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If you have problems in one part of the spine are you likely to have problems in another?

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Chronic Pain
I'm curious - if you have problems in one part of your spine are you likely to have problems in another part of your spine?

As you can see by my signature, I've had surgery on my cervical spine and now I'm having sciatica that starts in my left buttock and extends down the back of my left leg to my knee. This seems to come and go, but I always have pain in my tailbone and sometimes it's very hard to sit.

My doc believes that my cervical issues stemmed from a car accident many years ago. If that's the case, doesn't it seem logical that the lower spine could have been affected as well?

It seems like I see this a lot on these forums where one part of someone's spine is injured, they get surgery, then here come problems from another part of the spine. Is it just my imagination, or are you likely to have problems throughout your entire spine if you suffer from an accident or another traumatizing event?



  • I was in an auto accident almost 5 years ago, that contributed to my cervical issues. About a year ago, I started to have lumbar issues as well. My Dr. says that the lumbar problems aren't from the accident, because they started almost 4 years later. I asked her why I am "falling apart" at my age, and she said my body is aging faster than me.(?) I can't really answer your question, just relate to your situation. I have read on here about others in the same situation. My diagnosis's are on my signature....
  • That's a real puzzler. I think it would depend on a lot of factors. Whether the original problem was from aging process or caused by an accident. Also your age, weight, job, a lot of factors. But overall I think it definitely has some effect. If you have cervical problems, and a fusion for example, it's going to put more stress on your whole spine as it adjusts to the fused level. And of course degenerative disc disease is going to affect multiple levels. And an accident like yours might lead to pain later in life. Just my opinion of course, and I'm not a dr. Just a suffering (im)patient :P Has your dr ordered a new MRI of your lumbar spine? Take care, hope you have a pain free weekend.

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  • That's a very interesting thing that your doc said - that your body is aging faster than you. Hmmm. What steps are you taking for your lumbar issues? And how are you doing after your ACDF?

    Hope you're having a pain-free day.
  • It is puzzling, isn't it? I actually have had lower back pain with occassional sciatica for years, long before my cervical issues were discovered. It's just gotten worse this year for some reason.

    I agree that is has to depend on multiple issues. I wonder: if you have DDD in your cervical spine, is it limited to that or are you predisposed to having it throughout your spine?

    I haven't seen a doc for my lumbar issues because I'm in between insurance carriers at the moment. When my Cobra kicks in I'll hopefully be able to go back and finish my post-ACDF PT and talk with my surgeon about my lower back.

    I'm with you - I'm also just a suffering (im)patient. :-)

    Hope you're feeling good today.
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  • I know that you've been going through an awful lot and I admire how you are able to support other with the chronic pain you suffer.

    It's really sad that once you have a spine issue, it may never really go away - you may fight it for the rest of your life. If I'd known how delicate the spine was, I can think of a million things I would've done differently over the years (one of which is throwing my head forward and back to the tune of "Get Over It" by the Eagles).

    Hope you're feeling good today.
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  • Well, Cath, as for my lumbar issues I had an ESI in January which has since worn off. I go to p.t. twice a week for both my lumbar and cervical issues. I have been having a hard time healing after my ACDF. Mostly the left side of my neck, shoulder, arm is effected. I have weakness, numb, pain, all that kind of stuff. My phsiatrist is having me continue therapy for another month before addressing other treatments...sick of waiting. She has me on Methadone every 12 hours for pain, oxycodone for breakthrough pain, Cymbalta, Imiprimine, and I take Depakote and Relpax for my migraines. Lately nothing has made me feel better. In fact I have an ice pack bandaged around my neck as I'm typing. By the way, I will turn 39 tomorrow...I feel 75!!!
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,519
    to illustrate the question you asked. When I was much younger, I started out with Lumbar issues. Over a period of time, that turned into 4 lumbar surgeries.... Well, my cervical area was getting jealous, so that started to give me problems. Three surgeries later and I figured I was through with spinal problems.
    But, then my thoracic disc were really upset that they did not get the proper attention. Only difference here, is that I haven't and hope to not have any thoracic surgery.

    My doctors have a theory about why.... My lumbar surgeries, no fusions, let me a bit tight and rigid. Then from working at a desk with computers for so many years and some old football injuries and a auto-accident whiplash, that started my cervical problems. The fact that I already had lumbar problems, left my spine somewhat unstable.
    Then with the Lumbar and Cervical surgeries and limitations, there was more stress placed on my thoracic area. In many ways, my doctors were not all that surprise about those T-disc starting to go.

    So, when you do have spinal surgery, there is always a good chance that you can develop problems in another part of your spine. Perhaps if I was better and more dedicated about dealing with those problems, I might not have had continuing disc problems.

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,741
    When I was a young man a older guy told me that. And said when he had hurt his back at work, years before he settled with work comp for a small award and lifetime medical.
    He said that was the wisest decision he ever made. Over the years that we were in touch he had had 3 back surgeries.
    I'm glad I trusted his judgement. Because over the years I had many work related back issues. And several surgeries.(read my signature line. "novel") And my issues are ongoing , still, years after the judgment I took with lifetime medical.
    They are only responsible for my lumbar. But L-1 and L-2 are well as T-11 and T-12.
    Bottom line when I was young I didn't listen to very many peoples advice. I'm so glad I listened to his!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
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