Injury Update 14

I fell in May after, my eighty pound Golden charged at me causing me to lose my balance and go into a spinning fall off a concrete walkway in our backyard onto the mango tree roots. This caused me to have a L-1 compression fracture of my lumbar spine and have to wear a brace.   

It has been over twelve weeks and in theory active rehabilitation is next. However, little things keep complicating my recovery like small puddles of water on the floor that caused me to slip yesterday.  

I am grateful that I only slipped and did not fall, but that is only because I slide into the bathroom counter where I was able to get my balance. I am grateful for that counter! I am also grateful that I have things to gradually help me with my recovery like walking poles and my exercise ball.    

Unfortunately, a recent bone density study revealed I also have osteoporosis and this is also complicating my recovery. I will see the endocrinologist in October to discuss my options for this and in the meanwhile I am trying to avoid my one vice, Diet Pepsi and continue taking my calcium with vitamin D.  

My doctor wants me to talk to the neurosurgeon about possible surgery, but I am not inclined to do this for several reasons. First I am a big chicken when it comes to my back. No epidural for me with either delivery! Second, my brother had an unexpected complication from his surgery in May and given that one of the complications of any spinal surgery is paralysis, I am not inclined to risk it. I do not have nerve damage, another thing for which I am grateful. I would rather take my chances with a slower recovery time than with a surgery that might make me permanently worse.

The only real downside is that back spasms have prevented me from actively promoting my novel, from visiting my brother who lives far away and from participating in other activities. My novel sold well after my book signing, but I have not been able to do another signing or schedule any events because I cannot handle sitting for long unless I have a high-backed chair with armrests.  

I have also curtailed some Internet activities to make time for my exercises and to be available to transport my children to and from various activities, so now you know why I am commenting less.

The articles below are just more information about compression fractures and osteoporosis. You do not need to read them to understand this post. I do advise my friends with children on the autism spectrum to find a way to get your children to consume calcium and vitamin D if they cannot drink milk. Bone density is complete by age thirty. I found out I had osteopenia, lower than normal bone density, when I was in my thirties. I have taken calcium and vitamin D ever since then, yet I still developed osteoporosis despite trying to remain active.

Lumbar Compression Fracture.

Maryland Spine Center – Thoracic Compression Fractures.

Fractures of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine – Your Orthopaedic Connection – AAOS.

Osteoporosis Slideshow – What Is Osteoporosis and How Do You Treat It? – page 1.

Diseases of Bone – Bone Health and Osteoporosis – NCBI Bookshelf.


  1. I understand your reluctance for surgery; I’m especially wary when surgery is pushed with other, non-invasive options remain.

    I’m sorry it’s interfered with your book promotion efforts. *rest of comment via Facebook*

  2. So, so thinking of you. Back issues–not good. I’m still doing PT from my back issue that happened in Dec. Three herniated discs and we know at some point I’m looking at surgery. Take care of yourself Sue!!

    • Lisa,
      Oh no! Back surgery is definitely serious, but I know you have already faced other serious health issues. Take care of yourself too!

  3. I’m sorry your recovery has been met with so many obstacles, and I’m sorry to hear about your osteoporosis. I hope things move along more smoothly from this point.

    Regarding calcium, green leafy vegetables are wonderful sources, and the calcium they contain is more readily-absorbed than the calcium in dairy products. Leafy greens are great in fruit smoothies, which would be a great way to get kids to eat kale and spinach.

    • Thoughty Autie,
      An excellent suggestion! Thank you! A friend who is also a nurse reminded me that magnesium is also important in osteoporosis prevention. I think for now I just have to make my spinal recovery the first priority.

  4. Good luck with the rehab and I hope you get some answers regarding the osteoporosis. I’m curious how you found out about the osteopenia – was it some routine test or did you ask for it for some reason? Is it something everyone should check out?

  5. Hi Sue – I am so hesitant to give people advice and I have never experienced a compression fracture BUT I have had to deal with many lower back issues (all connected to caring for Adam and doing the necessary therapy). What I have found helpful is e-stim (especially when muscles are in spasm) and ultrasound – all provided by my regular chiropractor – plus adjustment, stretching via ball and yoga. My chiropractor also uses ice, ice and more ice. We also have a cold laser which I have used to successfully treat inflammation in my elbow and foot. Just some ideas, discard if not applicable. I get so angry when I can’t function – angry at my body, at the Universe!! I’m sure that you have explored lots of different healing avenues. . .
    Take care, Sharon

    • Sharon,
      I have typed up a long reply twice today and both times my computer twitched and it was lost. I do get frustrated, but I know I still have so many things for which I am grateful. I can still walk and drive and sit here and blog. There is still hope for a pain-free recovery. I might complain at times, but honestly it will not do any good and I am so much better off than some. If Adam can smile, so can I! I appreciate all of your advice too! Please always know you can say anything you are comfortable sharing here. I am not against chiropractic care, but I would like to know the fracture is healed before pursuing that. Plus, I don’t really know the local chiropractors. I do know a masseuse I will call when I get the okay from my doctor and ice is definitely my favorite. My husband found an ice pack called Peas that I love, but I also like to freeze paper Dixie cups. I have to be careful with the yoga moves as I also have joint hypermobility. Some of the stretches are okay though. Ultrasound and electrical stim are possibilities too.

      I think my biggest concern right now is that I am at risk for more fractures. There is a balance class for “older” women I might have to checkout although technically I am two years younger than their age requirements.

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