2 breaks in my L5 and only 20 years old

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dodgegirl89
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Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/21/2010 10:50 PM (GMT -7)   
I am a 20 year old and am suffering from 2 breaks in my L5 vertebra. Because of the breaks, my L5 has shifted forward 3mm. I injured myself back in April 2009. Have been dealing with stupid doctors up until December. Met with a pain doctor who referred me to an orthopedic spinal surgeon who found the breaks and has recommended a MIS TLIF (Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Inter-body Fusion) I am currently waiting for Workers Comp. to approve the surgery. Has anyone else gone through this type of surgery? I'm hoping to get some feedback from other "spine patients"

Thanks :)

straydog
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13481
   Posted 2/22/2010 12:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Dodgegirl,
 
I would like to say hello and welcome to Healing Well's chronic pain forum. I am very glad that you found us, just wish you didn't have problems that brought you here. I am very sorry to read the troubles you are having and what you have had to deal with in the past. Chronic pain gives the word pain a whole new definition it seems like.
 
I personally have not had this particular surgery but know of several that have and overall they have done well. These are personal friends of mine that I am speaking of. But, not everyone comes out that way for various reasons. Each case is so unique and no two people are alike. The important thing is that you have the very best dr there is. Will you be required to have a second opinion by the worker's compensation insurance company? I know most of them do require it. I am assuming you have undergone an MRI, any other testing? You will be limited in your activities for a while after surgery. You dr most likely tell you that walking is going to be the only activity allowed in the first few weeks. It will help you build your strength up.  All I can say is follow your drs instructions to the letter no matter how good you may feel one day. Many people have a tendancy after being down for a bit to overdo one day and oh, that just sets them back and its hard getting back where you were. Educate yourself about this surgery as much as possible before having it. Get online and go to some reputable websites and read about it. The more you know the better off you will be. Also, your dr may very well tell you that you will be back to work in six weeks and that is just not possible. It seems to be a trend these days with the drs telling people this story, so I really would not plan on it happening if I were you. You need time to heal and that is a major surgery.
 
Other members will jump on here later in the morning and tell you their stories. Please keep in mind you are not going to get glowing recommendations from the members on this forum. Had they done well after surgery they would not be here. They have had surgery and for whatever reason they did not do well afterwards.
 
Keep us posted on how you are doing and we wish you best concerning your surgery.
 

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


dodgegirl89
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Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/22/2010 12:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much for the warm welcome and the encouraging words. I had an Xray, MRI, and CT done in June 2009. The doctors couldn't find anything except a possible pars 5 defect. Had another CT done in November 2009 after having to go to the ER because of pain. The doctors couldn't see anything (at least that's what they told me) I found a wonderful pain doctor who wanted to get to the bottom of my pain and after 2 ESI's (Epidural Steroid Injections), my pain doctor, Dr. Peterson, referred me to Dr. Wahl, and orthopedic spine surgeon in the area. I met with Wahl December 14th. Wahl saw right away that I had two breaks in my L5. He saw these breaks on the CT scan that was done in Nov. (3 doctors missed those breaks). He had an Xray ordered to help confirm the breaks. The Xray not only showed the breaks but also a forward slip of about 3mm. I had Dr. Wahl study the CT that I had done back in June and he could also see the breaks (They were just cracks at that time).
Workers Comp. is trying to prove that this is a pre-existing injury. I had a CT done back in 2007 after a horse accident. The doctors told me it came back negative and that I just had some muscle bruising. I have recently found out that the CT had shown a pars 5 defect. I have never had any issues with my back until my injury in April 2009 at work. This is what Workers Comp. is trying to use against me. I'm hoping that I can get this surgery pushed through soon as it will be a year in April and my back is only getting worse even after numerous conservative attempts.
Age 20.......2 breaks in L5 and a 3mm forward slip of the vertebra. Severe pain in lower back with nerve pain down my left leg and into left foot. left foot numbness. Awaiting approval of a MIS TLIF. Currently taking Percocet, Flexeril, and Neurontin. Have had pt, 2 ESIs, 1 Sacral injection and 1 Sacral ligament injection. Very little pain relief.


MIKEL99
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Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 914
   Posted 2/22/2010 3:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello dodgegirl89 , I wanted to commend you on your courage at dealing with the issues at a young age that are very difficult indeed .Thats some difficult misfortune at 21 yrs old . But you shown a maturity and a perspective that bely your youth .Continue to be positive and enjoy those with .
HIV+ also Hep c , need hip replacement surgery on hold because of cellulitus  .most pain from hip condition and cellulitus .hands numb may have carpal tunnel syndrome now .             .Medecines - Oxycontin , percocet , Oxycondone , Celelbrex ,Avalox , lasix .


PAlady
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/22/2010 3:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Dodgegirl89,
I also want to welcome you to the Chronic Pain forum of HW. Hopefully, you'll be one of those people Straydog referred to who doesn't have reason to be here long, can have a successful surgery, and move on with your life.

I had a MI PLIF double lumbar fusion (L4-S1) over two years ago which was unsuccessful in relieving my pain - although the fusion itself was successful (these can be very different definitions of "success", as you can imagine). I had researched the TLIF procedure but was not a candidate because I had too much degenerative disk disease (I'm 40 years older than you - makes a big difference!). The doctor doing the TLIF's was known as being highly successful, but also carefully selected his patients. As Straydog suggested, I think the surgeon you get is extremely important; you want some one highly experienced in this particular procedure.

Now these are just my thoughts re: WC and your situation. Your attorney and doctors would be best to help you make this decision. My WC was denied, even though I appealed it I ended up having to withdraw the petition at my attorney's recommendation because the case became a mess (mostly due to a lousy attorney and one doctor's records), but I would say as far as the medical aspect of it, I think I'm glad because my regular insurance picked up the tab for my surgery. (I ended up getting laid off from the job anyway - another story) When I read the struggles many on this forum have with WC I think I'm glad I was able to choose the doctor for my surgery, and I went to a teaching hospital in a major city to have it done. It sounds like your WC is digging their heels in for a fight over this pre-existing condition issue, and I wonder if you have a good regular health insurance policy if you'd be better off letting them cover it. But as I said, that's just my opinion - and I'm not even sure if that would be in your best interest. Just something to consider if WC would in any way prevent you from getting the best doctor you can to do this procedure.

Another suggestion I would have is to not wait too long, if you know that you need and want the surgery. More damage can happen, especially if you have any nerve involvement. It's one of the reasons I think my surgery failed - nerves tend not to heal the longer they're compressed. It also sounds as if your spine is shifting a bit as a result of the cracks, and you don't want that to get worse. I'm not saying you should have the surgery, just not to wait long if you and your doctor(s) decide that's where you're headed. A long fight with WC could affect that.

I'm sure others will be along with more to add. Stay positive and keep fighting for your best health!

Again, welcome.

PaLady

bsjaguar
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 974
   Posted 2/22/2010 6:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Glad you were able to find us Dodgegirl. I've had fusion at L-4/5 but not sure exactly which type like everyone talks of. I'm like PaLady, my fusion was a success in that I did fuse but once I returned to work after being off for 4 months the pain returned.

I too was much older than you, 49 at the time of my surgery and most of my issues now are degenerative disc disease. I have arthritis that has set into my facet joints which I am working with a pain management doctor to controll.

One thing you do need to be aware of though is that after having fusion surgery, the discs above or below the fusion area tend to give you problems later due to the fact that they are now taking the brunt of the workload lost by the fused disc. Within 3 yrs of my fusion I now have a bulging disc above my fusion area at L-2/3. The doc says this is unusual that I skipped a level but it does happen obviously. But I do have DDD so my situation is much different than yours.

You are young and should come through your fusion well but make sure to learn good back ergonomics to avoid problems down the road. A good physical therapist after your fusion, if you decide to go that route, would probably be a good idea to give you some pointers on how to make your job & living routines work with your back, not against it!

Good Luck with your WC challenges and keep us posted with your progress.
---Jag---
 
DDD, osteoarthritis, facet syndrome, fusion surgeries C-5/7 & L-4/5 both in 2006, torn meniscus surgeries left knee 2000 & 2002, buldging disc L-2/3


dodgegirl89
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/22/2010 2:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for your kind words. PAlady, I do not have my own health insurance and cannot afford any at this time. I only get $600 a month from the state :( I wish I ha my own health insurance to cover this. I have picked a wonderful surgeon who specializes in MIS Fusions and ADRs. Hopefully W/C canget their heads out of their butts and approve the surgery.
I start physical therapy on Wednesday. If it is too painful than my pain doc will immediately start pushing more aggressively on the surgery approval.

Thanks everyone for your kind welcomes as well as your opinions :)
Age 20.......2 breaks in L5 and a 3mm forward slip of the vertebra. Severe pain in lower back with nerve pain down my left leg and into left foot. left foot numbness. Awaiting approval of a MIS TLIF. Currently taking Percocet, Flexeril, and Neurontin. Have had pt, 2 ESIs, 1 Sacral injection and 1 Sacral ligament injection. Very little pain relief.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/22/2010 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Dodgegirl89,
Ok, then you definitely need the WC - I completely understand! And if you've got good doctors fight to get them to do the surgery and not somebody WC wants you to see. Do you have an attorney, too? I hope if you start having problems with WC you have a good one, so you don't have to delay having this surgery if your doc thinks you need to push ahead.

Good luck!

PaLady

dodgegirl89
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/22/2010 2:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I dont currently have an attorney but have talked to a few in town that deal with W/C. The are telling me to hold out just a bit longer as it looks like W/C is waiting for paperwork. once the paperwork is done, then i will have a better idea if i need to get an attorney involved. Washington State W/C is one of the worst to have to deal with sadly :(
Age 20.......2 breaks in L5 and a 3mm forward slip of the vertebra. Severe pain in lower back with nerve pain down my left leg and into left foot. left foot numbness. Awaiting approval of a MIS TLIF. Currently taking Percocet, Flexeril, and Neurontin. Have had pt, 2 ESIs, 1 Sacral injection and 1 Sacral ligament injection. Very little pain relief.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 2/22/2010 2:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Sounds like you've got your ducks in order! Good for you!

PaLady

skeye
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 2/22/2010 5:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Dodgegirl,

I'm sorry to hear about your back -- especially at such a young age. I know how hard it is to get proper treatment when you are young (I'm just 22). It's hard enough to get good treatment for pain to begin with, but even more so when you are young. Unfortunately I can't give you any advice regarding your (hopefully) upcoming back surgery, as my pain is in a completely different area (chronic eye & facial pain from a traumatic injury), but it looks like you've gotten a lot of good advice already.

Please do stick around. This is a fantastic group. Everyone here is so compassionate and understanding. Everyone here is like family to me & hopefully you will be as well.

Good luck getting the surgery approved. I'm currently fighting my insurance company for a surgery as well. Hopefully we are both granted what we need!

hugs,
Skeye

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13481
   Posted 2/23/2010 10:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Dodgegirl you have done all you can at this point in getting things lined up up. It does sound like you have a great dr and that is the most important thing. It is not just your state that is so bad on WC claims, its that way all over, they want to save that all mighty dollar so they can make more money off the interest. If they come back and deny this surgery then do get an atty. I worked for attys all my life. I would suggest hiring an atty if possible board certified in worker's comp. If you cannot find one thats ok. Stay away from the guys that takes any case walking in the door, from speeding tickets to wrongful death claims. Why, they are not up par on each field, they dabble, they have enough knowledge to keep from being sued for malpractice. You want an atty that is update on all the current laws in comp and knows all about the new case law as it comes out, knows the business and knows how to win claims. Ask any atty how much percentage of their business is worker's comp, ask about his track record too, don't be bashful or intimidated either. Be sure to read each paper you are given to sign and given copies of the signed papers. Do not let anyone rush you into signing anything either. Its kind of like you wouldn't go to heart dr with a head condition, its the same with your comp claim, you want the very best representing you. Take care.
 

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


dodgegirl89
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/23/2010 1:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for your kind words and knowledge. It really makes me feel so much better :)
Age 20.......2 breaks in L5 and a 3mm forward slip of the vertebra. Severe pain in lower back with nerve pain down my left leg and into left foot. left foot numbness. Awaiting approval of a MIS TLIF. Currently taking Percocet, Flexeril, and Neurontin. Have had pt, 2 ESIs, 1 Sacral injection and 1 Sacral ligament injection. Very little pain relief.


Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 2/23/2010 5:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Dodge,

I am a post TLIF patient and like PALady, I did fuse, but have continued to have pain problems. I'm also over 20 years older than you and have severe DDD and don't produce human growth hormone, so my disc degenerate more than they should. This probably contributed to the problem to start with and would not be a consideration for you.

I have never personally dealt with WC, but I (like the others) want to stress the importance of a good surgeon. After several surgeries for different reasons, I can honestly say that the skill of the surgeon makes a great deal of difference in the recovery time and the success of the procedure.

I'm sorry that you have seen mostly negative responses to the TLIF, but I believe that to be because this is a CP site. Perhaps you could also look into the sites where there were positive results. I honestly believe that many (if not most) have successful results from fusion surgeries and are helped tremendously. The overall nature of this site, however, is skewed toward the negative results. Hopefully we are the exception rather than the rule.

I'm glad you found us and the information (and the people) are absolutely wonderful. We will gladly support you through the process and through the recovery.

Best of luck!
DDD, CPS, TLIF L5-S1 2009 (failed), FIBRO, MINEYER'S (SP?), MIGRAINES, GERD, NISSEN FUNDOPLICATION (failed), GAD, DEPRESSION, EXTREME ANXIETY DISORDER, OCD, PSTD, CHRONIC MUSCLE SPASMS, HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY, VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY and much, much more...


dodgegirl89
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/23/2010 5:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks :) I realize that these types of sites cater to the people that are still currently in pain. The ones that are not in pain arent wasting their life in forums and chat rooms...haha. My surgeon is considered world class and specializes in MIS fusions and ADRs. I feel very comfortable with him and trust his skill. He has performed this surgery many many times and has had great success stories. I have been mentally prepared for this surgery since December. W/C has been a huge pain in the azz.
Thanks again for everyone kind words and knowledge :) i greatly appreciate it
Age 20.......2 breaks in L5 and a 3mm forward slip of the vertebra. Severe pain in lower back with nerve pain down my left leg and into left foot. left foot numbness. Awaiting approval of a MIS TLIF. Currently taking Percocet, Flexeril, and Neurontin. Have had pt, 2 ESIs, 1 Sacral injection and 1 Sacral ligament injection. Very little pain relief.


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13481
   Posted 2/24/2010 12:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Dodgegirl, I assume your atty is obtaining your old medical records to prove that this is a new injury right? I use to handle worker's comp claims and we ran into this problem all the time. Once we provided the old records we would get things straightened out, it was just time consuming. In the meantime it was not easy for the claimant to be sitting there waiting. This is just typical BS with the insrance company.

Take care of yourself and do what it takes to keep your head straight like you have it now. I admire you as to how you are handling yourself throught this process. Your spirit is wonderful. It is not often that we see many 20 yr olds have it together as you seem to and have what you have facing you.
 

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.


dodgegirl89
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 2/24/2010 5:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much Straydog. I just found out that my surgery approval has been suspended. I will be contacting an attorney tomorrow about all of this. I have been to hell and back dealing with this. I am so emotionally drained, i dont know what else to do :(
Age 20.......2 breaks in L5 and a 3mm forward slip of the vertebra. Severe pain in lower back with nerve pain down my left leg and into left foot. left foot numbness. Awaiting approval of a MIS TLIF. Currently taking Percocet, Flexeril, and Neurontin. Have had pt, 2 ESIs, 1 Sacral injection and 1 Sacral ligament injection. Very little pain relief.

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