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Spinal Injury

  1. #1
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Spinal Injury


    So I have a preliminary diagnosis on the "shoulder injury" that's been bothering me since my crash in 8/2015, ruptured discs in C5, C6, T2, and T3. Cliffs Notes of the injury history are as follows:
    * Lawn dart my self at approximately 100 mph going into T1 at NHMS, get x-rays which are all negative and I'm sore as hell.
    * With offspring on the way, moving house, and changing jobs I opt to forgo any treatment despite persistent pain in my shoulder and numbness in my left arm and hand.
    * A year later 9/2016 I go see my PCP to do something about it, he thinks I have a rotator cuff injury and sends me to PT, I go for 3 months with zero improvement.
    * PCP refers me to the general orthopedist for my area, he thinks I have a torn labrum based on physically manipulating my shoulder. Says I need surgery, will do MRI as a pre-op procedure. I back off, decide I'm maybe not ready for surgery yet, he leaves me open referral.
    * This year, 9/2017, the numbness is worse and I say fuck it I need to get this done. Go back and see the ortho, he orders the MRI for my shoulder and it's negative for labral tear. He refers me to the shoulder specialist for my area.
    *Shoulder specialist thinks I have a torn long head biceps tendon but says regardless I shouldn't be experiencing the numbness in my arm and hand. Orders MRI of my neck to see what's what, MRI shows damage to C5, C6, T2, and T3 discs. I now have a referral to a neurosurgeon.

    So I'm trying not to self-diagnose myself but it's my spine, just looking to hear from folks who have dealt with this type of injury. My shoulder doc did say he's seen a lot worse so I guess that's a good thing. Anyhow, this sucks but at least it's closer to a diagnosis/solution. I also believe that had I been wearing a neck brace it could have prevented, or at least mitigated the damage I received.

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  2. #2
    Lifer
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    I'm surprised it took this long to get anyone too concerned over numbness without any diagnosis to explain it, or imaging to confirm it isn't a nerve impingement. Next up is probably a nerve conduction test (send some voltage down the line) and some squeeze-my-hand games. If you haven't noticed any weakness, or trouble maintaining position for reasons other than pain you probably haven't done substantial damage.

    One thing to remember is that discs which are out of position/bulging/ruptured may not be the source of any troubles at all. Many of us probably have one, or had one for some period, and never had any symptoms beyond an initial injury and some soreness. It's when they push on a nerve that causes trouble. I'd guess that some habitual inflammation in the shoulder could cause similar symptoms too, vaguely like carpel tunnel. Usually if they make contact, you know it through a painful sensation that radiates across the region covered. But I think there are some cases where that doesn't always happen. Hitting your 'funny bone' hard is an example of nerve contact.

    If you're good with playing Doctor Google, check out a nerve map. I'm not sure how concrete the mappings are, like how much they can vary. But some personal experiences lined up nicely.



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    Last edited by aldend123; 12-27-17 at 06:15 PM.
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  3. #3
    ^ It's my bike and my car tls25rs's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    No personal experience but a friend/coworker had an issue that came on pretty rapidly that required they go in a fix what the issue was before it "killed" the nerve. He wound up having surgery on his neck to fuse a couple of the vertebra and take the pressure off of the nerve. He is now back to work and none the worse for wear but he definitely was startled to have to undergo the operation on short notice.

    Take care of yourself and get to the bottom of this sooner than later. Hope things work out for you.

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  4. #4
    Rookie Rada's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    If you have doubts. Go see this guy.
    OrthoAssociates - Centers for Orthopaedics

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  5. #5
    Posting Freak Tas's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Mr. Wood,

    Considering your T1 history do you think there is a slight chance you may have injured MANY structures??? I thought so!! There are many reasons why you had and are getting the symptoms you explained. It was just a mater of time.

    Good luck with the neurosurgeon.

    Who says you can’t get a fist full of front brake going 100 mph with the bike straight up and down and do a Stoppie. I still have a few of those pictures pics saved on my phone.

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  6. #6
    xxaarraa
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Sorry to hear of your troubles Duncan. Hit or miss diagnosis is the worst and so frustrating. Looks like they are finally on the right track and close to figuring out the cause of discomfort.

    I had closed fractures of T8 and T10 after my accident 4 years ago, with minor compression of the discs. The spine guy said there isn't anything that can be done in my case and just left it.

    My only symptoms were not being able to sleep flat for 3 months and becoming more of a side sleeper after 3 months.

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  7. #7
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    My sister had a horse accident years ago and had bad neck and shoulder pain for years. Finally they found something similar to yours on three adjacent disc/vertebrae. I don't know her exact diagnosis but she ended up having three vertebrae fused which helped the issue.
    Personally, I had an incident in wrestling practice in high school where one of the lower weight class kids decided to do a WWF move with a double leg kick to my upper back. It push the T3-4 disc out of position a bit which causes pain occassionally. I've never done anything with it, I can feel it coming out and now what not to do to keep it from going full WTF. But sounds like yours is a constant reminder, I'd definitely get it sorted quickly. Good luck.

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  8. #8
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Don’t have any advice other than best wishes you heal up well.

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  9. #9
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Had some mid back related pain
    Surgeon had this bizarre sounding surgery (gut sack on table), and didn't sound positive
    Stretching made pain go away, now good

    No real recommendation other than do YOGA until you decide

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  10. #10
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Quote Originally Posted by Tas View Post
    Considering your T1 history do you think there is a slight chance you may have injured MANY structures??? I thought so!! There are many reasons why you had and are getting the symptoms you explained. It was just a mater of time.
    Many structures is definitely accurate. I've had hip pointer type pain in my left hip as well, also pain in my lower back. Looking at the damn dermatomes map it appears those items may be related. I haven't tried for treatment on the hip yet because the shoulder has been more of a problem. Now that I'm ending up with the neurosurgeon, probably a good point to look at all of it.

    It kind of sucks that I wasn't able to deal with all of this at the time of the crash. Basically, I found out I was going to be a Dad the day before the crash (contributing factor maybe?) I'd been playing it fast and lose and didn't have much savings and was working as a contractor...then I find myself in a position where I need to move and buy a house and a whole bunch of diapers. Thankfully I've been good for a couple of years now and can afford to do what it takes to make this right.

    Anyone have any experience with acupuncture? I spoke to a friend the other night who had a some pretty decent disc damage, he's said it's basically cured his back pain. I wouldn't pursue it until after I see a complete diagnosis and treatment plan via traditional medicine, but it appears that people have really been helped by it.

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  11. #11
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    I remember that numbness going down the arm and periodic tingling in the hand. As it got worse I started dropping things for no reason (glass, fork). Had it checked and it agreed with what you found though perhaps not as much damage. I was fortunate enough that PT made a difference.

    Later damage to L4 / L5 was way to much to be corrected with PT so had to do the surgery route. It's better today but with less movement. I waited too long before surgery.

    Personally I'd pass on the acupuncture as I've never seen it work. Anything that strengthens your core (YOGA) seems worth a try. If your neck still hurts but the numbness starts going away its likely the nerves have had enough and it may be time for surgery. Good luck and hope you feel better.

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  12. #12
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Re: accupuncture, Mrs Ripper used it with some success for sciatica, but like chiropractic treatment, it’s not a sure thing.

    Of course, like most things medicine, nothing is certain.

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  13. #13
    ^ It's my bike and my car tls25rs's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    Of course, like most things medicine, nothing is certain.
    There is a reason medical offices are called a practice!

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  14. #14
    Lifer
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    Anyone have any experience with acupuncture? I spoke to a friend the other night who had a some pretty decent disc damage, he's said it's basically cured his back pain. I wouldn't pursue it until after I see a complete diagnosis and treatment plan via traditional medicine, but it appears that people have really been helped by it.
    If it turns out you have something constantly pushing on the nerve (should be determined by medical doctor), the only solution to avoiding nerve damage is to get rid of the pinch. That's a little different than a situation where it occasionally contacts and radiates some pain from time to time.

    Then there's a muscular problem like general lower back pain that's poorly understood, and typically caused by some factor of bad habits, weakened back, tightened tendons, or maybe just one of life's mysteries. Some people might attribute these pains to disc injuries, but I'm not sure that's totally accurate unless they're believing it's the result of a collapsed disc making them a bit shorter or unable to move freely. There's also some attempts to explain persistent non-specific pains as kind of a learned behavior. You learn it hurts from some normal injury, but basically the brain gets so used to this, that you constantly feel it. The psychology/medical/psuedoscience lines get blurry when it comes to lasting pain.

    I'd pursue diagnosis of your various troubles before worrying too much about the fixes. Usually nerve troubles will span regions. If just your hip is hurting, it might be a more classic hip problem and probably not directly related to your other issues. Especially if you've played crashdummy a time or two. Plenty of tendons/ligaments/muscles in that region to strain/sprain/tear/inflame etc.

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  15. #15
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    My silly story

    I had lower.mid back pain
    While deciding what to do I decided to buy one of the back braces elastic with the shoulder straps
    Along with the device came a cartoony sheet of exercises to do first thing every morning
    I did them religiously for 3 weeks when my pain was GONE I kept going for 2 more weeks then stopped
    I have NOT had back trouble since, I used to carry a copy to hand out but its misplaced now

    My back will give a sensation that it has had enough work and if I listen and stop I wont have problems

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  16. #16
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Bit of an update on this. Shoulder surgery is scheduled for September 20th. They're going to cut and reattach the long head biceps tendon to the humerus. Procedure is called a Biceps Tendonesis. They'll also be clearancing my AC joint doing something called a Distal Clavical Resection. I won't bother with all of the specifics but I've done quite a bit of reading on both of the procedures and I'm satisfied with the risk/reward. Looks like I'll be about 10 days out of work, 6 weeks in a sling with range of motion PT, and 3-4 months of strength building PT after.

    I don't have any resolution of the disc issues I have yet but I'm going to receive a steroid shot at C5/6 later this month.

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    Last edited by loudbeard; 07-06-18 at 08:42 AM.
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  17. #17
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury


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  18. #18
    Development Rider scottieducati's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Dudeeee holy shit man, well I've been there. Hardest thing is going to be NOT MOVING ANYTHING after the procedure. Sling will likely have a strap to go around you and secure the arm to the body. Sucks the big times.

    Can't stress enough how critical PT will be to any semblance of doing what you love again. Do it religiously, be patient, and don't push things too hard too soon.

    Re: Acupuncture... been doing it for 4-5 weeks now. Unbelievable results for me personally.

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  19. #19
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Spinal Injury

    Right-o. I'm going to buy a recliner to sleep in as I'm a side sleeper and tend to roll during the night. I may even be able to get a medical sleeping chair on loan and have insurance foot the bill. I did 3 months of PT (2 sessions per week, 3x per day homework) on the shoulder between March and June to try an alleviate the pain, unfortunately with no result. I'll be ready post-surgery to put the work in again. It helps that my therapist is smoking hot and in amazing shape; she shames me into work just by seeing her twice a week. I have a high level of confidence that the shoulder procedures will give me the result I'm looking for.

    The neck is a bit more scary. Over time I've been able to start distinguishing between muscle pain and nerve pain. I have muscle pain/tension at the left base of my neck that extends out my shoulder and down my back a bit, I feel that all the time. The nerve pain occurs when I move my neck in certain way. Anytime I look behind me over my left shoulder, up and behind me as well, causes nerve pain. If I sleep on my right side (left neck bend) my left arm goes numb. Anyway, I'm hoping for good results with the steroid shot. I've been doing neck PT at the same time as shoulder and it has also not helped.

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