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Disc Heniation of L4-5

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Chronic Pain
I injured my back at work almost a year ago. It took the doctors that WC sent me to almost 6 months before they requested an MRI which took WC another 8 weeks to approve it. The MRI showed herniation in L4-L5 and is putting pressure on my sciatic nerve on the right. I have constant pain that gets worse with almost all activity, including sitting for more than 30 minutes.
I finally had a Dr who seemed to understand my pain and seemed to want to help me. He performed 2 epidural injections, which gave me very little relief and only for a couple hours. WC decided to change my Dr to one who put me back to work despite my increased pain with activity. They refuse to authorize PT and have recently requested an FCE. The worst part is that this new Dr is refusing to see me and when I call he just says continue taking pain meds and muscle relaxers around the clock, whether I want to or not. I have an Attorney that has just as much trouble if not more getting WC to help me (they haven't paid me in several months either). My concern is where to go now for my pain. I am only 34, I work retail which requires me to be on my feet for 8-10 hours a day, constant heavy lifting and bending, and I have 2 children to take care of. I don't know anyone who has ever suffered from this and so very few people understand my pain level. Please Help!!!!


  • Welcome to spine-health,have you seen a surgeon or a pain management doctor?
  • I was seeing a pain management dr, but WC put a stop to that. He wanted to try 1 more epidural before referring me any further. The new doc that WC sent me to refuses to allow me to have another and refuses to see me anymore.
  • i too have had herniation of the L4-5 with sciatic pain. i had fusion surgery and last april had fusion for herniation for L3. fortunately i did not have to deal with wc, mine was a private insurance matter. it seems that a lot of back patients are wc patients. the people i know who have delt with them tell me horror stories. one had people come in to her pain dr's office and take her off to rehab to dry out. is there any way you can defer from wc to private insurance? i am sure you will get better help. if you have an hmo, that might present problems also
    good luck and talk to lawyer about private insurance. i know it is a long shot but at least worth a try
    pain free

    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Due to my missing so much time at work my private insurance has lapsed, the state I live in doesn't make them keep my health coverage. My attorney has talked about sending me to another dr and adding that to the settlement. But I don't think he truly understands the pain. All I truly care about is getting rid of the pain and getting back to a normal life where I can take my kids to the zoo for the day or an amusement park. I have been feeling quite alone in this and hoping to find others in a similar situation.
  • You will never be alone again since you have found us. We do understand your pain and will always be here to support you and offer any suggestions that we can. Your lawyer does not sound like he is really on the bal. Have you thought about talking to another? At least going for a consult? There are lots of people here that are relying on wc and if you take a look at the Insurance section at the bottom you will find some of them. Good luck to you and please keep us posted on your progress. BTW - Have you thought about writing a letter to your state representative about all of this? Sometimes they can be lots of help to get things moving.
  • Thank you, it is good to finally find someone who understands. I have never thought about writing a letter. I will try that, I suppose the worst that could happen is that I won't get any further than I am now.
  • i went to disneyland this summer albeit i had to use one of those mechanical wheel chairs. write that letter, use a wheel chair or cain or what ever and try to live your life as best as possible, there are all sorts of things you can use or do to make life seem more normal. i have had to live with back pain for 10 years now and after 4 back surgeries

    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Hello C,
    I'm really happy that you found this message board. I've gone through the disk herniation L5/S1, plus quite a few other things such as Fibromyalgia, etc.. I know where you are at with that pain! I continued to work with the sciatic pain for a year before I ever got a diagnosis. I wasn't using WC but I was using a lawyer due to the fact that I had filed a lawsuit where I had fallen. What I wanted the most was for my medical bills to be paid. But that's a whole different story. I did have to pay for my own health insurance, the entire amount out of my pocket while I was off of work for 12 weeks and 2 surgery's, back to back. No pun inteded. Anyway it cost a small fortune. We still pay the Cobra premiims about 7 months out of the year with my husband's employer at $800.00 per month. I'm no longer able to work and had to go on SSD. I have Medicare but it doesn't cover as well as our own insurance would. I would like to know if you are taking anything for the pain? Any prescriptions at all? Before I was diagnosed and still had the herniated disk, I was on Bextra and that was the ONLY way that I was still able to work. It's no longer on the market but Celebrex is. There both Nsaids, and I feel that may benefit you. Let me know what your taking, if you don't mind. Also, feel free to send me a pm anytime, I'll be happy to answer any questions.
    My best,
  • I'm sorry you're having to deal with them and your condition. I herniated L4-5 last year and had horrific sciatica, and I can't believe that they would put you back on the job, esp. retail.
    I know the pain; there's just no way. But you have to eat too. I know someone who was scheduled for surgery, and WC stopped all benefits, and of course the surgery was cancelled. That person had to recover on their own while on assistance, and basically had to start over at another employment. And try to hide the pain. I told that person it was a blessing that they didn't go thru the surgery. There's no 100% guarantee you'll recover in 4 weeks and go back to work in 2, like doctors try to make it sound. I am speaking only of my experience, in that I didn't make that miraculous recovery when I had a microdiscectomy. Mine was not a job related injury, so I didn't have to deal with WC unpleasantries.

    If you decide to have surgery in the future, keep this in mind- Back surgery is a 50/50 chance. Some leave the hospital the same day. Some like me had to stay 3 for a microdiscectomy, and was told I could go to the rehab ward because of the pain. When I woke up, that sciatic nerve was screaming fierce. Not all will wake up with the nerve pain gone, despite it being decompressed.
    This year after my fusion, 3 months later, my nerve is still giving problems. It's been chronic and constant.
    I just want you to know what may happen; I tell it how it is and don't mean to discourage no one. Read all you can from the good results, and the not so good, and make the practical decision for your situation.
  • a guy i work with had neck surgery with wc and they video taped him on and off for a while. his lawyer showed him the disk that wc sent him. lawyer said not to worry because they could not tell how much items weighed on the video. watch out they can be sneaky if they suspect anything. those case managers are something else also. i am glad i never had to deal with them and i have private insurance-ppo. i can choose any dr any place without prior authorization
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,722

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

    Welcome To Spine-Health

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is NOT
    formal medical advise. You should always consult with your doctors.

    To get back to the Forums, you can always click on Forum Home

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    As you read these forums you will find that L4/L5 and L5/S1 are the most common Lumbar discs to cause problems.
    In your case when L4/L5 disc is pressing on the nerve root, you should look at getting this addressed. Prolonged pressing on the nerve root can led to persistent nerve damage. I know we can offer so many suggestions as what to d, where to go, etc, but it seems like you are really being throttled by Workmens Comp. Do you have any appeal board that you can go to? Taking pain medication and muscle relaxers may be a method to manage your pain and discomfort, but it is not the way this should be treated.
    Good luck
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I appreciate all of the support. I had my FCE on Monday and have been in bed with too much pain since. It showed that I should not be doing any of the things that my job requires. But the Dr and WC say I have to work. I just wish they could experience my pain for at least 1 day and see if they still expect me to be fully functional. The PT suggested I get a second opinion but state law here says WC and your employer get to choose who you see. My attorney is going to try to get me a second opinion. The PT also stated that I should have been in therapy since the injury, and that if I had been my pain wouldn't be so bad. I am not so sure what to think.
    My current Dr says they don't do any surgery on herniations anymore and that all that can be done is pain management. He says I am just going to have to learn to deal with and work through the pain on my own. I don't necessarily want surgery but I do want relief. Is there anything that has helped any of you get some relief?
  • no surgery on herniated disc? what a crock. no surgery because they don't want to spend the money. i am not sure pt should help either. hope you can get a different dr but if he is under wc i bet you will get the same song and dance. too bad, i feel for you. have you heard about private ins yet?

    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I had private insurance , but since my hours have decreased so much I no longer qualify for it(although they still take premiums from my check). WC hasn't been paying me so I don't have the money to find any other insurance. I am starting to realize here that I am just going to have to learn to live with it. My attorney is trying to get me a second opinion by a Dr not affiliated with WC but not sure how that will go. I don't want to live with this pain. How do all of you survive with it?
  • Welcome to the board. I have a lot of back issues also but mine are private insurance. I would just like to suggest that you call or write your states Insurance Commissioner about how you are being treated. Be sure to document everything. Also be very careful because these insurance companies are very sneaky and take pictures.
  • i don't understand, if you have premiums taken out of your check you are paying for insurance, unless they take it out because you owe money. i don't think that is the case. if they take out you should still have insurance, they cdan't deny you if you are paying for it. please explain
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I would buy a cane and lumber support belt. If you're walking bent over which you would be like me who has contact with nerve root at L5-S1. I would find another Doctor or get your family Doctor to see you bent over and moaning in pain. I don't think you should be working with that pain. For sure appeal. I couldn't get off the couch barely and it should be like that for you. Tell them that and trust me tears will help. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I know here in North Carolina that the Industrial Commission is the department that oversees, holds hearings on, etc., Worker's Comp. I do know that there are some "slick" WC companies out there. I agree with the previous posts that, if premiums are being deducted from your check for private insurance, you should still have and be able to use that private insurance. Please notify the Industrial Commission of your state, if your state has one, of the grand mistreatment that you are enduring. If your state doesn't have an Industrial Commission, like the others said, the State Insurance Dept. needs to hear about this. You are basically receiving no care for a documented, painful injury. When they returned you to work it most likely should have been on limited duty--no lifting, bending, twisting, standing for 1 hr w/o a 15 minute break, etc.
    Try a letter to the Industrial Commission. I know in our state they are the ones who mediate claims, hold hearings and help ensure any necessary disability rating at the close of your case. They also rule on any "payouts" for pain and suffering, loss of use, etc. Hopefully, your state has one.
    Good luck!!! I'm not a dr. or an W/C expert and I DO wish you all the best in seeking resolution for your problem and your pain.
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