T12 wedge fracture

by Kath
(Fife, Scotland)

Hi, I had a bad fall around 2 years ago. I attended A&E and they said I had pulled a lot of muscles. No x-ray was done. However I suffered pain for a long time especially on bending, when I felt a shearing pain across my back and couldn't straighten up again as the pain was so bad. Eventually I was offered physio but this seemed to exacerbate the pain, this led to me being sent fr an x-ray around 8 months after the fall, this showed a wedge fracture at T12, with loss of height of around 25%.

I am having problems with my bladder and I wonder if this could be the cause. It's not all the time, but sometimes after sitting, or driving when I satnd my bladder let's go and I have no control over it, it doesn't happen all the time and otherwise my bladder control is fine and i have no leaks or anything, my pelvic floor muscles are strong too, but on the occasions this happens I have no control in stopping it at all.

As you can imagine this is quite stressful and embarrasing. I am having bladder investigations done and they are treating me for overavtive bladder, which I don't think is the case as apart from this happening I have perfect bladder control and have no urge or dtress incontinence.

I would appreciate your advice as to whether or not the fracture or surrounding nerves could be causing this.

Hello Kath,
Yes, that fracture certainly could be the cause of what are known as "cauda equina" symptoms. An opinion from a neurologist would be a good idea.

I take it these symptoms started after the fall, and prior to the injury you had none of these distressful symptoms.

It's a dilemma in every practice: when do you X-ray. Because I too have missed a T12/L1 fracture in my early days (that's where much of the force is transmitted when you fall on the buttocks) I always order X-rays if there is specific thoraco-lumbar pain after a fall, particularly in the woman of 60+.

Apart from affecting your bladder, it could set up a "Maignes syndrome" too, with pain radiating to the buttock, groin and antero-lateral thigh.

I would start the basic lower back exercises you'll find at C-H, and then look at the "maignes syndrome exercises" but beware. They are quite tricky, you really should have professional help in doing them.

Use the Search this site function at C-H for more help on these terms.

I hope this has contributed.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

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12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

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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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