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Spine and Back Health

L1 Compression Fracture

09/19/2008

Question:

It`s been 3 months since my auto accident - got rear-ended. My back doctor has released me last week, and said to go slow on stretching. Did not schedule me for any physical therapy. I have never had a broken bone before this. I still have pain around the L1 area, when sneezing, bending over, etc. is that due to the back not moving for 3 months while in a brace? Is this normal, and how long should it be before no pain. My doctor said I should be fine and resume my normal activities after 3 months, but now I don`t believe him.

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. We do not diagnose people's problems through this website, and do not dispense specific medical advice for individuals. Only your doctor can, or should, do that. There is a great deal of information necessary to assess your situation. Just for starters, your age, gender, weight, type of brace used, and what your x-rays showed at the time of the accident, and what your x-rays show now are all important. If you have an L1 compression fracture (and not a more serious type called a burst fracture), many people will heal within about 3 months, but not everyone. You might need further evaluation to determine whether you're fully healed or not. This might require a physical examination, x-rays, or even possibly an MRI. At this point if you're skeptical about what your doctor is telling you, either confront your doctor and insist on more of an explanation, or seek another opinion. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University