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How did it start?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,862
Folks that register for Spine-Health generally come here because they have either heard of the site or did some internet searches to find us.

But, I know they were not looking for food recipes.

We read about all the different problems folks have and one thing that I always think about, is WHY? What happened to that person to cause the pain and discomfort they are in.

So, I am asking all of you to tell us about how it all got started

  • - Genetic
    - Car Accident
    - Trauma situation
    - Improper mechanics, poor posture, etc
    - Sports related (from football to weight lifting to ice skating)
    - Doing too much (lifting too much, moving too much, etc)
    - Other
    - Really dont know
I believe when you start to talk to anyone who is suffering, you will eventually get down to the origins of their problem.

I know that my problems started to get more serious when I was playing high school football in the 60's. Back then, the emphasis was solely on winning.. Conditioning and equipment were not a consideration. I remember my coaches telling us to lift a large amount of weights, do it often, do it daily and keep on doing it. I have enough stretch marks on my arms/shoulders due to that. My helmet was about as useful as a baseball cap is today. I remember to this day, that my defensive coach told us , that the best tackle is when you take your head/helmet and meet the other play right on to their helmet. So many times in doing that, my hands and fingers were tingling. But I loved the sport, I did have 7 concussions playing in 3 years. 1 year, I was out because I torn up my left leg ligament.

I do know to this day, that all of that activity, plus I was a reckless playing, loving violent contact that my spine took a toll. So for me, I recognize that the start of my spinal problems came from my days of playing football.

I would love to hear how others feel that their problems began.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • I had a pinched nerve in my shoulder. I went to an Osteopath (which is like a Chiropractor but they also have a medical degree). He put my back to his back, grabbed my arms and "adjusted" my back by jerking me. I couldn't get out of bed the next morning. I called him and he had me come in and he did it again. After months of pain and a week in the hospital I was able to go back to work but my back was never the same. I was always having episodes of my back "going out". Fast forward 15 years and I had an artificial disk surgery at L5S1. Ten years later I had the next 3 levels fused. Now my SI joint is flaring. Needless to say, I don't recommend Chiropractors.
    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
  • I was an avid motocross ( dirtbike) rider for the last 20 years. Years ago I got hooked on racing so all i did was ride at local tracks, I rode every weekend pretty much. It was always my stress relief from work and any other everday troubles. Over the years I sustained numerous injuries/broken bones from riding but was always able to heal up and get back on the bike, in fact I couldnt wait to get back on the bike each time. Riding has always been my passion and I absolutely loved it. After each injury I always knew there would be more, its kind of inevitable with dirtbike riding. You know another crash will come but you have no idea whether it will be big or small. Almost 1 year ago I had that next crash and this time, unfortunately, it was the big one. I have no memory of the accident due to being knocked out for a short time and sustaining a concussion. I know what I was doing leading up to the crash but no memory of the actual incident. I was told later that I pretty much face planted into the take off of a jump which is basically like slamming face first into a brick wall. To add insult to injury the bike crushed me as well. Out of that I sustained a T6 burst fracture and some smaller fractures of the transverse process on my T5 and T7. I was extremely fortunate not to be paralyzed as the doctor told me I came very close to it. So now i'm fused from T4-T8 and gave up my passion for riding.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
  • I was involved in a head on car crash over 50 years ago for which I did not get medical treatment. (long story). That caused most of my neck injuries. Then in college I was hit in the jaw with a folding chair during a church activity and again, did not get medical treatment, (another long story). Then later after college, I started to fall down a flight of stairs, grabbed the railing to break my fall. I think that caused the rotator cuff tear. For years I sought treatment and was also accused of having mental health issues and/or being a drug seeker. Eventually they finally did xrays and MRIs and discovered that I wasn't making it up. They also discovered an extra pair of ribs which was causing all kinds of problems. Again, if they had caught that when I was in my teens they could have removed them and avoided permanent damage, but they didn't. And of course now you throw in the old age and the arthritis...
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 263
    edited 08/05/2015 - 7:49 PM
    Possible poor posture or bending forward over a computer and typing for many years. Possible aggressive spine arthritis maybe from being very low on my IGG levels and attacked my cervical and lumbar spine. Now problems with the T's. One thing that I just thought of was we were avid boaters. Maybe all the waves and bouncing had something to do with these problems. Quite boating in 2001 though. Of course lots of wave running also, ski, tubing. Those were the good all days for sure. I can't say I would trade them in for anything.
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 556
    I was working as a Hospice Aide & my patient became very resistive. It happened very quickly. I was bathing him in bed & when I told him I was going to help him roll onto his side, he jerked & pushed back. I immediatly heard & felt a pop in my neck & pain shooting down my left arm. This happened in March 2013. Since then, I've had 2 neck fusion surgeries & just 2 months ago, had rotator cuff surgery, all related to my injuries from that day.
  • Thank you to Dilauro for providing prompts to keep conversation flowing.

    I suppose there will always be a tiny bit of doubt if I would have degenerative disc disease without the years of heavy lifting. However, I know just how heavy and seemingly impossible it was to lift those weights. I had never heard of a spinal disc hernia, and I assumed that when one happened to me, I had injured muscle. Eventually, my body could take no more, and like so many of us, it leaves me with more questions than answers.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,862
    and you know your comments raise a lot of questions.

    What was it that I really did to create this problem

    Would this still have happened?

    If I had changed my lifestyle, would I be ok now?

    Like you said, we probably all have more questions than answers. And I believe that we may never really get those answers. We understand in our guts what probably was the cause, but do we really know?

    I guess it really doesn't matter why. It is what it is, and folks like yourself try to make the most of that.

    But still down deep inside, dont we all want to know HOW
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    Injury at work when handrail broke and finished disc off after tried to keep something from falling on someone. Got better 7 years later and a lot of treatments. Then neck injury to spinal cord in pool with godchildren. Zero issues prior and played sports all my life.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • Rear ended 10 years ago. Immediately felt piercing back pain. No x-rays, no follow up. Worked in a garden center for five years, and had to keep up with the guys to prove my worth. I weigh all of 110 lbs, and was lifting 50lb + bags many times per day (with my back not knees). One day, I was restocking a pallet, standing on top of it (it was four feet tall). When to climb down with a 70lb bag of fertilizer on my shoulder, twisted, and slipped. Spent quite some time on the floor, and in pain for weeks. When to PCP, who said I had a slipped disc she could feel through the skin, and tried chiro. More pain than I can explain resulted from that. I think that's when I fractured the pars.
    Fast forward five years. I was pregnant and gained no less than 60 lbs. fell at nine months pregnant on stairs. Back took brunt of fall. About six weeks post c-section I was suffering from excruciating back pain again. Told it was normal, and to take NSAIDS (I'm allergic) went to my first PM, who told me it was normal SI joint stuff post partum, and he'd do an injection. Found a new doctor who took the time to really evaluate me in February 2013, and was able to manage. With injections for almost two years, so that I could be a mom to my growing baby.
    Last injection 10/2014 failed, and ended up in surgery after numerous falls, and not driving for four months (feb 2015)
    Now, I am being told I waited too long for surgery and have permanent foot drop. I wouldn't change a thing though. I was able to hold and raise my son. The doctors stopped the progression.
    Sorry this is so long. Great topic. Thanks for all your support. This place has truly helped me keep my head in the right spot with all this pain stuff. That is something no pain pill can do for me.
  • dbarbeau48ddbarbeau48 Posts: 318
    edited 08/07/2015 - 1:34 AM
    My chronic pain started with a spinal infection at the L2 L3 area. Doctors could never figure out why it happened but it did. My spine was ruined and caused me to have a 5 level fusion to stabilize my back. Pain every day since 2006.
    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.
  • My problems have developed over a period of time. I ended up having both neck and back surgery. Early in my life I did a few things that could have set future issues in motion. I played collegiate level Judo and that was hard on the body. I ended up as a result of my Judo injuries having three surgeries on my right shoulder. The doctor re-routed the long head on my right bicep under my arm and re-attached into the center of my shoulder plate. My arm never worked the same again. Did that put stress on my neck? Maybe, but that does not explain my back.

    The other thing that happened one time is that while rock climbing I fell 30 feet and bounced on a rock ledge. I was still 300 ft. up the side of a cliff. It took me awhile to recover from that one. I had some other accidents as a volunteer fire fighter. As a young guy that thought that I was indestructible, I need not get any help for these injuries.

    I think it is difficult to determine an exact cause. The need for pain management followed by surgery happed decades after any injuries for me. However, I think there might be a relationship between the injuries and aging.
  • I started experiencing back pain in my early teens, I'm 23 now. I did not experience any traumatic injury. My back is just "messed up." One of my main problems is inflammation and neurofibromas (tumors) on my nerves and psoas muscles. This cannot be fixed with surgery. There are other issues as well that I posted in my newbie post a little while back. So, my pain comes from "natural" causes so-to-speak.
  • AtomicmommaAAtomicmomma Posts: 1
    edited 09/01/2015 - 11:02 PM
    2 back to back car accidents when working as a visiting nurse. Due to my states workers compensation rules in 2003 I had to get approval before I could have anything done other than just dr or chiropractor visits.
    I tried I've & heat and Motrim for the first month .... Had to wait 3 months and a hearing for MRIs to be done. Then another 3 months for steroid injections which did nothing.

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  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    Atom, my mom was an RN had very similar story that took three years to settle and she basically got back what they had spent out of pocket for her to have surgery that WC wouldn't approve. She got her life back and went back to work and still works as RN today 20 yrs later. Hopefully you get some help to get better
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • I was 16 and had participated in the tryouts for senior cheerleader in high school. The next night I was woken up, blindfolded, taken out of bed & put in the back of a van on the floor. The driver lost control and we rolled over multiple times . I was unrestrained and was tossed like a shoe in a dryer. We were being taken to a celebration party to find out we made the cheer squad. Changed the entire course of my life.
  • MX, road and trail bikes, caving, surfing, canoing sailing, weight lifting, bush walking, climbing, running, training PDs,, defence related stuff and lots of other silly things. Failing to pick my parents responsibly, I believe, was also a contributing factor. In short, I simply did too much!
  • KiddertonKKidderton Posts: 10
    edited 08/29/2015 - 12:16 AM
    Unfortunately DDD runs on BOTH sides of my family. Luckily I am the only one in my immediate family who has it. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I had surgery in December 2014 to fuse c3 to c7. I felt fine for about the first month and then I started to fall apart. I now have pain so bad, it makes it hard for me to want to go on. My shoulders feel like someone poured molten lava on them and the inside of my right arm is numb pretty much most of the time. I can't feel my right thumb at all, even though it still "works". I'm starting to fall down a lot because my feet aren't doing what I want them to do. I fall on average 3 times a day. My neuro (the one who messed me up) says that this pain is coming from tight muscles and does nothing about it. I know what muscle pain feels like, as I've been suffering severe muscle spasms in my shoulder blades for over a decade now. I'm on 3,200 mg of Neurontin a day, and that keeps the "lightning bolts" away, but that's pretty much it.

    I was referred to pain management about a month ago and the meds he prescribed do NOTHING for the pain or the muscle spasms (5-325 Vicodin and 5 mg Baclofen) I'm sure they have to start out slowly before they can give out meds that are more serious. I did ask him about Soma, and he said that he doesn't even prescribe that medicine.

    All I know is that my quality of life is at about a 1 (I would give it a zero, but I'm not paralyzed) but I don't know how much more of this I can take. I am seeing a Neurologist for a CT scan and a 3 hour EMG this coming Wednesday in Cleveland. I'm hoping they can repair some of the damage this man has caused, because I'm only getting worse by the day, even though my current neuro says I'm getting better each and every day.

    Has anyone else had their neurosurgeon completely lie to them right to their face to cover their butts, or am I the only one experiencing this?
    ACDF's from C3-C7. Osteoarthritis in T1-T2
  • I like this thread and thanks for the background of so many of you. The sharing helps me to understand I'm not alone.

    I was a cheerleader in high school, back then girls were the bases. We popped girls onto our shoulders everyday after school. Any pain was ignored, we ran the bleachers and built our legs.

    Fast forward to birth of first son. Had a scheduled c as he was breach. When they put in spinal it turned into a whole spinal and emergency c section. That was one scary night. In hindsight this was the first clue of the future.
    At his one year birthday I went to lift him and my back let out, I crumpled to the floor. Excruciating scary pain as we had no clue.

    At first I was told I had pscologogical problems and pain in my head. I went with that as I just wanted to be better. I didn't improve. Lucky ducks me, a pa ordered an Mri.

    Said spinal stenosis, no disc l4/5, Ddd at multi levels. Said I had an extra vertebrae...(has anyone ever been to,d that, does it matter??) Had first fusion and immediate relief. Told I will need next level ten years from then.
    Fast forward 11 years, fusion at l3/4. Told to get l5/s1 but I went with surgeon who said only 3/4 because he already had or room booked and the other surgeon would be 4 months outs. I wasn't walking or obviously listening.

    Current, gonna have l5s1
    Who knows. Was it the cheerleading? Was it the active lifestyle between the surgeries when I was pain free? Both my parents have had their back done and have ddd. So is it genetics? My kids are active in sports..will they have these concerns? Great question. I don't know the answer. Thanks for listening.
  • isn't it amazing how many of us have been told we are faking it. How it's all in our head. My response usually is- No it's in my neck. I mean, what happened to doctor's taking us seriously.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    Mother goose, it is ridiculous and I firmly think there should be consequences for that doctor. I know we have lost people in this chronic pain world who eventually felt helpless and began to believe it was in their head. I know I was very close to that, but I was able to snap out of it and really soul search and understand I needed some help getting through it but that the pain was real and not in my head. I was lucky to have been through it before with my thoracic injury. I truly believe doctors who put that on a person without checking all avenues. We hear that when testing done is negative, when we have reached the limit of that doctors skill and it's flat out egotistical and wrong. If they want to label a patient as that they should reap the consequences if that patient actually finds out something is wrong with them. I believe the amount of people that it really is in head is very small if any. This subject infuriates me and violates every aspect of the doctors " do no harm" manifesto
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,862
    but not following this thread.

    I think the topic does warrant a separate thread, I will open a new one
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    Sorry about that I knew it wasn't , but had to post. Can we move my reply and the previous post to the thread you open?
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • I appreciate you starting one for the "it is in your head stories"..hearing that other people had to suffer that as well sadly makes me feel better and yet ticks me off all anew, grrrr. I have never in my life actually met a person with spine pain who imagined it. Who is that person (she wonders sarcastically)?

    But anyways..great thread on how it all started. Because everyone of us wondered did we do this to ourselves, did it happen to us, or were we just predestined genetically? I was a combo of two, and reading others I now know I'm not alone.
  • Troop NTTroop N Posts: 2
    edited 09/02/2015 - 11:31 PM
    My problems began after a fall..had torn my ACL in '94-95 ..but all my years growing up were very active..played every sport..know of 2 times i was concussed..the lower lumnar issues have been an issue over the past 3 years..had L-4-5 laminectomy and synovial cyst surgery in 2012 still having severe neuropathy in left leg and foot..at the end of this month for an EMG ..its the process..having an active life all my life (I'm 57) a blessing and a curse but focusing on the blessings right now..take care..N

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  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    edited 09/04/2015 - 12:30 AM
    A nasty fall off the top bunk of a camper and landed on the back side of my neck, it all went down hill from there
  • HelpmenowsugarHHelpmenowsugar Posts: 1
    edited 09/26/2015 - 6:16 AM
    my chronic pain started at work around christmas eve 2011. a sociopath i worked with came up behind me and dumped me out of my chair. i immediately felt a "twinge" in my upper left arm underneath. this "twinge" eventually spread to my back, entire left arm and left hand. i had worked in the same room with her for 7 years in a constant flight or fight state starting at 8am until 4pm for those 7 years. it has ruined my life.

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • jjgirljjjgirl Posts: 2
    edited 09/26/2015 - 9:17 AM
    Mine was found by accident. Yes, I had back pain but put it off to long hard work. I was a Restaurant Director as well as Catering Director. Working 60 plus hours a week makes you sore. But on one night now almost 8 years ago, I tripped over our giant lab and fell into her cage. The next morning I went to my doctor who sent me to ER and they found it. Bulging discs in C4-5, C5-6, stenosis C6-7, Bone spur C7-T-1,T5-6 disc protrusion to the right ventral of the thoracic spinal cord, T6-7,T9-10,T12-L1 disc protrusions with stenosis,canal narrorwing and so it goes on through my lumbar. Retrolisthesis at L2-3 and L3-4. Had two surgeries in 2012 with L4-5 Pedicle screws and rods and C5-6 with plates and pins. I continued to work until 2012 when I took off until April 2014. Went back and only made it 8 months. Now I am unemployed in chronic pain with lower back and mostly right side pain to hip and leg. I had started to lose feeling in my hands and arms prior to my cervical surgery. Its still weak but not like before.
    Thank you for this sight and all you offer. I am new here but see that there is a lot to take in and learn from.
  • Feb 2011. My husband was hospitalized for a week. Sitting at his bedside for prolonged periods of time I noticed burning in my left glute and going down my leg to the foot. Progressed to where I couldn't sit for more then 10 minutes anytime anywhere. After 41/2 years here I am, still unable to sit. We haven't gone on a vacation for 5 years, and I've missed so many celebrations/occasions.
  • My life style added to the person I am today what I mean by that is smoking, falls out exploring earth at its best just fun things. But then fishing on a river I had two trees implant me into the river bottom that started the upper back problem. I continued to work pain but I dealt with it and later found out if I had went to the doctor and some therapy things would have healed better.
    2004 rear ended totaling the truck in front of me and the truck behind that hit me. The impact only destroyed the front and rear end of my truck, thank heavens for big vehicles. I refused the advice to go to the hospital no visible injuries but two days later all hell broke loose and getting whipped all over inside my truck made it clear my back had felt the impact. I was one of those that no way was this going to beat me or change my life but it did. My job was a Quality Engineer/Production management very demanding job traveled all over the world transferring product lines, training medical personnel in correct use of our product, responsible for making sure product met standards. I could not beat the pain and it started to interfere with work so took a medical leave started the injections, tests etc. I finally lost the battle and my job that I loved. Then started the meds, injections on and on but I still had a good life managed the pain for the most part.
    I am one of the lucky ones I was able to lead a quality of life taking care of my grandson, cooking, cleaning etc. I had to watch what I did but never felt the pain I have felt this past two years.
    Then a few years ago a man decided to take me out with his car while I was walking from my truck. I refused going to the hospital then same old I can deal with it but things were never the same. I had to have my arm re-built but that was it.That is when the meds stopped doing their job and again more meds and more injections etc.
    My neurologist thinks something may have happened during my gallbladder surgery to aggravate a already existing problem. I am not sure how she is going to figure that out but we will see.
    I just think between natural DDD, arthritis, accidents, too much fun, smoking, eating habits all took their toll. I really do feel lucky I have not gone through surgery or dealt with so many of the terrible things others have and did not really suffer that bad 5/6 until the past few years too many 7/8 pain scale even higher. To be young and face this pain for years I cannot imagine. I am one of those that you look at and think what she is in pain no visible signs
  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 496
    Wow! So many of your lives make my world seem so small : )

    I'm not sure if there's just one contributing factor or a few...but when I was nine I fell off a fast running horse, didn't get checked out so don't know from there.

    At age 13, I was kicked in the tailbone area by an overzealous baby Christian girl (sisters friend, last time she was allowed at our house!). I was so sore for at least 2 weeks, barely walk or sit. Had a nice big boot heel bruise, but again, didn't get anything checked out.

    2dgs...I also have an extra lumbar, but my DR's have never seemed to think it caused any problems. A past coworker of mine says her son was given a medical marijuana card to help relieve his pain from extra lumbar, but I don't have any other info on it either.

    When I was 15, my newly-licensed-driving-sister had to slam on brakes for car ahead of her, and back before there were seatbelt laws (yes I'm that old!), I flew and hit my head on the windshield. We weren't traveling at a great speed, but I did end up with a massive green egg on my forehead, and even though I promised not to tell our folks, there was no hiding that egg! Many years later I had a couple chiropractors that seen my neck xrays ask me if I ever had whiplash before, so maybe that's where those nasty cervical bone spurs come from.

    So, if nothing above above contributed to the spondylolisthesis at L4-5, having fusion last March, it came about from plain old overworking my body.
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