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How did you get in this mess?

Just wondering how everyone ended up with all these back/ neck issues that have caused chronic pain?

In my case, there is no one event that caused everything. It is a combination of things, including but not limited to:

Slight scoliosis
Several minor car accidents
Being "top heavy" (I'm getting a reduction next week)
Numerous falls (I'm very clumsy)
2 pregnancies (I think pregnancy always contributes at least a little for women)
Being on prednisone for 30 years (I have chronic hives)
Heredity (my mom had a lot of the same problems)
2 robotic "female" surgeries that had my legs straight up for several hours (I didn't know until afterwards)
5 broken feet & 1 broken leg (walking unevenly can cause all kinds of back & hip issues)
And of course, being overweight has made everything worse

I've had back pain since my early '20's, but I pretty much ignored it, popped some darvocet (damn that it is no longer avaliable!) & went on my merry way. As I got older the pain got progressively worse (I'm 47) but what really did me in was that we moved 2 yrs ago, & all the bending up & down, reaching, packing & carrying boxes. I developed bursitis which has not gone away due to my back.

So that's my sad story of how it ended up that I am in this mess. I'm just curious about how all the rest of you came to travel this path with me. Susan
We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand


  • I giggled when I read your message, when I got to the part about five broken feet? You have five feet?! teehee I know what you meant.

    In my case, I was a passenger in a near-car accident in June of 2009. No one collided, but a car went from parallel parked into the flow of traffic without looking. The SUV in front of us had to stop on a dime. We weren't following too closely, so we did not hit the SUV, but we too had to stop on a dime, as did the car behind us. My seatbelt held me in up top, but my bottom half jerked forward violently and I heard a loud pop. Disc trouble at L5-S1 ensued.

    My latest flare came from being a passenger in an actual car accident. We were stopped at a light and rear ended by someone going between 40 and 45 miles an hour. The impact sent us into the car in front of us, and him into the SUV in front of him. I was taken to emergency, but had no fracture. I have, however, had flared pain and a lot of trouble since then. MRI showed my disc is now collapsed, so I am getting a transforminal epidural later today and I have been faithfully doing my PT twice per day since I started the Monday before yesterday.

    *sigh* So many things we've been through.
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
  • I went to him for a pinched nerve in my shoulder and ended up with a herniated lumbar disk.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • For me, I got a spinal infection that came out of no where. Because it was misdiagnosed and it festered in my spine for 14 days before I had emergency surgery, I am left with cauda equina issues and chronic pain. This led to a 5 level lumbar fusion because the infection caused my spine to be unstable.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • For me it has just been a combination of things. A motorcycle accident (a car decided to make a turn as I was passing it), two car accidents (one - rear-ended from a car going 60 mph while I was at a dead stop; the other - rammed in the passenger side while driving down the highway), delivering a lot of furniture, and moving a lot of music equipment, among other things. I still recall sitting in the emergency room after the last accident (about 30 years ago) and the doctor telling me I will probably feel the effects of it in years to come.

    The "funny" thing is that I had a L-5 fusion in 1975 and never had any problems with it after that. But now the problem is in my neck and moving down the middle of my back.
  • I can't imagine being hit at 60 mph and stopped. We were stopped and she hit at 40 - 45. That was enough of a wham. The impact was so much that we were both laying down in the car. Our seats got shoved all the way back when we came back after being jolted forward.
    (see profile for medical details)

    I *heart* my TENS unit.
  • patrain17ppatrain17 Ottawa area, CanadaPosts: 103
    I was just born with this condition. That's all I can say. :(
  • A HUGE deer totaled my car, then another car accident 10 months later
    As a result:
    C 5-6 anterior fusionwit instrumentation
    Total hip replacement
    L3-S1 Lamenectomies
    Cauda equina syndrome
    Dura tear

    Hugs to all
  • Liz53Liz53 MissouriPosts: 142
    edited 01/28/2014 - 12:04 PM
    I was a very active fit 52 year old, running 6 miles a day for 30 years until last winter I cleared the snow on my driveway and twisted the wrong way! I spent about 4 months in severe pain, MRI was initially misread . Finally saw a neurosurgeon who found a piece of my disc lodged in my L4 nerve root. Had surgery last may and my leg pain has improved but I now have lower back pain? Not sure what to do to get rid of it! I have continued with PT and acupuncture and nothing is working! I keep hoping time will help it heal. I feel bad complaining but I am not myself. Can't run and constant low grade pain has changed my life. Oh also I developed blood clots post surgery, found out that I had a genetic condition that caused this. Now on aspirin and wear compression hose!

    What a year!
  • I have idiopathic scoliosis and after I had my son 3 years ago my body just took a huge dump on me. I have 2 torn labrums and my spine curve went from something like 33 degrees to 55 in the matter of 2 years. So that's why I am where I am.. Bad genes I like to think...
    28 F. Chicago. Fusion from t-12 l-4 from scoli in June 2013. Torn bilateral hip labrums. Arthroscopy to fix labrums January 2013 and march 2013. SI pain from hip surgery Lupus, RA, antiphosphidlipid antibody- hypermobility syndrome ( Marfan syndrome)
  • Per my doctors "there's no way your back should be this bad at your age without some serious trauma."

    I really can't pinpoint one specific incident. There are things that have exacerbated the issue, but I'm not sure what the original cause was.
    Compressed Discs/DDD - L2/L3, L3/L4
    Major Herniation - L4/L5
    Bulging Disc - L5/S1
    "no healthy 24 year old's back should look like this without a major trauma"
    MicroDisc L4/L5 Nov 7, 2013
  • 35 years of concrete work. I am 58 but my spine is 85. Hip, knee, and achilles tendon replacements.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Sleeping in a trailor at the Nascar race and the girl sleeping in the bottom bunk was snoring so loud people in the campground were yelling for her to shut up. I leaned over the top bunk and yanked her blanket thinking it would make her roll over, wake up or do something to stop the snoring, She had herself so wrapped up in the blanket when i yanked it I flipped out of the top bunk and landed on my neck. I call it my million dollar Nascar race. And yes I made it to the race the next day, in pain but I made it. Then once home straight to the docs
  • Lifting on heavy patients finally did me in one night. I'm a bigger girl so a lot of people thought I could lift patients on my own. It was down hill from there. Had my first surgery, made 3 years before reherniating. I reherniated twice bending over to put air in a car tire. Then came the fusions, had one then the disc fused then the disc of above it herniated so that one was fused. Now I have a bulged disc below my fusions, hopefully it holds. Having a permanent SCS place in the next couple of weeks.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • 17 years ago this valentines day an idiot ran into the rear of my vehicle and the rest of my life has been [/operations pain ./medication /loss of job/wife/house/car/no social life no sex life and more operations in the near future
    {the car crash was not my fault }
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • LeeULLeeU Posts: 10
    edited 02/05/2014 - 6:59 AM
    Yes, in regard to the accident where I was rear-ended by a car going 60 mph while I was at a dead stop, I did receive an injury. (That's what happens when I post something as my meds are just kicking in.) I was unable to walk for about two weeks. But, after that all seemed fine. (The car we were in had a very large, heavy duty trunk. It took most of the damage, crushing it flat, into the back seat. The car also shifted on the frame. However, the other guy with me was not injured.
  • On a nice May day in 1998, I was in a head on car accident. My injuries were fracture sternum, dash board came in on my knees causing Left knee with a deep laceration on the outer part of the knee and the right knee had the knee cap almost completely severed off and every tendon was torn. So after being put back together again. I noticed that I had lower back pain that would radiate down both of the back of my legs. I told my doctors and all the did was put me on meds. For 20 years I have dealt with increasing pain in my back and legs. I have went to pain doctors, I have missied out on life with my family, people telling me just deal with it and even rehab. You feel alone because no one understands chronic pain. After rehab, I saw a shrink that had me on Suboxone and one day he ask me am I still having cravings for pain meds and i said no. I was just taking it for my pain and he told me there were other was to deal with pain. So he took me off of it. I went to my primary doctor wanting to continue on the same med but he could not prescribe it, so he put me on the fentanyl patch 50 mcg well 2 year later I am on 75mcg. I went to a pain center again and i saw a wonderful doctor that wanted to do a MRI of my back. She said at L5 the disk had a broad base annular tear that has healed, She described it like the disk leaked fluid out through the tear then healed itself. Which is causing my pain. She told me I could have surgery or treat it with my pain meds and other things. Wow after 22 years of what i have been through has come full circle. I know there is a cause of my pain. It helps me cope a little knowing all of those years it was not in my head. I have been told to suck it up and deal with it. Now no one says a word any more. It is a shame it took so long to find out what was wrong.
  • Betty65BBetty65 FloridaPosts: 83
    I kept thinking there was something wrong with my kidneys until the urologist said it's probably a herniated disc. Went to my regular doc who did x-rays and sent me to the chiropractor. The chiropractor helps in the short-term, but one "mis-step" and the pain is back.

    I'm assuming that my age, 2 pregnancies, lifting small children, caring for large dogs (walking, bathing, etc.), and added body weight all contributed to this on-going pain.

    I'm so glad I found this site so I know I'm not alone and/or crazy!
  • I posted this topic awhile back, as I was curious to know how we all got here. It seems there are a ton of new people who have joined (welcome!) I thought I'd post again, & see how you all got here. I find the varying stories (sad of course), but very interesting.
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • I've had back pain since college (20+ yrs now). I played soccer for 25 years and participated in sprint triathlons. In 2009 I found out I had blown a disc. There was no major accident or injury to account for. One day I simply could not stand, sit,or lie down. The pain was excruciating. I had a lumbar L5-S1 discectomy in 2009 to clean up the herniation and give the nerve some space. While this surgery helped with the sitting, walking and standing...I had persistent nerve pain. We had hoped it was a temporary situation - but the back pain came back in 2012. I started falling as a result of foot drop. The neurosurgeon suggested ALIF and a laminectomy through the back to give the nerve even more space. Once again I feel better than before. I'm not a 100% - but I'm able to work (with the help of daily medications).

    I've been using this forum as a resource since 2009. I wish the best to each and every one of you. Sharing your experiences helps more than you know. Take care.
    Herniated L5 S1, (2) Lumbar Epidural Injections, lumbar discectomy L5 S1 August 2009, ALIF L5 S1 December 2012, Nerve Damage, L4 L5 Bulging Disc
  • A 1500lb horse reared up and fell on me-his head hit mine and broke my neck along with most of my facial bones, the saddle horn broke my pelvis and femur-
    A good horse would have went for help...lol...mine didn't, he only pawed me and pulled my hair and to make things worse I was laying in a red ant bed-Lucky a couple of kids happened by and called for help.....

    That was over 30 years ago and I refused any meds at that time-It did catch up with me about 15 years ago-thank goodness for an awesome pain management team-otherwise....well....you all know....lol......
  • rtconant1rrtconant1 Posts: 348
    edited 01/15/2015 - 11:43 AM
    I have had a couple accidents in my life but none that caused my back or neck any pain. I have 4 kids so that didn't help. I have had on and off back issues for years. My neck issues started over 3 yrs ago now. No known reason why. I had flare ups often that just kept getting worse over time. Maybe from the abuse at work of moving around equipment. Maybe from my clumsiness. I had a severely herniated disc at C5/C6 that was compressing my spinal cord. Had ACDF last September. Still having issues with headaches and stuff. I am scheduled for a CT scan tomorrow morning
    Tracie C
  • I used to love trail running, it was a great way to get out in nature and burn some energy. I'm guessing my last incident is the one that got the ball running for my stenosis.
    On 10/1/12, I euthanized my running partner....a 3 year old border collie mix, of cancer. She even went thru chemo, and we would run when she wasn't peeing out the chemo drugs. Unfortunately, they obviously didn't work. On 10/3/12, I went on a trail run to get out my emotions, etc. etc. I was actually walking at the time because it was wet, and slipped on a large, flat rock. Gratefully, when I hit, my head went over the edge (and therefore hyperextended), but my hip had a massive bruise for weeks. When my neck was still tight several weeks later, I realized it had actually given me whiplash.
    Between that and a couple mild car wrecks. That's my theory anyway.

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • I have a passion for motocross and love riding dirtbikes but now that has all come to an end. I was riding a favorite local track by my house. I dont recall the crash as I was knocked out and suffered a concussion which kept me from feeling any of the pain from my other injuries. What I remember is I was trying this section of small double jumps. I learned from someone else I made it over the first double jump, shorted the 2nd double jump which caused me to endo ( go over the handlebars) and then i face planted into the take off ramp for the 3rd double jump. Aside from the concussion I got road rash all over my right arm and the rear tire of the bike struck me in the back while it was spinning cause more road rash. The force of the face first impact left me with a T6 burst fracture and unstable spine. Docs said I came within millimeters of paralysis. Surgery was done and now i'm fused from T4-T8 with screws and rods. I am currently 3 1/2 months post op and still slowly recovering.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    I was an adventurous 8 year old with a 3 foot deep backyard pool and not enough supervision. I stood at the top of the ladder, extended my arms out to the side planning a forward roll into the not deep enough water. All I can remember was trying to scream while underwater. Then I was laying on a lounge chair being told to stop yelling I'd be fine.
    Four decades later- still not fine. I ask for diagnoses and numbers and names so I can relate to others on this forum but there are old injuries and scar tissue and healed fractures from the cervical spine to S1-2. (I know! I get bonus disks for extra pain!)
    I've had 2 surgeries (laminectomies all in the lumbar regain) nerve blocks, steroid injections, PT, AquaT, CBT, and maybe even ice tea. I just know "pain".

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • victoriastevvictoriaste Posts: 3
    edited 01/25/2015 - 5:23 AM
    From me being tackled in high school on the way to home room and landing right on a rock on my tail bone. The sneak attack by a friend at a snow play day and pulled onto an inner tube and going down the hill and hitting the 'ramp' of snow and flying in the air and landing badly. I heard my whole back/neck crack on that one. Any number of car accidents I've been in (me not driving mind you). To getting my feet all tangled up in the wires at work at falling flat on my butt when walking away from the desk in front of about 50 customers. Now, through 37 years of 'adult' living.....I'm feeling the pain every day. Every day. Help is coming soon I hope. Dr. appt in March. As far as I can tell from a ct scan I've got 3 or 4 crushed thoracic vertebrae.
  • I injured my back initially back in 2010 while doing alot of patient lifting. Had microdiscectomy #1 on my L5/S1 in 2010. Reherniated in 2014 while putting wood into the woodstove. Had microdiscectomy #2 in 2014. I've been a runner for 15 years so that probably exacerbated my spinal issues. Currently I'm going through another back flare. Recent mri shows more herniations and stenosis. This time around I am going to exhaust every possible alternative before having another surgery. I'm fortunate now that I chose to leave bedside nursing and have a less physically demanding job as a Nurse Practitioner.

    Edited to add that I had the correct MRI and this recent flare is more likely my si joint/piriformis muscle. The good news is that the MRI with contrast showed no herniations. Pain is improving every day. One day at a time.
    Microdiscectomy L5/S1 2010
    Revision microdiscectomy after reherniation L5/S1 2014
  • Scoliosis incl uneven hips and legs, my mother has very mild spondylolisthesis, and I ran competitively for 6 years when I was younger.... only during my last year of high school did my doctor see something strange going on at L5 during a scoliosis x-ray. I immediately quit my cross country team when we found that, even though I had little pain at that point :/ MRI confirmed pars fractures and spondylolisthesis.

    Things have gone downhill from there despite my (mostly) best efforts. Countless rounds of PT, home stretches, lots of walking, trying acupuncture, trying massage, heat and ice, steroid injections, pills, weekly yoga, and even though my body awareness has vastly increased so have my pain levels and spinal deterioration. I even conquered depression! (Not really caused by pain but boy am I glad I figured my mind out early on in the pain saga)

    Many of you are talking about car accidents and I am terrified of that happening to me. I feel like my spine would shear right off of my sacrum -_-

    I've been very lucky about not having any bad falls, I'm not at all a clumsy person, but watching my mobility and energy levels go down the drain at 24 (25 tomorrow) is sad. At least I can be proud of not relapsing back into depression, and be happy that I'm not disabled per se. Now i'm a chronic headache sufferer too but I've droned on about that in my own thread plenty ;)
    Grade I Spondylolisthesis L5-S1, bilateral pars issues
    Mild Scoliois double curve
    Arthritic activity in SI area and L5 through L3
    Chronic headache
    Nerve pain
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