I'm Healing From a Broken Back.

Hello Faith,

I broke my back in a lake boating accident on July 22nd of this year.  I compression fractured the T-12 vertebrae and broke off the spinous process while I was at it.  I was really lucky because one of the couples on the boat was medical people, he a retired fireman and EMT, she an RN.  They knew what to do to reduce the risk of spinal cord injury while getting me out of the lake and onto the boat.  Anyway, I was hauled away in an ambulance once they got m to shore, admitted to the ortho neuro floor at the local hospital in my town, and because there was not a spinal trauma specialist at our local hospital, I insisted that I be transfered to a bigger town to the north, Colorado Springs, that has a wonderful orthopaedic group that works with olympic trainees, and pro atheletes, etc... who are injured.  It took time for them to arrange the travel and new doctor, but I was lucky enough to get a spinal trauma specialist, that's all he does, to do my surgery on the 3rd day after the accident.  Ouch, waiting was miserable in my morphine haze, but I don't remember too much anyway.  I now have two rods and four titanium screws in my back, which were placed to stableize the surgery, bone grafts mostly, and about a 5 inch scar right down the center of my spine area, all which have healed quite well.  I started back to work partime a couple of week ago.  I'm still in a lot of pain though.  I am so afraid of getting addicted to the pain meds that I don't take them unless I am almost in tears, and then it's usually too late and takes a long time to get relief.  I also have a hard time sleeping as it seems no matter what position I'm in, it hurts.  I'm hoping this gets better as time goes by.  So anyway, that's my story.  Tell me more about you...  What happened, when, and how are you doing now?  Hope to hear from you soon.

vivendi vivendi
51-55, F
9 Responses Oct 13, 2007

I broke my t12 and l1 in a horrible car crash last year. Just wondering are you pain free now?

I was in a automobile accident on Oct 5, 2014, injuries sustained were a burst compression fracture to L-5 involving the whole lumbar region. I also have a tibial plateau fracture which has prevented me having surgery. The pain in my back is extremely painful and am hoping to have surgery soon as my knee is almost healed. Has anyone had double issues and has had to live with horrible pain. I have been out of work for 9 month's and am facing giving up my job after a year and will have to go on disability. Not thrilled to say the least!!! Noellelle

Wow, your story sounds like mine, as well as your fear of painkillers. I managed to tear my diaphragm as well and the surgeon accidentally cut a hole in my lung which has left scarring. I'm 8 months out now from my surgery and am still in a lot of pain and with limited mobility. I can't help but wonder how long I'm going to be like this. I led an extremely active life before my accident. The idea of living in chronic pain and inability to run, hike, skate or go rafting has me in tears. What has your experience been?

Vivendi, I'd love to know how you are doing. I broke my back on July 21 of 2013, a Sunday afternoon at skating practice. I'm still not able to work, and in physical therapy twice a week. I had surgery on July 24. Because our injuries are so similar, I'm really curious to see if we are both at the same point in our recovery.

i just had a wreck about seven weeks ago. i broke my front and back vertabres i dont know what numbers but my sergun said it was worse then he thought to begin with they replaced my bones with titanium plates rods nuts and bolts so i was told i have never in my life felt such pain and i lost the use of my left leg for a while although i am improving i am still in pain i dont like having to take meds but i cant take the pain so i do take them but not without my sister and her husband dogging me out and calling me a drug addickt because i cant take the pain without the pills. how long will the pain last and will i ever be able to go without the meds??

Take your painkillers, just set a limit in your head how much you will take, and give them at least an hour to kick in. You cannot heal if you're in pain, your doctors will tell you so. I don't know if you can go without painkillers. I broke my T12 and T11 and had a corpectomy and fusion done. Every day I experience mind blowing pain and it's been 7 months out. I am still not working, and I have good days and days from hell. My goal right now is simple, to wake up one morning and not wake up in pain and that crazy itching that goes up and down my legs. When I get to that point, I will see if I can go 1/2 day, no pain, then a day, then 2 days in a row. Good luck to you.

I had a similar experience did you ever recover and are you pain free? I'm 8 months in post crash broken t12 l1 and still AM suffering badly­čśĺ

Your accident sounds very similar to mine I also had metal work put in my back to stabilise it! It was causing me alot of pain and my surgeon removed it two months ago! After it was removed it was so much better about 10% of the pain I had perviously been experiencing before it was removed in the last three weeks iv started working again and it has been quite painful again, I think it's just something I'm going to have to live with as I get older it will proberly only get worse!


Perhaps someday a new permanent nerve numbing can be invented, so pain medications won't be necessary. My older brother just keeps getting more and more surgeries and it doesn't help.

We are very similar. I broke my back two years ago, though, and I compressed L1 and T12, with a shard that started to sever my spinal cord. <br />
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Thankfully, I broke it sort of near a really good hospital with a really good spinal surgeon (who looks exactly like Dr. Oc from Spiderman, lol). I now have a 6 inch scar down the exact middle of my spine, and two rods and ten (2 inch long) screws drilled into me. ouch!<br />
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it was by far the worst pain ever--I don't know what kind of pain you experienced, but on top of the broken bone pain, the muscle spasm pain, I had nerve pain shooting out of every pore in my body, I felt the worst nausea EVER, my teeth were chattering but I felt as if I was being burned alive, and I lost control of my right arm and left leg. Oh, and I broke my collarbone but the doctors didn't even notice b/c they were so focused on my back.<br />
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I was on A LOT of pain meds for about four months after or so. Trust me, you need to get an experience medical massage therapist. That is the best thing you can do for yourself. I bet your muscles are still in shock--and they will never be out of shock for as long as you live. So much trauma!<br />
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Also, I think the jarring to my spine affected my brain. I think differently now and can't remember things. Very, very sad.

From my experience with the meds I am on Morphine 3X daily they won't do a thing if you wait till you are in tears before taking them. I MUST TAKE THEM BEFORE I over do it or they just don't work and I really have to take loads of Dilaudid to just take the edge off. You will do better as far as I had found to use them so you won't be in excruciating pain. Please ask your Dr about this but in my experience and talking with hundreds of others take them before you need them as a prevention.I have 2 anterior compression fractures with 70% reduction in height L1 L2 yes this was the worst pain I have ever experienced.

I agree. I found that managing the pain is much better than chasing pain. If I get to the point where I'm in tears when I take my meds, it takes almost a full day to feel decent. I only take enough to take the edge off the pain. I really don't get how someone can get addicted to this stuff. It reduces the pain, but doesn't give me any jollies. There's no recreational value in it for me whatsoever.

Take the pain meds as prescribed. Pain can be just as influencing if not more so than addiction. Just take them as prescribed and don't go above that. There is no reason why you should put yourself through hell out of fear.<br />
I just had a back surgery after struggling with back pain for years. The back surgery has really helped and the pain is less and less allowing me to take less and less pain killers. But I have been taking them as prescribed. I used to wait until the pain was unbearable. Then I realized it was just unnecessary. I just take them as the doc tells me to.