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Help!!! Im in agony!!!

bracing1bbracing1 Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello All, I really need some advice. I had a L4-L5, L5-S1 Laminectomy in January 2008 for ruptured disks causing severe sciatia and lumbar back pain. I have always continued to have pain since the surgery but not nearly as bad as before, that was until this past Saturday. I was working off-duty, (I am a Police Officer and wear about 50 lbs of gear around my waist on a daily basis which Im sure doesn't help) and simply stood up from sitting and felt a strong "Twinge" in my lower back. I worked through it and by the end of the night, I could barely stand up. Its 3 days later now and I cannot move without excruciating pain. I have an appointment with my spine doc on Monday but I dont know if I can hold out. I haven't experienced pain like this since before my surgery and even then Im not sure it was this intense. Oh, also my legs are throbbing, different than the sciata I have experienced in the past. Any suggestions or advis=ce would be helpful. Thanks


  • I would see your Primary in the meantime and see if he could help you. Ice and heat alternating may help. I had to go to the ER for pain meds as my Dr. was on vacation when I hurt my back at work and didn't really feel it until the next day and had to go to the ER twice in that week because the first Dr. gave me toradol but at another time I went I got something stronger to help. I hope you have less pain soon. Take care. 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
  • In my personal opinion, the pain you're describing deserves a visit today with your surgeon or to the ER. I really think you need to be seen sooner than Monday. It's not just a matter of tolerating the pain, I think you've got to make sure everything is still OK. Hopefully it's just a flare-up and you need some pain meds and rest.

    One more note-if this happened at work don't forget to fill out an incident/injury report!!!!

    Keep us updated!
  • Sorry that you find yourself in this situation -- I would try to get in to see your spine doc ASAP -- get some x-rays or MRI to make sure eveything is okay -- easier said than done I know -- it's like getting into Ft. Knox sometimes to see a doctor.

    Since you are a police officer, you can be called upon physically at any time to use your body in ways that the average person doesn't. So, I was just wondering if you have incorporated lots of stretches into your daily routine. It really does help to get you upright and walking.

    My suggestion to you is to take advil on a regular schedule (as directed every 4 to 6 hours) until your doctor's appt. If there's inflamation you want to attack it now and get it to calm down. Ice, ice, ice -- fifteen minutes off and on and then add heat when the pain calms down. Some Bio-freeze or icy hot may be of help also.

    Certainly hope for your sake this is just a little glitch and you recover quickly. Drink lots of liquids to keep hyrdated.

    Good luck and let us know how you're doing,

    take care,

  • I would see your doc ASAP or go to a hospital, definalty fill out a injury report at work. Hot showers helped me and this one back exercise, and motrin or anti-inflammatories if you got them.

    I am not a doctor by the way, just suggestions that helped me in the past.

    Hope you feel better. ;)

  • You are carrying a lot of extra weight all day and this is bound to put stress on your lower back.
    Remember that we are really designed to walk on all fours, not on two. So the spine is always under stress that it's not built to handle.
    Eventually signs of stress and strain begin to show up, and the muscles supporting and working with the spine get overworked, have to be always on duty, and so can't ever relax and rest.
    One day they will have had enough and go into spasm to protect the spine and stop movement.
    This may well be the sudden and very strong pain that you have.
    The pain will stay as long as the muscles are rigid, so you have to relax them.
    Sleep is the best way to relax the body, but will be just about impossible with the pain.
    My suggestion is go to bed with a hot pack, or cold if you prefer, take a strong dose of muscle relaxant and pain meds, and try to sleep, or at least rest.
    Repeat the muscle relaxant and pain meds as required.
    This should work in 12-24 hours.
    You then have to be very careful moving, as everything will be very inflamed and on edge, so a relapse is easy.
    When this is over, look into a regular muscle strengthening and stretching routine.
    Check all of your seating and bedding for proper support. Some lounge and cars seats are too low for the lower back to handle.
    You will now have a back always susceptible to a repeat attack, so you must improve your fitness and watch what you do to aggravate it.
    I've had numerous episodes of this, real agony, and it wasn't until my wife had one herself that she realised just how painful it can be.

    It's also a sign of ageing...
  • i suggest you to start doing yoga it relief my back pains n i fell really healthy now
  • Thanks guys and gals... I am feeling a little better, however, still having considerable pain, but only when I move...lol. I decided to try and return to work today... BIG MISTAKE!!! Getting in and out of this car with this equipment is killin me.. Im heading back to the house now.. I got an appointment with my spine doc on Monday. I sure hope he can help. And I hope I haven't torn something else up... I don't think I can handle another surgery... It was the worst experience of my life next to having kidney stones... Well, I hope everyone is doing well and thanks for the support!!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    to your lower back. Almost to the point you are a walking time bomb and waiting for some action that is going to cause a snap.

    Hopefully, since you feel it is not the same pain as Sciatic or the same as before surgery, there could be
    a pinched nerve or muscle pull/tear/strain. Anyone of those could cause intense pain and making it so difficult to get comfortable.

    Most of the time, when something happens, I wait about 3-5 days to see what is going on. If there is no improvement, then its time to see the doctors.

    But during that time, I do use Ice and Heat to help
    calm things down.

    Good luck

    But always remember, we are here online and can only provide you with general advice. You know your body and if it is telling something is wrong, then call your doctor, see your PCP, take some action and let the medical professionals tell you what you need.
    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
  • Bracing,

    I too am in law enforcement (uniformed) and my gun belt is probably real close the the weight you describe. Mine as a female pretty well sits dead center on the bottom of my lumbar - our hips are ummm a bit different! For me, odd as it sounds, my back felt better wearing the dang thing than when I have it off!

    Personally I think wearing it 10+ hours a day is what weakened mine. I akin it to a loader at say Home Depot that wears the support brace as he loads - but doesn't loosen it from time to time. My back muscles became subordinate to my "brace" aka gun belt! It sounds like you got bad issues not connected to wearing it, and now it is making things worse.

    Until your doctor figures out what is going on and too how to address it, does your employer have "accommodations" such that you could wear a shoulder rig or plain clothes? Have you advised your employer of this latest condition? You don't want to try and grab a fleeing perp and do really bad damage on a yank/twist. Please keep us posted brother. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Looks like there is going to be a lot of this around in the police services, if not other activities.
    I wonder if you could sound out your HSE department about it?
    You would definitely qualify for medical and therapeutic treatment if the injury is work related.
  • Hello to All, Well I had my appointment with the spine Doctor yesterday and he seems to think that I may be having a problem with scat tissue buildup from the laminectomy back in 2008. He has scheduled me for a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection tomorrow at 1230. I have had several of these in the past with minimal relief. I sure hope this one helps as I am still in considerable pain. He said that if the pain continues after that, he would order a MRI to see exactly what is going on in there. I really like this Doc but his line of thinking seems a bit backwards to me. I just want some relief!!

    Thanks for all of your comments and support. It's amazing that just knowing that there are others out there dealing with chronic pain seems to make me feel better. Not necessarily physically but certainly mentally.

    To Aviatrix36440 (Brenda), thanks for your comment. It’s good to know that I’m not the only LEO out there that suffers like this. And I sure wish my duty belt helped me rather than hurt me. Fortunately, I’m in a unit that doesn't require me to be in uniform every day but the days I do wear the whole "get up" are awful. As far as dealing with workers comp or our human resources department, I have been down that road. I fought with Workers Comp for over a year about my back surgery. Their final decision was that my back problems were caused by my bad knees and had nothing to do with any on the job injury I had sustained. I consulted an attorney and was told that because I am still working, I didn't have much of a case. I guess you have to be completely disabled in order to sue workers comp.

    Again thanks for all of your support and I will keep you posted....

  • If you already have scar tissue and have had several epidurals without success, I personally would not have another. I think your line of thinking is correct, he's working at this backwards. I'd want the MRI first, too.

    As someone who has arachnoiditis(bad scar tissue clumping the nerves and vessels together by the cord, I will NEVER have and epidural again. Not that I wouldn't do it if this was my first time, just that if you already have scar tissue, an epidural can increase that scar tissue.

    If it were me(and I'm not a doctor), I'd push for that MRI first. Also, can you see about a temporary transfer to investigations or something where you can change positions and not wear a big, heavy, batman-belt? AFTER the MRI, if things in not too bad of shape, maybe you could do some water physical therapy or therapeutic massage??? Just my random thoughts, keep us updated!
  • Hello Guys and Gals,
    Well I had the epidural steroid injection on Wednesday and I must say it has helped a bit. Im not experiencing the agonizing pain that I was having before but I'm still hurting. He also increased my medication so I don't know if its the injection or the meds that are actually helping the most. I really am not big on the pain meds but I must say they have been a lifesaver as far as my ability to function. Im currently taking Oxycontin 30mg every 12 hours and Percocet 10/325mg for BTP (Up to 3 times a day if needed). I also take Neurontin 300mg 3 times a day and Zanaflex 4mg at night. To me it seems like a lot but It really does help.

    I asked my Doctor again about a MRI and he said that my insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) is giving him fits about another MRI. He said that since I had one less than 2 years ago, BCBS feels that another one so soon is unnecessary. It is sad that an insurance company refuses treatment because they feel it is too soon. I wish they could feel my back pain. I bet that would change their minds.

    Anyway, my Doctor wants to do another injection in 3 weeks. I told him that I would see how I feel by then and make a decision. He already scheduled it and told me to call a couple of days before if I wanted to cancel. He did say that if I was still having problems after a second epidural injection that it would make it easier for him to get another MRI approved by my insurance company. Go figure.

    Insurance Companies suck!!! This is just like when I first injured my back. I went to the doctor and he wanted to send me for an MRI immediately and the insurance company said "No". The required me to go through 3 weeks of physical therapy. Then they sent me to a spine specialist who was able to get an MRI pushed through. Of course the MRI showed 3 severly ruptured disk and I now have perminant nerve damage in my left leg because of it. Oh well. Such is life I suppose.

    Thanks again for all of you guys support.
  • That's my husbands name! :--)

    My issues with my neck where causal to the job, and too there was nexus since it happened on duty. I have had too many of my employees (I'm a supervisory Agent) get either dragged through the ringer and stressed to the max, or worse yet so delayed they suffered permanent damage. I didn't want to chance it with anything connected to major big nerves! I've since stayed with my insurance (BCBS) for everything - my time line, my surgeon, (contrary to OWCP) my decisions! Sorry to hear they did their usual treatment to your back issues.

    I'm not so sure I agree with your attorney's assessment! I had a couple of my employees fight and win, and they weren't disabled in the end, and were still working. They fought because of the COP payment, and medical bills though. He is seeing more of the picture, so there might be other things in there that caused him to come to that conclusion. OWCP is a hard fit for a lot of people though due to their nonsense in how they do business. Some folks it works out great, but *I* haven't seen but a scant few in almost 30 years with the govt.

    Hopefully going via your regular insurance you won't run into to many delays. Until your back issues are fixed, I would see if they could accommodate you such that you aren't wearing the rig. That is something that is reasonable (especially where you said your unit does have stuff in plain clothes) under the ADA. I hope they work with ya. Remember, there is only "one" of you, don't let the job make the rest of your life miserable. Be safe!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Robert,

    You and I have the same insurance (same state too), I think?!? I have had 4 MRI's in the last year and a half and no objections from BCBS of Florida! Monday I will probably be scheduled for another one, plus a Sagital CT scan.

    I asked my NS once if the insurance ever fusses about my imaging. He told me most of it depends on how the ordering physician writes up the description and the medical necessity of same. One nibble he did add was if the insurance company is reasonably sure that this is preamble to a surgery, they are less of a problem. And really, *most* imaging such as MRI/CT is for the doctor to confirm his decision that surgery is a viable option to correct the patient's medical issues. This is how it's been with me so far.

    My last 2 MRI's were only 3 weeks apart - both for the cervical spine. One recumbent, the other positional. No delays at all from BCBS! Have you called BCBS to find out why they are having problems with your getting a new MRI? It might be a simple fix Robert. Please keep us posted. Stay safe as always!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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