Decided to join this forum and have been reading all sorts of stories and they have been helpful in learning about my injury.
I've been out of work for about 2 months due to a work related injury. I work in heavy construction, mainly lifting steel structures and installing walls and laying out rebar for slab detail. Lots of lifting and carrying the first part of the day. The second part is bending over and tying steel bars with metallic wire to hold bars in place for concrete pour.
Just an idea of what I do.
This pain in my lower back just appeared out of nowhere and got worse through out the day. I didn't go to work the next day to get myself check out. I've been seeing a chiropractor which followed by a MRI.
MRI came out with "very large extruded disc herniation" at L5-S1. At L4-5 I have a bulging disc. This was a stand up MRI.
The pain was unbearable the first couple of weeks. The pain was shooting down my left leg with numbness in the right foot. I was off my feet for about 2-3 weeks. Just doing ice every 15-20 minutes every hour for the inflammation. Taking pain meds and muscle relaxer, in the morning and at night around dinner time ( 6 or 7 pm). Sometimes I skip on the pain meds if the inflammation was not bad.
After 7 weeks has passed the pain has went down. I have weakness in right leg. I can't do no more than 3 calf raises on my right foot. I was also walking with a limp with some pain in hip area.
The chiropractor gave me 2 exercises , lay down on back and pull each knee to chest. The second. Lay down on back and press down on belly button which flattens the back to the floor. Seems old school but this is what I did. I would also take short walks being I was always off my feet. The walks would last 20 minutes walking on flat ground with some small hills. In the last 10 minutes or so of walking I would feel my right leg getting heavy.
After 10-11 weeks. Shooting pain down my leg is gone. Once in a while a dull or aching pain which last only minutes and goes away. Still feel numbness on bottom of right foot. Toes still feel stiff. Most of my pain is concentrated on right hip and just a little above it ( lower right side of back). The pain occurs when I stand up after sitting down for more than 10-15 minutes. Still doing the same exercises and walking. Still seeing chiropractor who does laser therapy on back plus electro treatment to open nerve channels as he would put it. And sometimes some spine adjustment.
I do question one technique he does which he didn't give me a straight answer. He would use his elbow to press down on back along spine. But then press down in a area by buttock and lower right back which is painful to the pressure. At
first I question it and all he said was" I have muscle spasm in buttock area and massaging it would relieve pain". This was very painful and I dealt with it. I must say that shooting pain down right leg has lessen but I wonder if its still necessary to have area press on by him using his elbow. I'm I alone in receiving this kind of treatment in buttock area? Again I don't have pain shooting down my leg and it hasn't been consistent like before.
I saw a neurologist who in my opinions sucks. He took one look at my MRI report and immediately said I need surgery and talk about epidural shots. I'd try to explain to him that my condition was improving and pain wasn't as bad as before. You would think that a doctor would give thought to this but no that was not the case.
I saw a orthopedic doctor who listen to what I had to say and his advice was I may not need surgery but suggested epidural shots. The next appointment I brought my MRI CD so he may see images of my lower back . Clearly he said it's a large herniated disc but doesn't understand why I'm not in pain. So now I just had a follow up MRI.
Mind you, the FIRST MRI was a stand up MRI. The SECOND MRI is the usual lay down and go inside that tunnel that makes all the funny noises. Some of the nosies remind me of video games like Halo and Call Of Duty. I'll post a comparison result as soon I see orthopedic doctor again.
At the present time I have improve very well. I have stayed of my feet but then become little more active with basic stuff like cleaning the house, cooking , laundry nothing to physical but in the beginning I was hopeless, in pain and could not do nothing. I don't like to drive my car so I use public transportation so I can stand up. Sitting down is not painful but its when I get up I feel some pain in right hip area. Which last only a couple of minutes. Out of curiosity, I bend forward , like trying to reach your toes, and I would feel pain shooting down to right calf muscle. I don't do this often but I do it to gauge where I am at as far as flexibility.
I'm reading stuff online that a herniated disc takes 6 months to a year to completely heal. Well I don't want to go past 4 months which is the time I'm giving myself. I miss work, I miss being on the high rise and working with the crew. This may sound crazy being I do hard labor for a living but it was this hard labor that change my life for the better. I hope to retire in the line of work that I do.
I'm wondering if the chiropractor that I see has done all he could. I don't even do physical therapy with this chiropractor except for the exercises that he has told me to do. I feel there should me be more to my recovery with what I am learning online.
I hope to find a physical therapist that is reputable in what he does and not interested in taking my insurance for a ride. Every doctor that I've seen wants to prescribe me some medicine even when I tell them I'm taking something now that is working for me.
I'm approaching 4 months and wondering what my next move should be. The chiropractor I see has been good but the treatments I receive has been the same. I don't want to waste anymore time if there is another solution to my situation.
Best of luck to all and full recovery to everyone. I hope my story has been helpful .