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!