Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Broke my back, Dr Mark will i ride again?

Recommended Posts

Dr Mark,

I overshot a 50ft double and landed in the flats with my suspension too soft. I blew through the stroke, bottomed out, and crushed my L2 vertebrae. Im in a body brace for 12 weeks. I have a couple questions as i am bugging out right now. After the 12 weeks how long will it take before my back is well enough to ride again and what do you reccommen d to do so. The doctor said it will never look the same but it will function the same, is this the truth? Will i not have problems throughout my life since i crushed my vertebrae at 21? Also is riding the end of this season possible since im in the brace only until June? The nurse also said that i may have problems with my discs later in my life, is this the case as you have typically seen? They say surgery is not necessary and this break is common among MX riders, is this also true? Basically what are my chances of riding at the same level again and what will the rest of my life look like as far as pain and uncomfortablity? Im super bummed right now, please advise based on your experience with these injuries

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Nick,

I am not a Dr, but I have broken my back before. I crashed my street bike when I was 24 and compression fractured my L3 so it sounds close to what you have done. The road to recovery is slow but you will get most or all of your range of motion back. I went to PT and road my Mtn bike and my road bike as part of my therapy which helped a lot. You will have to be mindful to keep a strong core for the rest of your life and not to get to heavy (FAT)

What will be in your mind is that why does my back hurt when I do this or that. Work on a car, yard, lift something heavy, skiing etc... Well those same things more than likely will hurt someone who has never had a back injury.

Will you have problems in the future, who knows! I went 15 years until I was almost 40 before I had any symptoms that I had broken my back. I need to go see a Dr actually to have some x-rays and an MRI done to get the rest of the story.

My advice, do not sell your motorcycles, go to PT get healthy again and then look at what you want to do!

Good Luck

Dennis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the response! The last thing i want to do is sell my bikes, i want to ride for the rest of my able life, just hoping this injury didnt end it. How long were you out for until you could ride again? Also is there any pain when you ride? Have you had a bad get off since you have started riding again?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had my injury in 1995 and I have had many crashes on my snow skiis, wake board, dirt bike etc... I just make sure that I always wear the proper gear when I ride the dirt bike to protect myself. I have not wrecked on the street bike again fortunately. The speeds that you get off at are way to fast!

Your body will tell you what you can and cannot do! Of course right now sneezing is the worst if you have not found out yet! Oh and it sucks to try and put a pair of socks on! I was out for about 4 months and fully recovered in about a year. Maybe you will recover faster you never do know.

Dennis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When this happened it was in the late summer time going into fall. I think it happened in late August and I snow skiied on Christmas day with no ill effects what so ever. I gradually went down steeper and steeper runs until I was happy with the condition of my back. I re-built my bike that spring and rode and have been riding since then.

You will just have to feel it out and see what your body will allow.

It is probably really hard to find a position that is comfortable to sleep or do anything right now. I also had some numbness in my legs and feet due to the trauma or pressure but that went away in time. I also say a very experienced reflexologist who helped me out considerably in that area. But who knows what will work for you.

Dennis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bike bogged over a large gap and I fractured my L3 horizontally almost all the way across and burst two discs and bulged two. Also a piece of bone had broken off and lodged into my nerve that was removed during microdiscectomy surgery. Nerve was badly damaged. I did PT for about 4 months and it has been over a year now. I still have a bit of soreness in my hip and leg from nerve damage but it has not been too bad for a few months and plan on riding next week. Longest I have been off bike in many years. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thankfully mine wasnt that bad, I pancaked my L-2 and have several hairline fractures throughout other vertebrae. Just went to the Doc and he said ill be in the body brace for 3 months, 3 weeks of PT then back to riding....thank God

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fractured my L5 on July 9, 2007 and rode sled that winter. At the end of the winter, I was doin' some pretty good step ups and small drops and doing reasonably well for an old fart. I put 40+ good hours on my dirtbike last summer and work out like crazy to keep my hips and fanny stretched out properly. If you don't have much for nerve damage/pain, then you could be able to resume somewhat normal activity just short of six months if your body lets you know it's ok. Jogging may be out for a good bit, at least it was for me as the compression made my hips hurt afterwards. The turtle shell sucked and finally I donated my bed brace, walker and toilet frame to charity last fall. Good luck and listen to your body - it will let you know how soon you can get back to 'normal'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lucky bastards......^^^^^.... I broke my back last year in March. spent 12 weeks in the clam shell. Mine was a bit worse, notice the picture....Fused from L-3 to T-11..... Been riding a bit, rode snowmobiles this winter and did some skiing....I had 1 wk of PT while I was in the hospital and no more....I was called a medical marvle and the doc likes to brag its all him.....hahah...

Anyway, it's what you make it. just like the guys above we ride cause we love it and when you get out of that brace and get back to life you will do what you do. We are not typical people that tend to roll over and die. people say we are a different breed and we are and there is a bit of that breed in anyone that rides right down to the three year old on a bike and women... You either are going to ride or you are not and pain is not going to stop you if you want to ride...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is true. Im only concerned because everyone is saying right around 6 months, the doc told me 3 months in the turtle shell and 3 weeks pt and i can ride again. Thats not even 4 months, doesnt sound right...but i want to get a few hare scrambles and enduros in at the tail end of the season....also if you cant jog because of the compression how could you ride? Just curious...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is true. Im only concerned because everyone is saying right around 6 months, the doc told me 3 months in the turtle shell and 3 weeks pt and i can ride again. Thats not even 4 months, doesnt sound right...but i want to get a few hare scrambles and enduros in at the tail end of the season....also if you cant jog because of the compression how could you ride? Just curious...

For me, jogging is a high impact exercise - maybe I don't know how to do it right but there is a small shock everytime I plant my foot. For sledding, I couldn't sit down all last season. For moto, the biggest pain I get is going hard in a deep, bumpy, rutted turn - I need to push my fanny off the seat with my outside leg. Everytime I get lazy, I feel it for a day or two.

I don't know about the other's situations but my first week of PT was learning how to walk in the hospital pool. After that is was walking with a walker. A lot of the recovery was just pushing on the pain threshold until I could do more activity. I think I threw my turtle shell in the garage in early Sept - about 8 weeks after the injury. 12 weeks is the standard prescription but I think it promotes too much dependance and adds therapy time to get your body working in harmony again. Just my two cents. Take care and you'll be on your bike in a reasonable amount of time - you'll find out if is too soon or just right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got good news. Brace comes off in 2 weeks and one month of PT makes me able to "ride" in June. That seems soon. March 9th break, 2 months in a brace and one month PT puts full recovery at just over 3 months....either im lucky or rushing it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just got good news. Brace comes off in 2 weeks and one month of PT makes me able to "ride" in June. That seems soon. March 9th break, 2 months in a brace and one month PT puts full recovery at just over 3 months....either im lucky or rushing it...

Good to hear you're progressing. Maybe for the speed of your recovery, your doc interpreted your x-rays/CT scan stuff a little different than what it really was. The original neuro guy that looked at my x-rays said my L5 was "crushed". The second neuro guy couldn't find the break with the same original hospital x-ray and two more x-rays. The third one found a break that was healing in a CT scan he ordered. The latter two stated there was little to no chance of any paralysis with this type of injury and the first one held the "paralysis stick" over my head if I even adjusted the bed or turned off the leg anti embolism compression gizmo. Anyway, enough rambling, just commit yourself to the PT and to ongoing exercise programs as you did put your back through a significant trauma and it needs proper long term attention now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, heling time is almost up. I have a follow up doctor appt on Sept 3rd, however, at the last visit the doc said I can do sports again in Sept. At first i though this is great, now (the weather is bad) im thinking again. My back is almost in pain all the time. I can lift and run and be fine however every morning and for the first 4-5 hours of the day it is a constant dulling pain. The last thing i want to do is injur myself permanently. Advice? and why hasnt Doctor Mark chimed in yet?!?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm only going from experience so I'm not a neurological expert. My back and neck injuries resulted in various levels of lingering pain - some of which has never completely gone away. When you traumatize your back or neck, the nerve bundle, the nerve casing or an individual nerve often gets injured and requires significant time to repair itself. Sometimes, repair is not complete, that's just the way it is. In a few more months, if you properly stretch and restore your core strength, you'll find out what your permanent pain level will settle at. I don't mean to sound like doom and gloom but I also ain't gonna candy coat it. For me, I have to keep my hips, legs and fanny stretched out real good or I tighten up and low level pain comes back. Core work is also essential to reduce the work other muscles might do to compensate or prevent you from re-applying injury to your back. (atrophy is a means the body uses to keep you from using your injured parts).

In the big picture, you'll know in about 6 more months what you're pain (or lack of it) level will be. Take your time and listen to your body and you will be riding soon enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm only going from experience so I'm not a neurological expert. My back and neck injuries resulted in various levels of lingering pain - some of which has never completely gone away. When you traumatize your back or neck, the nerve bundle, the nerve casing or an individual nerve often gets injured and requires significant time to repair itself. Sometimes, repair is not complete, that's just the way it is. In a few more months, if you properly stretch and restore your core strength, you'll find out what your permanent pain level will settle at. I don't mean to sound like doom and gloom but I also ain't gonna candy coat it. For me, I have to keep my hips, legs and fanny stretched out real good or I tighten up and low level pain comes back. Core work is also essential to reduce the work other muscles might do to compensate or prevent you from re-applying injury to your back. (atrophy is a means the body uses to keep you from using your injured parts).

In the big picture, you'll know in about 6 more months what you're pain (or lack of it) level will be. Take your time and listen to your body and you will be riding soon enough.

This has been my experience also after fracturing T1&2, L1&2, coccyx, and had laminectomy surgery. As renrek says, the core work is essential. Stay fit and permanent pain levels will be minimized.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might not have pain after it heals, I went 15 years with no pain after my comp fracturing my L-3 and now I am having problems at age 39. But I have wake boarded, snow skiied, mtn biked, dirt biked, track days on the street bike with no problems.

Everyone is different so you need to pay attention to what your body is telling you and also try to keep your weight down and keep the core strong!

Even with the pain that I am having now it subsides when I do PT and exercise!

Dennis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×