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Crushed T9 and more damage

zjrogzzjrog Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I introduced myself a couple months ago. http://www.spine-health.com/forum/new-member-introductions/48-year-old-and-a-bicycle-crash And figured here was a better place.

I saw my surgeon again November 29th. We discussed limitations and absolute don't do items. Weightlifting as I can tolerate, but NO high impact activities, specifically no Mountain Biking, or aggressive ATV riding and NO running or jogging. But she allowed me to remove my cervical collar. If you've never had one for any length of time, you'd be surprised how heavy your head feels once its off. I certainly was. Almost 7 weeks later I feel my neck is strong again, but still quite stiff, and due to the occipital condyll avulsion, I have less Range of Motion turning right, than left. My Physical Therapist is working on it. But I may never have full ROM. And I may always have a stiff neck.

Two weeks ago my therapist changed my routines. I'm able to get in the gym again and can work on lower body conditioning and strengthening on my own. Since I'm in the gym, I double check every exercise with my therapist before proceeding. So far he has only approved about 20% of what I've asked to try. And so far, everything is very low weight. I'm in NO hurry. I see the surgeon again in March, and then August. Considering everything that rides on my future, is borne on my recovery, I'm doing absolutely NOTHING the surgeon or therapist says no to. I pushed a LOT with my knee recovery. And got away with it. I don't even want to think about how bad things can go if I mess this up.

I know how lucky I am. And continue to be. Here are some pics of the spinal damage and hardware. I'm not smart enough to see the damage in the neck pics...
You can see the bridge between the rods is where the T9 is. It wasn't solid enough for screws. I fully sympathize with those that aren't having as much luck with healing as I have had.

I started a blog, http://theguythatbrokeeverything.blogspot.com/, because my friends think I should. I don't think I'm anyone special, but others do. I'm only too glad to share.


  • Just had to say hello. At least my t9 stayed in one piece, that looks pretty bad.
  • It was worse than I ever thought I could do to myself. I'm told if my friend had let me try to stand up, I'd certainly be paralyzed. Every new day is a gift.
  • It would be interesting to see an MRI image to see just how close the fractures came to the cord. Thoracic spine injuries are uncommon but, because the cord's protective sheath is thinnest in the thoracic area, serious cord damage is the usual outcome. I hope you bought your biking companion a drink for having the good sense to keep you imobile till the medics arrived! And what a wonderful job they did getting you on to an air ambulance and to hospital.
    After all your good fortune and the good work that has been done on your behalf it would be plain daft to blow it all by indulging yourself in dangerous activities no matter how much you enjoyed them in the past.
    Time to rethink and reinvent your life, perhaps forever. The idea probably apalls you, but with some common sense and positive thinking I'm sure you will be OK.
    But for the grace of God and skill of men (and women of course) you could have been planning a future in a wheelchair. Sobering thought.
    Good Luck!

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • I'll go back through them, but don't think any of my CDs include MRI of the thoracic. Plenty of the neck though.

    "A" drink for my friend? More than a few already and many more to come. The ride that day was his idea. He feels horribly guilty and I can't figure out how to get him past that. I've told him its not his fault. Takes time I imagine.

    All the good work done, CALLS me to improve myself as I can. But I think my danger days of youth are finally passed. I turned 49 the other day. Gave yet another reason to pause and think how different things could have been. Easily, could have been.

    I ask my therapist specific questions, because I know he will give me honest answers. I asked about a couple exercises, and he told me that would be an easy way to snap screw, or even pull one out. OK, I won't do those.

    I don't know which day it was, but it was before they got me up walking. But I clearly remember the time I realized I could move my feet, my toes. And knew that I had to get better. In those following days I developed a personal philosophy/motto. NEVER a Spectator. While I intend to be as safe as possible, I don't intend to just watch life pass me by.

    During my knee replacement recovery I looked forward to doing things I hadn't done in years. Now I have to let some of those things go completely. Sad? A bit, but will just alter some of the things I want to do to things I CAN do. I'm currently planning to some hikes in the local mountains with my friend that was with me that day. HE plans to summit all the peaks he can see from his house. I'll go on as many as I can. I'll count this as a success if I can do 10% of what he does.

    I have seen those less fortunate than me. One of my first outings after getting my collar off, I watched a couple getting out of their car. And watched the wife get her husband into his wheelchair. Took me several minutes before I gathered myself together enough to go into the mall. This isn't lost on me by ANY measure.
  • I am almost 50 yrs old and yes you can teach us "old dogs" new tricks ;)

    It took me a longggggg time to accept my new normal. I wish I had accepted it a lot sooner, but now is what is important.

    I am thrilled to see you are ready to move forward with your new normal :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • I spend time on a knee replacement forum. New knee patients aren't always told how long the recovery will be and always wonder when they will be normal. I remind them to reevaluate whats normal. Normal before their knee pain got to them? Before the surgery? Whats normal?

    I believe had I not just been through a healing/recovery process, my outlook wouldn't be so bright and cheerful. I'd also like to think that I'd have a similar outlook if I'd been forced to a wheelchair. Because I was also quite happy to be alive.

    I WANT to ride my bike, but have to get over the fear of falling again.
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