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medicgirl05

Recent back injury-looking for advice!

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I realize this isn't an EMS injury, but I can only add what I know for advice. It may be affected by EMS, later on in life. Usually when you least expect it. A very high percentage of EMS folks have, or will develop a disc injury of some sort. Some have no problems, now; some end their career early. It's been my experience that once it's done... It's done. One injury snowballs, whether it's properly cared for or not. Not trying to discourage you, just being honest, in my point of view anyway.

Very early on, I fell on a call, it was icy and I totally ignored the symptoms of a disc injury. I waited like two months, and ended up on one of those calls where you can't get ANY help - from anyone and totally #@!%ed myself up. Ruptured a disc, and it was the most ungodly pain.. I dunno what labor pain is like, but I may, just putting that out there. :) I called off work, which ended up causing me to lose my job. Laid in bed for a few days, finally I had to get up, and a bunch of friends ended up taking me out on a backboard. Took pain meds for too long, did bad stuff to my digestive tract, learned that while Fentanyl is amazing, it bottoms out my BP. No feeling in my right heel ever since, which gives me a sense of being off balance sometimes.

I would recommend aggressive therapy to treat it. I have several nerve blocks and steroid injections, freaky experience, but Propofol, milk of amnesia, greatest drug ever. Versed, totally allergic to it. Physical therapy, never did anything for me; Chiropractor, made the sciatic pain worse. Walking long distances was probably the best self therapy I could have done.

Edited by 1 C

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Are you sure your injury is not job related ? Could it be that you have weakened your back at work, but it popped somewhere else ? You might want to talk to a work comp attorney, just to make sure you have no claim. I am not suggesting you scam your company, but you have to wonder if lifting fat ass patients did not contribute to your injury ? I know my back is going to give me lots of trouble in my golden years from all the years of lifting two-man stretchers in the truck, but those companies I worked for are long gone, so there is nothing I can do about it (for the rookies in the room, we used to have to lift the stretcher from the ground into the back of the truck - one of us on each side).

I would definitely start taking instructor classes and work your way towards teaching. You are kind of in the Peyton Manning situation; most teams will not take the risk of hiring you, and then you have to ask yourself "if someone does hire me, is getting back on a truck" the best thing for me ?

Or this may be your chance for a do-over. Many times in my life, changes occured in my job because of my choice or other's choice that seemed to be the end of the world or at least a big set-back, but if I had stayed at my first "real job" all these years, there would be a lot of people and experiences I would not have ever encountered. So you have to ask, is EMS (on the truck) the job I really love ? If so, look for teaching, ER, industrial, prison, or other EMS related jobs to keep you involved. If not, it is the perfect time to maybe do that thing you really wanted to do, but did not for whatever reason. Do not let fear trap you in your current industry.

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I'd imagine it would be pretty difficult to convince people your back injury was work related and had nothing to do with falling off a horse and experiencing sudden pain followed by diagnostic evidence of an injury. Good luck OP, hope you get to feeling better.

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I just joined and am coming late to this discussion but I had a similar injury Dec'11 L4/L5 herniated disc due to 19 yrs on the box. Joy. Anyhow the pain in my lower back, radiating to my right buttock and thigh was excuciating for weeks, worsening the longer I sat. Only lying supine helped. First doc tells me it's trochanter bursitus which I knew was wrong, wrong, wrong. MRI showed the herniated discs with mild nerve impingement on the right side which radiated to my right siactic nerve, blah, blah.

Today I'm 95% pain free on a dailiy basis and I don't take pain meds and I'm still working full-time. Two things which did are the short run steriods to calm the injury and serious (I really mean serious) core strengthening exercises. I've always had a strong core, have been foil fencing up until my injury and many other core exercies but that won't keep you from injurying your back. What needs to happen is advanced core strengthening. I currently do 2-3 hours of advanced yoga weekly. The strengthening, stretching and relaxing of my back, hips and hamstrings (low back issuese will tighten your hamstrings) ease the nerve impingement and immediately cease all pain for hours to days. Find a good instructor and learn the correct positions to challenge your core, you should feel immediate relief as it realigns and opens your spine. I felt better within the first day. And within the first two weeks my pain went from 8/10 to 2/10.

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As a follow-up, the MRI showed a broad ruptured disc with an annular tear at L5-S1. I tried 2 steroid injections with no success. I am now scheduled for a microdiscectomy to remove the extruded disc material. I am currently back at work but dread every shift which is not normal for me.

Thanks everyone for the input!

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That sucks. Hope you get to feeling better.

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