Fractured T12

I'm 53. I was 51 when I fell backwards down a couple steps and fractured my vertebrae T12. My entire back was in spasm immediately and the pain subsided somewhat as the weeks went on. My bone density was tested, and I have osteopenia (expected for my age) but NOT osteoporosis. I couldn't believe I was expected to be immobile for weeks or months and immediately began looking for treatments etc. The neurologist I saw said that they would submit a request to my insurance to perform kyphoplasty, but since I didn't have osteoporosis, he didn't think they would approve it. Of course, they didn't.

After my submitting an appeal, they finally approved the procedure. I had the kyphoplasty 3 months after my accident. During the procedure a small balloon is inflated into the fractured vertebrae to restore its height. Then cement is injected into that balloon to stabilize the bone. As it turned out....when the doctor went to inflate the balloon, apparently my vertebrae had begun to heal in the crushed position - he was unable to inflate it but did inject a small amount of cement (why, I'm not sure). Anyway, when I woke up in recovery, I was in even more back pain. I cried the whole night in the hospital because I expected to be pain free and it was clear that this didn't work.

I went to physical therapy which provided no relief. After a couple months, I tried yoga (which I used to do frequently),but it seemed to cause more pain. So, I take pain medication on a regular basis. I'm having a hard time writing this all down because it's reminding me how my life has been taken over by this chronic back pain. Anyway, I do go to a pain clinic every 2-3 months for cortisone injections which do relieve the pain significantly, but not entirely and they wear off in about 3/4 weeks. The doctor is going to try an epidural nerve block in July.

Although I fractured T12, my pain is concentrated in the lower small of my back on both sides of my spine all the way out both sides. It sometimes radiates around to my hips. It is usually worse on my right side than my left. I frequently apply ice and heat which is comforting, but I don't think it really reduces the pain. That's my story. I could go on and on with different aspects of it, but it's boring to me so must be even more boring to others. - Linda

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