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  1. #1
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    Broken Back T12 Burst - Return ?

    Does anyone know of riders who have returned to Mountain Biking after having a broken back with a T12 burst fracture ? This is a serious form of a broken back that all I can find on the internet is stories about paralysis not much about "returning" to sports.

    If so,
    #1 GREAT
    #2 How long did it take ? and did he/she return as competitive ?

    I recently suffered a T12 burst fracture in my back. (not riding MTB"s but rather playing Hockey) Luckily I do not have any paralysis. I’m recovering in brace and hoping to ride MTB’s again. I have come back from many other surgical injuries with no problems but breaking your back is something a little “bigger”

    I'm really looking forward to getting back on my XC bike.
    Thanks,

  2. #2
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    Broke my T12...

    in a car wreck in '03. 40% crushed, but no neurological damage. It hurts a bit when I run, but not while biking. Your mileage may vary. I wore a brace for about 4 months and was off the bike for 8, but that was mainly due to a broken neck. It sure was great to ride again. I hope things work out for you.
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  3. #3
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    I just got a compression fracture T6 dirt jumping a few weeks ago

    Im off the bike for 6 months (even road riding) but they didnt say anything about not being able to recover fully.

    The CT scan looked more like a burst than a compression (as the doctor described each at least) and I'm glad I'm not paralyzed...

    Good luck to you, if you still have movement I'm sure you'll be riding again someday

  4. #4
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    Dude. Take it easy. Seriously. I busted my L5/S1 playing hockey in Jan 2005 and am just getting back to riding now. You'll get back to it depending on how big you go.
    Like I say, it took nearly 2 years of physio and numerous nerve-root blocks before I could start riding The Shore again.
    But the good news is that I'm riding harder drops and gap jumps than I would have considered even before I was injured! Take your time, you'll go big again!
    "Here is the new there"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrhead
    Does anyone know of riders who have returned to Mountain Biking after having a broken back with a T12 burst fracture ? This is a serious form of a broken back that all I can find on the internet is stories about paralysis not much about "returning" to sports.

    If so,
    #1 GREAT
    #2 How long did it take ? and did he/she return as competitive ?

    I recently suffered a T12 burst fracture in my back. (not riding MTB"s but rather playing Hockey) Luckily I do not have any paralysis. I’m recovering in brace and hoping to ride MTB’s again. I have come back from many other surgical injuries with no problems but breaking your back is something a little “bigger”

    I'm really looking forward to getting back on my XC bike.
    Thanks,
    If you have no neurological problems and no spinal compression from the fracture there should be no real long standing problems. The only issue is, unfortunately, the level: T12 is one of our spinal junctions where the normally stiff thoracic spine meets the over mobile lumbar spine. That means a little longer rehab and a little longer time off impact sports unless you are a pro athlete. So, brace 8-10 weeks (depending on the follow up X-Rays), followed by the 3 most important things: rehab, rehab and rehab. Oh! and don't forget your isometric abdo exercises in your brace.

  6. #6
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    You will be able to return. But...you need to be fully recovered before you attempt a return to mountain biking. I'd completely lay off contact sports...forever. Sure, you can get hurt in mountain biking, but not like in sports such as hockey and football, etc. At least in mountain biking...if you get hurt it's your fault...not some guy smashing you.

    Have hope. Maintain a healthy diet and take vitamins. Take recovery slow. Don't take risks or try to get into anything too quick. Don't worry...you'll be on a trail again.
    Last edited by JJGNC; 04-29-2007 at 05:49 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #7
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    Well.....this is encouraging on one hand...and depressing on the other. Good news is sounds like most of you with spine compression/burst fractures have recovered to near pre-injury form. Bad news is I'm doing the math and it looks like anywhere from a year plus to nearly two years

    Like Coldawg, I was dirt-jumping a few weeks ago, April 12th to be exact, and nose cased a bigger double hard, went OTB and rammed my head into the landing. I suffered a severe burst fracture to T3, with my neurosurgeon estimating 50% compression of the vertebrae. I was paralyzed initially for about 30min immediately following the crash, then gradually started getting movement and feeling back as the FD and EMT guys worked on me. In addition, I had an old surfing injury that was actually stretching and pinching my spinal cord (stenosis) on C5 that had to be repaired. My doc is estimating I'll be able to ride (in a controlled space) in about 6mo, but he also wants to take the hardware in my back out after a year which means another major surgery and following recovery. Any of you that have had hardware on your T spine chosen to leave the hardware in to avoid the removal surgery? Opinions on the merits of removing or leaving it????

    On the flip side to all that dreary news - I am NOT paralyzed (which my Neurosurgeon said is nothing short of a miracle given the amount of pinching and bones pressing into my spinal chord), and better still....I'm still here.

    I WILL ride again...just seems like it is going to be a very long recovery
    "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

  8. #8
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    Wow, scary stuff wXman. It sounds like you're on the road to recovery, though.

    I've got a bunch of plates and screws in my neck. C4 and C5 are fused, as are C6, C7, T1. It doesn't make sense to remove the hardware, and I have no plans to. Since my vertabrae are fused (calcified together, like a healed broken bone), removing the hardware won't restore any range of motion.

    I thought it might set off the metal detector at the airport, but it doesn't.

  9. #9
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    Hi -
    Short update -

    5 weeks out now I'm wearing a turtle brace (like a bodycast) -
    - walking 90% of the full day -
    - back to work
    - Starting to ride the stationary bike and possibly the eliptical this week
    - getting a new suspension MTB ready for July or August's therapy !
    - ported a new cylinder for my jetski !

    thanks for all the replys -

    WxMan - take care - yours was real scary - we will ride again

  10. #10
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    Hi you guys wonder if any of you can help me out here in the UK.
    I had an accident at work suffered a 30% compression facture of T12, iam just going past the 6wk post accident stage and spoke to the doc on friday along with x-ray everything is stable in a body cast had 8 days in hospital lying flat B4 the cast was made . I was led to believe 12 wk recovery for the bones to heel, now having seen the doc he has said 12wks from now 6 wks after and cycling will not be for another month or more after even on rd and PT not for another 12wks. Well bit of a shock as most seem to be doing PT 3wks post accident and allowed to cycle albeit on a trainer , driving at a push he was not happy to let me drive and good old swimming (safe bet) was also only just accepted. Ineed help as iam on an mtb holiday in the ALPs at the end of my 3month post accident , i already missed out on going to Florida just five days after the accident(now booked for oct ) also back in the ALPs in August for more Cycyling if i miss all 3 iam going to be going mad so please help with your experiences on pain how far to push it or not ,how long b4 you rode a bike after even on the road . Cheers Lawrence

  11. #11
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    LAWRENCE -

    Maybe I made it sound too good. I've been in the body cast since 4 days after the accident. I was out of work for 5 weeks laying and pacing the room at home. Yes I got the clearance last week to drive and to actually ride a stationary exercise bike along with an elliptical. However I'm still wearing the brace ALL day and it will be another 4-5 weeks before I see him again. He did say if everything progresses next visit we could work on getting out of the brace and to actual PT. I do have a weight restriction of a gallon of milk (7 lbs) so I'm far from being "back". He did say no torsion and no swimming.

    Bottom line - every doctor is different and ever patient is different. I wouldn't for any reason thinks yours is doing something wrong.

  12. #12
    TelemarkTumalo
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    Burst and compression fractures are very common in trauma and as long as there is no neurologic compromise (pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the lower extremities and no bowel, bladder or sexual dysfunction), then these are not dangerous. They typically heal much as any other bone fracture in 8-12 weeks. Bracing when upright against gravity is essential. There is a simple surgical intervention for those who continue to have pain. It is called vertebroplasty and there is a variation called kyphoplasty. Both procedures involved injecting some fast drying substance called methylmethacrylate (essentially a fast drying cement). The advantage of the surgery is that pain relief and healing are immediate. In the hands of a skilled neurosurgeon, the procedure takes about 30-45 minutes and is an out patient procedure. Some surgeons use local anesthetic, but most recommend general anesthesia. So, why not get the surgery right away? Well, like all surgeries, there are risks involved... including the cement entering the spinal canal next to nerves or spinal cord (this is low incidence but nevertheless essential that you have a very experienced surgeon do the procedure). I always recommend bracing in young, healthy individuals, rest and no impact activities for at least 8 weeks, new x-rays to be sure that there is no further collapse of the vertebra. If there is any evidence of progressive collapse, or the pain is intolerable, the patient is offered the procedure. Check out this link to the Kyphon website if you want to know more. http://www.kyphon.com/patients/ballo...FQGZYAodXxQ86w

    Mark Spencer, PA-C, PhD
    PA in neurosurgery
    Bend, OR
    [SIZE="6"][/SIZE]"Dang! You got shocks, pegs. Lucky!

  13. #13
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    Here is some good news for those of you still hurt and future lurkers on broken backs.

    I'm at 10 weeks tomorrow. I got out of my bodycast/brace last week and have been riding my hardtail on the street ! yes - every night I have gone for a bike ride and I have been swimming. Today is the first day I can honestly say I don’t even feel or recognize that I broke my back. I know I have to build my muscles and lungs back but boy what a relief !!!!! I built a new full suspension bike while I was resting so the plan is to hit the trails in a couple of weeks ! The message here is if your in good shape going in you can come out quickly !

    Good luck to the rest of you that posted with similar broken backs.

  14. #14
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    lucky!

    i'm at.. almost 9 weeks. and i see the doctor in 2 weeks

    but he said that its going to take til october for my compressed t6 to heal, meaning no lifting over 5 pounds til then. luckily i've been on a trainer in my brace as well as swimming, but i have no feeling at ALL of pain, can sleep and shower w/o my brace, etc.
    but i still have to wait til october to even ride on the road?

    hopefully when i go to the doc in a few weeks he'll see i've healed miraculously and can ride again... alas..

  15. #15
    TelemarkTumalo
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    Hi Colddawg,

    I think your doc might be a bit overly cautious. Most compression fractures heal in 8-12 weeks in otherwise healthy individuals. The "standard of care" in spine specialties is bracing and lifting restrictions for 12 weeks with imaging (xray, CT or MRI) to confirm no further compression and wedging of the broken vertebra, and then return to activities as tolerated. Meaning, that if there is no pain, then you should be doing no harm. With that being said, your doc may be seeing something out of the ordinary on your films such as an unusual fracture that might be considered unstable. Ask the doc if this is a typical compression fracture, and if so, tell them that you want to get back to cycling asap. Use common sense (i.e., don't go launching yourself airborne) until you are sure that you are pain free. Glad you're feeling better.

    Mark Spencer, PA-C, PhD
    The Center for Orthopedics and Neurosurgery
    Bend, OR
    [SIZE="6"][/SIZE]"Dang! You got shocks, pegs. Lucky!

  16. #16
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    Wow thanks for all the info telemark

    Yeah I'm a healthy, fit almost 17 year old, and I'm feeling no pain in hte brace, and even when i take it off to take a dip in the pool or go to sleep.

    He didn't mention any abnormalities in my CT scan, except that the vertebra lost about 1/4 of its height. Which seems normal for a compression. Although he was saying a compression was usually just one side (the front), but mine looked almost more like a burst

    I'll be interested to see what light he can shed when I go back on the 26th. Hopefully it'll be good news! It just seems silly to have to wait until october.

    I mean, he did say its like "slow setting cement" in terms of how it heals, and thats why i can''t lift anything heavy etc. But 6 months? Damn....


    O by the way, this is a Neuroligist at Stanford University Hospital telling me it's going to take 6 months.

    And I went to my MD to ask about stationary biking a few weeks ago, which was OKd, and he's a doctor I know well and trust and he even said it could be 6 months

    Not to discount your opinion at all, because that's the one I want to hear :-)

    So when I go back to the doc in a few weeks, I'll tell him what I've heard, and if necessary, I'll seek another opinion.
    Last edited by coldawg; 06-13-2007 at 11:53 AM.

  17. #17
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    oops
    Last edited by coldawg; 06-13-2007 at 05:52 PM.

  18. #18
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    Update: its almost 4 years now and I wanted to say if it wasn't for the brains memory I wouldn't know I broke my back. I've been playing organized hockey, racing skis, and riding my bikes with no issues. I know when this happened I did alot of internet searching only find everything gloom and doom. Hopefully somebody in my condition will see that you can fully recover.

  19. #19
    TelemarkTumalo
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    Good on you mtrhead. Proof that with time, good health and determination, you can heal most injuries. Hopefully, this thread will be found by others in similar circumstances.
    [SIZE="6"][/SIZE]"Dang! You got shocks, pegs. Lucky!

  20. #20
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    Mtrhead -

    Congrats on the recovery man! Good on you - I'm sure it's not without a great deal of effort, discipline, and work you made it back.

    I too have recovered for the most part...but I will stop short of saying everything is fine...because that just isn't the truth. I suspect mine was more severe of a burst fracture - and considering the paralysis I had both at the scene and later during surgery - and the surgery reports - there was spinal chord trauma.

    I can ride and do still get out, but I am not the same...I have PT and stretching routines I do to help with flexibility and core strength, but I do not have full range of motion, nor the endurance and strength I once had - and pain is now a daily companion.

    Make no mistake - it isn't sour grapes! I'm grateful to still be here, and convinced I probably shouldn't have survived the accident - especially escaping paralysis.

    Glad to hear another recovery story!

    Bob V
    "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrhead
    Update: its almost 4 years now and I wanted to say if it wasn't for the brains memory I wouldn't know I broke my back. I've been playing organized hockey, racing skis, and riding my bikes with no issues. I know when this happened I did alot of internet searching only find everything gloom and doom. Hopefully somebody in my condition will see that you can fully recover.
    EFFING HIGH FIVE. NIce work!!!
    :wq

  22. #22
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    Thanks! my goal is to hopefully make someone feel positive that does a search on recovery.

  23. #23
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    Hey, great to hear!

    I've got a similar story, so hopefully if anyone suffering from an injury like one of ours who stumbles upon this can find some hope

    I too have absolutely no reminder of the incident, other than the (ever fading memory) of 4 days in the hospital, as well as the CT scan and other "souveneirs."

    I've been riding for years now with no problems, racing XC, DH, snowboarding, even dirt jumping a bit.

    Glad to hear there are others out there with similar success It was a humbling experience, and I try to remind myself how lucky I am and how much worse it could have been. I don't, however, let it hold me back or get to me when I am riding. And I'm enjoying life to the fullest!

    Cheers and congrats

  24. #24
    Clyde
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    Great read

    I was doing a search in the Rider Down forum for 'neck and came across this thread'. No major event for me but it seems that 47 year old neck wants me to cool it for a while. I have C7/C6 rupture, C6/C5 and C4/C3 hernias. I'm looking for things you did that made a difference in your recovery. I'm thinking I can give up Snowboading but Mountain Biking is still to much of a passion. I'm working with medical professionals but want to hear it from you on how you got back to the bike.
    09 Ibis Mojo - All Mountain Moab Edition

  25. #25
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    Hi guys.
    I fractured t7 two weeks ago today, doing a headplant after a high spead jump. Shattered specialized helmet, broken nose, etc.. Luckily no nerve damage.
    I'm still in quite a bit of pain, however reading these posts does help me feel better about my riding future. I'm a cross country and stage race rider, and mountainbikimg really is my life. It sucks being stuck in bed, but then again, you can only learn from it.
    Questions: did you have to wear the brace in bed? I dont, as it really bothers me.
    Any funny sounds,like bones rubbing against each other? If i turn around i get this, and its freaking me out.
    Regards
    Neil in south africa

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