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Thread: Incomplete SCI injury

  1. #1

    Smile Incomplete SCI injury

    I Stumbled across this forum during my long search for information and needed to go no further-what an incredibly informative site! I am hoping that someone might be able to answer some of my many questions. I will try to make this as brief as possible.

    I sustained my injury 6 months ago going off a jump in a snowboard competition. I fell about 20 feet, landing on my back with my board over my head in what is often called "taco-ing" in snowboard slang. I ended up with compression fractures of T2-T7,T10-T12 and sheared off all of the spinous and transverse processes, a transverse chance fracture of T11, and ended it all with a burst fracture of L1. I didn't win the comp .

    While I was initially paralyzed below the waist-I regained movement and some sensation within 3 days or so. After ten days I was shipped to my home back east. Since my injury I have continued weakness and loss of sensation in my quads and left lower leg and foot (L>R) and bowel issues galore (Did I mention the ileus that went untreated for 11 excruciating days?) I also have extreme weakness and muscle pain in my back (R>L). The MD out west did not diagnose me with a SCI but my physician in Boston has stated that I have an incomplete traction SCI at the L2/L3 level and thoracic nerve root injuries which have paralyzed some of the muscles in my back. My back pain has not improved-and actually feels much worse since the removal of the TLSO at the end of June.

    My questions-FINALLY

    Do the symptoms I am currently experiencing fit with my injuries and the diagnosis?

    Does nerve root damage regenerate?

    If some of the muscles in my back are paralyzed, why do they hurt so darn much!!!???

    I was refered to an SCI clinic for further diagnosis and treatment-what will they do?

    Thanks in advance for your help !

  2. #2
    Welcome to our forums. Sorry you had to find us!

    While peripheral nerve injuries such as root injuries do have a better chance at regeneration, it will take some time (a couple of years) to determine if this will occur fully or not. In addition, you may have both root and cord damage, and the combination can be difficult to tease out as far as what is causing the actual impairment.

    Seeing a physician who specializes in SCI rehab (a physiatrist) is an excellent idea. Are you going to Spaulding? They should also refer you a physical therapist who can work with your strengthening and deal with any muscle imbalances that are going on and adding to your pain.

    Unfortunately with the extensive fractures you had it would not be unusual for you to have some long term back pain. The fact that it is worse without the TLSO makes me suspect that some of this is due to your back muscle weakness. You should also look into physical medicine measures for pain control including massage, trigger point massage (or even injections) and TENS.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply KLD.

    A few more ques. Could anyone explain to me a traction SCI? I understand that my SC was "stretched" but what exactly happpens and how does this type of injury differ-if at all-from other types of SCI? I have loss of strength in my Quads but not my lower legs isn't that odd? -could it be related to type of injury?

    Also-is it unusual to how bowel issues but no urological ones?

    My doc refered me to a sci clinic but no one in particular- any suggestions? I think my two choices are Spaulding or Boston Medical. Anyone know of a good doc?

  4. #4
    I have incomplete SCI, bowel issues and no urological issues beyond spasms. (I did have to cath the first 9 months tho.)

    People don't know this but all too often paralysis IS painful. Tje assumption that we're numb and pain-free is a common myth.

    Hope you get well!

  5. #5
    I sustained my injury 6 months ago going off a jump in a snowboard competition. I fell about 20 feet, landing on my back with my board over my head in what is often called "taco-ing" in snowboard slang. I ended up with compression fractures of T2-T7,T10-T12 and sheared off all of the spinous and transverse processes, a transverse chance fracture of T11, and ended it all with a burst fracture of L1. I didn't win the comp .


    A few more ques. Could anyone explain to me a traction SCI? I understand that my SC was "stretched" but what exactly happpens and how does this type of injury differ-if at all-from other types of SCI? I have loss of strength in my Quads but not my lower legs isn't that odd? -could it be related to type of injury?

    I had an appointment at Spaulding Rehab last week. the doc concurred that I had an incomplete SCI. He prescribed PT to try and strengthen the extensor muscles in my trunk because he feels that they are receiveing some signal. I have been going to PT for this issue since 6 weeks after my injury and it has not improved strength or decreased pain. Should I be concerned or be doing something in addition to PT? I am not on any meds and am not sure they would help anyway. The pain seems to be derived from two sources. First, I can't support myself in a sitting position unless I am using my arms to support myself. My back muscles feel as though they are being stretched or pulled-like a bad sprain. They just don't have the ability to hold my body up. Additionally, my vertabrae have been compressed and shortened my trunk by an inch and a half, that coupled with my muscles not working is causing my lower ribs to hit each other and my iliac crest-which really hurts. I have been out of my TLSO since the end of June.

    My doc reluctantly prescribed a new back brace and more PT but both appointments aren't for another 6 weeks. I have an appointment at BU Med Center for a second opinion, but not until Dec 19. Any thoughts or suggestions. I am really frustrated by the pain.

    Thanks

  6. #6
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    I am surprised that you are not on some sort of neuropathic pain med, like Neurontin, Cybalta, or Lyrica. That is usually the first thing doctors Rx. Were you hospitalized after your injury? Did you go to rehab? Your post sounds as if you were tossed aside with no diagnosis, and no care plan.

  7. #7
    I was at Renown in Reno after my accident. I was released to fly back east with NO pain meds for the 7 hour flight, no doc back home, no rehab plan....They did get me to the airport though-lucky me!

    I was on ultram and flexerall but both put me in a coma to the point I was non functional. The physiatrist last week said to try Motrin. My pain is not bone pain but a combo of neuro and muscle pain.

    I have a congenital skeletal dysplasia so was disabled before my SCI. I must say that in my lifetime of medical/hospital care, I have never felt more disregarded. I usually get the feeling that people feel that I should be glad that I am not a complete SCI with the extent of my fractures-and I am, believe me! But I also feel that my health issues are not being taken seriously because I was not a complete SCI. I am an active person and it angers me that people seem to think that I should be happy with the function that I have and not complain. I really don't know what to do.

  8. #8
    Motrin is not going to touch your pain I would bet. Experiment with the pain meds, not all of them will knock you out. I guess your physiatrist really doesn't know what the pain you feel is all about.

    Perhaps those are actually muscle spasms. Or maybe more like convulsing muscles. Better description, makes it really sound painful cause it is. I am not sure that the Flexerall stuff is going to do a darn thing for the spasms. Go to doctor and tell him you want either Tizanidine and/or baclofen As these will help calm the spasms so much better than the Flexerall stuff. The former drugs work on the motor neurons, the messages going to the muscles, not the muscle tissue itself.

    Oh, and we could have a club you and I. I've had 3 neurologists, 1 ortho doc, 1 internist, and 1 GP see me. They've either not had a clue what's wrong or they think I am malingering. I have one guy who I may be going back to so I can get tests run in St Louis (he was the one who gave me the Tizand.thankfully) and the other is a physiatrist who recommended the tests. I think we could call the club, "THE MEDICALLY ABUSED CLUB"

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