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L1 Burst what can I expect in my recovery

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    L1 Burst what can I expect in my recovery

    On 8/31/10 I had a motorcycle accident and fractured my T11 thru L3 with the L1 being a burst and a piece of bone fragment was 8MM into the spinal cord cavity. I also had 7 broken ribs a cracked sternum, a concussion and the motorcycle dug the muscle on the right side of my spine at the hip almost to my shoulder that was more than fist deep at the hip and it also broke the fin on the back of several vertabra . I had surgery and I now have 2 rods and 8 screws that fuse my T12 to L3 vertebra together. The doctor said I would be paralyzed from the waist down but a few days later I started moving my upper legs. I have feeling on my left side but my hip and butt and from my knee down on my right side I still do not have any feeling and I am paralyzed from the knees down, no bowl or bladder control and I luckily can get and maintain an erection with no problems but can not ejaculate. I am able to walk several hundred feet with a walker but still not on my own. I did PT for 6 months but quit because it was a waste of time so now I am going to the local YMCA and working with weights and getting in the pool and trying to walk in the water. Still praying I get my ability to walk back and control of my bowls and bladder.

    First I'd say GO BACK to your therapist's!!! they know how to wake muscles up that we don't!


      It's hard to say what you might expect. Each person's recovery can be so different, even when the injury happened in the same spot. It seems as if you've already beaten your physician's expectation.

      I had to quit physical therapy because my insurance benefit ran out. If that weren't the case, I'd still be working with my PT. Instead, I hired a personal trainer and work with her once a week. We've decided to focus on strength and flexibility in the hopes that they will lead to better walking ability. I can walk with two canes but am very slow.

      I wish you the best and hope that you can get some professional help in addition to your work in the gym. That would be a great combination.


        Thanks for the response. I would have stayed in PT but the only thing they were doing was getting me up in a walker and occasional on a pedal machine. I did start to go up and down stairs with one of the four footed canes but that was all I got for 6 months and it was an hour and a half drive one way. They had a pool and my therapist said several times she was going to get me into the pool but never did so I felt I was wasting my time. Since going to the YMCA I can tell a difference in the strength of my upper legs an upper body. I am also trying to walk in the pool but I still need my wife to help me balance she thinks because I had so much muscle damaged in my lower back that is why I still can not balance I just want to fall forward plus I can not move either of my feet but if it wasn't for the muscle loss in my back I believe I might be able to walk with crutches or even possibly a cane. I am not giving up because I just can not bear the thoughts of being in a wheelchair the rest of my life.


          Skull, keep up the therapy in the pool, keep walking eventually you will be able to balance with a noodle in the water.

          I am L1burst fused at L1-to L2 with cage and lots of screws and rods, I also was told I was paralyzed. I was in mva in Nov. now 8 mo post. I also had a pulmanary embolism 12 days after back surgery.

          I also have neuropothy from my knees down which is throwing my balance off while trying to walk. I also went from turtle shell brace in wheelchair to walker and now to cane, my gait is not pretty, but I keep pushing myself. I also have a recumbent bike here at home I use.

          I know this hurts and the nerve pain is unbelievable, but the pool is wonderful. The pain is not as bad in the water, and I know you can do it. You are blessed to have your wife by your side.

          The B&B issues got better for me I still have bowel issues and other female issues don't want to work yet. Right now that is the least of my worries....I like you just want to walk .....This is something we have to deal with every minute and pray it will get better.

          You know your body and how hard you can push, don't overdue, it will all come because every injury is different.

          I wish you the best in your recovery. Will be watching for update from you.
          JeAnNE L1Burst Fracture inc. 11/5/10

          Live Well--Laugh often


            Skull -- keep with the exercise program. Have you tried using a recumbent exercise bike? My son is an L1 burst and we found that to be a huge help because it builds strength and endurance in the leg muscles. Water therapy is great too. Any time in the pool is time well spent.

            As for balance that may continue to be an issue. My son (he's 18) has balance issues because he no longer has function in the glutes. His balance has gotten much better in the five years since he was hurt because he has learned how his body will react and what he can do to compensate for lack of glutes.

            Keep up the good work it sounds like you are motivated to keep your body moving.
            Ugh, I've been kissed by a dog!
            Get some hot water, get some iodine ...
            -- Lucy VanPelt


              I'm a T12/L1 SCI with good upper leg function, too. If you are able to walk with a 4 post cane and no other assistance you are doing really well. Most of us require AFO's to keep our ankles steady enough for walking balance. If you can't lock out your ankles balance might not help much at this point, but will get better over time. The key for me to stop falling forward was when I was able to lock my hip/leg connection. When laying down, can you make your leg so stiff it's impossible for your wife/friend/PT to lift it or bend it at the waist? Same thing for your knee? And ankle? Any of these that she can bend against your strength are going to cause you to fall if not locked out with a device (afo/kafo/rgo, walker, etc).

              Sounds like you're doing well, so far!

              Good luck!
              Last edited by Oddity; 12 Jul 2011, 7:54 AM.
              "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

              "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty