T7, T12 and L1 compression fractures moderate osteoporosis of the spine at 54

by Michael Jackson
(Australia)

Hi Sarah
I am now just 54 years old and 8 months ago suffered a tonic clonic siezure (grand marl)(2 in 2 hours) out of the blue and have a T7 fracture that has compressed 80% which has caused 20% compression of T8, T9, T11. I have lost over 5cm in height.

The T12 and L1 seem to of healed quite well but i still do have lower back pain and I also have some Degenerative Disc Disease (arthritis) in the lower back region which i am told is quite common for my age.

the T1 fracture has only just started to become stable and healing slowly.

my First GP did not pick up the fractures soon enough and for 6 months just treated me for muscle pain and prescribed morphine etc. for pain management.

Changed doctors at 6 months and he immediately suspected Osteoporosis and the tests proved it.

It has been suggested that I wear a back brace now for a few months when walking etc but am also aware that the brace replaces muscle strength etc. As I am obviously healing slowly and at this late stage is it worth getting one or as you have suggested in others advice that exercises etc should suffice?

I am being careful when i am active etc that I am aware of correct posture and when bending ensuring that I keep my back straight.

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Dec 31, 2013
to brace or not to brace
by: Sarah says

Hi Michael,
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this. I hope you will forgive me in the hectic rounds of the end-of-year.
As you may have gathered already, no I am no fan of bracing. It is a very old-fashioned and over-cautious approach and it will leave you worse off, not just the muscle strength but the bone and soft-tissue strength, and the healthy extensibility of your various tendons and ligaments as well.
You have to remember that the (healthy) bone of healthy bones is really very dense plastic. What keeps it strong and 'bendy' as opposed to rigid and brittle is natural and normal physiological range gravitational forces - that is, all the normal stresses and strains that go through your bones with the normal activities of daily living. These encourage the calcium and other minerals to be laid down in the bone. Although it must have been a great shock out-of-the-blue to have an epileptic seizure the muscle jerks that go with the 'grand mal' are certainly of the order well in excess of physiological range. Hence the unlucky fractures. As you may read in compression fractures of the spine however, the spine copes extraordinarily well with all types of fractures, be they from fast bowling in cricket to vertebral endplate compression fractures caused by falling on your bottom on ice. After an initial period of rest for some weeks, the main thing is to get the spine moving and keeping the muscles strong. This means lots of bending and moving freely and NOT protecting your back. It also means - wait for it - lots of lifting of normal everyday weights such as taking the kitchen rubbish out and carrying the shopping in from the car. Bend freely too to get your socks and undies on in the morning, although you may need to do some knees rocking in bed before getting up. See back pain exercises

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