Hello this is my first post on this board. I am in bed as I am typing this with my legs up and a heating pad on my lower back. My injury came at age 20 and I am now 34. I was injuried in the Army following an order to pick up a large camo net used to hide Hummers from airplanes. I have two small tares in two of my lower disks. I have had this pain off and on for 14 years now. It hurts on my right side all the way down to my ancle. The small tears cause preasure on my cyatic (spelling?) nerve which causes a lot of pain. I am taking Flexirl and Darvocet and some kind of steriod right now. I will know tomorrow the results of my MRI scan. I really dont want sergery. Anyone have some advice for me on alternatives to sergery? I have also had a series of 3 or 4 shots a few years ago and that helped for a few years but now the pain is back. Also, has anyone here ever delt with the VA (Veteran Administration) ? I need to file a claim because this injury happened while in the Military. Thanks for anyone that can help me.
I to are reluctant to have surgery and cntinue to persavere with pt and all that it entails. I have been down that road before and am not kee to do it all over again. All I can suggest is PT and patience, the later a thing difficult to cope with when you feel your life is being dtripped awa from you.
To me, 75% are pretty good odds when it comes to quality of life. I was in so much pain and suffering, was no longer able to do what I once enjoyed. I had fusion surgery 18 weeks ago and only wish I had done it years ago. I feel great, am back to doing all the things I once enjoyed and haven't felt this great in I don't know how long.
I think the key is to do your research, get a reputable doctor with a high success rate and do everything they tell you to. What your statistics don't tell you is that there are varying reasons for the 25% who don't fuse...some being smokers, some being incompetent surgeons, or methods used.
Exhaust all other options first. But please don't be afraid of surgery. It helps so many. You're too young to live out the rest of your life in pain.
Sorry it took me so long to post, but my back is out and my husband was not home to help me. HE is a Vietnam Veteran, shot in the head, that paralized his left side. I told him about you and this is his reply:
First step, you cannot get disability until you get out of the military on a Medical Discharge, that makes you automatically eligible for disability, then take your papers to the VA office nearest you and file for a Disability Pension. Your records speak for themselves. The longest it would take for you to recieve Disability Checks (if you had to prove it happened in the military) would be 6 months. Otherwise you are eligibly immmediatly.
This is the experience that we had with a military disability. It has been so many years, but here it is. It takes awhile. You have to be dilligent. Check to see which benefits are better and which work for you. There is SS, SSI, and military disability. Each of them have levels of disability and different criteria. Some let you work, some don't. I would check all of them out first.
SS pays little. SSI pays more. Military gives you more leeway. Even if you are disabled, they allow you to take full time government jobs with a full disability it it doesn't hurt you.
This has been our experience.
As for the success for fusion, they have to tell you the worst odds. If you follow all of the rules and have a positive outlook and attitude, it can be done. Bone grows. The ones that it doesn't work for are those who think, hey, I don't really have to give up smoking, caffiene, sodas. I don't have to exercise and walk, walk, walk. You have to want it to work.
I have a brother who had full back fusion about, I don't know twenty, thiry, years ago and he is now working in FL, lifting garbage cans into trucks for a living. He back gives him trouble once in a while, but he takes Motrin for it.
There are a lot of good people on this site that you can turn to for support and answers, more than you can at a doctor's office,
The my husband's neursurgeon told me that with fusion, it was rare to see complete improvement and it was rare to see no improvement. My husband was in so much pain that anything would have been an improvement. He is six weeks post op and is still on pain medication with no decrease of dosage in sight. He is getting the dreaded "zingers" now and the pain has moved from his hip to his leg and foot.
He has been rather active though. He went to Target yesterday and today he is going to physical therapy. He said he no longer feels pain in his back but he is not sure if that is because of the pain medication. The neurosurgeon is giving him smaller and smaller prescriptions now. I guess they are trying to hint that he needs to taper off because of addiction.
He will be off from work for the full eight weeks. The day of surgery and the week following was a complete nighmare for both of us. We are still recovering from post tramatic stress. But not everyone has such a bad experience.
Hey new guy, I was in the army and filled for my claim online not sure if I am allowed to put in the web site but here it goes. http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp
I also found out that you can get legal help for free though many veterans services. Once you file online they will send you more info though the mail with places to contact for legal help. Hope this helps.