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30 y/o female here s/p bike accident and disc herniations

meeegunmmeeegun Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in New Member Introductions
sigh, i have a long history with back problems.

when i was about 24, i hurt my back at work lifting a patient. i went through many months of pt and eventually had an MRI that showed herniation at L5/S1 and a bulge at L4/L5. I mostly recovered from that although i was declared permanent and stationary. since then, i would only notice hip pain (i always felt it on the side of my right leg, not down the back like traditional sciatica) when i was doing housework (i know it sounds awfully convenient, but totally true!), or lifting, or when abusing my body in some other way.

fast forward to late september of last year. i was 29, almost 30 and i was riding my bike and a car hit me. i developed right shoulder pain and was seen by a PT for that right away. at the time, my back was only hurting me a slight bit so i didn't get treatment for it. the PT suggested that i try yoga as a means to strengthen my shoulder after my injury. i began taking a vinyasa yoga class once a week. this continued for about 8 weeks before i began developing intense chronic back pain. i could no longer comfortably ride my bike. every time i stood up from a sitting position it was like i couldn't straighten my spine. i was also having trouble sitting for long periods of time for class because of the continuous aching pain in my back.

i made an appt with my doc, who took me off of work for 7 weeks and again referred me for PT. i treated with one PT for about 5 weeks and had no improvement so i began seeing a chiropractor. at first, it seemed like he was helping me quite a bit. my shoulder was feeling better and so was my back. but then after an adjustment one day, i began to feel some tingling in my legs whenever i would look down. 5 months later, i still have that tingling and it just keeps getting worse. i know that the adjustment he gave me caused the tingling and since then i have read that people with herniations should not be adjusted by a chiropractor because the shearing force they use to make adjustments can further damage discs. if only i would have known!

most recently, i again hurt myself at work lifting a patient. so now i am at square negative one because i have more pain and new symptoms. i now have tingling in my arms, particularly my right arm in addition to right shoulder pain and right lower back pain. UGH! i just feel like its never going to end! i'm trying to finish school (grad program starts in two weeks) and i had to buy a car for the 100 mile round trip commute to school, since now i have what my PT describes as a "load-sensitive spine." ie: i cannot carry a back pack, nor can i tolerate the impact from bumps in the road on my bike. no more bike and train commute. no more backpack.

currently, i can walk for about 10 minutes before i really start to tingle. i have done three steroid tapers in hopes of getting rid of my pain and tingling. fortunately, the tapers and PT have helped the pain tremendously, but haven't done much for the tingling. currently i am forbidden from just about every type of exercise. i won't try yoga again since i believe that it was also a culprit in worsening my back. i can't run, walk too much, swim, hike (something i really love and hope to be able to do again someday), bike, play sports, sit too much, stand too much (general admission concerts are out...). i'm sure everyone in here can relate on the frustration all of the limitations bring.

luckily, i have a new and amazing PT that has helped me recover partially (to the point i am at now) and i am extremely grateful for his enthusiasm and competency.

i'm hoping to feel better soon. and looking forward to supporting and chatting with the others on this board. hello to everyone!



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    You sure sound like you have a fun, busy & full life. So sorry for all the pain & limitations that are interferring with that.
    You sound so positive in navigating through all the obstacles! You've been encouraging to me already. :)
    It's great to have PT who you can have such confidence in. I wish you the very best!
    Glad you're here! & keep in touch! :)
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • You did a very good and thorough explanation - it's good to get to know you! You didn't mention getting an MRI since the tingling started or going for a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. It might be good since your symptoms keep getting worse to evaluate what is going on. Are you being covered under workers' compensation from your work injuries?

    I was wondering with your past and present injuries, have you requested/received accommodations from your work to work within your restrictions? Also, have you routinely driven 100 mi. round trip? The distance could aggravate your symptoms. I know if I drive long distances my leg will experience more sciatic-type pain and cramp up (and my butt and back hurt more). You can also request accommodations at school (my daughter has back & fibromyalgia & migraine issues). She's in college now and has had a variety of accommodations, such as an extra set of books available, extra time for assignments (if needed), gel mat (to stand on in lab). I think all schools have disability services.

    Let us know how you're doing!
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. so glad you dropped in! please have a good look around the different forums and make yourself at home.. spineys are a very friendly bunch! you should fit right in!! please feel free to stop by anytime!! good luck with your pain issues! Jenny :)
  • hi karen,

    i asked my PCP for a MRI a few months back but he said he wanted me to do a steroid taper and to try some other more conservative treatments first. now i am sort of kicking myself wishing i had been more persistent about it since i have now injured myself at work and am in the midst of insurance and workers comp trying to sort out who should pay for how much of what. i am scheduled for a MRI this friday through workers comp.

    i am currently on modified duties through workers comp which i have been able to manage so far.

    its funny you should mention the school accomodations because i fully intend to discuss accomodations with the university when the semester starts. i was actually planning to ask my PT what he thought would be helpful for me in school but you have given me a couple of good ideas too! i want to ask about some sort of ergonomic chair, specifically if they will provide it, a ball chair (http://www.ironcompany.com/ProductImages/aeromat/core/BallChairDeluxe-lg.jpg) because sitting is difficult for me and i am also thinking that since walking long distances is a problem that i may also ask for some kind of parking accomodation. the campus is huge.

    i hear what you are saying about the driving, but i am just at a loss for a better solution short of moving, which i am NOT planning to do. i can no longer commute by bike, and public transportation (light rail to commuter train to shuttle) is a nightmarishly long commute...over 2 hours each way. eeks.

    another thought of mine was to get a recommendation for a good lumbar support pillow for my car, or any other suggestions to make the drive easier. i do notice after sitting for a while that my right leg tends to tense up especially my piriformis muscle, which i believe is an indicator for me that my back is tired. i think i may have atypical sciatic pain. i have never felt pain shooting down my leg, but i do have pain down the side and muscle tightness that can indicate compression of the sciatic nerve. i also of course, have tingling to let me know when i am slouching or walking too much.

    i had no idea how limiting something this common and "simple" could be. i just really want to get better! i want to join the soccer team, take the backpacking trip i was planning for this fall (not going to happen now), walk, run, and sit without tingling or pain. i don't think most of the people around me know what to think when they see ativan, valium, flexeril, vicodin, etc. sitting on my desk. i am on more medications than my 80 y/o grandfather! i never thought this would be what 30 would look like for me. it makes me simultaneously angry, sad, and guilty (because working in a spinal cord injury floor has shown me that i have it comparatively EASY). just trying to keep it in perspective i suppose!

    anyhow, i am soooo glad i found a forum filled with nice, pleasant people who are eager to support one another. back pain is NO fun, but hopefully we can all gain something for each other's experiences...and i guess since this is my introduction i should forewarn everyone that i am verbose to a fault. i think it comes from an abundance of term papers!

    thanks for responding karen and lulu! nice to meet you!

  • hi savage,

    thanks! you are very sweet. this forum is like a breath of fresh air. or some type of forum utopia.

    seems like so many other forums are full of negativity and flaming. the workers comp forum was just demoralizing. nearly had me in tears, so thanks for being friendly and encouraging.


  • Welcome to spine health! Sorry that you are having pain and tingling. I too injured myself transfering a patient so can relate to that.

    Great for you and your ambitions to go back to school. Please do ask for accomodations as Karen D suggested. That ball chair looks very neat, have you tried one? I m glad that you have a physiotherapist that is working well with you.

    I also understand your frustrations on change of lifestyle. I used to play soccer a couple of times a week as well as yoga...gone are those days, now I enjoy going out for a walk on a beautiful day.

    Wishing you well on Friday with your MRI, do you know when you will get your results? Please try to get into a fellowship trained orthopedic or neurosurgeon for an opinion if you haven't already, and a second opinion if you have.

    Please keep us updated on how you are doing.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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