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MY SON IS HOME ON R&R FROM HIS TOUR TO AFGHANISTAN FOR THE ARMY. ABOUT 4-5 DAYS BEFORE RETURNING TO THE STATES HE INJURED HIS BACK WHEN HIS HUMVEE HIT A LARGE POTHOLE AND BENT HIM BACKWARDS OVER THE "TEA CUP " OF THE GUNNERS TURRET. THEY TOLD HIM TO CHECK IT OUT WHEN HE GOT BACK TO THE STATES BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE HE MIY NOT BE FIT TO COME BACK. SINCE BEING BACK AT FT. RILEY KS. HE HAD ANOTHER X-RAY AND THE TECHNICIANS RESULTS WERE
-PARTIAL SACRALIZATION OF THE L-5 SEGMENT WHICH CAN LEAD TO PSEUDARTHROSIS CAUSING PAIN. THEY ALSO STATED VERBALLY THAT IT WAS A POSSIBLE FRACTURE
THE ARMY HAS DELAYED HIS DEPARTURE BACK TO AFGHANISTAN FOR 5 DAYS.
WE ARE NOT GETTING MUCH HELP FROM THE ARMY ON THIS..... WHAT DOES THIS DIAGNOSIS MEAN?
WOULD HE BE FIT FOR COMBAT? DOES THIS CONDITION REQUIRE ADDITIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENT?

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hi, the sacralization of L5 is where the last of the lumbar vertebrae fuses with the sacral bones. The problem is that in essence it throws the vertebrae closest to it out of line and due to the altered movement puts pressure on the nerve at the L5 level and causes it to become inflamed and cause a sciatica like pain ( often travelling down one leg ) The interesting point is that partial sacralization at this location is actually a congenital defect (from birth) and often causes no problems until the person is in their late 20's or early 30's, it appears as though the jolt from the pot hole has actually "set it off". the most widely known term is Bertolotti's Syndrome. As for treatment, the options available are mainly non invasive, course of anti-imflammatories, pain killers and low inpact exercise to strengthen core muscles once the pain and inflammation have subsided. your family doctor or base doctor will be able to sort all of that for you. if non of this is effective then in the long term you can discuss the possibility of cortisone injections, however this hopefully wont be necessary. hope this helps your son - kate
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