A few months ago, my dad fell halfway through a porch roof, being stopped only by his arms, just above the wrists. He had a leaf blower strapped around his neck at this time, which then slipped, and put pressure on his neck...
Initially he seemed ok. His back was sore, but he was still able to get around. He spent the next week being way too active, and doing things he shouldn't have been doing, like loading up car wheels and tires, and pushing someone in a wheelchair up a very steep ramp. He then had days of moderate to severe back pain, which eventually drove him to see a doctor. He saw his PCP, who prescribed him Tramadol, and a muscle relaxer. At first the Tramadol seemed to help, and the muscle relaxer allowed him to lay flat in bed and rest. After several days taking these drugs, however, the actual back pain slowly nearly disappeared, and instead moved into his right leg/hip area as severe, and frequently excruciating shooting nerve pain, and muscle spasms. During this time, he had some improvement, and several good days (nearly a week), where he could get up and move around with just a single cane, walk through stores, etc... Then, one night, he did the simplest of things... lifted a toilet seat! He felt something pop, and things quickly became worse again, and haven't improved much.
At this point, the Tramadol was like eating candy, and not doing a thing. His entire leg was anywhere from pins and needles, to completely numb, but even more painful higher up the leg. When trying to walk to more than the bathroom (on crutches), he also frequently has muscle spasms which cause even worse shooting pains. The only pain med that has worked at all is Oxycodone, which still only yields about 3 hours of partial relief. Hydrocodone does nearly nothing. Even on the Oxycodone, he is only able to lay in bed without moderate pain by laying partially on his side, and finding the perfect, specific position that gives him partial relief. It's mild enough that he can usually sleep this way.. He can sometimes sit semi comfortably in a chair, on a memory foam cushion, if the angle is just right. All movement, out of bed, has to be done on crutches, or in a wheelchair. Also, we purchased an inversion table, and for the same reason he can't lay flat on his back in bed, he can't do it on the inversion table. It's just too painful.
X-rays were performed. The orthopedic surgeon mentioned that he has one of the worst cases of disc herniation (L3-L4) that their office had ever seen, as well as some arthritis around that particular vertebrae. He still needs a MRI before surgery, or other options can be explored. He is incapable of laying on the MRI table for any amount of time. Any pressure around the nerve on the outside of his back causes severe stabbing pains. After making an attempt, we had to cancel the MRI. We found a location that will do a standup/sitting MRI, but insurance hassles to get it approved have been hell.
He just had to suffer through a car trip from Florida to Tennessee in order to attend a funeral, and still has plans to try to ride all the way up to Maryland in this condition for the burial. So he is already an emotional wreck, pain aside
Is there anything I can do for him in our current situation that will help ease his pain for the next week or so, until he can get back to Floirda? We were looking at possibly a TENS (pulse massager) machine, seeing that the most sensitive part of the nerve seems to be so close to the skin. But, I have read that proper training needs to be done in order to use them safely.
Also, what would be the best course of action once returning home. He has had some doctors tell him immediate surgery (after MRI) was the only option, and others begged him to explore all other options before committing to surgery.
Sorry for the rambling here, but I wanted to cover everything, so I can hopefully get better suggestions, and further relieve his pain. Thanks in advance for any help you can give. He has always been such an active person, so it is a real shame to see him like this.