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Need hope. Always in pain

I was in a car accident march 25, 2014 where I was told I shattered my L1 vertebra. I had emergence trauma surgery that day where they screwed L1 back together and put 2 rods in my back to stabilize my spine. I also have beginning stages of osteoporosis called osteopenia. I was in excruciating pain day of accident and they had a hard time controlling my pain. After surgery I was getting better but at the 3 month post op visit I still could sit for more than 15 minutes or even stand to do my hair and get ready . They found out my spine had started to shift and the rods were not keeping it stable. They had to go back in and remove the rods replace them with longer rods and cement the vertebra to keep it from moving. I was in a brace date of first surgery until December where they weaned me out of it. I was almost completely off pain meds but as I started PT (in December) and was weaning from brace my pain level has increased significantly. My pain is in my mid back like where my bra strap is and comes around the front in my rib cage just under my breast. I also have extreme pain in my lower back now that comes around into the top of both hips and into my butt down to where my low hip & leg connects. I recently went in to get my L4&5 S1 bilateral joints injected. The doctor said I wouldn't need sedation for it. Unfortunately he only got thru the right side because it was too painful. But the bad this is now im in more pain than before he started. It's a burning pain in my right hip and I can't even lay on that side now. I also had some nerve damage in that hip because of how long the surgeon had me on that side for my second surgery. (9 hours) So the dr decided to try a nerve block on L4&5 with sedation instead of doing cortisone like on the right side. He wanted to make sure that was actually the problem. Well that only helped about 30% so he's not sure injecting the joints will help. So he want me to just try pool therapy and acupuncture. I am getting increasingly depressed because of the fact I was such an active person before this happened. I have 3 teenage kids and I can't even travel to see them compete in there sporting events. I am back on pain meds and have problems even sleeping. I have an apt with my surgeon in a week but I just don't know what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions?


  • I would try the pool therapy before anything else. You can move better and in less pain in the water. Moving the inflamed painful areas reduces pain long term. It's worth a try !!!
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 335
    edited 03/15/2015 - 3:48 AM
    .....IF they do..... My advice to you is to give it some time. Hang on tight as this is a roller coaster ride, up & down & all around, for sure all the way to recovery and in some cases, even after.

    I know exactly how you feel as I too had a burst fracture as well as 2 other broken vertebrae due to a car accident and it wasn't any fun at all (4 level fusion w/ instrumentation + radiculopathy & compression). After surgery, I was a complete mess. My pain increased 1000%. I remember thinking how did this happen? Why me? Why is it worse? All those questions you are looking for answers to, I too was looking for those answers. I remember having to lay a specific way in order to stop the burning and shooting pain. I couldn't sit upright at a table for months. I remember thinking it was all over for me. Unfortunately, it gets worse before it gets any better, but it CAN and WILL get better. You need to put in the hard mental work to help you on your way. Also, don't forget that the first 3 months is the acute phase, so just hang on for the ride and explore any and all means of pain management until time does its healing thing..... It's really all we can do. And when feeling down and out, deflect. Do something that brings you happiness, regardless of your physical circumstances. The mental part of this journey plays a huge factor in the physical part, believe it or not, so try to incorporate "happy thoughts."

    Unfortunately, surgery is never a guaranteed pain fix. The idea is to fix a problem with pain relief being a significant bonus only. Never deprive yourself or anyone else of hope, it may be all they have. And always keep the faith. being optimistic will help you on your healing journey.

    If you need anything else or have any more specific questions that I can help out with, please fire away. I'll do my best. Pinky swear :)

    -Doug Hale
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
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