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Old 02-25-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
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Question Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I just got MRI results and have 2 bulging discs and a herniated disc, also an inflammed SI joint. I am seeing a spine specialist in a few days, so I've only seen a sports chiro so far and my regular doctor and I'm left with a lot of questions.

They say no lifting over 20 lbs and no lifting and twisting. I have a physical job where I stand all day and could possibly stick with the no lifting rule, but it would be difficult. [U]Is this a forever rule or a temporary rule?[/U] I've been off work for a week to try to get the inflammation down (I'm allergic to anti-inflammatories so I'm using lots of ice), but it's not tremendously better as I can only stand about an hour without pain. It has been bad for a while but I just sucked it up and kept working until it got to the point where I really couldn't stand and was limping. I just figured it was from working out. [U][U][B]I would appreciate any input - has anyone went back to a physical job or if they just changed work altogether.[/B][/U][/U]

 
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I cannot speak from personal experience, but, in general, hard physical labor is not recommended for someone with disc problems. That being said, I'm sure there are many people who find a way to continue to work.

Since we do not know the extent of your disc herniations, it is difficult to say how they will heal or if you will need to have a surgical procedure. The MRI is but one piece of the diagnostic puzzle that the spine specialist will use to make a diagnosis. There will be a physical exam, a simple neurologic exam and an oral medical history, as well as a description of your symptoms that will be correlated to the findings of the MRI which will be used by the spine specialist to develop a diagnosis, and a plan of treatment.

The standing definitely makes the sciatic pain worse. I worked in an art museum that had marble floors and I think it caused my lumbar problems to develop faster than they would have otherwise. Initially I could walk or stand on other flooring, but then I couldn't stand to go into any "big box" store as the flooring had the same effect. I had a fusion...almost two years ago and can now walk anywhere without developing pain, and I can walk and stand without problems, but when I visit the museum, my back starts to go into spasms. So I have finally decided my goal of returning is unrealistic. I have a feeling I could do it for a little while, but feel that it would be only a matter of time before I started developing sciatic pain again...and I just don't want to risk it.

Usually with sciatic pain, it is difficult to get it to go away permanently if you continue doing the activity that causes it. If you can stop that activity entirely and give everything a chance to heal and for the nerve to return to normal, then you have a chance of being able to slowly return to that activity. The problem with this is that the nerve heals so slowly and it takes so little to aggravate it again, that it is really hard to get beyond the sciatic pain.

You will find that ice will not penetrate deep enough to make much difference with the inflammation. I guess it is better than nothing, but it isn't the ideal way to get an "internal" inflammation.

Your visit with the spine specialist will give you a better idea of what you will be able to do...now and in the future.

 
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:20 PM   #3
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I had a discectomy and fusion at L5-S1 in 2004. I had a physical job as well and quit because I was trying to avoid surgery. I went to work at an easier job but ended up having surgery within the year. Afterward I did really well for about three years with no real restrictions. I don't know your age but I was 39 when I had my surgery. My Dr told me that after losing the mobility, because of my age he was sure I would at least one more surgery in my lifetime and probably two. Sometime in mid to late thirties your back quits growing so it does not adjust to take up the mobility. If you continue to work a physical job other parts of your back start wearing out. He also told me most Drs wouldn't tell you that.
Well he was right. After three yrs I started having pain again and it continued to get worse until I had to quit my job again. I don't regret having the surgery at all because of the complications I already had and the ones that were sure to come if I didn't. But in my opinion now, if you have a discectomy and fusion done, even though you feel well afterwards, be careful with your back. Don't overdo it. You may feel great but when the pain comes back and becomes chronic your life is miserable.
I hope this was helpful in some way. Good luck.

 
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:48 AM   #4
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I found out today that it is very likely that I have a labral tear in my hip also. I think working a physical job is out of the question for me for a while. Thanks for your help!!!

 
Old 03-01-2012, 11:27 AM   #5
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

11 yrs ago i fell, herniated 3 disc in my lower back. have been in terrible pain since. short of a 3 level fusion, i've had every known injection, phy. thearpy, acupuncture which helped for a few months, i am now taking norco 10/325. my job would'nt allow me to continue if i had to take pain meds, rightfully so i guess, as i worked for state at the truck scales. every one is different, but please dont let the pain get too bad as it can cause other things, like depression etc. sorry for your pain, good luck

 
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:50 AM   #6
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I also have hip issues: labral tear, femoroacetabular impingement, delaminated acetabulum. I was also undiagnosed from age 14 to age 29.

There are a very, very few hip specialists that should be doing arthroscopies, and I went to a general ortho for my first hip surgery. He did more damage to the joint than he repaired, as he forced the instrumentation into the joint. So, select your surgeon very careful. Here are the five names nationwide that I would recommend: Phillipon, Byrd, Kelly, Clohisy, and Sampson. I had my second and third surgeries with Sampson, changed my insurance to receive the maximum out-of-network coverage and still paid about $12K out of pocket for the two surgeries. But, I got a much better deal than I did with the $140 co-pay with the first surgeon!

Some insurance companies don't cover FAI surgery. Unless you had an accident, there is probably some underlying cause of the labral tear. In my case, cam/pincer FAI and hypermobility in the hip joint. So, push to get the underlying condition treated, not just labral rim trimming. And push for labral refixation, if it's possible in your case.

I know that this is off-topic from the back board, but the knee and hip board is mostly knee issues and hip replacements, so I wanted to warn you about selecting your surgeon. Also, your compensation for your hip will continue to affect your back adversely. I fixed my hip (again) then had a fusion 6 months later -- if you have any type of back surgery, they will want you to walk and walk, which the hip pain may interfere with.

Let us know how your hip imaging turns out.

 
Old 03-04-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

Thanks for your information! I should know more this week. I appreciate the info on the doctors. That is great to know.

 
Old 05-22-2012, 10:36 PM   #8
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I had XLIF two years ago. lifting is not a problem so long as you do it with your legs and not bend at the hip. my pain now is from hernia that may have been misdiagnosis in 2009.

 
Old 05-23-2012, 12:04 PM   #9
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

Thanks! I ended up having surgery for my hip labral tear and now it appears I also have a herniated cervical disc in my neck. I have trouble doing a lot of things now!

 
Old 05-23-2012, 11:56 PM   #10
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I think that the aforementioned bending through the legs to lift requires something like a squatting motion. Not so easy to lift with the labral tear or recovery from arthroscopy. I tend to rely on my unoperated leg for lifting. Not so good for my back, though!

Have you had any conservative treatment for your cervical herniation? I was fortunate that one epidural (a year ago!) and continued use of a home traction device have been keeping me almost asymptomatic. The three lumbar epidurals helped for two-three DAYS each, but the cervical resolution made me a believer in epidural injections. The cervical herniation was a bulge, and I got in for the epidural within a week or so of onset. (The lumbar was an extrusion and the first epidural was four months after onset.)

 
Old 05-24-2012, 11:38 AM   #11
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

[QUOTE=SweetPeainSF;4985863]I think that the aforementioned bending through the legs to lift requires something like a squatting motion. Not so easy to lift with the labral tear or recovery from arthroscopy. I tend to rely on my unoperated leg for lifting. Not so good for my back, though!

Have you had any conservative treatment for your cervical herniation? I was fortunate that one epidural (a year ago!) and continued use of a home traction device have been keeping me almost asymptomatic. The three lumbar epidurals helped for two-three DAYS each, but the cervical resolution made me a believer in epidural injections. The cervical herniation was a bulge, and I got in for the epidural within a week or so of onset. (The lumbar was an extrusion and the first epidural was four months after onset.)[/QUOTE]



My chiropractor has ordered the home traction device for me, I'm glad to hear that it works for someone else.

I had a lumbar epidural about a month ago for my L5-S1 herniation and it made me ill for days with nausea and a migraine. I am hesitant to get the injection for my neck - however, after the nausea and migraine left, so did my back pain!

 
Old 05-24-2012, 11:31 PM   #12
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Re: Working with back pain hernia & sciatica

I guess that you have to make the calculus between the back pain and epidural. I had a really bad headache for the remainder of the day with all of my epidurals. I went to bed -- they had given me propofol for the epidural -- and the headache was gone by the next day.

If you are only hesitating because of the side effects, or if the cervical symptoms get worse/linger, I would ask the doctor about your options. Find out what the anesthesiologists gave you after different surgeries, because the anesthetic itself may have made you ill. Propofol, the drug I was given as anesthetic, is helpful for nausea. If it wasn't the anesthetic, you might be able to take preventative measures. I took Zofran (pills) after my lumbar fusion for nausea, and there might be something you can take for the migraines.

 
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