I am a 30 yr old male and am a merchandiser for one of the top soda brands and been doing so the past 3yrs. About 3 months ago I started experiencing pain as well as numbness and burning sensation in my lower central back while working and continued to get worse. I at first went to my family doctor where he immediately came to the conclusion that what i was expeirencing was from a bulging disc and wanted to get an mri. At this time I was waking up in the mornings barely able sit up straight or even move or walk, so Due to my pain starting while working it was thought by myself and my employer that it was work related and was sent to occupational health, so an mri wasn't scheduled. By this time it was difficult to walk, sit, lay down, or pretty much do anything with out any pain and any change in activity alleviated the pain before getting worse again.
My first visit to occupational health I informed the doctor what my doctor had suggested and that he wanted an mri, the response was due to no pain in my legs that the pain I was expeirencing was due to inflammation of muscles or soft tissue damage. I was told to take over the counter medication and return to work on light duty. Week passed by and I was having bowel movement issues with hard stools, and the pain, numbness, and burning in my lower central back was not improving. So I went back to occupational health where a different doctor saw me. I informed him of what my doctor had said and was told the same thing by the other doctor, this time I was prescribed flexaral to help me sleep. Another week passed, no improvement so I went back again and saw a third doctor at occ health, informed them of what my doctor had said, and again same thing was told to me, this time Celebrex was added for me to take. Another week passed and still no improvement, went back again to occupational health and saw a fourth doctor and guess what, the same things were said, this time physical therapy was ordered.
After a week of therapy i started feeling better, but while still on light duty at work I was cleaning coolers and shelves so I was still bending, twisting, stretching (this was considered light duty even though i restricted from doing a lot of those), I started getting worse again. Went back to occ health where I finally saw the same doctor, more physical therapy was ordered and I was to be seen again in two weeks. Two weeks passed and while I saw some improvement, I didn't feel I was making too much progress and the Celebrex seems to be ineffective, I brought this up with the senior occ health doctor and he lectured me on how in America medication isn't given out to patients that doesn't work and also insinuated that I wasn't taking it even though I was out, i started having doubts whether he believed I was actually hurt and noticed a change of attitude towards me from the staff. Two more weeks of therapy was ordered and if after that i was still having issues only then will an Mri be ordered. Didn't last the weekend before I went back and finally got them to order one, which took a week to be approved.
It took a few days but the results came back and states as follows: L4-l5 posterior annular tear with concentric disc bulge, small superimposed disc protrusion, mild effacement of ventral Csf. L5-s1 posterior annular tear with concentric disc bulge. Impression is a central disc protrusion at l4-l5 with mild spinal stenosis.
The doctors at occ health looked at the results and still insisted that this was not the cause of my pain and that it was muscles in my lower back. It was also suggested that I look into a different profession as continuing to work with what I have will only hinder it or make it worse, easy for a guy with a Ph.D. to say when all I got is a high school diploma. Another week had passed and more therapy and I am feeling much better, I am released to full duty in the next few days and am skeptical on what I can do. Every time I went to see the occ health doctors insisted that it wasn't muscles, and feel if I had an mri sooner than I could have been treated with better results. Sorry I dragged on about this, but I wanted to express what I had gone through. Even though I feel better I can still feel that I am not right back there, and scared and confused on what to do. I got to work as I got a wife and two kids, one of them newborn to take care of. I was told I would have this the rest of my life and there nothing I can do outside of therapy to help as surgery would only be necessary to preserve nerves. Need advice or tips, or more info please.
Also i would like to note that I have chronic migraines, I get pain at base of the skull and in the back of neck and was diagnosed 7yrs ago. Mri results were negative and at first the symptoms which were sever pain in the neck and head, blurred vision, and nausea. The symptoms aren't as sever or last as long. When I started expeirencing this it had last for months without end, just curious as to whether there may be a relation with what I am expeirencing now. Thank you.