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Career change?

Confused1CConfused1 Posts: 2
edited 12/27/2014 - 4:39 AM in Lower Back Pain
I'm a 30 year old male who has worked physically demanding jobs for pretty much my entire working life along with playing sports all throughout grade school. I've been doing A/C work for the past 7 years and I think all of that has finally caught up to me. The past year alone, I've had 4 different occasions where I've had lower back issues with the most recent and worst case happening this past Saturday. Something as simple as walking up and down a ladder can trigger this pain. There are instances where I've lifted 80lbs+ parts and have had no issues! I've had x-rays done and I'm still waiting for the results but, I don't believe I can carry on with this career for the next 25+ years. It's a great field to be in money wise and the fact that I get to work alone the majority of the time is a huge plus but, there is no way I can continue taking days or even weeks off to keep recovering. It's also been 1 week since this happened and while I've recovered a lot, I can still feel the pain. I'm not even sure what I'm going to do for next week.

I've taken plenty of different college course after I finished high school as I was always undecided. I was always interested in the IT field and even gotten several college certifications in the past but, for whatever reason, I never perused that career path. Other than that, I really have nothing to fall back on and feel that I may have to start from scratch. I live alone and really have no one to vent to or even get advice from, so I'd really appreciate any feedback from you guys. I'd really like to stick to something where I can continue working alone if possible but I imagine the jobs out there which use that as a job description are pretty limited. I thought about starting my own A/C business but I'd rather do this as side work rather than start an actual business. I may try to go back to college and check out some of their IT courses to see if I can try to pick up where I left off but, I feel like I've been out of the tech loop for too long and that it may be too late for me. At 19-20, I was able to pick up whatever they threw at me but I don't know if I have that in me anymore.

I've been stressing about this all week. What do you guys think?
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Comments

  • There are several things you may want to take into consideration.........the first being that almost all of the adult human population will experience at least one flare up of lower back pain at some point in their lives.....normally, it flares and disappears just as quickly as it occurred. There are things you can do to try to prevent that, including core strengthening, regular excercise including flexibility excercise, strength , and using proper lifting techniques at all times.
    Another thing that you may want to consider is most flare ups can be managed by using ice, heat or over the counter remedies, including pain creams and rubs available in any pharmacy.
    Another is that while you have had the xrays done, they really aren't all that helpful when it comes to determining whether or not there is something going on in your spine.
    Most of us in the world, as we get older than 21 are going to show some wear and tear on our spines, known as Degenerative disc disease ( scary sounding terminology)......this is not a disease per se, there isn't anything majorly wrong with our spines, it is simply a biological process that happens due the discs not having their own hydration system in place, and over decades, the discs loose some of their natural hydration....most of this is managed by excercise, over the counter remedies, and anti inflammatory meds for flare ups.
    As far as changing your career goes, if that is something that you want to do, continuing your education and having a back up plan is always a smart idea, but I think that I would look at other options aside from the IT field because it has become so flooded with graduates , and technology schools , that the job market is not as open as it was a decade ago.....
  • christibencchristiben Posts: 121
    edited 12/27/2014 - 9:47 AM
    Hi! It might be a good idea to start researching. You never know what's around the corner when it comes to back problems. I'm supposed to be back to my desk job full time on Feb. 2. Just had surgery Dec. 2 and don't know if I'll ever be able to sit for such long stretches. I'm already looking into other options like teaching or medical transcription from home. Good luck!
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  • Thank you both for the replies!
    sandi said:
    There are several things you may want to take into consideration.........the first being that almost all of the adult human population will experience at least one flare up of lower back pain at some point in their lives.....normally, it flares and disappears just as quickly as it occurred. There are things you can do to try to prevent that, including core strengthening, regular excercise including flexibility excercise, strength , and using proper lifting techniques at all times.
    Another thing that you may want to consider is most flare ups can be managed by using ice, heat or over the counter remedies, including pain creams and rubs available in any pharmacy.
    Another is that while you have had the xrays done, they really aren't all that helpful when it comes to determining whether or not there is something going on in your spine.
    Most of us in the world, as we get older than 21 are going to show some wear and tear on our spines, known as Degenerative disc disease ( scary sounding terminology)......this is not a disease per se, there isn't anything majorly wrong with our spines, it is simply a biological process that happens due the discs not having their own hydration system in place, and over decades, the discs loose some of their natural hydration....most of this is managed by excercise, over the counter remedies, and anti inflammatory meds for flare ups.
    As far as changing your career goes, if that is something that you want to do, continuing your education and having a back up plan is always a smart idea, but I think that I would look at other options aside from the IT field because it has become so flooded with graduates , and technology schools , that the job market is not as open as it was a decade ago.....
    I will admit that I haven't stretched much in the past but, in the past two months, I have started a small stretching program of my own usually before I go to work and after I get home. It has helped tremendously with my flexibility. With this recent event though, even after having recovered (mostly), I still can't stretch anywhere as far as I could before this happened. I'm afraid of pushing myself too far because if I do, I will begin to feel that sharp pain in the lower back.

    In the topic of flareups, this job isn't nearly as physically demanding as my last job yet, within the past year alone, I've had many occasions of back injuries where I had to take time off from work. This last "injury" (simply walking up and down a ladder!), so far, has taken much longer to recover from than the others. I mentioned whether or not I should get an MRI to my doctor and he pretty much chuckled. According to him, x-rays are my first step and from there, he will determine whether or not I need an MRI. I've been prescribed 3 different kinds of medications: meloxicam, tramadol, and cyclobenzaprine. I've taken all three but I can't continue to take them if I plan on going back to work otherwise I won't be able to drive or work around heavy machinery which is what my job is. Besides, I haven't felt any relief simply from taking those alone.

    Thanks for the heads up as far as the IT field goes. I had the feeling I missed that chance a while back when I was going to school for it and the fact that I've been out of the tech loop for so long. I may just start off by taking some electives and going there.
    christiben said:
    Hi! It might be a good idea to start researching. You never know what's around the corner when it comes to back problems. I'm supposed to be back to my desk job full time on Feb. 2. Just had surgery Dec. 2 and don't know if I'll ever be able to sit for such long stretches. I'm already looking into other options like teaching or medical transcription from home. Good luck!
    At first, I was stressing out about this but, after thinking about it I figured this may be the start of something greater than what we already had. I wish you the best of luck as well!
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 12/28/2014 - 3:34 AM
    since as I said before, most cases of sudden back pain disappear on their own given some time.
    Xrays are done to look at the vertebra, to check for fractures or dislocations, general alignment, and to rule out tumors or other issues within the bones themselves.
    The next step is usually physical therapy, for at least 6 weeks, to work on core strengthening, and stretching to loosen muscles, and instruction in proper lifting techniques, etc.
    If that fails to improve the symptoms and you are showing signs of nerve involvement, they may opt to order an MRI at that stage.......One thing to remember about MRI is that it shows anatomical findings- those findings may or may not have anything to do with the symptoms you are concerned about, so it is important not to read too much into what the terminology states, rather wait for your doctor to go over the images with you and explain the findings specific to you.
    Many people get an MRI, get the report , and don't understand what they are reading, and because the report includes all anatomical findings, get scared, because of the terminology.
    If something is found, the doctor will give you treatment suggestions and recommendations about what to do or not do.....and possibly a referral if necessary for a consult with a board certified spine surgeon. This does not necessarily mean that you need surgery, but they are the best option for diagnosing and making ongoing treatment recommendations. If surgery isn't recommended or deemed necessary, then they can make a referral to other specialists for further treatment and evaluation.

    http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/diagnostic-tests/getting-accurate-back-pain-diagnosis

    http://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-treatment-step-step
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