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Thoracic Compression Fracture Woes

jmhar68jjmhar68 Posts: 60
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone,

My name is John, I am a 43 year old male suffering from a T5 compression fracture and this is my first post.

My T5 vertebrae was compressed 75% in a vehicle accident just about 4 months ago. My doctor treated it with pain meds, bed rest and a hard tortoise shell like back brace. Though I got better, I evened out at a point where I still have constant pain. If I do not regulate it with pain meds (currently 10mg of oxycodone) the pain level in that area as well as my shoulder blades increases to a point I have no choice but to medicate and lay down. After an overnight sleep, the pain is almost completely gone. However, moving around and especially sitting for a couple of hours brings the pain back on. I typically cannot make it past 11am before I am reaching for the pain meds.

In addition to the T5 compression fracture, my neurosurgeon has diagnosed a 20 degree kyphosis that is a direct result of this fracture. I can actually see a slight hump when looking at myself from the side. It seems like if I keep my head up/good posture I have less pain. But any slight bending forward eventually causes pain to increase to a level narcotics are needed. On the pain level, I would say it gets to about level 6-7 tops. I consider level 10 to be like kidney stone pain, etc.

I have questions concerning the current direction I am headed. I actually have either anterior corpectomy with fusion or posterior fusion with or without kyphoplasty surgery scheduled in two days. My neurosurgeon has not decided on which one yet. I have a few questions and was hoping someone here with the same or similar experience could share with me?

1. With a compression fracture of 75%, is it reasonable to expect not to have constant pain 110 days after the injury?

2. Do severe compression fractures take longer to heal/pain to go away?

3. Does severe compression fracture pain ever go away without surgical intervention?

4. With such a severe compression fracture, am I now in a compromised state that would lead to further problems if left alone/not fused?

From what I can tell, the kyphosis is what is causing the pain. If I wear my back brace, the pain level is much much lower. However, this seems to be only a temporary workaround . I would probably wait just a little longer but my employment, short term disability and insurance are real concerns. I could be out of a job in 6-9 months so this is playing a larger role in my decision than I would like it to be. That's life though. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for me? I don't want to necessarily jump the gun and do surgery too soon, but it is starting to look like for one reason or another, this is inevitable?

Thanks so much!


  • Since the time is soon for your surgery I would always ask for a second opinion by a surgeon.

    I wish someone with a similar issue could let you know what happened to them before your surgery but since spine surgery is pretty serious I would get a second opinion from a Professional board certified Orthopedic or Neurosurgeon. Take care. 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
  • dertyd702ddertyd702 Las Vegas,NVPosts: 1
    Hello, I am sorry to bring up this old post but I had an atv accident roughly one month after you had your accident in which case I am sorry to hear I practically had the same injuries as yours I am always in constant pain even with meds pain has just increased through the years I am so curios as to what was your decision at the end of the day for a fix and how are you doing with everything now days I  really look forward to hearing from you please if you could lmk if you have the time it is greatly appreciated in advance  thank you
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