I had a motor bike accident 8 years ago, not my fault but I was riding and my insurance did not cover me. I have had constant agonising thoracic pain ever since. My T5 was 80% wedge crushed. I have had every test and examination under the sun - and have been misdiagnosed for 8 years. I have had so many MRI's and no specialist worked out what actually happened - even with all the information. The pain has been so agonising and I thought I would be in it forever, I seriously thought about jumping off a bridge or topping myself and making it look like an accident. I wouldn't do that but it crossed my mind so many times - especially after not being believed.
What my new physio has worked out is that when I came off the bike, I took all the pressure on my right leg so the shock went up the right side of my body. She felt hardly any T5 to the right and worked out my T5 did not crush anteriorly but on the right hand side, making my T4 unstable as there is only 20% T5 to the right - my T4 keeps slipping out to the right. That is why my pain never stopped. It is also why the specialists normal testing procedures did not work on me - they normally see anterior crush fractures of the thoracic spine. I can stand up straight. I believe in weight bearing MRI's as I'm sure they would have picked up T4 if I was standing or sitting upright and bearing weight..
My physio put and taped my T4 back into place and it is instant pain relief - it only needs to shift a little bit to go out again after 8 years of being in the wrong position so I still go back into pain easily - if T4 slips out.
Guess what I wanted to say is if you own a motorbike please try to relax when you come off - don't try to save yourself. Secondly if you are in pain you are not crazy. Thirdly if you have a complex injury don't give up and try and find someone who touches you instead of just looking at the diagnostic tools and films. I don't understand why this wasn't picked up in the MRI's.
So I have had 8 years of needless agonising pain, 8 years of no life - been told I was crazy and it should have healed - been accused of being a drug seeker - didn't get a pension from work and had to leave, didn't sue the council as I was told I would get better - totally screwed my relationship, had to take painkillers to keep working for 7 years , still taking them, but ended up leaving work, my whole bedroom is set up including my computer to be able to work in the lying down position, isolation 'cause I don't want anyone to see me in that much pain, going to things I should have enjoyed but my brain was concentrating on covering the pain so nothing was fun, then coming home and crying with the pain afterwards, losing friends as they get tired of it after 8 years, they tell me when they are pissed they are sick of my pain, just don't ask me to places, juggling between what makes me feel better mentally and worse physically, clean house and gardening but know it will put me into pain afterwards, the constant mental and physical wearing down so I thought I had no fight left, and so many other negative effects on my life, all because not one specialist could think out side the norm, even though they had all the information, including that I tried to save myself by throwing the bike away so it wouldn't land on me and put my right foot on the road consequently taking most of the impact.
So as it is mechanical, no amount of pain clinics, braces except at first which they didn't do then, natural medicine, osteopathy, tens machines , acupuncture, listening to gregorian chants in the healing key, meditation, hypnosis- although that works for me mentally, psychology, PT, swimming, countless hours of research and every conceivable medical and natural treatment combined with misdiagnosis has made any difference - in fact most treatments it made it worse. The only thing that gave some relief were muscle relaxants combined with painkillers, heat packs/ hot water bottles, sleeping with a pillow between my knees, built up shoes on the right side as my hips weren't aligned, the injury made my right leg shorter - the specialists just laughed. I now have a wedge from the physio that I put against the wall to try to put my T4 back in, sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. Never thought a rubber wedge would be my new best friend, just joking.
If you have a complex spinal injury please keep fighting - believe in yourself, I knew my pain wasn't in my head - eventually someone intelligent , might map it out logically, and might find out what causes the pain and be able to help. For the first time in 8 long years I have been given some pain free time and some hope. To me that is a miracle.