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Old 09-06-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

I am 29 years old and a police officer in nyc, while i was at work my vehicle was hit by a tractor trailer. Due to this accident my lumbar spine was injured with a disc herniation at the level of l5-s1 as well as other disc bulges ranking from minimal to moderate . Due to this herniation i had spinal stenosis and s1 nerve root compression. Symptoms were right leg pain form butt to foot and numbness to leg. I had a chiropractor working on my back and it was going no were, i made the determination to see a neurosurgeon. After running tests and looking at the mri i had taken it was determined that surgery was the only option. He preformed a intralaminar hemilaminectomy, foraminotomy of the exiting s1 nerve root, medial facetectomy, excision of the herniated nucleus pulposus and external neurolysis for the exiting nerve root. 2 weeks passed and i sat down immediately following sitting down numbness pain returned strong to the area again. Another mri was done relieving a re-current herniation. 3 weeks later the same surgery was preformed again, i am interested to know if this is a injury to my back that will cause issues or further problems if i go back to working as a cop in new york city.

 
Old 09-06-2012, 12:09 PM   #2
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Welcome to the board. I'm sorry you were involved in an accident. It can change one's life in an instant.

What you are asking is difficult to predict, and someone familiar with your spine is probably the only one who can answer it.

The fact that the disc has now reherniated twice in a short time makes it a bit more problematic. Many times when the disc has reherniated after surgery, the surgeon will do the procedure one more time. After that, if there are additional problems, the surgeon often recommends that that segment be fused.

I don't know what the specific demands of your job are. Often when there is a great deal of physical labor or challenge involved with a job, it is suggested that a patient look for a new line of work, or try to change the job requirements so it is less physically demanding.

Supposedly, if one has a fusion that is successful, the back is just as strong as it was previously...but this can take a good 12-18 months for the fusion to set up hard and strong. When one has been involved in a high-impact accident, they are more likely to develop spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease earlier than they might have otherwise. If that were your situation, even if the fusion was strong, the adjoining discs would be more susceptible to degeneration...something known as "adjacent disc disease."

So these are some considerations to think about when returning to work. This question comes up from time to time on this board, and others. I wonder if your union or someone in the police organization who deals with healthcare could give you an ideal of how often policemen are able to return to work after surgery such as yours....just a thought.

Good luck. I hope you will be able to return to work. Have you discussed this with your surgeon?

 
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Your doctor is.the one to answer this. My Dr sat me down before surgery and explained Wow I would-be not.be able to.ever return to my current job. I would call and discuss with Your surgeon. Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:31 PM   #4
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Thanks teteri66 and workinmom572 for the warm welcome, one of my concerns is the other disc that have taken a blow due to this accident. The NYPD medical board will eventually hold a meeting with me look over the paper work from my surgeon and MRI'S speak with me and evaluate me to see where i am physically, that will be 6 to 9 months from now. They will take my surgeons notes into consideration but the board that is composed of doctors will determine the outcome. As far as my surgeons opinion he will not give me a answer as of now but has said heavy lifting and physically demanding labor is out of the question. As a cop i wear a 30 pound gun belt filled with a lot of stuff around my waist right in that area, as well and driving 8 1/2 hours with it. But not only that dealing with a city filled with a lot of fighting and running and other physically demanding things is def. a concern. I know its premature to say anything right now, today i met with my surgeon and discussed the fact i am having burning in my leg and butt, numbness, tingling and pain. He prescribed gabapentin will see if this works all the other medications that were prescribed never worked for pain or other symptoms. So for now i am dealing with all this med free. So well see i thank you both for the infromation and to continue talking.

Last edited by PFCRANGER; 09-06-2012 at 05:39 PM.

 
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #5
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

It's difficult to say what you should or shouldn't do as far as your job is concerned.
After the surgery was done and recovery time how do you feel now? Do you have any residual symptoms.
I am not sure if you stated this in your posts but have you discussed your returning to work with the surgeon himself? If so what does he say about your return to work and if you can handle the stresses from the job and what is required on the job?
I have been thru 7 backs surgeries. After the first few surgeries I found that I was able to return to work. But then again I wasn't in law enforcement and didnt have the same physical requirements as you would on the job.
I wish you well and hope you can return to work that you want. Keep us posted.

 
Old 09-06-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Pfcranger-

Sooo sorry for ur accident. I had 4 back surgeries (Feb 2011 disc extruded & 2 wks later it happened again). This past July Lumbar fusion & 2 wks later a revision. As a ellow New Yorker (long islander) I know how hard (mentally & physically) ur job is. Is ur DR in the city? I agree ur DR will b the one to determine if u should continue ur work. They may tell u that it is ur decision & depending on how u feel. I didn't realize how heavy that belt is. Maybe they can change where u work? Not on the street? Can u do a desk job?,

 
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:56 AM   #7
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Thanks pebblebeach3 for the support and information, the symptoms are still present, burning down the leg, pain, numbness and tingling. These symptoms have been with me pre surgery and now post. The demands are physically challenging with the twisting and turning getting in and out of the patrol car with a 30 pound gun belt on numerous times a day. And of course theres the unexpected things such as wresting with someone, running after someone. There is alot involved physically, may i ask what it is that you do for work, and why did you need some many surgeries, what was it caused by? Talk to you soon.

Last edited by PFCRANGER; 09-07-2012 at 07:58 AM.

 
Old 09-07-2012, 08:05 AM   #8
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Hey purplegirl1 thanks for the support and advice wow sorry to hear as well for you, how did you get to this point having so many surgeries? Yes my doctor is in the city a very good one at that out of Mt. Saini Hospital he's the head guy of neurological surgery there. The desk job is only for a short time they will not put you on desk duty permt. This happened to me after my patrol car was hit by a tractor trailer on my side of the vehicle. The accident caused a rupture of my L5-S1 disc causing compressed nerve and stenosis and a load of issues. After the first surgery i had to have another one 2 weeks later for a re-hurniated disc. My doctor tho will not give me an answer about returning to work full time, just says its up to the NYPD.

 
Old 09-07-2012, 10:10 AM   #9
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Tx pfcranger,

Aww i feel so bad that is a terrible accident. In high school i had minor car accident and developed sciatica but it went away and i had no issues until 4 months after having my daughter. It spiraled and by the time she was 1 1/2 yrs old I fell 2x and then the disc ruptured etc (the DRS believe the falls caused the rupture). I hope u r able to work again in time. U said u won't know the decision for months?
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:05 AM   #10
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Tx pfcranger,

Aww i feel so bad that is a terrible accident. In high school i had minor car accident and developed sciatica but it went away and i had no issues until 4 months after having my daughter. It spiraled and by the time she was 1 1/2 yrs old I fell 2x and then the disc ruptured etc (the DRS believe the falls caused the rupture). I hope u r able to work again in time. U said u won't know the decision for months?
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:59 AM   #11
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Hey everyone sorry its been a long time since i have been on, it has been a horrible and painful road. After posting the last time i had to go in for a fusion for the level of L5-S1 do to loss of disk height and a re-herniation. Since the surgery on Nov. 6 2012 it has been horrible. Its been 4 months and a few weeks since the last of 3 surgeries on my lumbar spine level L5-S1. It has not been a good road at all after the fusion surgery. My back has not gotten any better its still very hard to get up out of bed and from sitting down. Movements are hard and painful as well the pain is becoming unbearable. I used to be able to walk a block without too many problems, but now its very painful and i have to sit down for 15-20 min to allow it to subside a-little. I was doing PT but a few weeks into PT i was doing half squats assisted with a pole and i sharp pain began to run across the front of my right thigh towards to medial side of my right leg down my calf and to the inner sole of my foot. On top of all that my left leg has on and off periods of radiculopathy. My doctor has asked me to do acupuncture but i do not feel that is the answer. I do feel however that there is something not right in my back which is causing me these issues. I looked to another doctor for a second opinion but so far no doctor will see me, all of them state you have had 3 back surgeries and you should remain with that doctor. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do. I am starting to come to terms that this is how its just going to be. I know a-lot of people on this forum have had the same and worse results. Medications have not helped at all from Lyrica, Soma, Nurotine, Naproxin, Flexrol and many more. I just don't know what to do especially since no other doctor wants to get involved.

 
Old 03-19-2013, 09:00 AM   #12
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Why did they have to do a revision?

 
Old 03-19-2013, 10:13 AM   #13
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Please dont give up on finding another Dr. My friend had 2 surgeries and was in worse shape and pain post op. She saw Apx 5 Dr's and no one would help her until Dr #5. He just operated and fixed her. She was on the verge of taking her life the pain was so bad.
Keep calling and talking to Dr offices staff and don't give up until you find ones that will at least see you and hear you and hopefully you will find one that will fix you. You should not have to suffer in pain like this or be disabled forever.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:57 PM   #14
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Having a l5-s1 fusion is a tough road. Each person is different, you will see/hear/be told many negative experiences as well as some positives. As to your question if you can work as a cop after it, it all depends on the departments/doc's/city rules, etc.. I can say as a career firefighter I was back after 3 months which is on the earlier side of things, but I made it back after 2 surgeries in 9 months of torturous he##. As with any municipality of jumping through hoop is the next step to make sure you are 100% healed (bone scan, ct, xrays, etc and doc's agreements of 100% of being healed). Hopefully you'll have a positive end to it all... Good luck!!

 
Old 03-22-2013, 10:09 AM   #15
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Re: Two back surgeries can i return to work as a cop.

Thanks for the information, I know It was going to be a long and painful road. But this has really become to much, I am now being refereed to pain Managment. I hope that I can get some relief from it but we will have to see.

 
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