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Help please. How many people have mid thoracic vertabrae wedge fractures?

Would be interested to know how many people on this forum have severe mid thoracic vertebrae (not disk - bone) wedge crush fractures caused by falling or accident, motorbike, trail bike, mountain bike, pilot ejection seat , earthquake or any other trauma injury? I understand this is a worldwide community. It was a common injury in WW2 when pilots ejected from aircraft and the Sinchuan earthquake caused a lot of these types of injury.
What was the cause?
What percentage of crush?
What Thoracic levels?
Did you break or crack ribs or sustain shoulder damage? Any other damage?
What got better, what didn't?
What are your pain levels?
Were you operated on? If so straight away, afterwards or not at all?
Were you put in a cast?
Do you get muscle spasms? Has any therapy helped?
Are you in a wheelchair or can you still walk?
Do you know of any good thoracic surgeons who will touch your case? I live in Australia.

I had a motorbike accident.
I have 80% wedge fracture at T5. I did crack ribs and had shoulder damage and badly broken ankle. Ankle healed. Need a shoulder operation. My pain levels even on narcotics are around 5-8 constantly. Although lately have had pain free days when my T4 and shoulder are taped into the correct mechanical place so my muscles can't spasm it back out again..
I was never operated on. I was never put in a cast. My spine pain never got better from the moment of the accident and still suffer pain 8 years later. My T4 was taking the strain from my non existent T5 on the right hand side. No other therapy helped. I tried them all, spent at least $30.000, most made it worse including tens, PT, swimming, pool exercises, pain clinics, acupuncture and many more. I can still walk and drive with my left arm.

Can't find a surgeon in Australia who will touch me as they say it is too dangerous to operate at T5 vertebrae level, at this level they can't do minimally invasive surgery, and I have a good chance of ending up paralysed if they operate. This is not a disk injury. Also they say the vertebrae pedicles above and below T5 are not strong enough to hold the screws in place and it 'surgery does not have good outcomes at this level.' This is a direct quote from a Board qualified and very experienced orthopaedic surgeon. They just say it healed in a really bad position. I know this is a rare injury so it would be good to know how rare it is. There seems to be only a few people on this site with mid thoracic crush bone injuries, even though this is a worldwide site. Thank you. Your feedback would be most welcome.

If any Doctors read this site and deal with mid thoracic bone crush injuries please PM me, or if the Doctors' who own this site can make it a bit clearer for me that would also be great.


  • t9crushedtt9crushed Posts: 130
    edited 10/02/2013 - 12:53 PM
    Looks like I am in this elite club. After years of searching on the internet and on various pain, spine and health boards I still have seen only a handful of people that have compression fractures of the T9. Many doctors have told me it is rare and most of them had never seen anyone with this particular injury. They also said no one would operate unless I started showing signs of paralysis, the risk vs. reward ratio is not good.
    I fell about 10 feet and landed on my tailbone which also was injured.
    The front of the vertabra lost about 50% of height, the back about 10% and MRI's show all kinds of varying degrees in the middle.
    No other damage other than tailbone. All kinds of symptoms in various body parts now.......toes, feet, hips, ribs etc. numbness,shooting pains, pins and needles, cold feeling, wet feeling......
    Pain was severe for about a week and gradually got better, then leveled off. 18 years later I go from a 4-6 average and often hit an 8 or more.
    No operation.
    No cast or brace. Went back to work 4 days later. worked fairly steady for about 8 years then had to quit.
    Daily muscle spasms.
    No wheelchair, sitting for more than a minute makes both butt and back much worse.

  • Thank you for the information. Wow what did you land on , KRYPTONITE, to do that much damage? No-one has seen an injury like mine either except one old Dr who had seen Pilots who had ejected from Aircraft as they sustain the same injury. He was going to put me on a full pension as he said I would never work again but being stubborn I worked for 7 years with the pain and finally had to give up. Wish I had listened to him in the first place - just didn't realise how rare it is. Takes high impact to crush thoracic bone. I have PM'd you. I know the injury is extremely rare.
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  • Same thing here. Motorcycle accident. I have been reminded several times how close my vertebrae came to bursting.

    -Superior Wedge Fracture at T6 - 30%.
    -Traumatic Compression Fracture at T5 - Wedged 70%-90%
    -Some flattening of the spinal cord

    Ultimately resulting in

    -Spinal fusion surgery T3-T8

    Being a productive citizen is dependent upon a reasonable level of medication, acupuncture and a combination of standing and sitting in a special chair. Thankfully, I can walk in a mostly upright position and do it without appearing to be injured. Unfortunately, this leads others to misunderstand my condition. Perhaps that would not be the case if they could see the 12 screws and 2 rods directly behind my heart and lungs. After 3 completely different post op diagnosis, I have given up on most neurosurgeons. They don't seem to understand this area of the spine very well and most will not admit it. I have not given up though. I am sure there is someone remarkable out there. It may just take a little time to find them.
  • I fell about 2 metres last year, I'm unsure of how I landed but compacted and fractured my T7 to half it's size. I had to have surgery because there was floating bits from the fracture really close to my spinal cord. They fused the T7 and put rods and screws from T4 to T10. According to the surgeon I was lucky to be walking but the surgery was basic for him because he was a spinal specialist. The accident and surgery happened in America, but now I am home in Australia. I am on the public waiting list to get the screws in the T10 removed as they are protruding and causing pain.
  • 16 weeks ago 3 column burst of the t8 cyclocross bike accident. CT scan scary looking. No surgery, maybe, at least not yet. 14 weeks tlso brace 2 weeks sort in and out right now. See neurosurgeon in a week. Pain levels have subsided low pressure days suck. I have 30 degrees of kyphosis I think causing the majority of my discomfort in my lumbar region lower lumbar spasms. I hope PT will take care of it. I have a slight tingle on and off in my right leg. last appointment Dr. said the disk between the t8 and t7 was gone, destroyed in the accident. Now the 2 have begun to fuse. I also broke a rib or 2. now healed. Dr's very stingy with info on this type of fracture every one is different.
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  • I fractured T5 thru T11 and L4 and scapula. It's been 3 months and I had rods and screws and cement used to support spine. I can walk with a cane. Pain controlled with Percocet. Am not returning to work. I'm 63 y.o. Surgeon tells me I can't afford to have another fracture. Need to be very careful. I also broke 10 ribs. I fell about 5 ft. Because this was a compression fracture, I lost 2 in in height. I'm just trying to readjust my life.
  • I had a dirt bike accident which broke my neck and back in 1995. I've had little complications from my neck compared to my 50% wedge fracture of T6. I feel lucky to be walking, believe me, but the pain 19 years later is actually increasing. I am a 5 most of the time, with increases to an unbearable 8 or 9 when I sit with my hands out in front of me or stand for more than 10 minutes.

    I'm a senior captain at the largest airline in the world, but am off on medical disability with my pain. I am so frustrated being on the sidelines and miss flying every second of every day. I lived with the pain, and managed it without medicine for 17 years, but the last 2 years has gotten the best of me.

    Anyone have ANY ideas to get this pain under control? I've been to countless ortho, neuro and pain docs and they all say I'm pretty much untreatable. I'm only 46 and have a great career ahead of me if I can get even a little relief.

    Thanks a million in advance!

  • I'm almost 3 months post op from my surgery. I ride motocross and suffered a T6 burst fracture in a crash. Doc said i came very close to being paralyzed. Fusion surgery was done to stabilize my back. Im fused from T4-T8 with the screws, rods, crosslinks and bone grafting. I was also put in a brace that is only allowed to come off if i'm laying down at less than 30 degrees. My pain levels are pretty manageable as I dont have much pain since i cant really do anything normal yet, just lay around alot. I havent really taken any pain meds since leaving the hospital as well. No work for me in the near future as i'm a construction worker and the doc pretty much told me i need to find a new career now :-( Don't know what i'm gonna do but just hope this fuses solid and i dont have major problems from it as the years go by, i'm only 36 yrs old.
    September 2014 : T6 burst fracture, multilevel fusion from T4-T8
  • Laurie TaylorLLaurie Taylor Posts: 1
    edited 03/23/2015 - 8:06 PM
    six years ago to date I had a fall & sustained 4 wedge compression fractures, T5 through T8. I'm 32, female and to this day live with 7/10 pain. Pump Advil, baclofen, still have spasms on regular basis. I live on robaxacet. Nothing seems to help.


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  • Geeezer11GGeeezer11 Posts: 1
    edited 08/27/2015 - 10:01 PM
    I fell from about 5 feet and landed on my butt, causing a 30% compression/burst/wedge fracture in my t9. This was about 3 years ago. No surgery and was in a brace for 8 weeks. Today I am pretty good - I do experience achiness thoughout my mid back some days and especially when doing something with my arms in front of me (like doing the dishes). My physical therapist taught me ELDOA technique, which is a series decompression exercises that I've found helpful. Look it up, although I haven't seen a lot of info on the web. He also taught me proper technique for dead lifts (not as easy as it looks and most people do it wrong), which I found really strengthened my back and brought me to a more pain free state. I do experience jarring, somewhat painful cracks and snaps in my back, like when I lay flat on the ground or if I suck in my ribs from a slouched position. That scares me and I'm definitely concerned about long term effects. Good luck.


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