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Question for anyone who has or has had herniated disks?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Lower Back Pain
I had injured myself on 6/22/08 went to an acute care, because my work sent me there, and always been diagnosed with an acute muscoskelatal back strain for about 2 and a half months. finally my physical therapist, being the only intelligent one, sends an order to get an MRI. I get it and have a herniated disk L 4 5. I recently received my first epidural on September 5 2008, today i feel about %35 better. I am receiving my second epidural tomorrow (September 19 2008) which I am hoping will do the pain to about %80 better. I have told my work I can return back to normal work, I am a paramedic, on September 29 2008, I am suppose to be able to lift patient's in excess of 275 lb's on a stretcher, grantit I only get half the weight because its 2 people lifting, but my question is does anyone think that I am jumping the gun to fast here? I mean my disk has had about 4 months to semi-heal itself and I have received 2 epiderals by then.

Money is becoming a huge problem...

I know this is long but I would appreciate input...thank you.


  • are diognostic,i have yet to hear anyone that has had long relief from them. me included. i have been going thrue the same thing as you only for a longer time... i have a bluge that they dont see to be a threat as far as to operate.
    its ruff man worst thing i have ever ran into,and ive had a ruff paper route :D
  • Has your Dr or surgeon suggested a micro discectomy? I had this done 12 days ago after having a herniated disc on my L5/4 S1. Really recommend it (this is my opinion only) as Im now pain free in my leg. Also I work in an office job and was told job where it was manual you could be off for up to 12 weeks after before lifting again. Surely you shouldnt be lifting at the moment?? Hope ths helps
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  • In my opinion, going back to a job like yours could be dangerous. I had my first instance of back pain 6 years ago (sciatica) and I never slowed down. Finally, my body started making me slow down. Don't end up like me, chronic and stuck. It's very frustrating to be injured but just make sure you don't hurt yourself worse. Be careful!!! Most would give anything to take back the one second it took to hurt themselves. Hindsight it 20/20. Just be careful that you are not one left wishing for that one second back... I hope things go smoothly for you and that you make a full and speedy recovery.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

    Welcome To Spine-Health

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is NOT
    formal medical advise. You should always consult with your doctors.

    To get back to the Forums, you can always click on Forum Home

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    For starters take a look at the following articles about
    Spinal Injections.
    Spinal Injections
    You can read about the details behind these injections. Reading the forums here, you will find people that had good success with Epidurals and others that did not see any benefit. The Epidural (Spinal Injection) is not a diagnostic test, but is considered to be a conservative treatment. The rule is you can have up to 3 a year to see what kind of results you will have. With some patients, these injections are enough to get them back on their feet without surgery. You mentioned that your MRI shows a herniation at L4/L5. I would hope that your doctor gave you a set of limitations and restrictions. I konow with my first L4/L5 and every since (30+ years) I still have a 40 lb limit in lifting. So, hearing what you said, I would think it would playing Russian roulette to lift the type of weight you mention. But always remember, the advise you receive here is personal opinions, formal medical advise can come only from your doctor(s)

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • tenz- I would discuss the work issue with the dr especially what you should or should not do. ie weight resctrictions.
    Steroids are helpful to some and not so much to others. They did not help my lumbar pain but they did help my cervical pain. Is this a work comp injury as you mentioned work sent you?? I do not know much about wc but there are others who have had work injuries in the Health Insurance Issues section that may know more...take care..jade
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  • Ive had 4 epis and 1 cardul injection with limited success I found that they only work if you dont do anything at all after the injection you start feeling good then go back to work and it flairs right back up . this is just my opinion . good luck hope it works out good 4 you
  • I tend to agree with DiLauro. The quickest way to reherniate or further injure the disk is to go back to lifting excessive weight right away. I may have missed it, but have you been through PT to strenghten the lower back core muscles? This I believe is inperative to regaining strength and knowing your future limitations.

    I have been through 12 years of multiple disk herniations with one disk and have finally tore it resulting in permanant damage. I had only been able to lift no more than 40 pounds after PT since first herniating it and now can barely lift a gallon of milk.

    Please speak to your doctor about treatment options including PT and don't be in a hurry to have any non-conservative treatments like surgery unless as a last resort.
  • TenZo,

    First I'd like to welcome you to SH! I hope with all my heart that you don't end up being a "regular" here, unless of course it's because you got better and want to share with others how! ;)

    Look, you need to make sure you're taking care of YOU right now, and I mean that in more than just the physical sense. I'm assuming you hurt your back at work-If so, I hope you filed an incident report because if not, you could be in for a very long, disappointing road-that's the LAST thing I want to see happen to you, but it's exactly what happened to me so if I can help a fellow medic avoid what I've been through, I'll pull out all the stops to do so! I won't get into my whole story right now, but I do not want to see happen to you what's happened to me!

    As far as returning to work after herniating a disc-hmm...I suppose it's possible, but I would caution you to be VERY careful. I started out with an injury in 2002 (on duty), had another in 2004 (on duty), and another in 2005 (off duty). Today, ALL of my lumbar discs are herniated, and I have other spine issues as a result of those initial injuries. I would be very surprised if you're cleared to lift the kind of weight necessary in EMS anytime soon! I'm not saying that to upset you-but I've been there. I wanted to keep working forever-I got just under 4 years in.

    What type of Doctor is giving you the ESI's-is it a Pain Management Doctor, or some other specialty? Has this Doctor given you any idea when you might be released to return to work? Is this a Doctor you were sent to by your employer? Are you receiving any w/comp? If so, have you consulted an atty? You might want to seriously consider that (if you were injured at work).

    This is what I think you should do-I think you need to make an appt. with either a Neurosurgeon or other Spine Specialist Physician (maybe even an Orthosurgeon) and have him/her look at your MRI. You need to be evaluated by a competent Doctor, and in my personal opinion, you won't find that in any Doctor that your employer sends you to. They're only interested in their bottom line and would love to rush you back to work. Again, I know-been there, done that. Do you have a primary Doctor that you see for other things? That would be a good place to start and I would think he or she could give you a referral to someone.

    DO NOT try to go back to work until you've seen a Doctor that specializes in the spine and has looked at your MRI and given you clearance to return! PLEASE heed this advice-I cannot stress this enough. I know how hard things are financially when you're off work..believe me, I do...but you have to think of your health and you do not want to have any further injuries to your spine and end up facing the future that myself and so many others here have. If you think things are tough financially right now-imagine what will happen if you rush back to work, hurt your back worse and end up not being able to work again? (welcome to my world!)

    Now, keep in mind one thing...just because I want a specialist to see your MRI, does NOT mean I'm saying you need surgery right away, OK? In fact, we generally try to avoid surgery until we've exhausted every other option available.

    Please, do yourself a favor...take my advice because I'm so worried for you that you're going to go back to work when you shouldn't and end up with all of the problems that myself and so many others here are dealing with. Please think of the long term health of your spine over the short term balance in your check book. I know how hard it is in todays economy, but if you rush back into that type of physically demanding job, I can pretty much guarantee you will have far worse financial difficulties in the future that will last probably the rest of your life. So take it easy, work on strengthening that core with your PT, give the ESI's a chance to prove whether or not they will work for you (btw, I've been getting these injections in my back every 8 weeks for almost 3 years now-they're NOT a "fix", they're a "band aid"), and treat your back with the utmost of respect. Hopefully if you do that, your back will respect you as well and you will be one of the success stories rather than end up a chronic pain patient such as myself.

    Oh, one other question-haven't you been put under a lift restriction? If not, you really should be! I know with my EMS we were required to be able to lift in excess of 100lbs. I've been restricted to 5lbs since June 2005. I would advise that you not lift anything heavy until you're cleared by a physician that specializes in the spine.

    I hope that you'll keep us posted...I want to read your success story!!! :) And I truly do hope you feel better very soon and that you ARE able to resume your career.

    Best of luck to you...and take care of that back!

  • When I had my first herniated disc, I went on as usual after a couple of weeks, and it only got worse. By the time I had appointment with a neurosurgeon several months later, the only option he offered was a laminectomy/diskectomy. Sciatic nerve was permanently damaged. I had another herniated disc, at the level you have, this year with the same end result. More surgery. I am not, and don't expect to ever be, without some pain.

    All that being said, I would be extrememly careful with lifting. Talk to your doctor about physical limitations, and follow the advice. I most certainly wish I had been more careful, and followed my doc's advice with the first incident.

    Good luck!

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