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New member - injured on the job, just got MRI results, not sure what to do next

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Old 04-18-2006, 01:37 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 2
colleen_s HB User
New member - injured on the job, just got MRI results, not sure what to do next

Hi. I'm new to the boards. I'm new to my back injury diagnosis also since I just got my MRI results last week. I'm not quite sure what to do now.

I was injured on the job last October. We were unracking some servers (100 pound computers on drawer rails in cabinets). To make a long story short, one got stuck, unstuck suddenly, hit my coworker in the chest, he dropped it, and I fell backward and ended up on my bottom with a 100 lb computer in my lap. Dr said I was lucky I didn't break my thigh bones with all the bruising I had.

It never felt great after that, but once the initial trauma healed, it was tolerable. I'd say a 2-3 on the pain scale. I switched jobs in November. In mid-December I started having back spasms when I woke up... shooting pain on the 7-9 scale.

I went back to the Dr. I got a new temperpedic mattress, started PT. Told my employer I was having back probs they said as long as I was ok by March when the workload was scheduled to increase, no problem. I was laid off first of Feb cause I was only working abt 32 hrs a week. Maybe I should be on workman comp instead of unemployment... atm workman comp is only paying for my medical but I was laid off for not being able to work enough.

Got an MRI. The MRI showed mild disk abnormality in the L45 disk and fiscete joint changes so they are now diagnosing it as Diskogenic Pain. At least I now have something that says YES, you really did hurt your back... see right here...! They are recommending epidural steroid injections.

Right now my pain is about a 2 most of the time, but I don't sleep well (4-5 hrs very interrupted sleep cause my back will have a dull ache). I'm still taking Rx Motrin (I'm alergic to Mobic) and Vicodin if the pain gets to about 6-7 or sometimes before bed cause I need sleep. When I stand (even short lines at the post office or grocery store), it will increase to about a 4-5. The spasms stopped with the mattress change and PT. But I'm also doing nothing since I haven't found a job yet. I'm concerned that when I do get a job, the back pain will increase again since I'm sitting at a computer 8 hrs a day and since it is increasing just sitting here browsing and while I type this..

I know I need to lose weight. Since my back injury, I've gained about 25lbs. I needed to lose about 20 before my back injury so now I should lose ~45. I'm still doing core exercises, but am starting water aerobics since it's lowest impact and good cardio.

Do I get a lawyer at this point since I've now learned that the injury caused damage that will never go away? (plus workman comp for the first time wouldn't return the dr calls for the pre-authorization on the MRI). I do have an email where my manager at the time stated that the accident wouldn't have happened if we had had the proper lift equipment, and that they were not going to do any more unracks until it was purchased (which they did within the month).

I'm a little hesitant to have needles in my spine, eventhough I have had an epidural during my pregnancy. I'm not sure if they want to do it into the fiscette joints or where.. i haven't seen the Dr since getting the results from his nurse. Does the steroid help? Is it only a short term thing?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions and for reading my long post

Last edited by colleen_s; 04-18-2006 at 01:53 AM.

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Old 04-18-2006, 07:38 AM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Mt USA
Posts: 427
BlueSteam HB User
Re: New member - injured on the job, just got MRI results, not sure what to do next

Hi Colleen s, I'm new also and I have a work injury, caused by sitting a computer for hours a day. I live 25 miles from my job and when the dr thought I could go in for an hour a day I finally got myself a lawer. For one thing, they were putting me right back at the same job that hurt me to begin with when I wasn't even healed up, and another thing, the drive alone hurts me. My lawer is free for me unless we get a settlement. Then they will get 20%. I am not after a settlement I just want to be sure I get treated fairly and get healed up the best I can. Right now it kind of looks like I need to fight for another mri. It doesn't hurt to protect your rights at all. In my state we have 30 days to report our injuries to our employer, I don't know about your state. I hope you were able to get all of that done in time. Don't be afraid to hire someone to protect yourself. I just posted my story too. "much needed advice" My dr's are causing me the most problems. If they would've been on top of things I think I could have been back to work a long time ago. I never want to go back to what I was doing before, tho. Good Luck.

Old 04-18-2006, 05:48 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 280
mmusilli HB User
Re: New member - injured on the job, just got MRI results, not sure what to do next

Not sure about law / workmans comp stuff, but here is what I suggest about your back.. First, get a good spine expert, and not just an orthopaedic doctor, and dont go to a chiropractor, at least not yet... Cortizone shot are worth a try, as they will hopefully get your inflammation down to a point where you can go get some good physical therapy.. They will tell you how to strengthen back AND stretch... What type of doctor did you see? You may want to get second opinion from another neuro surgeon.. I saw 3 different doctors and each had something new to add... If pain does not shoot down leg or buttocks, then, you dont have any nerve encroachment, which is good. If you get facet joint injection, and it works for you, but comes back again after a few weeks, then they can kill the nerve in the facet joint using a radiofrequency needle, that heats up the nerve and kills it, thus, you dont feel any pain since the facet nerve is dead... The nerve regenerates itself after approx 8 months, and hopefully by then, you have healed by excercise, PT, etc.... If not, you can do it again... This is what my pain management dr told me they could do...
Keep in mind that cortizone doesnt work immediately... It may take up to a week to feel better.. In fact, you may feel worse for a day or two due to the injection on top of your normal pain...

Let me know what your Dr tells you..


Old 04-18-2006, 07:10 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 2
colleen_s HB User
Re: New member - injured on the job, just got MRI results, not sure what to do next

Thank you for the advice. My doctor is an orthopedic that specializes in spine surgery, although he's very conservative and said he wouldn't recommend surgery for me due to my age.

We've done the PT thing. It helped some, got rid of the back spasms. I've slacked off on it so my back is hurting more so I've learned that lesson and am doing the exercises again.

I don't have any pain into my legs, luckily.

Guess it's time to hit up my other doctors (ENT, general practice) that I have been going to since I was little and get some referals to lawers and probably a second opionion on my back while I'm at it..

Thanks again for the advice!

Old 04-19-2006, 06:32 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 280
mmusilli HB User
Re: New member - injured on the job, just got MRI results, not sure what to do next

Good thing that you dont have pain down legs, so there is no nerve problem... So, you most likely have a facet joint inflammation.. You might want to read up on Facet Syndrome.. One of my neurologists told me about this...


Old 04-19-2006, 09:34 PM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,291
Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: New member - injured on the job, just got MRI results, not sure what to do next


Two things you should do immediately. Yes, get a good workman comp attorney, not just any attorney. In many states a suit must be filed within a certain time frame in order to protect your rights, even though you have a claim on record.

Equally important and something you need to be sure of is that your doc is a true spine specialist and not a general ortho doc. When we say spine specialist, we are talking about an ortho or neuro surgeon who has completed an extensive spine fellowship then gone to do dedicate their practice to JUST the spine. These true spine specialists are typically involved in the clinical trials of the newer techniques such as the Artifical discs, the flexible fusions, etc and will do procedures that can be benefical to you retaining your life style, years before the general ortho or neuro would do the procedure.

When you think about it, the general ortho or neuro surgeon may spend 20-25% of their time on the spine, with the rest of their time on brain surgery or surgery of the many other joints and nerves. So, a true spine specialist who is dedicated to just the spine gets 4-5 times the experience on the spine in the same number of years of practice over the general ortho or neuro surgeon. This can make a major difference if you have a bad spine injury.

I made the mistake of thinking of ortho and neuro as spine doc's until after I was temporarily paralyzed while under the care of an ortho and neuro surgeon team. With a wonderful spine specialist taking over my care I am now an active person in spite of a 10 level spine fusion. If you are unfamiliar with how to check out doctors training and credentials, you can use the search feature at the top of the board and find a thread I started some time ago on how to find a spine specialist in your local area.

Even if your doc is a spine specialist, it is wise to get a second opinion and be sure you have found the one doc that you are confident is the best one for you. I found mine, but it took me a number of visits with lots of questions before I found the right one. If your second opinion reinforces your confidence in your current doc, then you still gain.

Hope you will let us know how things are going with you from time to time. Best wishes.

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