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Thoracic t10 & t11 compression fracture - 16yo

DraganMDDraganM Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:51 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hi guys, I've decided to post on these forums to see what others think I should do about my problem, as the numerous doctors, specialists and physios I have been to don't seem to be providing too much help. I apologize for what will be a long post, but there is no way to really summarize it.

I'm a 16yo male, 6"1 76kg, and I am quite sporty, going to the gym 5 times a week along with playing basketball and indoor soccer as a goalkeeper. Approximately 4 months ago while I was at the gym, I felt a slight onset of pain in what felt like a muscle in my lower right back. It did not cause enough pain to hinder my workouts or other training, so I continued everything normally, until the pain started to get worse over the next few weeks.

At this point, the pain wasn't too bad, but enough for me to know I needed to halt everything for a while. My mother suggested that I see a chiropractor, so I began seeing one for about 1 1/2 months, 3 times a week, and after a while I began feeling a throbbing pain in what felt like a bone whenever I went to him, but he told me this was normal and that it would go away within a few weeks. It did not, and he did not help at all, so I quit going to him. 1 or 2 days later, I began feeling an onset of pain in what felt like my mid right back radiating around to my ribcage. Within a few hours that day, the pain got so intense that I had to take a paracetamol, which soon stopped the pain. The pain came back within a few hours, so I had to take it again, to which I realized i would have to keep taking it until this pain faded.

Over the next few weeks, the pain did not fade, and I began experiencing STRONG muscle cramping in my back on the right side which would bring me to my knees, and I went to a few doctors, who all told me that it was just a muscle sprain or something similar, and that rest would make it get better. It got no better over the next week, and I went to a family doctor, who sent me to x rays of the ribcage, blood tests, ultrasounds etc, but nothing showed. She then sent me for an MRI, which revealed that I had a slight compression fracture in the t10 and t11 vertebrae. It was said that a CT scan would help see the injury better, but I would prefer not to do one because of the radiation.

There are only two things I can think of that may have caused this. Either from squats when I was doing strength training at the gym, where I was squatting 180kg for 3 sets of 5, and after each set I would feel a slight pain around my mid spine each time I re-racked the weight, but it would fade after 2 or 3 seconds. As ****y as I am, I figured this was just because it was heavy and that I would get used to it, and I believe this may have slowly compressed the vertebrae over a few weeks. The other possible culprit is when I was dunking off a trampoline with some friends, and a few times I landed quite hard on my feet. I do think however that it is from the squats, due to the slight pain after each set mentioned.

After this, I was just told to rest it up and do no sports which I had already been doing, but I didn't know what to do about the muscle cramping, which the paracetamol wasn't stopping. I was advised to take ibuprofen or similar to help with it, so I began taking voltaren rapid, which worked quite well, although I am aware it is bad for the stomach. I saw an orthopedic specialist, who really just did a checkup by tapping on parts of my body and pushing into parts of my back and asking me to tell him when it hurt, and then told me to rest it up for another 6 weeks and come back to him for another checkup.

I am growing quite frustrated with this, as I still have the pain in my side after over 2 months of it being there, and I have to take voltaren or paracetamol a few times a day to stop the pain and cramps. I tried not taking them, and my back cramped up when i tried to get up from laying down, and I couldn't move for around 40 minutes, so my mum called the ambulance, who just shot me with a muscle relaxant, took me to the hospital, and discharged me with a prescription for Valium, which I do not take unless I absolutely need to. On top of all this, its just annoying that I can't play any sports or work out.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do to speed up this healing process, or has anybody had this pain in their side and found a way to get rid of it? It no longer feels like its around my rib cage as well, however. Now its a constant shooting pain that feels like it comes from the muscle in my back, so I don't know if that's better or worse. I asked my physio about a back brace, but he does not recommend it. I have also had a few acupuncture and acu-cupping sessions, which may have slightly reduced the muscle pain, but I'm not 100% sure. I feel that a back brace would help, and I may ask the specialist about this, who I will be seeing in around 3 weeks. Thanks and once again I apologize about such a long post.

Also, this is exactly what the MRI says:

At T10 and T11 there is hyperintensity of the marrow within the right sided posterior element, particularly of the pars interarticularis with mild anterior extension into the right pedicule. This may represent a pars stress response/undisplaced, mild pars stress fracture. Mild right T10 perineural / periganglionic soft tissue hyperintensity may be reactive and correlation for radiculitis is recommended. No definite expansile or destructive lesion is seen, however other differentials such as osteoma, osteoblastoma, bone cyst may have to be considered should there be ongoing concerns. A CT of this lesion may help but would probably be better performed in conjunction with further workup if needed in the near future.

The spinal cord ends at T12/L1. The lumbar discs are within normal limits with no disc protrusion or annulus fibrosus lesion. No evidece of facet, canal or foraminal abnormality. No wedge compression.

Conclusion: On the right at T10 there is a pars interarticularis injury/stress response. Other rare differentials may have to be considered if appropriate.


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