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Low Back Pain - T9 Paraplegic

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    Low Back Pain - T9 Paraplegic

    Hello everyone!

    I am a T9 paraplegic who broke 5 vertebrae in an ATV accident in June of 2008. I have a long fusion with multiple screws and rods on both sides of my spinal column. My loss of "light touch" feeling is between T-9 & T-12 but I am able to feel deep pressure in my lower waist and extremities. I do still have some core muscles that I could build up but I have not done so due to my family life, as a husband and father, and my work life. I am hoping I could get some feedback or advice from others on my current pain situation by sharing this. Thanks in advance!

    This past April I started having increased pain in my back and it makes it hard to stay in my wheelchair for longer than 6 hours straight. This pain is where I can feel and also where I lost the "normal" feeling on my skin in my lower back. I am also getting pain down my legs as well (at first it was just the left side). I did fall out of my chair a couple of times and believe that is the cause. I went and saw my orthopedic physician right off in April and she initially ordered an X-ray along with ice and heat maintenance. The X-ray was normal. This initial treatment did not work.

    I was then prescribed a steroid dose pack to see if it was related to any nerve pain from the falls, but that did not relieve the pain either. I then started some physical therapy in May and felt some relief, especially right after, but the pain would never be gone for good and it was still difficult to stay in my wheelchair for an extended period of time. The therapist was mostly doing manual therapy in my lower back and eventually tried a couple of stim treatments. A couple of the stim patches were placed below where I could feel skin sensations. After the third stim treatment, I didn't feel like it was helping, and I thought it was making my leg spasms worse. We then just continued with manual therapy and some core exercises to try and build the muscles I still have to support me in my chair better. The core exercises made sense as all my weight is consistently on my lower spinal column and my bottom where I do not have mobility or any muscle support.

    We added some trigger point injections to go along with the PT. I had 3 injections at an appointment with my orthopedic and I felt like it did help the pain in my upper back. However, I was still experiencing the lower back pain with the pain sensations in my legs. She then tried another 3 trigger point injections in my lower region but that did not help like the previous injections. I also experienced more pain in my lower back after some manual PT. I stopped the PT due to this increased pain I was having.

    A Lumbar MRI was then ordered by my orthopedic. The MRI showed some inflammation in my lower lumbar facet joints on both sides and she presented the idea of cortisone injections for the inflammation as she thought this would help my pain. I decided to give this a try. She explained that the cortisone injections should work within a couple of days if they were going to be successful. She did two injections on both sides. Unfortunately, these injections did not relieve my lower back pain.

    My orthopedic then ordered a Nuclear Med Bone SPECT. I had this done last Monday, 9/19. She informed me on Friday, 9/23, that she did not see any abnormalities that would be causing the pain...

    Through all of this treatment, the pain I was experiencing higher in my back has been relieved for the most part. I am relieved there are no serious issues/abnormalities that any of the imaging has shown her, but I am also frustrated because this pain in my lower back is still there.

    I have an appointment with my orthopedic on Friday, 9/30, to discuss everything further.

    I am not sure if I should just go back to PT and try to build up the core muscles that I still have as much as possible to hopefully have more support in my chair and see what that does? Now that the imaging doesn't show anything that would make me worried about continuing PT even though I was experiencing some additional pain with it.

    OR does anyone else have/had similar pain? Maybe other successful treatments that I have not tried??

    I am also wondering if these pain sensations are just something I am dealing with after being in my wheelchair for 14+ years now?

    I have probably forgot something in here, but thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from this community!