I am a 46 yr old female concrete finisher. I recently was seeing my chiro for mild to moderate sciatica due to a long season of concrete paving (very labor intense, constant twisting and bending, 14-16 hr. days, 6 days week). I was relatively pain free until one day at work I had an unusually challenging task, where I had to climb on top of and straddle a rebar structure (waist high), hook my feet in the rebar, and twist to the side so I could reach down to the ground to shovel out and finish the concrete. During one of these exercises I felt a sudden sharp pain shoot down my leg. I barely made it through the rest of the day. As a matter of fact, after work I sat in my truck for awhile to aleve the pain. A short time later my fiance had to come to my job and physically carry me out of my truck. I have since seen work comp docs, attempted physical therapy, went to the er via ambulance due to leg pain that doesn't even compare to labor pains. I have since had an mri and work comp has referred me to a neurosurgeon. This is a summary of my mri:
L3-4 broad-based disc bulge. anterolateral indentation upon the thecal sac. Mild facet and ligament flavum hypertrophy.
L4-5 large broad-based disc bulge and a superimposed far right foraminal disc protrusion that is contacting the right exiting L4 nerve. Mild anterior indentation upon the thecal sac. Facet hypertrophy with mild ligmentum flavum hypertrophy.
L5-S1 Large disk bulge slightly eccentric to the left. Mild to moderate left and mild right neural foraminal narrowing. Spinal canal is patent. Bilateral facet osteoarthropathy.
Degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine.
After 2-1/2 weeks of severe pain in my right leg and various pain meds, ibuprofen, vicodin, percocet, dilaudid and steroids and muscle relaxers; my pain is mild to moderate on 5 mg vicodin every 4-6 hours. HOWEVER: I now have the most intense pain on the top of my right foot. It feels as if the top layer of my skin was scraped off. Visually there is no abbrasions but the lightest touch will send me through the roof. I also get shooting pains in my big toe. I have tried every topical anesthetic I can get OTC, lidocaine, benzocaine, capsasin, nothing helps. I know it has to do with the nerve pinched in my low back, I'm scared to think it may be permanent.
If anyone can interpret the mri results I would truly appreciate it. I don't know the severity of the injury. It is work comp and I am terrified it may be career ending. I want to choose a course of treatment that would give me a better chance of continuing my concrete profession. As I am in the union, there are no desk jobs available if they put me on restricted duty. At the minimum I have to be able to lift 15-20 lbs., bend, twist, etc. With those requirements, how long might I need to rehabilitate before I can return to manual labor?
Anyone that can help or comment I would appreciate it. I am a single mom with 2 kids that I have to support. I'm hoping for some insight and maybe a heads up if I need to start looking for an alternative income to get me through till I can get back to work.