Severe Pain from Falling on tailbone after L2, L3 and L4 Lumbar fusions

Severe Pain from Falling on tailbone after L2, L3 and L4 Lumbar fusions

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ajg
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Severe Pain from Falling on tailbone after L2, L3 and L4 Lumbar fusions

I had my first lumbar fusion in December 2011. I was finally starting rehab in or around May 2012. In July, I fell in my garage straight down on my tailbone. I had immediate pain of course. I tried to continue with rehab but the pain was so bad, I could not continue, could not even straighten up. At first, my surgeon thought I might have a compression fracture but I did not. So, my surgeon asked me to begin pain management procedures in August for everything you can imagine; fact joints, sacro joints, single side, both sides, rhizatomy, trigger point, t10-T11 injections (found on a bone scan that we did not know existed, my surgeon suggested my lower lumbar pain might come from that. So, from August 2012, I have had pain management injections every month thereafter until I had another fusion of L2-L3 in February, 2013 and then further injections up until a few weeks ago.

All of this started from that one fall in July 2012. I am not even sure why I needed the 2nd fusion. None of this would have been required if I had not fallen, it is pretty obvious that everything started to occur pretty much a month after this fall. I have asked my surgeon and frankly I do not recall if he every gave me an answer.

So, my pain is now around L4 down to my lowest part of my spine, not the vertebra but your "cocus"? Every time I bend, I get a huge shock, I can only straighten up very slowly, walking, standing, sitting can only be done for a maximum of around around an hour or so, then I have to move or the pain/aching will continue to get worse. However, the funny thing is, in order to try to get a tiny bit of exercise, I can actually get on my bike to ride around our community and I get the slightest bit of relief, not much, but a little. My spine feels as if I am pulling the vertebrae apart, relieving pressure. I can actually feel it. An article I read recently in Bicycling Magazine reflected some guy who had similar relief and his surgeon said it may be the pulling apart of the vertebrae? I have no idea, but when the pressure feels a tiny bit less, I feel a slight bit of relief. There are no indications that something may be wrong with hardware or the fusions.

I cannot lift my hips off of a bed to get out (I have to roll out by grabbing my headboard), the pain seems to radiate down my L5 to the right, down my buttock, into my right leg across my upper thigh to my ankle. Getting out of a car is work, I have to grab the top of the door frame and pull myself out. My gate is affected and I have weakness in my right leg.

So far, since last August (a month after I fell), I think I have had 20 or so epidurals or injections in every point imaginable. Still NO RELIEF and frankly, my pain actually seems to be moving. The surgical site does not have pain, only severe stiffness and it aches, hard to straighten up. It is the area BELOW the fused site L4. All strong pain meds have done nothing, pool work has failed as I cannot kick my legs back as I feel pain and it also feels like I have a rod in my back that prevents me from bending.Heat, cold, electrical, back braces, injections, massage. Nothing has worked. I am popping hydracodone, vicadin, oxy like they are candy. All they do is give me some temporary relief but I am out of it. I can even bend over but it's the drugs. I don't like powerful pain pills so I tried to not use them but I am back to taking them now. All anti-inflamatories and patches have not done a thing.

Oh, I am now experiencing pain in my pelvis area/hip which is new. What if the fused site has made my l5 and below unstable? I don't know what else to say to my surgeon anymore. I feel embarrassed that I always see him with a complaint, I feel guilty. It's actually hard to describe to him how my pain is. He looks at me and says little. He gave me recently some exercises that address someone who had a sacro joint fusion. I can do almost none. All I can say is I cannot function at all normally. I went for a second opinion by a well know Ortho/Surgeon and he basically said my surgeon was doing a good job, he did not even give me an idea or what might be happening, I felt like he did not want to get involved. He was with me for a total of about 5 minutes and I had brought him probably 15 exays/MRI's.

Bottom line; what did I do from falling directly on my tailbone??? This all stemmed from that one incident. Sure, I am 56, an athlete all my life, so there is of course degenerative indications, but again, this all started with my fall.

I feel like this problem is going to be with me now for the rest of my life, what do I have, what do I do? If someone could, please let me know your thoughts on this, I am pretty much in agony. New to this forum. Maybe someone can email or text me too, just to make sure I am using this forum correctly.

sandi
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Did you ever have your coccyx xrayed?

I fell off my basement steps some 9 of them down onto a concrete floor , and landed flat on my tailbone and wound up displacing/fracturing my tailbone. I experienced similar pain, couldn't sit, stand or lay down for the pain and it lasted several months, while the fracture healed....

Coral
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A guess based on your long write-up

AJG,

I feel very similar to you. I was athletic my whole life and had a serious trauma that then turned my physical health (and my whole life) into a tailspin, and doctors weren't helping (and I eventually started to wonder if they had a clue about what was actually going on). I wrote long detailed stories like yours, looking for help. I eventually found the root cause and am pain-free now. Can I speculate about something here? You're a Type A person, very ambitious, caring, conscientious, rule-following, and friendly. You're not the type to let people down, curse people out, throw trash on the street, or anything like that. You're a good person, and you're somewhat of a perfectionist. If I'm right about that, I might be right about how your personality can help you out of your pain. Let me know.

ajg
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Yes, your diagnosis of who

Yes, your diagnosis of who and what I am is very accurate. I try to fight through any adversity, which I learned in the Marine Corps and my friends. This is the first time in my life that I actually have felt that I have no control with this situation. I meet with my Surgeon next Thursday and I truly don't know what to tell him. I don't know what can be causing the extreme, constant pain. I am done with injections, nothing has worked. All I know is since that day I fell down, all of this followed. Thank you all for your thoughts and help. PS, an additional piece of information since it relates to your observation; I have battled a bi-polar 1 condition for years. At first during my banking career, my drive and ambition that made me a great success, was really due to my manic stages. Then, I started to battle the highs and lows of depression/mania. Although pretty much under control now, thanks for an entire pill box of meds taken every night, this situation has hurt my condition a lot. As you can see by my long posting, I am pretty much manic about it, seeking a solution. The more I think about it, daily, the worse it makes me feel, because I have no immediate relief to take my mind off of it. I am trying though.

Coral wrote:
AJG,

I feel very similar to you. I was athletic my whole life and had a serious trauma that then turned my physical health (and my whole life) into a tailspin, and doctors weren't helping (and I eventually started to wonder if they had a clue about what was actually going on). I wrote long detailed stories like yours, looking for help. I eventually found the root cause and am pain-free now. Can I speculate about something here? You're a Type A person, very ambitious, caring, conscientious, rule-following, and friendly. You're not the type to let people down, curse people out, throw trash on the street, or anything like that. You're a good person, and you're somewhat of a perfectionist. If I'm right about that, I might be right about how your personality can help you out of your pain. Let me know.

ajg
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That step by step link was

That step by step link was very informative and it is almost exactly the steps that I have been on so it made me feel a bit better. With regards to my questions, I was hoping to learn a bit more as to what you think my fall did to my lumbar spine, what to say to my doctor, other than the truth. I have not been able to secure a real answer to that question from my surgeon, specifically; what damage did this fall do to my lower lumbar region? No compression fracture but it certainly did something!! After 20 plus epidural injections since last August, they have pretty much covered all of my lower spine. The pain has now moved into my pelvis and hip area, not sure why at this point. If anyone has some ideas on what I have done due to my fall that has caused this, I would really like to hear it! Thanks for your wonderful feedback! I appreciate your help even though I am new to this forum. I thought I should become a forum member right away when I saw it to share stories from those who have experienced situations close to my own.

sandi wrote:
I fell off my basement steps some 9 of them down onto a concrete floor , and landed flat on my tailbone and wound up displacing/fracturing my tailbone. I experienced similar pain, couldn't sit, stand or lay down for the pain and it lasted several months, while the fracture healed....
sandi
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AJG

You may very well have fractured your tailbone.....which by the way is not one of those areas that they tend to focus on when dealing with spine pain.......in fact, at the time that I fell, I was told that while my tailbone was displaced and definately fractured , there was nothing that could be done because of the area involved. Ice, a inflatable ring to sit on, and even an elongated body pillow that I could kind of wrap around me and then roll into, were how I got through the painful weeks until it started to not be quite so painful.
Then I got stupid and after a couple of months, went ice skating with my troop of girls and fell on the ice all over again....don't laugh, I should've had more sense, but figured that it was healed so why not.
It is also possible that the fall you took also managed to disrupt another area of your spine, or compress a nerve somewhere.It is possible , given the extent of your previous surgeries, that there could very well be a problem at L5-S1 now, since adjacent segment problems can occur after fusion surgery.
When did you last have a new MRI and CT scan done to see both the soft tissues and the boney tissues? Have you ever had a myelogram?