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Compression Fracture with metal rod/titanium cage

by J.Jansen
(Pocahontas, AR)

Compression Fracture

Five and a half years ago, I was in a severe car accident that shattered my L1 vertebrae. I had surgery, where the pieces were removed and built with a titanium cage.

I also have a steel rod down my spine with four finger-size screws holding it in place. I've had severe pain since the accident, but recently, it seems to be worse.

On top of the injury, I've been having shoulder problems, which I think could be from a pinched nerve. SO my question is, with all of the metal in my back and the cage around my L1, is it safe for me to see a Chiropractor???

Hello Jessie,
How nice to have someone who takes the trouble to write in decent English! Zijn jullie Nederlanderen of Afrikaans? Or is Jansen just part of the great American melting pot?

Yes, it certainly is safe to see a chiropractor, but I would take care to find someone who is experienced, methodical and thorough, and who will give your case the time it deserves. Talk to friends and neighbours and perhaps your doctor.

L1 is the area where the Femoral nerve originates, passing down through the groin to the side and front of your leg. If you start to get groin pain, think L1 first. Type "Femoral nerve" into the Search this Site at C-h, you'll find quite a lot of material.

It's also the area that can set up a "Maignes syndrome", a facet syndrome from T12/L1.

Chiropractors have a number of gentle techniques that can be used in the treatment of old fractures. Heavy manipulation of L1 would obviouly be inadvisable, but it may well be that your pain is coming from elsewhere, say L4, in which very specific manipulation would not be unsafe.

Many shoulder problems we see in the practice come from an old injury of the neck. In a bad MVA it is not unlikely that your neck was affected.

You might start with "Maignes syndrome exercises" and "Frozen shoulder exercises" (again use the Search facillity at C-H), though the usual advice is examination first, diagnosis, and only then treatment. But they are quite gentle, done sensibly are unlikely to aggravate your problem.

Good luck, let me know in a few months how you get on.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr B  came initially for a painful and stiff neck and then asked whether chiropractic could help the cold numb feeling running down the side of his thigh for six months. Meralgia paresthetica is a double crush syndrome with the nerve affected in the back and groin. He's 80% improved after five treatments.

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8. She is an 78 year old woman, is doing remarkably well with a bad sciatica. But over 200 pounds she is not losing weight; in fact, gaining despite my suggestions. She's high risk for a stroke. I have referred her to a dietician to crack the whip.

9. This man is a 73 year old engineer, still working, is doing fine after a long episode of lower back pain. Some pain on the side of the hip remains after five treatments. I reassured him it's not hip arthritis.

10. A 64 year old woman has had scheuermanns disease; it's left her with a spinal kyphosis and chronic middorsal pain. She responds well to chiropractic treatment provides she come every six weeks or so for maintenance treatment.

11. Mr C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mrs D, a middle aged woman with hip pain of one year duration, despite other treatment. Xrays reveal an impingement syndrome and early hip arthritis. There's much to be done.

13. Both Mrs E and I can't believe how much better her lower back and leg pain are. Surgery for a scoliosis and spondylolysthesis three years ago helped greatly for one year. But then her leg went lame and weak. He was responded extremely well despite all expectations.

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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