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Need advice

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi all,

Im new here and was just wanting to get some advice as to what I should do. I hurt My back in Oct 07 and I haven't been the same since. I will start off that I hurt My back on the job and My job didn't do what they should have, they sent Me home instead of to the hospital. They also kept Me in the dark about Workers Comp for 4 months after the injury, in which I worked through severe pain, I had to hear about it from the chiropractor I saw to get answers as to why My back was giving Me so many problems. Well after more stress I finally was able to get on WC and get an MRI done on My lower back. It shows that My L5-S1 disc is herniated and degenerated and also is compressed on the left side. I went through 3 months of chiropractor visits with no real results. I am now seeing a neurologist and she prescribed physical therapy, which isn't doing anything but cause more pain during the day when I go. She also prescribed an ESI which I got Thursday and I was very hopeful that it would give me some relief. I was wrong, I'm in that 2-3% of people who don't get any sort of relief. So now I'm at a crossroad, I have WC breathing down My neck about going back to work and they are sending Me to another Dr for "a second medical opinion" actually a 3rd but who is really counting? Since all the conservative treatments are not working, should I ask My Dr about the spinal fusion? I really want to go back to work (im a line cook for Chili's) because all I can do all day is lay around and Im a very active person but My job is very physically demanding, always bending, twisting, lifting and standing in one place for 8 hours. All the things that aggravate My back, except for sitting which is the worst.

Sorry for the long introduction lol, any advise would be helpful


  • Are you going to wc doctors?do you have a lawyer?
  • I am being sent to one tuesday for a second medical opinion, as the letter from workers comp stated. I have a number for one of the best WC lawyers in Louisiana that I got from My chiropractor but I havent contacted them yet. WC hasnt given Me any trouble thus far but I will contact Him if they do or try to force Me back to work without anything really being acomplished. Heres why, I have had really 2 medical opinions so far, one from My neurologist and one from the Dr that gave Me the ESI. I also have the chiropractor saying the same thing. So if this Dr who is being paid by WC gives Me a different opinion, I'll get the lawyer.

    Heres some links to my MRI


  • I am also a cook from Pa. I work in a well known private tavern/resturant. I feel off a small step ladder in a freezer at work and herniated the L5/S1 I tried to take care of it on my own and nothing worked i had 2ESI's then a microdiscectomy. I was out on wc for 2 mounths went back to work and it herniated again about 2 mounths later. I went through P/T 3 more ESI's one of wich was called a cauradal (i may have spelled that wrong) injection that they did in the OR, none of that worked .I just had another micro. 7/9/08 . It must be something with the reasturant field because my work did everything they could to not get me covered by WC,I finally got that all straightened out but i still needed a lawyer. I don't know about your state but in Pa. you only need to see their Dr.s for 3 mounths then you can see your own look in to it .My lawyer doesn't get paid until i do so a consult is free and would never hurt.Sorry to here about your pain i've been dealing with this since 9/7/06 so i know how ya feel . Good luck and if there's anything i can answer for ya i will.
  • Im seeing My own Dr (neurologist) that I choose from, My chiropractor gave Me a few to choose from and I choose this one, which I'm glad because she sympathizes with Me about WC. So Im seeing My own Dr but they want a second medical opinion, which I read that it is just for thier defense or whatever You would call it. Like I said, if this Dr gives Me some BS I'll be sure to contact the lawyer. I hear WC case workers hate dealing with lawyers :)
  • Get one on your side now, so you don't regret it later. Like stated above, consultations are free, and if any lawsuit comes into play, the Lawyer doesn't get paid until you do.

    And its certainly not just the restaurant industry that make WC hard... WC is a big issue with most industries... they simply don't want to pay it.

    I remember when I hurt my back at UPS. I was loading packages onto the back of an 18 wheeler, picked up a box off the rollers, took a step, and collapsed with pain. I had to yell for my co-workers to come help me up. I practically had to be carried to the break room, where I was instructed to fill out an incident report. We had a program in place, where we accumulated "safe work days" For everyday that passed, without an injury, we would receive one safe work day per person. (If say 30 people worked that day, injury free, that would be considered 30 safe work days) We had goals to reach, like 1,000 safe days, and we would get some sort of reward from the company. If someone were to be injured, the count would start over from zero. To avoid starting the count over, I finished out my shift. Most of which consisted of laying in the break room with an Icepack. When I was able to walk again, I scanned packages, without doing any lifting or loading. The next day I went to the ER, and not sure what the doctor told me... back strain I think. Anyway, when I reported to work the next day, I was greeted by a team of management. They took me into an office, where they grilled me about the injury. They tried to spin it around, to make it my fault.

    Them: so you must've lifted with your back and not your knees
    Me: No, I picked the box off of the rollers, which is waist height, there was no bending involved.
    Them: so when you picked up the box, you twisted instead of pivoting
    Me: No, I only took a step to my left. Step, collapse, period.

    They were very intimidating, and that was there purpose. They didn't want a WC case on their hands, or a lawsuit even. I felt like I was being grilled by the Mafia or something. Quite scary actually.

    With the back issues I am having today, I wonder if it is related, though I'm sure to much time has passed to do anything legally. Shame on me for letting them intimidate me so. I should have called a lawyer. Problem was, I was too trusting, too loyal, and too naive. Live and learn

    Good Luck, and welcome to the site!! =)
  • Well thats what workers comp is for, when you get on it you give up the right to sue for liability, even if it was your fault. But I have a rock solid case, if they want to try and drill me, let em. Guess I'll just have to wait till I see My neurologist in about ten days or so.

    I have been off of work now since the begining of march, so about three months. I havent been put on any pain meds yet because I do not want to feel like superman and screw up My back even more than it already is.
  • Also, I am now experiencing bad weakness in My left knee when My back starts to hurt after sitting after prolonged periods or doing the normal mechanical movements. Thats pretty scary for Me. It almost buckles under the weight of My body when walking. :jawdrop: not cool
  • Friend, welcome to spine health. I just wanted to mention a couple things. First, suppose you do nothing and agree to go back to work because their doc says all is well and your off on a Sat doing whatever and down you go because the initial injury is worse? Do you have enough sick time for surgery,PT,meds etc?

    Next,I don't think they would recommend a fusion right away like maybe if it reherniated after a simple discectomy with or without a laminectomy. This way they only go in a remove the herniated disc material and remove the lamina bone to relieve the pressure. It is pretty black(degeneration) but it may have been that way before the injury and wasn't a problem so I'm not a doc but I would question why a fusion 1st if that's what they recommend.

    A fusion is a whole new ordeal which hopefully you can avoid. The L4-5 level above looks like it's bulging & not terribly degenerated so again that could have already been there. The thigh pain could also be L4-5 is worse or L5-S1 is worsening.

    Finally, if it's been this long it probably needs to be manually removed. The compression concerns me as well. This is usually on nerves and the longer they are compressed the worse it may be. Hopefully the relief will be instant after decompression & it can be. The MRI links you have are awesome just like being in the room watching them do it huh? L5-S1 is a very BIG heriation!!!! You need a surgical consult.

    WC is a fine line with an employee but it was put there to protect you even though they don't like it, it's not personal if it comes up that you've spoken to a lawyer you might simply tell them "just in case" "you understand?" I've never dealt with it & I'm sure you'll hear from others that have & can give you better advice on how to deal with that. I think at this point you need to take your film to a neurosurgeon. You've been doing "conservative" treatments for a long time and you may even need a repeat MRI with the neurosurgeon to see if it's worse. It may not change his recommendations so he may not order one.

    I have no idea how WC works like can you go to a neurosurgeon of your choice after calling them to demand this be approved? Or do they make you go to their's? It's simple if they could see that film and nothing is better they don't want to be responsible for prolonging your treatment then something major happen thus where your lawyer protection comes in also.

    No heavy lifting so you don't aggrevate that disc ok? You can see from my signature and the L5-S1 bone on bone notation I waited too long and strenuously worked with a huge herniation, nothing work related to start just joints breaking down to begin with.

    Well gook luck & take care of yourself

  • I'm seeing My own Neurologist that I picked from. WC is paying for everything atm. I will never "agree" to go to work before anything has been accomplished. My neurologist looked at the MRI, just before My first appointment ended she gave Me a pamplet on spinal fusion, I think she feels like I do about it. It hasnt been cured with bed rest, chiropractor and atm physical therapy and NSAID prescribed by My neurologist, both of which are proving ineffective. I believe something else besides the herniation and degeneration is causing the pain, not sure, yet.
  • Still no word from WC on My "going back to work issues". I saw the neurologist they sent Me too for the second medical opinion. He basically saw everything that My neurologist saw and He was asking Me if My NS said anything about surgery or anything with screws and rods, which We did on My first visit. He was a very nice old man who said that He will treat Me like I was His own patient, I sure hope so :)

    I see My neurologist on the 7th and I guess I will start to discuss the surgery route. I think its My best option now.
  • I've heard that minimally invasive endoscopic surgery is useful to reapir herniated discs. Is this something that you cna look into?

    Al the best, hope things work out
  • As others said....time for an attorney. Does anyone know how people can hook up with personal emails? I'd like to email you somehow. Fusions are a very big deal and there are so many alternatives to look at. A fusion is nothing to rush into. The MRI and Xray may not be enough as far as diagnostics. You may need a mylegram or a discogram. My friends who deal with workmans comp have to work very hard to get what they need and good treatment. You have to be your own advocate and never be quiet, back down or go away!!! The squeaky wheel gets the grease as they say.

    Are you on pain medication? Have you been to see a pain specialist or pain management program? It's sounds like you may need medication at least to get you through while you figure things out. You might want to look into getting an epidural or a block for your pain from a doctor. This may help also. Remember, you may have to fight to get what you deserve as far as your health. Don't go away quietly. Persevere and hang in there. I've been on this road for a long time. When your new it can be overwhelming. Anything I can do as far as sharing my experience I am happy to do. Liz
  • here's My dilemma, I don't want to have to change careers and I sure couldn't do a desk job, even if I wanted too. I cant sit for more than 30 minutes without feeling really bad pains, which now makes My left knee buckle slightly, not cool.

    I'm not taking any pain meds(yet), at least not any narcotics. I don't want to feel like superman and screw My back up any more than it already is. 3 months of chiropractor visits didn't do anything, ESI didn't relieve any pain what so ever and PT is kicking My ass. I cant do anything for any extended time except laying down, and that is getting real old. I've seen what some pain meds and other medications do to people and I dont want that happening.

    If I can avoid having to take pain meds just to go to work I'll do it, but right now its not happening and its almost going on a year now since I injured My back.
  • 8} Ok, I saw My neurologist today and she wants to do one more ESI to see if it might help. If it doesn't she said I will need a spinal fusion, which she said will take about 4 hours of surgery and at least 4 days in the hospital....yikes. Plus she said a discectomy wouldn't do any good because the disc is too degenerated Another good thing is someone from workers comp was there to see what the Dr says about My work status and what not, guess what she says? I STILL CANT WORK!!!! Big surprise lol. My neurologist also said My disc in disentergrating at a fast pace, I guess that isn't good?

    Well I have to setup another app with the Dr who gave Me the first ESI and this time I see My neurologist in 2 weeks after that instead of 2 months, thank God. 8}
  • Well I was suppose to get another ESI tomorrow but today the place that does them called Me and said that workers comp didn't approve it. So I called My neurologist's office and told them everything to let them know that My next visit on the 21st wouldn't involve any sort of follow up with the ESI. So they said My options would be to just keep doing the physical therapy and taking the meds (neither of which isnt helping) or push for the surgery. So, on the next visist We will push for the surgery and see what workers comp does I guess. If they start giving Me trouble now, then I will call the lawyer (even though I will need one eventually).
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