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Occupation and activitiy level?

firemankenffiremanken Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Spinal Cord Stimulation
I'm just curious what the occupation and the activity level of everyone that has a SCS.

I'm a firefigher and I'm very concerned about being able to get back to work after my L4/L5 fusion. Now, my doc wants to send me for a consultation for a SCS. I'm thinking I'll have to get another career if the SCS happens. I can't see myself lugging 100 lbs of equipment or carrying people down stairs.


  • i have a SCS and lift 50 - 60 lbs on a daily basis. I can tell you now that you will pay for it on a daily basis. But if you have a strong mind, you will be able to make it thru the day. Its after wards that you pay for it. If you are like most FDs you work 12 hour shifts. I work 12s and make it. Im just not worth a s**t for about the next 8.
  • Single mother of two active boys. I care of all of the lawn and household cleaning. Teacher by profession.
  • Than I should, but find I am the most comfortable being lazy...

    Anything that involves stretching, bending, reaching, leads to increases in pain, both at and around the SCS lead anchors, ipg and the original pain I have all this hardware for.

    If something has to be done that I normally avoid I generally go ahead and do it, knowing I will pay for it the next day or two.

    To do it on daily basis? Any time I have tried this my particular pains just get worse and worse, stacking one day on the next. There is no "work through the pain" for me. We have tried through PT and on my own many times.

    There is no way to say exactly that you can't continue on as an active firefighter. I would be surprised if they let you. I don't want to discourage you, but the possibility of something going wrong at the worst time is always there, remote, but there, nonetheless.

    You may even know if you can do things like carry people all on your own once it is in place and scarred in and restrictions are lessened. Depending on the lead type the pressure and movement to do some things lets you know right away whether you can do them or not with the SCS in and on.
  • I too would be really shocked if you were released to full activity even after the required scar in period has elapsed.

    I was employed full time as a Veterinary Practice Manager when I got my permanent SCS implanted. I went back to work after 3.5 weeks and stayed there for a few more weeks before realizing that I stood too great of a risk of ripping things out. In a Vet clinic no one knows from minute to mine if you will suddenly be doing deep squats to pick up a 100lb dog, bending or twisting in all directions to grab equipment, yanked or pulled in any direction by a frightened animal etc... I decided to find something else I could do where I had better control of my environment.

    I still scuba dive, but I have to be careful wearing the equipment on my shoulders, much like you would have to worry about your SCBA. It has a tendency to stretch things and also at times can press on my IPG, depending on what size cylinders I am using at the time.

    I do housework, cooking and all the home improvement projects in our home since my husband is not mechanically inclined. I have to be careful how far overhead and for how long I reach. I also have to be careful crawling around on my back working underneath things. All things I can do, but it takes thought, planning and having a good measure of control over the situation.

    I also horseback ride, hike, fish and camp. Once again it all has to be planned out so I can protect my wires and IPG.

    I have already torn my anchors out once and lost my strain relief loops. I have also had one of the set screws come loose on my IPG allowing a wire to back out. Each one of these require a revision.

    I have to carry my patient programmer with me when I leave the house, in case I need to adjust or turn my SCS off for any reason. If I am going to be away from home for more than a day or two, I have to carry my recharging equipment with me.

    My point of course is that having an SCS does allow me to do many things and enjoy my life. It does however require that I plan most everything I do. So if I were to put myself in a position where I can only plan for the unexpected ... I'd be in trouble.

    Hope this helps.

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