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Low back pain, numbness in leg... WC claim?
#1
Hi, all. I'm new here, but I have an issue I need to inquire about.

I have worked at my employer for 9 months (I'm in WI)... when I started, I was pretty darned healthy at the age of 36... maybe a little overweight by 30 lbs, but strong and able to move with lightning quickness with no real pain anywhere. I work at a manufacturing plant, packaging containers, and am on my feet all the time - bending, twisting, lifting between 5 - 25 lbs at least 50 times a night, and pushing and pulling weights greater than that. After about two months, my feet began to hurt and so did my low back a little, so I bought new shoes, 20 dollar gel inserts, and it took most of the pain away for a few weeks. Eventually, the pain came back, but I chalked it up to the job, no biggie. I let it go. I was rockin' and rollin' - an all-star, and they gave me extra special assignments that required me to lay on concrete to clean under machines in addition to my original duties. after a few more months, the pain was more persistent in my low back, and it felt like someone was stabbing me in the feet with ice picks - but, I let it go, gotta work work work, impress my bosses. Well, then the numbness in my left quad began, with a little touch of numbness on the left side of the big toe on my right foot, with pain in my right hip extending to the lower buttock area. Problematic and worrisome, but I let that go, despite the fact that I could hardly walk around after getting home from work, and the fact that I was in a lot of pain before I got to work every day.

Well, on the 14th of this month (march), I told my boss mid-shift that I was having some pain on my right side that I (seriously) thought was kidney stone related, as I have had kidney stones on that side before. I told him I'd finish the shift, and that I might get it looked at. I called my insurance company's nurse advice line, and once they learned about the numbness and back pain, they recommended I get looked at asap, so I went to the ER. Sciatica, with a referral to a Dr. (I didn't have one yet), and a work restriction for 3 days. So, I returned to work on the 18th after the three day restriction, and HOLY HECK, was I in pain! I went back to the ER, was put on a no work restriction till the 23rd, with an appointment to see a Dr on the 22nd. On the 22nd, my Dr. referred me for an MRI, no work till the 26th, and light duty for two weeks after that. My job can't accommodate my light duty restriction, so I have been off of work ever since. Still the numbness, foot pain, right hip/buttock pain, low back pain. I stretch, use heat/cold, move around, take naproxen... regardless of if it hurts, because I know that laying around is not good for me.

I told my employer and my doctor that it wasn't work-related, because I thought only acute injuries, such as slip and fall type stuff, qualified for WC. After contacting unemployment, they recommended I call WC to see what they had to say. WC informed me that this would qualify, because I accrued the injury at work - kinda like a data entry person developing Carpal Tunnel and whatnot. WC said to tell my HR person I wanted to file a claim, which I did in an email, and I emailed my doctor to make the correction with him. My work has gotten every piece of paper citing work restrictions from me every step of the way, and I have been in almost daily contact with my job trying to get them to accommodate my light-duty restriction, which they won't do... but, they haven't placed me on medical leave, either, hence I contacted unemployment since I'm technically laid off, since I'm technically available for work, but my job has 'no work available'... but because of the weirdness of my non-work status, I may not even qualify for unemployment.

I'm totally new to this WC thing. I want to work, but it hurts too bad, and the leg numbness is problematic. I haven't had my MRI yet, but x-rays from the ER trip(s) say my disc spacing is fine in my lower back... Doc ordered the MRI to check out the soft tissue, obviously. I have had low back pain before (who hasn't), but this cluster of stuff, which accumulated over a 9 month span, is new to me., and painful, and has been there for about 3 or 4 months. I haven't worked in like 11 days, I rest/stretch/use heat and cold/take naproxen/move around, and still the symptoms persist.

Is this a WC case? What is going on with my back? Any advice from those who have been there? Sorry for the long post.
 
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#2
whether your condition is caused by your job or something else requires supporting medical documentation. despite your earlier denial about work involvement it is really up to the doctor's to determine a cause and report it to the employer/carrier if they believe it is regardless of what you believe.
worker comp injuries can be due to cumulative trauma or repetitive strain.
back problems can take a long time to develop into a disabling condition (years) and an equally long time to resolve.
be a good patient. question your doctor and follow the advice of a specialist and above all be patient.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#3
(03-30-2016, 10:24 PM)1171 Wrote: whether your condition is caused by your job or something else requires supporting medical documentation. despite your earlier denial about work involvement it is really up to the doctor's to determine a cause and report it to the employer/carrier if they believe it is regardless of what you believe.
worker comp injuries can be due to cumulative trauma or repetitive strain.
back problems can take a long time to develop into a disabling condition (years) and an equally long time to resolve.
be a good patient. question your doctor and follow the advice of a specialist and above all  be patient.

Thank you for your response. 

My doctor, upon initial consultation, told me that because of my pain and my symptoms, that I may ultimately have to find another line of work. He also said that because my work exacerbates my symptoms, that light-duty was the best case scenario for now. I won't know anything till my MRI - which my insurance hasn't approved yet - and my follow-up w/ my doc, on the 5th of April. Until then, I know nothing, and can't work until or unless I'm 100 percent cleared. I need the income, but I feel that if I go to work on full duty, I'll just end up in the Dr's office again... and If I just ignore the problem and stay working, I'll do even more damage. But, if I'm not cleared for work 100%, and the Dr. says it isn't work related in some way, I'll soon be homeless with a mountain of medical bills that I can't pay. But, if I lie about my symptoms (minimizing their severity) to get back on full duty, I'll be screwed with future WC claims, and medically.

I'm being pretty rational about this, but I'm out of my league here. From what I've read on Nolo and other sites - and based on Unemployment's suggestion to contact WC, and WC's statement to me that I should tell HR to start a claim - I have a feeling I'll be covered. I have not read anything to contradict that. On the basis of 'just the facts' - I was fine, worked at my job, started having pain, then numbness, then massive pain and still numbness - the law says I'm covered. I certainly don't do anything outside of work that would cause this type of problem. I bike to exercise, walk to exercise, eat semi-healthy, have a semi-firm mattress for back support, sleep between 6-8 hours a night, do small electronic repairs and record guitar instrumentals in my spare time, don't drink/smoke/use drugs... Never been in any major accidents, had any nast falls, played any high-impact sports...

But, I don't know what's wrong with my back/leg/hip/feet... just that something IS wrong.
You are right. Patience is key. I'm just worried about my health and my ability to work, ultimately. I have to sustain a living.
 
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#4
I just came back from my job, and now that I officially filed a WC claim, they are choosing to honor my light-duty restriction - at least, verbally. I won't know officially until they let me punch in and actually work next Monday.

I'm waiting on a claim number so I can go to Occupational Health, and get this figured out.

I'm not looking for a settlement... just payment for time lost and medical bills due to a cumulative trauma injury sustained at work. I want to go back to work, more than anything, but I want my leg numbness, hip/foot/back/buttock pain, and other symptoms to be diagnosed and treated, too, so I can KEEP going back to work.
 
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