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32 and disabled?

donnafaye82ddonnafaye82 Posts: 3
edited 10/30/2014 - 3:06 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi, I'm Donna, a 32 yr old cook of almost four years. I broke my tailbone at 7, and have had sciatic pain for as long as I can remember. Went to a chiropractor at 15, who told me I had scar tissue build up on my spine, one leg longer than the other(had to wear a shoe lift in my left shoe) and said I.would be a hunchback when I grow old. I have been at a job I love for almost 6 years, have injured myself by my own carelessness over the years, lifting 50+ lbs on a weekly basis. About a year and a half ago, I severely injured myself, was out for two and a half weeks, xrays at the chiropractor's office showed bulging disc in L4, which he said was in between a 3 and a 4, 4 meaning surgery. Last week, I picked up a 5 gallon box of cooking oil friom floor level and twisted and knew I messed up bad when I did. My boss let me have 5 days off to recover, went back yesterday and hadn't recovered, reinjured myself. Haven't seen a dr yet, and am looking at quitting my well-loved job bc of my inability to perform as I once could. My question: will a disc heal itself if given time, and if so, how long would it take, if I'm very careful in my time off? I cannot bear the thought of leaving my family permanently, but I also can't continue to injure myself and risk the possibility of crippling myself for life... The pain has never been this severe. It's depressing to be 32 and realize how limited you've become over a few years time on what you can and can't do.


  • to Spine Health..........if you have only seen a chiropractor, he can not diagnose a bulging disc from an xray........the first thing you need to do is see a regular doctor, and let them examine you, and possibly refer you for further evaluation, which may or may not include seeing a board certified spine surgeon.....If you picture an oval ( that is what the disc is similar to in appearance) a bulge simply means that one side of the disc is outpouched a bit more rather than symetrical on both sides of the disc.......it is not necessarily disabling, nor does it mean that you automatically need surgery. If it is bulging and is in contact with other structures in the spine, there are many treatment options that the proper doctors can go over with you.......
    The biggest issues is that you need and probably would be referred to physical therapy to strengthen your core muscles, to help protect your spine, and to be instructed in proper lifting techniques........lifting and twisting is one of the most common causes of low back pain that usually resolves on it's own given some time.
    If your current position is something you can't do, there are many other occupations out there that don't require lifting, that you can do, and job training programs for them, so you are far from out of options and disabled.



  • I'm sorry. You may suprise yourself. It's been three months since my discectomy. Today I feel normal for the first time. First in a long time. I chased my kids. I got onto the floor. I got up. I swam in the pool with them. I'm luckier than some. But 5 months ago I was ready to throw myself in front of a train. It's no t a boo boo or an owie. This is a serious spine issue. Respect and keep your core strong. See if you can do food ordering and accounting....or at the least know that it can get better.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    For starters, drop the Chiropractor. They are disc and spinal cord structure is not in the realm of expertise. You should be seeing either an Orthopedic doctor or a Spinal doctor.

    Try to forget about what you had when you were young. You're doing things you love so, those earlier problems have not stopped you.

    Sciatica is generally the result of a disc impinging on a nerve root. A detailed MRI will show that and needs to be reviewed by a Spinal or Orthopedic doctor.

    Put a hold on thinking your career has ended. Many people with conditions far worse than yours are still doing the things they loved to do before (and some of that involves pretty physical work)

    Get the complete diagnosis of what s going on, see the proper doctor and then see what kind of action plan they put into place for you.

    Think positive.
    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
  • donnafaye82ddonnafaye82 Posts: 3
    edited 11/03/2014 - 4:47 PM
    I have not yet went to see a doctor, but rested plenty. When I get up to do a little housework, my pain gets amplified. Nothing is helping. To be honest, I'm not at a point now, financially, to go to the doctor. I've been off for almost two weeks, I have no insurance, no paid time off, I'm kind of up a creek right now. I worked last Wednesday and did minimal what is asked of me and ended up in worse shape than before. I'm kind of limited right now, resources wise.
  • Hi hun hope you feel better soon I had to take time off work to due to my back injury
  • Sorry to hear you are having a terrible time Donna.
    I understand completely how you are feeling. I am a 32 year old who had a skiing accident when I was 16. I have been having trouble with debilitating pain on and off for years. The latest round has been going on for about 2 years now. I have tried everything from Steroid injections, RFN, prolotherapy, Epidurals. I have had 6 Arthroscopes (3 on each hip) and two conjoint tendon repairs because of the effect my back has on my legs. I can't sleep
    more than 3 to 4 hours a night. I can no longer lay on my left side of my back. All due to DDD at L5/S1. I have a PhD and was a fairly successful young post doc in molecular biology. I had to give up work. I have been working part time in a job that doesn't require me bending over or twisting. I am currently unable to work and the burden on my partner is phenomenal. I have had to give up most of my past times as I am no longer physically able to walk 50 m let alone jump on a bike or a water ski! It is debilitating both physically and mentally. Even the medication I am on affects my everyday life. My doctor regular checks my liver function, I have experienced some terrible side effects.

    I am actually booked in for ALIF on 18/11/14 and am almost relieved that finally we are getting somewhere. It will be a long road ahead but I will get better.
    What has got me through the last 16 years of pain has been my family and friends. They keep you strong. You may have to change some things but it isn't the end of the world. You can always find other things to occupy your time. I personally have developed a love of film and am now an avid film buff! I learnt to knit, calligraphy yoga is awesome and I am studying law (admittedly bed is a difficult desk to work off!) and have found ways around my pain.

    Do you have access to a swimming pool? I found hydrotherapy, gentle stretching and even floating helped a lot. Floating is amazing. Takes so much pressure off your back! I also see a myotherapist on a regular basis.

    I am guessing that you are from the USA? It must be extremely difficult if there is no income. I am fortunate and have insurance and a well paid partner but medical costs even with insurance are hugely expensive so we are doing it a little tough too.

    My thoughts are with you. You can get through this its just a matter of finding the strategy that works for you!
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