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New member, newly diagnosed with pars defect

HannahWHHannahW Poynton, Cheshire, EnglandPosts: 2

Hi all,

My name is Hannah, 31, and I live near to Manchester in England.  After a jolt on a train in January I continued to experience lower back pain.  In March/April time I visited my doctor to explain that I was coping with the pain by taking over-the-counter pain killers, but only really once a fortnight.  In early August I had a massive 'flair up' (a name I've given it, but I'm not referring specifically to muscles) and visited the doctor again in a huge amount of pain.  They were brilliant and got me an x ray and blood tests fairly quickly.  I have now been diagnosed with pars defect and am waiting for the nearest spinal clinic to get in contact (my doctor made the referral already). 

But, I'm the first patient of this doctor who has received this diagnosis, so I'm left with no information, apart from Google.  It's great to see a forum like this, and although I'm not asking for medical advice, I was wondering if anyone could share some pain relieving tips. I find a hot water bottle can provide relief, and I've searched out some very simple, gentle exercises.

Thanks

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Comments

  • Hi, HannahW!

    Coming from someone who's bilateral Pars defect remained undetected until I was on the operating table, I'm glad your doctor(s) were able to figure out that's what's happening with your back!  Where in your spine is the defect?  Is it considered "bilateral", meaning that  both Pars interarticularis bones are fractured? Mine was in the lumbar spine.  I'm very glad to hear when patients relate that they are pleased with their medical care! 

    Yes, the "flares" are HIDEOUS!  I feel for you, I really do.  Do your flares range in intensity?  For times when mine were "mild", over the counter remedies usually were enough to get me through--along with the trusty heating pad!  During the really rough episodes, I'd be laid up for weeks sometimes, and would have to see a doctor for stronger medications.  Have any medications been prescribed until you can get into the spine specialist?  My doctor would usually put me on both a prescription pain killer and a muscle relaxer during the bad flares.  I understand that the muscles spasms were my body's way of creating a natural "splint" around the injured area, but WOW, the pain!!! 

    Pars defects do not always require surgery, and "conservative" methods such as epidural steroid injections, medications, physical therapy, and heat and/or ice etc. have been shown to be effective for some people with this condition.  It depends upon many factors, one being if the defect is causing another condition (in my case, spondylolisthesis--a slippage of the vertebra forward because both of the bones were broken, and the vertebra essentially had nothing to hold it up and back!). 

    I would caution you to be careful with exercises until and unless you are properly trained how to do them by a physical therapist.  I just wouldn't want to see you inadvertently making things worse until you get a better idea of what your treatment plan is going to be.  It's great that you're getting into see a specialist.  "Dr. Google" :)  while helpful in getting a basic idea of what a Pars defect is, can also lead to anxieties because right now, you don't have a clear picture of the extent of the fracture--you just know it's there. 

    I'd like to welcome you to Spine-Health!  Please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started!

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • HannahWHHannahW Poynton, Cheshire, EnglandPosts: 2

    Hi Kimmy,

    Thank you so much for your response.  There is a lot here that is helpful and encouraging. 

    In terms of my full diagnosis, I still haven't received any correspondence from a specialist at the hospital, so I really don't know much.  My doctor said that the defect was on my left hand side, but I'm unsure as to what extent this has effected the vertebrae, and I haven't been told at which level.  From what I understand from "Dr Google" a large amount of patients with this diagnosis do experience a slippage of the disk, but I haven't had any further scans and no-one has informed me of what has occurred in my back. 

    I am beginning to learn more about my pain, and which activities are more or less painful.  I find standing fine for a while (especially if I'm pacing - that's quite comfortable) but walking is agony.  Also, some seats are much more painful than others.  The doctor has prescribed me pain killers, but has expressed a little caution and has encouraged me to do without if I can.  However, these still don't remove the pain, just ease me. 

    In terms of exercises, all I am doing is slowly bringing up my knees when I am laid down, or one leg at a time.  You are right, I do not want to risk more damage.  But I do find this comforting.

    I have stayed in contact with the doctor as I am due to fly to Philadelphia VERY soon for a trip that I've been dreaming about for years! She has agreed to produce documentation so that I can fly, and has recommended using a back support belt.  The airline has been helpful and have granted me special assistance, which I am sure will help no end. Since I'm right at the beginning of my journey with this diagnosis I was wondering if a walking stick may help me while walking around?  While I'm keen to learn how to best take care of myself, I'm stubborn and do not want to miss this opportunity.

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  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,457
    Hi HannahW!  I'm new here too....and also have pars fractures-but I have them at L2 and at L5, bilateral in both places.  My L5 has started to slip forward, and my L2 has started to slip backwards and sideways-I can tell you from experience, you don't want that to happen!  I was told that anything leaning backwards (extension; curving your spine towards your front like you are trying to look behind you by tipping your head up and back-opposite a cat arched back thing) is bad bad bad (and it feels bad too!).  I have a ton of radiculopathy, and occassionally a leg will give out so I have "succumbed" to using a cane when I am out and about-don't want to go crashing down in the roadway or something-all I can suggest is some of us "less coordinated types" (like me) need practice before going out in public with those things!  LOL.  It is a great security blanket for me anyways, because if - and somehow it's always when one doesn't expect it - the thing twinges or gets a huge muscle spasm at least I can hang on and brace myself on the cane and breath until I can continue walking, or get somewhere that I can sit down and hunch over forward and breath until it's better.  It's such a search and discover thing, having a "bad back"...learning what we can and can't and shouldn't do....you can always have a discussion with your doctor too, for advice and if your doctor says you are okay to go, why not!?  Go and have a great time!
    Kathy
    Spine-Health Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • WLLady--You really hit the nail on the head when you say that the process of finding out what our physical limitations are is a "search and discover" mission!!

    Hannah--You are very welcome!  I hope that you will hear something from the doctor soon about the direction of your treatment.  A trip to Philadelphia--how exciting!!  WLLady makes a great point about the cane--even if you don't feel like you need it, another good reason for having one is that it can be a good deterrent from people bumping into you, too.  Although I don't need my back brace all that much anymore, I will still wear it if I'm going to be in a crowd.  It's better than a sign that says "Fusion Healing--Steer Clear!"

    Keep us updated, ok?     
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,457
    oh kimmy-excellent point about people being more careful around someone with a cane-or an obvious item to help them out, cane, wheelchair or whatever.  thought i would be "brave" and just zip (ha, as much as i can zip anymore) into the bank without my cane-it's only 50 feet or so....some twit came barrelling out the door and knocked into me not even that hard, but it put me on the ground in tears from the pain in my back.  i'm 100% sure if i had had my cane with me i would not have been run into in the first place.  it wouldn't have saved me if i had, but pretty sure they would have seen it. 
    Kathy
    Spine-Health Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

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