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20yo lumbar herniated disc and losing my mind
#1
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This is going to be a very long, emotional post. I'm a 20 year old male, will be 21 next month and I am an automotive technician. I had been working as a mechanic for little more than a year when I injured my lower back last May from working too much (about 3 weeks straight no days off 12-16 hour days) I had begun to feel pains in my left leg causing it to give out when I try to stand up and excruciating stabbing in my back when lifting, but I had never had complications in my entire life from physical exertion so I just worked through it. That is until the Saturday morning of May 25, 2013. I had come in at 9 and about and hour and a half in I had started to experience massive pain in my lower back and eventually I collapsed when rotating tires on a little Mazda 2, I decided to take my lunch early and went to go lie down in my car, I fell asleep for about 20 minutes and when I awoke I couldn't move. My body had locked up and I had to call my girlfriend to come help me out of the car, I called my manager and told him what had happened and spoke to my coworkers about the incident and I immediately went to the doctor where they did an ultrasound and opened a L&I claim for lumbar strain and sprain. Now I continued to work light duty just doing paperwork and helping around the office upstairs, was doing physical therapy as well as chiropractic sessions and around the second week of July I was released back to my job of injury to test the waters, so to speak. I felt great and had gotten through my first shift, went home and relaxed. The next day however, I immediately began feeling the same feeling of my back compressing itself and my leg giving out and had decided to put myself on light duty for the rest of the weekend and get with my manager about it on Monday. On Monday he saw the incident report , spoke with my coworkers about it who witnessed it and agreed going on light duty was the best course of action. Now from here things began to get very dodgy with my case and my current MEdical provider referred me to a back specialist. Fast forward a few months and a few corticosteroid epidural injections and two MRIs and a ridiculous amount of NSAIDs, steroid rounds, and painkillers and nothing had improved, I was getting worse, not better. Hardly able to complete even a 4 hour shift of light duty. MRIs had shown minor herniation with minor displacement of my sciatic nerve root, but the symptoms weren't minor. My left leg was numb constantly, I could hardly drive longer than 20 minutes at a time. I couldn't walk in the store for more than 10 minutes without needing to leave, my leg collapsed several times causing me to fall downstairs or just fall in my hallway at home honestly leaving me in tears and my claim had gotten to the point where my checks were being stopped constantly or for wrong amounts for no reason and I decided to get a lawyer. Now, I got a good workmans comp lawyer things were beginning to look up, until my spleen and liver started behaving erratically I was vomiting blood and getting extremely nauseous throughout my day. I stopped taking all my medications and decided I need a second opinion because it had been 8 months with no improvement from the date of injury. I had stopped chiropractic sessions L&I no longer paid for physical therapy and my doctor restricted me from work altogether. It was miserable. Well, I found a doctor and went to see him he noticed very odd things in my case and made the comment that if I had been with him I would have been better months ago, and didn't seem all too impressed with my current doctor. I forgot to mention this second opinion appointment was on the same day as a check up with my then current doctor following my third injection which ultimately worn off after a few days. Let's call the back specialist Dr. G and the second opinion, Dr. B. Well Dr. G determined there was nothing more to be done and suggested either a final injection with a very low success rate at this point, or file for mmi and go from there, well I had already decided I was switching doctors, so I just said let's file for mmi and concluded my business with him, but didn't say anything to him. So I requested a transfer of medical providers from dr. G to Dr. B and a month after the transfer, Dr, G had finished his report and rated me with category 3 impairment, my attorney said this was very good for
My case. Now I've been with Dr. B for a few months and i had had my first injection from him, which made me feel better than I have all year! I had a physical capacity evaluation scheduled because my claim manager and employer wanted to get a final decision before the case wrapped up since it was approaching one year since my injury. I had been restricted from work for months, has my injection and did my pce, which I felt I did my best without hurting myself and and struggled very much through the entire thing. However, after reading the report a week later I had realized that they had recommended I be able to work the clerical job offer I had received with no restrictions and because they had not been able to view my limits and saw no objective reason why I couldn't perform my job of injury, had recommended I be released to fill duty with no restrictions. I felt doomed, I know just performing the pce I was barely able to move after, I didn't even drive, my girlfriend had dropped me off early in the morning and picked me up after because i just felt drained, my leg was numb but burning intensely and felt like I was being electrocuted and my back had locked up I couldn't even stand up straight so I went home iced my back my leg and slept the rest of the day. Now my doctor has released me to full duty and I just worked the last two days and not even doing full duty since there are no out of service vehicles I'm just Doing light duty work: pulling plastic off new cars from the manufacturer, writing up paperwork and putting license plates on. I haven't been able to make it more than 6 hours of my shift without just not being able to bend my leg from it swelling so much and not being able to stand from my back locking up. I went to see my doctor about t today and he says there's nothing he can do he can't go back on what he approved from
The pce. So I pleaded with him and he said I can try and do another pce since I truly believe I was only able to perform so well because of the injection, but that it has worn off. I now don't know what to do. I had been expecting to not be able to work and get retrained since that's what the doctor has been saying but now he releases me to full duty and I can't even complete a shift of light duty. I really do want to be retrained and just go back to school to get some kind of technology degree. I just want to move on with my life if I can't go back to normal. I realize this was a vey long post and I'm not certain anyone will read it, but if you do please respond and guide me in the right direction, my lawyer has been out of the office all week and so I have been fending off my claim manager and employer on my own. I'm overwhelmed and scared to hurt myself again.
Edit: i don't post on forums and I'm on my phone I'm very sorry about the terrible formatting.
 
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#2
Workers compensation laws are state specific. Can you write what state you are from?

I am very sorry for what you are going through.

I recommend not placing yourself in a position you can be reinjured in. It sounds like you are trying the best you can with that.

I think you should do what you wrote and go back to college and get a degree. That will get you out of the type of manual heavy work that is re-inuring you.

I cannot comment about your work comp situation, as I do not know what state you are in.

Good luck to you.
I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.
 
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#3
(06-14-2014, 11:50 AM)California_Help Wrote: Workers compensation laws are state specific. Can you write what state you are from?

I am very sorry for what you are going through.

I recommend not placing yourself in a position you can be reinjured in. It sounds like you are trying the best you can with that.

I think you should do what you wrote and go back to college and get a degree. That will get you out of the type of manual heavy work that is re-inuring you.

I cannot comment about your work comp situation, as I do not know what state you are in.

Good luck to you.

Sorry, I should have clarified I am from Washington state. I actually attempted to perform the duties for my job of injury today. I averaged 16 minutes on a pm last year, which is the term for preventive maintenance rotate tires service check, but it took me an hour today and after only one i couldn't feel either of my legs and I can't stand up straight and walk very slow. I can't go home go home though my doctor released me to full duty as per the pce results and if I go home I don't get paid. My manager said I can do whatever I need to though so I'm kind of just doing some paperwork and wasting time. I just feel exhausted and beaten after that one car, am I supposed to just deal with this pain and discomfort? Nobody seems to care here at all they just belittle me for being slow or not doing a good job, I just can't focus. I'm the youngest guy in the shop and I was the most efficient through 2012 and now I can't do anything and they just tease me for it.
 
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#4
http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Claims/A...efault.asp


Are you physically able to do the job they are currently having you do? If so I would stick it out until your attorney gets back, but do not do anything that could cause further injury.

The link above has some basic work comp rules for your state. I suggest learning what you can about the system and what options you have.
I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.
 
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#5
(06-14-2014, 10:13 PM)California_Help Wrote: http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Claims/A...efault.asp


Are you physically able to do the job they are currently having you do? If so I would stick it out until your attorney gets back, but do not do anything that could cause further injury.

The link above has some basic work comp rules for your state. I suggest learning what you can about the system and what options you have.

Generally I can do the paperwork, but getting in and out of cars all day eventually wears me down to where my back is so tight I feel locked up and can't stand up straight, as well as my legs going numb and being tingly all day, but when I get home and finally try to relax, my legs just burn and I can't rest. It leads to me
Becoming so exhausted I can't even get out of bed and eventually I can't even go into work. For example, I only worked 5 hours today, but I couldn't drive myself home, my manager let one of my coworkers drive me home and I immediately fell asleep and just woke up at 9pm, even though I had gotten off work at 1230. So now I don't know if I'll be able to make it into work tomorrow, which just stresses me
Out because I have bills. I'm aware of the different laws, but my main issue is that the pce I had done while the injection was still helping has condemned me to being on full duty when I can't even finish a light duty shift. I spoke to my doctor about it, but he can't change my restrictions once he approved them based off the results of the evaluation. I'm in the process of trying to protest these results and that I was only able to perform so well due to the injection I had and would like to do another evaluation. I'm just lost and stressed without being able to contact my attorney, but he will be returning Monday and I am going to try to meet with him.
 
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#6
Good luck with your attorney on Monday. I am sorry, I do not know the laws in your state. From the link it did state you can dispute things, which it sounds like you are doing.


Either the shot was helping you, or you may have re-injured yourself at work or at that exam, which can happen. Either way, I hope you can get this resolved to ease your pain.

You mentioned in your original post about going back to college. I highly recommend you do, and place your health first. You are way too young to be dealing with this bullshit. You may qualify for help under disabled student services at any college, if you have restrictions. This can mean extra time for testing's, priority registration etc. I highly suggest going back to school, and not working in a field where you can re-injure yourself. Since you are so young, you should hopefully recover from this in time.

Have they done blood work on you to determine what the issue is with the oral medications?

Some things that may help you is a lumbar brace (if you do not have one already) and a tens unit, and ice machine. These are things that unlike medications that will make you tired during the day, but can sometimes be as effective. Placing ice over the injury can sometimes help with the numbness, if it is caused by inflammation.

I also recommend requesting copies of any MRI/X-rays and the reports. If you want another opinion from a doctor outside of the work comp system, having those scans is important.







I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.
 
Reply
#7
(06-15-2014, 10:31 AM)California_Help Wrote: Good luck with your attorney on Monday. I am sorry, I do not know the laws in your state. From the link it did state you can dispute things, which it sounds like you are doing.


Either the shot was helping you, or you may have re-injured yourself at work or at that exam, which can happen. Either way, I hope you can get this resolved to ease your pain.

You mentioned in your original post about going back to college. I highly recommend you do, and place your health first. You are way too young to be dealing with this bullshit. You may qualify for help under disabled student services at any college, if you have restrictions. This can mean extra time for testing's, priority registration etc. I highly suggest going back to school, and not working in a field where you can re-injure yourself. Since you are so young, you should hopefully recover from this in time.

Have they done blood work on you to determine what the issue is with the oral medications?

Some things that may help you is a lumbar brace (if you do not have one already) and a tens unit, and ice machine. These are things that unlike medications that will make you tired during the day, but can sometimes be as effective. Placing ice over the injury can sometimes help with the numbness, if it is caused by inflammation.

I also recommend requesting copies of any MRI/X-rays and the reports. If you want another opinion from a doctor outside of the work comp system, having those scans is important.

I really do want to go back to school, but I don't know how to do that and still be able to pay my bills. Blood work was done back in February and everything was normal, only issue I had was High Blood Pressure, but I monitored it every day for a few weeks and it has returned to normal. I will look into getting a lumbar brace and I ice my back every morning already. I have a copy of my MRI's on discs and have the reports on file. I have kept every paper since the first day I was injured, so I have a huge file cabinet full of stuff for my case. The Second doctor is outside of the WC system, unfortunately after the PCE results he signed off on the jobs and set no restrictions. I spoke to him about this the other day after returning to work for two days and being unable to finish a single shift of what is considered light duty work still. He said he can't change the Activity Prescription Form or L&I will be after him as to why he changed it. I brought up the PCE and that I was only able to perform well due to the injection and requested another and he said he doesn't think L&I will allow another one, but will refer another one anyways because from what I've told him, he believes the report to be wrong as well, but there are no objective medical findings to support it. Well, since everyone was saying I should be able to return to my job of injury with no complications, I tried to yesterday. I had worked on a single car, performed one oil change and tire rotation and have now called out of work today because I was unable to get out of bed. My back is purple and swollen as well as BOTH of my legs tingling and feeling weak/numb through the entire night. I fear I have injured myself further, but I hope the department takes me serious now..I just don't know what to do, but wait, I have been trying to find a deskjob, but I have no work experience or schooling other than highschool. I can't stand or walk for very long, I'm very interested in Technology and If i could have the peace of mind to know I could pay my bills and go to school I would. My girlfriend and I live together, so I don't have my own well-being in mind, but I may just have to move back in with my mom. I've been on my own since I was 17, but I just can't make it anymore, being unable to do my job.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I had asked my doctor what it will take for me to be back to normal so I can do my job and he said well since you haven't gotten better after 4 injections, 60+ sessions of PT and chiro, you will probably never be back to normal. I didn't say anything, but my thoughts on that are- If I may never return to normal and be able to do my job as well as I did before the injury, why is the L&I department wasting my time instead of just retraining me? My previous doctor had even given me a Category 3 impairment when he closed my case, and at that time he still had me working. I want to make it clear that I don't just want to not work, I do want to work. Sitting at home sucks, not being able to go to the store with my girlfriend because I have to sit down after 10 minutes, sucks. I just want to be able to work without being in pain and suffering discomfort all day. I don't want to be treated special, but I also don't want eyes on me all the time. I got reprimanded at work yesterday because I went to rest for a minute and ended up falling asleep in the break room for about 15 minutes. A coworker saw me and basically told on me to my boss, he was understanding, but said that if I can't work then I should go home because everyone asks why i get special attention and they just belittle me for going too slow or not being able to do what I need to do. Keep in mind, I'm the youngest employee there and a majority of my coworkers are between ages 30-50 and they're whining to the manager, it's ridiculous. Their attitude towards me is a huge reason why I want to leave, everyone belittles or teases me and it's fun for them, meanwhile it's misery for me.
 
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#8
I think your attorney will be the best person to guide you through this. It sounds like you may have re-injured yourself at work.

I do not believe you cannot get better as one of your doctors stated. Often times it can take a year, or a few years to recover, but people have. You are very young and have a good chance to recover due to age. I do think that the color change in your skin should be looked at, as well as the other symptoms you described you had as a result from returning to work.

One way to go to college is to apply for grants, financial assistance, and student loans. If you are interested, you can make an appointment at your local city college with a counselor for guidance. This is just an idea. Whatever you decide I wish you the best.

Try not to let actions from co-workers affect you. They most likely have no idea what you are going through. Stay strong. The situation you are in is temporary.
I am not an attorney.Anything I write should not be considered legal advice.I am writing from my own personal experiences,which is not from any sort of legal background. You should consult with an attorney over legal issues. In California, if you cannot get an attorney you can consult with an I&A officer.
 
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#9
What were the findinggs of your mri - it makes a difference
 
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#10
(06-20-2014, 05:03 PM)vinga Wrote: What were the findinggs of your mri - it makes a difference

The report says "broad-based left-sided disk protrusion posteriorly displacing the left traversing Si nerve root." I have had two mris the second was a little worse than the first and an IME doctor agreed with both of them.
 
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