Nice to find a group of people that can identify with my daily life.
I am a 38 year old man who suffered an on the job fall injury resulting in a hard impact to my tail bone and butt. That injury resulted in immediate back pain and radiation of pain into the left leg and foot. I hit my cranium hard on the way down and was briefly dazed and confused with the action stopped. I was in tremendous pain and due to it being late...and me thinking I am tougher guy...I put up with it over the weekend.
I saw my MD for evaluation and he determined from range of motion and other testing that I had a possible disk problem and a concussion. I was prescribed Percocet, IBU and Flexoril. I was ordered bed rest and a follow up in 3-4 days. There was an MRI ordered and it showed positive for L4-L5 bulge and nerve root compression on the L5 lateral. As this was an L&I issue all the minimal invasive attempts were made. I waited for 4 months for them to approve my first steroid injection. It was unsuccessful after waiting 30 days to observe. An additional injection was attempted via lateral insertion over the left hip. That injection resulted in massive pain on delivery as the fluid occupied all available space in my spine at the site. This caused tremendous discomfort and temporary loss of feeling to the legs. This waned after about 5 minutes leaving me crippled for the remainder of that day and in pain (about 8.5 out of 10)
July of 09 (7 months and 14 days after injury) I had a laminectomy with diskectomy to include lateral decompression of the L5 lateral nerve roots. A torn tendon in the area of injury was removed as reattachment where it tore off was not possible. Recovery was swift and I felt good with some anticipated soreness and random pain down the left leg. This was marked as resulting from extended time in a pinched condition and would recover with time.
I ceased all pain killer use and started a routine of walking and worked up to a very brisk pace. I extended my limits to 3 miles a day at a just sub jog speed. I was feeling quite good. My strength was getting better every day and became okay with the nagging ache down my leg and left buttock. It never got worse and it was tolerable so I was fine with it. I was off the pills.. being active...working hard to lose a bit of weight and aiming to start running.
In late Sept 09 I had become quite aware of a lot of random dynamic movement in my lower spine accompanied by extreme popping, grinding and odd feelings of misalignment. One evening while standing I experienced one such event that was very startling and resulted in similar yet very different shooting pain down the leg. This time the pain was fully in the sciatic nerve..shooting down the rear of the leg becoming very painful at the knee and extending to the foot.
I again contacted my MD and discussed it with him and we concluded that I may have been taking my rehab exercise a bit too aggressive. We discussed that I might do better in the hands of a trained PT. I then proceeded to do 20 weeks of PT. It got MUCH worse and I never regained my condition I was in post surgery. It reached a point where it was in pain all the time and PT would make it go to a 6-7. I was back on the Percocet after being off them for several months. The PT advised that he couldn't achieve success with me and it was as good as he could make it. That was what L&I wanted to hear and the claim was motioned to close. My doc felt that it was expected as some back surgery is minimally effective and he sadly said he thought it was the best I could expect. The claim closed with a declaration of 20% disability. I never returned to work as I was fired 10 days post surgery. My company 'claimed' to be downsizing and figured out how to operate with out me for the last 7 months so my job was "unavailable".
I started a business for myself as it was the only way I could accommodate my pain and still make a buck. I struggled to work up till January of 2011. The pain has grown to be very annoying and debilitating along with numbness that turns to weakness and finally uncoordinated falling if I persist.
I contacted my MD again about seeking claim re-opening since my business was growing fast and I needed to be able to keep up. I was happy that I was able to make money in this tight economy but was frustrated that my body wouldn't play along. I like to work hard and my company has been going gangbusters. It begs to make a lot of money and I have new customers calling every day. I NEED to work...I have no time for this.
The forms were filed to re-open. My NS saw me again and another MRI was taken of the area in question. Nothing abnormal showed. The pain suggested S1 issues below my surgery. There was talk about some Piriformis muscle scarring that would tether the Sciatic muscle but they think this is unlikely as I can lean and immediately cause a pinch result. An EMG has been done and it showed large volumes of unrecruited muscle activity and marked delay in signal to the foot. He suggested that the results would point to the S1 nerve root being approx 80% pinched.
I had an MRI yesterday. IT was in the pelvic region to include the left hip. I have lumbar spinal stenosis to a significant degree and it leaves little room for the spinal cord and the nerve roots. It seemingly doesn't take much to cause a pinch. There is talk about spondylothesis as the cause of the lingering pain after surgery and this current issue. There is a theory that my fall may have induced a forward slip of the spinal bone and that combined with stenosis would result in my issue. Perhaps the feeling I had that night was some anomaly with this slipping.
At this point I am in pain at all times except when sitting in my recliner. At times that too becomes too much and starts to hurt. Laying flat is dreadful..as is laying on my belly. The fetal position is best if I am in pain too great to tolerate. Standing results in shooting pain down the back of the leg. Walking intensifies with a normal gate so I tend to be stooped over and waddle rather than have a normal gait. I use a cane 90% of the time for stability and to reduce load on my back muscles while standing. I suffer muscle cramps and spasms daily and are the worst while sleeping. My nights are broken up something terrible. I get 2-3 hours here and there. I am fatigued most the time and lately have not been able to work due to fatigue, feeling sleepy, and pain dominating my concentration. I take 1-3 percocet a day along with some 800MG IBU twice a day (although I skip them a lot as they stir my stomach). It doesn't help the nerve pain at all but keeps the muscle pain and cramping discomfort to a dull roar. I would love to have the nerve pain cut down but it doesn't do that ..so I clench my teeth while I stand or walk.
So there ya have it. You know my story...of a guy trying to get L&I to stop treating my like a criminal con man. I once was a very happy energetic guy that played and worked hard. Now I am a bitter, frustrated guy that wants his life back SOOOO bad.. I deal with bouts of depression and intense frustration. Weight management is challenging and sex is out of the question. This whole thing has really taxed me and my patience.
Take care all,