ZocdocAnswersHeal time for multiple back injuries?

Question

Heal time for multiple back injuries?

I recently fell 20 feet and suffered 4 transverse process fractures, two broken ribs, two disc herniations, and nerve damage in my back and leg. It's been over two months and I still have pain, weakness and numbness. How long can I expect to feel this way?

Answer

The time of your recovery will depend on many factors. It sounds like your injury was quite severe and may take a long time to fully heal. The fractures you suffered from will likely heal on their own. As long as they heal correctly, they should not result in any chronic pain, as long as your pain was fairly well controlled in the weeks to months after your injury. The other source of your pain is going to come from your disc herniations and nerve damage. Therapy for these injuries could include surgery, steroid injections, spinal cement injections, physical therapy, and various different types of pain medications. You will need to be seen by multiple specialists for all of these therapies. Your disc herniations will be best treated with physical therapy, different injections and possibly surgery (as a last resort). Your nerve damage pain should be treated with neuropathic pain medications such as gabapentin or pregabalin. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a pain medicine specialist. This is the type of doctor that is used to dealing with nerve injury pain, and low back pain of other causes. This doctor will also be qualified to perform steroid injection in areas that would obviously benefit from that therapy. Your doctor may also decide that orthopedic surgical referral is necessary at some point. Good luck.

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