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Why Me?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,454
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Depression and Coping
I am sure everyone who has any spinal problem has asked this question a hundred times.

I sort of feel that after dealing with spinal conditions for over 35 years, I have come to understand some of the good and the bad associated with this.

There are some major factors that are involved when someone asked why they are having spinal problems.

Just take a look at the way people pick up packages. People dont bend at the waist and instead reach over to pick up the package. I have a number of young kids that work at the package store and lift cases of wine, by just reaching down and picking it up. I tell them about how important it is to bend at the knees and bring things up slowly. Their response, Well, I am strong, no problem doing this
My reply Yes, you can do this now, but wait until later on in life, it will catch up to you.

This is something a long time valuable member (Z06) has stated. What we eat, how we eat, how we can let ourselves get overweight can be a big factor in spinal problems. Life style changes in terms of eating, drinking , smoking can play a huge role in what problems may crop up. Maybe not know, but later on.

This is the one that I am probably most guilty off. Ok, we are feeling good, so that gives us the green light to do so much more. After, we will pay the price. This is sort of a sense of denial. We know we have some problems, but we dont want to face it for whatever reason. So instead of addressing it, we tend to ignore it.

Even those of us who are strict with the way we do things, strict with the way we eat, etc, still wind up with spinal problems. How can that be? There is some degree of family background when it comes to this. I am not sure how much formal studies have been done on this, but there is some merit behind it.

This is one situation where we have no control of. A car accident, a major fall, a helicopter (Brenda) crash can cause a lot of damage. These are the things we almost have zero control over.

I think that everyone should take stock in to what they can control , forget about what they cant. I know what I can do to avoid future problems... And if I dont I have no one to blame but myself
Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 


  • love this Ron :)
    allow me to add my personal thoughts..

    mechanics, you could have been watching me! I have done so many things over the years thinking that I was young and strong and of course independent! who needed help...

    diets, after my fist cervical fusion I put on almost 40 lbs. I had been fit and active but became dormant and depressed! So, after that I got back on plan, took off the weight and stayed happily within the BMI (body mass index), but guess what, this year cervical fusion and lumbar TLIF...

    avoidance, well just call me Cleo.. queen of d'nial!
    I did and payed until I could do no more

    genetics, I am a believer! my dad has had problems with his neck and back all of his life, he is 72 now and the body has pretty much just fused itself. he never would consent to any surgery, he would suffer thru the episode and then get up and go back to work. My brother's spine is eerily similar to mine, he is medicating and praying, he has small children and just doesn't feel he can take the time to care for himself

    trauma, guess that would be the run in with a drunk driver that put me into the or the first time, but, i am grateful, it could have been worse.

    Ron, thanks again for this. I am in the healing process and keeping in mind what I can and can't control is a daily exercise. one day at a time!

  • Has my name all over it!!

    I am so guilty of not lifting things the proper way and when my children were little I was always picking them up and carrying a child on my hip....but I was young!!

    I had a bad fall down the stairs which caused my herniations and the real major issues I have suffered over the last 3 years but back trouble was already there due to my ignorance of how I moved and watched how I lift and bend. Definitely paying for it now.

    However, it doesn't end there, the same applies to my future.....if I don't watch my mechanics my level above fusion will have issues that will require more surgery so as spineys we must incorporate life style changes for the rest of our lives to avoid additional problems to the ones we already have.

    I agree with you Ron, there is a lot we can not control but there is also a lot that we can and it's never to late to get it right!

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  • Howdy Ron,

    Nodding... Between crashing a helicopter, two MVA's (both hit and run - big surprise in Miami - NOT) wear and tear in law enforcement, of which believe it or not, none of which I would change? My spine is just catching up to me?

    Do I have the "why me?" question, actually no. I figured years ago, I was on borrowed time. When the engine quit, I decided in the last seconds to 'drag' the helicopter body to dissipate the energy vs "straight down" impact. Wouldn't change a thing. But, if you talk with the FAA or NTSB, I shouldn't be here, never mind walking!!! (G) So I guess..."zero control" over the engine failing, but "some" control out of what I did on the *cough* recovery to crash.

    Genetics...not an issue in my family. Diet, I have been trying to eat better, stay with my GP to keep blood work up and such to be sure I am good there. :)


    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I personaly think its more genetic then anything. We all know people who it dont mater what they eat how they lift dont even mater that they are over weight they never develop back pain to any degree at all and live there whole life pain free. They might drop dead from posible heart condition being over weight and such but never back condition.

    I do believe that we are more ill in this day and age for all the chemicals we consume in our foods with artificial this artificial that food coloring and you name it we eat it. Our grand parents ate so much fat foods but most of it was there own livestock or it came from your regular farmers back in the day before all the process foods came about. They grew everything in there own garden and they was poor so they learned to make things out of everything they had.

    And even being poor they ate healthier then what we eat now with all the junk foods and what you buy in the store. All the money spent on vitamins could probably be obtained through eating some good home made soup as far as we know. Our grand or with some grand grand parents worked in the fields doing back breaking work from early morning untill dark and lived to be 90. And there back never give out on them. And they did not have too much time to worry about body mechanics or what they can or cant eat.

    I dont think anyone knows for sure if its because of the foods or genetics or what the cause of these back conditions are but i think i should of been born at least 30 years earlier if not 50 years sooner.

    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,454
    I think more than anything the area about mechanics is so very important.
    When we were younger, we always felt so invincible. Nothing could hurt us and if we did get an injury, we would be bouncing back the next day.

    Keeping a young mind is still very important, but also being realistic about the things we do.

    - How do you bend.
    - How do you lift things up.
    - How much do you stretch or over reach to get something.
    - How many things do you try to pick up that you shouldnt.
    - And so on and so on

    I can remember after my first lumbar surgery in 1978 that after I recovered and went back to the 'mainstream', I just figured I was healed. Nothing to worry about, nothing to limit myself with, I could do anything I wanted. Words of a young 28 year old man that was being totally unrealistic.

    Ok, sure after all these years, I cant turn back the clock, I cant do it over... But if there was One message I would want to get to everyone on this site, that would be:

    Always be aware of your physical environment. Always pay attention to the things you do, how you bend, how you pick up things. Never assume that you can do something because it seems trivial. I wish I could post a picture of how my spine and body looks after 40 years of somewhat neglect. You know a picture says a 1000 words. We are not invincible, but we are intelligent enough to know what is right and what is wrong. Nothing would please me more than to see our younger members who have just begun experiencing spinal problems have them corrected and pay attention to their life styles, so that there will be no further problems in the future!

    How to make this happen?
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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  • Mechanics - I always tried to lift the right way through the years. The problem was that I was in a horrific car accident when I was 18. No seatbelt, in the front passenger seat, hit head-on by a drunk driver that was speeding on a mountain road, and I was thrown head-first into the windshield - my head shattered the windshield and my jaw hit the metal dashboard, resulting in 6 months of ultrasound for me to be able to open my mouth enough to eat.

    Little did I know that my spine, mostly cervical (you can imagine from the way my head hit the front of the car), started its decline. I didn't have my spine inspected at the time, everything hurt (my knees also hit the metal dashboard, even denting it) and nobody thought about it. Too much bruising, pains, but nothing broken. (Dang, I had such good bones.)

    So, with that said, I moved along in my life, doing tae kwon do, river rafting, dancing and shaking my head up and down vigorously for fun, bungee jumping - all the things younguns do, not knowing that my spine was collapsing.

    30 years later and one day *BAM*, it all came home. It came on one day in May 2008 and I've had to deal with it ever since. Had I known then what I know now, oh how different my life would've been.

    The "I'm invincible" thinking of young people can indeed come back to bite them later in life - with spine issues as well as other things. I remember all too well how invincible I felt as a youngster and like Ron, hope that will change gradually in our generations to come.

  • Sometimes we can do everything right when we are younger and then end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I'd only done this one little thing differently... Now I have a totally new life to accept (well I've been on the accepting end for a few years now) but sometimes its still hard. Try to look forward and focus on the positive and do everything I can to help the spine I now have to be as strong as possible so I can continue to do things (maybe not all the old things, but things, new things).

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • As a young person with back/neck issues I wish I had these "younger" years everyone talks about. :(
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
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