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A Newbie's Long Frustrating Story

limpy1llimpy1 Posts: 10
I'm a newbie on here and am looking for any advice from any of you that may have any more advice or experience anything similar. I have a long history of CBP and will try to condense this but I'm sure it will still be lengthy. I injured my back in 2005 at work. It took over a month before it was diagnosed as a back injury. I never had back pain prior, went to ED and was treated by my family Dr. It took a while to rule out things such as kidney stones (which I have a history of) and ovarian cysts (which the ED Dr. thought it might be) etc. I left work with this horrendous back and pelvic aching. I had a hard time moving around due to the pain. It might be worth noting my job involves pulling and pushing 1800lb. (not a typo) containers on wheels all day. Next morning went to lean over to reach for something and ended up dropping on the floor in tears and truly horrendous pain. That's when I went to ED. To try to condense this as much as possible It took about 5-6 weeks before I could even use the bathroom or attempt sitting without horrible pain. I spent the whole time laying on only 1 side unable to even roll over to attempt bed lying discomfort due to the pain. I was only given vicodin 5-500 (?) and it wasn't helping at all. I did go through PT after I could somewhat move and found that only after wrapping a long jellied cold wrap tightly around my hips 24 hrs. a day was I slowly able to sit for brief periods and shuffle around. All this was after the initial 6 weeks. I was out of work for 15 weeks . Around the 10 week point I had a mri that only showed mild loss of disc signal at L4-L5 with slight scoliosis right. I was able to return to normal work duties shortly and was somewhat pain free with only occasional bouts of discomfort. 2006 was out of work for 15 days with another flare-up although nowhere near the pain or lack of mobility I had experienced before. I had another mri that said same as first showing only slightly more so of the L4-L5 disc signal loss and no mention of the scoliosis and stating no significant changes to prior exam. Fast forward to 2009. This is when I started getting horrible sciatica symptoms. I was experiencing numbness in feet, shock like sensations in my thighs etc. I was out of work for about 2 weeks again. Had another Mri at this time that literally only said no changes from prior exam. I have to admit thoughts of an overtired quota involving radiologist not even looking at it. Went back to work and at this time I'll mention that I was forced to transfer to an occupational injury site as my Dr.'s office no longer accepted comp and could not find anyone else willing to accept me. Without giving too much personal info away I am a federal worker and have no disability. I have been told if you are ever lucky enough to get an injury approved very few Dr.'s will see you as they don't ever get paid. I continued to have these symptoms and continue to go to this occupational site though it did change hands about 2 years ago. At my appointments I usually see a PA or NP, am never examined, find numerous falsehoods in notes etc. I was out of work for a month in 2013 and at that time was sent to a neurologist who told me I had nerve damage and a problem with my lower back. After about 4 months I asked the PA about the results and was told they were not in my chart. I signed a release form and she came back in and said I had a compromised nerve at L4-L5. Nothing was ever done or suggested. This is when the office switched to a new company that now had a different name and different Dr.'s. I was working full time at what they termed "light duty" but my job still involved a lot of lifting, bending, pushing etc. 2014 same scenario, increasing symptoms etc. This time I was out a little longer, no treatment, prescribed 2 norco 5-350 (?) a day for pain and a 30 lb. restriction with a notation of must change positions as needed. Keeping in mind all time off of work has been without pay as once you return to work from an injury it's next to impossible without a very knowledgeable Dr. of federal comp to write your diagnosis and relation to prior injury to explain your not being able to work. Need I say I have NO faith in this office? I'm single with teens and a mortgage so I'm in no position to deny my ability to return to work even if it was painful. I usually tell them I need to return before I lose my house and they send me back. No questioning, no exam etc. 2014 same scenario again. Out for while, no treatment, sent back with those same restrictions. Took a while for my employer to offer me a job and I will have to admit had a huge decrease in symptoms while out. I returned to work in fall (2014). Second night noticed an increase of pain, symptoms have continued on and off. My Dr. (NP, actually) found a pain management clinic that would take federal comp and referred me there. At the appt. he did the exam and asked me all kinds of questions. At the end of appt. he wanted to give me facet joint injections and said I had facet arthritis. I asked if this would help with my leg weakness and pain and he stated my problem was with my back. I asked about the prior NCS and EMG results and he asked (not very nicely) when I had that done. I told him and mentioned him telling me about the nerve damage and compromised nerve. His response was (again a little curtly) "That's not what your MRI says." I replied the Neurologist made that comment himself at the time. He stated that this test sometimes shows things an MRI misses. He said he was going to check on it and sent me out. On my way out the door I mentioned to him that I have an allergy to contrast die. So I get the papers he sent for the ins. approval and they state I have breakaway pain only in my legs with no true leg weakness (?) with lumbosacral spondylosis and no mylepathy. It is of note that I have had numerous xray's over the years and facet joints or arthritis was never mentioned in their reports. After the exam I had more problems than usual. Even having pain in the early am although normally unless I am in the middle of a really bad flare up never have problems when getting up in the am. Symptoms increase with activity and have always had a huge increase in pain when standing in 1 spot which is what the "light duty" jobs they normally offer me consist of. Fast forward 8 days and left work because I could not walk or stand normally. I felt like my right leg was a tree trunk attached at the hips that I was trying to drag with me. I am also one of those that has bilateral sciatica so was getting pain behind my left knee and the small toes of my left foot. My right leg had pain behind the knee, the outside of my calf to foot, and the front of my ankle shooting to my big toe. I ended up going to ED again after calling my occupational Dr's. office and being told I could come in at 8:00 the following morning for a toridol shot or If I couldn't bear it to go to ED. My choice is pretty self explanatory I think. Was there for a while and ED Dr diagnosed R sided weakness, L3.L4,L5 compression with decreased right patella and ankle reflex. He ordered a CT scan that showed numerous small disc bulges, mild degenerative changes, and stones in both kidneys. Nothing about facets. He prescribed me with dilaudid 2mg. x 30, cyclobenzaprine (12), and a steroid for a few days. Telling me by law he could only prescribe 4 days of meds and needed to follow up with my Dr. and took me out of work. Called my Dr. for an appt and was told they only thing they could do if I come in was a toridol shot. Sorry for flipping out here but I can't stand for more than a moment or walk. After 2 calls back they made an appt for yesterday. She never examined me , commented about my ability to walk or nothing. Only saying the injections will help with that. She also noted that with federal comp they do not have to adhere to the 30 day timeline and it may take months. Do facet joint injections take away leg weakness:? Excuse me but I can't walk, have horrible pain with weakness in not 1 but both legs that has advanced to immobility. I don't get paid when I am out so how long do I just ignore this? I am so frustrated right now. I never even thought to ask her for more than the 2 norco I'm allowed a day. I took the dilaudid once and felt so sick. I have been taking far more of the norco than she prescribed and she is probably going to flip about that and will end up running out way too early and am afraid with all of the narcotic taboo at this time to even mention it to her. I'm hesitant to even return to the PM doctor. I understand you weren't given all the test results but you have not changed your treatment or diagnosis even after I mentioned the EMG. To top it off while at the occupational Dr. I noted to her that I talked to the PM Dr. about my left arm pain. I was sent to the Chiro about 2 years ago for my back and after cracking my neck stating my whole spine was out of whack. After the 2nd visit I couldn't move my arm without horrible pain for 2 weeks , my back pain was worse and I stopped going. Till this day I cannot extend my arm to reach or make a bicep flexing motion without a horrible jolt of pain and am now noticing a horrible pins and needles feeling in my neck. The Pm Dr. said this wasn't related to case and wasn't even going to note it in my chart and my Occ. Dr's response was the same. It's not related to this case as you were sent to him for your back, was her reply. After breaking out in tears and saying I cannot afford to be out of work with this she mentioned that their office could only find 1 Ortho Dr. in my area that would accept fed. comp about an hour from me and would I like to go there. Ummm... unable to work, no money coming in, horrible pain, can't walk, facet(?????) joint injections in over a month? Obviously I said yes. She gave me their office name and number and told me to call them. I called and their response was my Dr. has to contact them. They need to send all test results, history etc. that they go over and decide if they want to accept me or not. Yes, this is the story of what happens to federal workers when they get injured. I don't know what to do from here. I'm praying in a few more days I can stand long enough to return to work and just continue to try and ignore all this and pray that someone can make this all go away before it's permanent and I end up as bad off as so many of your stories I've read on here. My heart goes out to you. I'm also wondering through self diagnosis (mainly due to incompetent care) is it possible that anyone else has ever experienced for discs to vary? Can the extent of their bulging vary upon position? As I've never got an answer I'm wondering what is pinching my nerves so variably. I am able to sit with only an intermittent sharp twinge of pain in my lower back. Right now it's mostly my legs. My calf has shooting pain and my ankle even without bearing weight stabs like a really bad sprain when you try to walk. My right calf on the left back side right below where I bend my knee feels like someone is trying to jab a screwdriver into my leg. When I go to stand the electric shocks start after a few steps intermittently on both legs. Maybe I did something else to my leg without knowing that is causing me the inability to walk normally?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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