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Did you ignore the warning signs?

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Matters of the Heart
Hi fellow spine friends.

I was just thinking about something...have any of you, looking back, ignored what you now know were warning signs that you had spine problems?

When I was in my mid-30s, I decided to take Tae Kwon Do at a local college. We had to jump on hard wooden floors for the 1-1/2 hour sessions and I went two times a week. Rarely did we have padding. I was even in two competitions where I took first place and broke boards with my hands and feet.

Then one day, we were jumping around on the wooden floor of the college gymnasium and when I got into my car after class, the pain in my lower back was so bad I cried all the way home. It took a couple of days to go away, if I recall correctly, but at the time it never crossed my mind to see a doctor.

I also remember countless times when I was shaking my head forward and backwards, very hard, in tune with the Eagles' "Get Over It" because it made my friend laugh. It kind of hurt, but I didn't think much of it when I did it. Then I find out some five years later that my neck is on the verge of collapse.

Isn't that amazing? Am I just stupid? I know that I was completely unaware of the possibility of spine problems and even the spine at all, really, but sure wish I had been. I think it was just plain ignorance.

Have any of you looked back and thought if only I knew then what I know now? If only I'd seen the signs x many years ago?

I'm not trying to start a "oh, if only I had..." thread, I'm just wondering if anyone did what I did only to find out later...WHOOPS!




  • Yes Cath,

    I had the signs of spine problems for years before I realised that I had them. It was always my husband who had a bad back. I never considered that there might actually be something wrong with mine. I always assumed that I had just 'done something' to cause the pain, and that all I needed to do was ease up a bit for a day or two.

    As for the wishing that I hadn't done some of the things that I have. Well, I think that actually I am glad that I didn't know about my spinal problem otherwise I probably wouldn't have done of the fun and exciting things that I have.

    I have been told that my spinal problems will have been there since I was a teenager, and now I know that, I am aware that there were some signs of it. I managed to get into my 50s before I actually thought that I might have a problem.

    Interesting question. :?
  • I hurt my tailbone sledding down a hill and hit something hard. Who worries about it at a young age, i think we did many things and got hurt and never thought much of it being very young. I also fell out of a big cherry tree when farmer cought us eating his cherry,s from his huge tree, He chased us off with a shovel and branch broke and i fell right on my back,

    Knocked the wind out of me but we still all got away, I would not change a thing and would do it all over again, Having fun comes with injury,

    Those days you simply fall shake it off and never even think of seeing a dr, dr,s are for sick people not for criminals. Lol.

    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Cath111 said:

    Am I just stupid? I know that I was completely unaware of the possibility of spine problems and even the spine at all, really, but sure wish I had been. I think it was just plain ignorance.
    I don't think it's stupid, for two reasons: one, human nature is to not necessarily think of the possibility of negative consequences when they can occur - we just go ahead and do it because, being imperfect, we just don't think at times, which happens no matter how smart we are; two, people tend to go into denial when it comes to having to face the possibility of something negative such as future C-spine problems caused by repeatedly flinging their heads back and forth or lung cancer caused by smoking can't happen to them.
  • I always thought of myself as physically fit and lifted heavy patients probably doing incorrect lifting when I was younger in my late 20's and 30's.

    Although I wonder because my Dr. said it was the constant bending, lifting & turning that caused wear and tear on my spine.

    I guess I didn't keep working out like I used to as I was so exhausted after work I stopped going to fitness classes and let myself go. I used to go to Tae Kwon Do but didn't break any boards but went to fitness clubs and one that had only a wooden floor and it had no bounce and only went there because it was close to me instead of the club that had a special floor for working out.

    If I could go back I would've found the time to go to the gym and exercise and keep my weight down also. I also pushed through the back pain working instead of seeing my Dr. or going to PT or got any testing done all because I was too busy. I don't think it was stupid but this information may help someone else not to push through the pain and see your Dr. for tests.

    I also think body mechanics should be taught in school at a young age so once we are young and taught proper care of our spine it may help people in the long run. 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
  • Yep, if I knew then what I know now...well, not sure I would have changed much.

    I knew I had a bad back in college. I actually came home so my mom could go with me to the doctor. They didn't do an MRI b/c I didn't see a point in it since I was too young for surgery and hadn't tried PT.

    I managed for several years with PT, occasional NSAID prescription, and I did give up some of the impact exercise (running). But then started doing well, and picked up running.

    Even with that, I was doing well. Where I went wrong is the symptoms. I didn't recognize my calf pain as a typical symptom and tried pushing through. Then, got massage and so if I could change things I would....but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my running. I just wish I knew more signs and wish I knew what could ultimately happen.

    But...the doctors told me that it was just a matter of time and not to beat myself up. So I try not to.
  • Ok maybe i would of changed something. Construction work was realy causing a lot of back pain that i ignored reaching adult life. I always figured everyone gets through it and cant cause more serious issues. Well i was wrong,

    If i knew it could destroy my life to this degree i would of changed jobs I always seen older brick layers and such hunched over but they always continued working so thats the worst think i thought could hapen to me,

    I guess it does pay to stay in school and get a diferent type of work that also pays very well, Construction is good money but its nothing easy about it,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I knew I had issues, but by the time I decided to go to the doctor my pain would be a little better and I wouldn't go. Actually one day my pain was so bad I started crying when my boss asked me how I was doing when I got to work. He told me to leave and go straight to the doctor (he had been telling me to go for a while). I did... and there started the drs office journey.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • I ignored the warning signs that my doctor was not taking my condition seriously.

    Maybe the way he made me wait in his office, in agony and barely able to walk while he watched the end of an auction on ebay, for some golf clubs, I think it was.

    Or when he said "what do you want from me, a sick note from work?" I pointed out to him I was self employed and he just gave me a sarcastic grin and wrote out a prescription for pain killers and said "Oh it will be for these then".

    Or maybe when I was waiting for an appointment for an MRI which he was arranging for me, but which never came and he said "we have to deal with the urgent cases first"

    By the time I got to hospital, more than two years after first seeing my GP, I was a clinical emergency.

    Needless to say after that my GP and I parted company and these days I am much more assertive.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Did I ignore the warning signs?
    Heck NO... Back in 1978, I never even heard of spinal problems.
    I went for about 9 months thinking I had a hip problem. Many doctors, eventually a PA said, it wasnt my hip but my back (sciatica) WHAT WAS THAT??

    But what I DID IGNORE, was warning signs after a couple of my lumbar surgeries. When I felt something not right, I just kept plowing ahead, doing the wrong things, doing stupid things and eventually wound up with another lumbar surgery.

    Have I changed? I sure hope so
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Cathie:

    Someone who is pursuing their PhD. could use this thread as a basis for their dissertation. Our input is not quantifiable, but it sure is REAL.

    My experience was that youth and social surroundings (employment, peer pressure, upbringing) were the greatest influences on my actions/behaviors and that is what caused me to do what I did and caused me to not do what I should have done.

    The warning signs were there - recurrent pain; persistent pain; and even debiliating pain on occasion. Unfortunately, "life" trumped the warning signs and some of us are now what we are.

  • I definitely ignored the warning signs, or rather, I was just too stubborn to give in to them. I'd had back problems from the time I was about 7 and the doctor said I'd have it all my life and to pick my activities wisely. By the time I was a teen, my activities were just one of many unwise things I'd done.

    Now of course, I kind of wish I'd paid attention, worn the brace (still wouldn't have wanted the "first" surgery and full body cast tho! :p.....in some ways at least.... I did have fun, and I did things and went places I probably wouldn't have if I'd been "okay"... but I did think I'd either die before it got to me or I'd be one of the lucky ones and it would all pass me by!

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