still. I do have a very bulging disc at 4/5 which doesn't help. Thank you for your input, it helped allot.
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