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Spine and Back Health

Tired of pain/what to do

06/09/2008

Question:

In March 2007 I injured my back at work (fast paced work and very heavy lifting). MRI said I had a herniated disc/annular tear(L5/S1). I was put on light duty for 2 months and out of work for 3 weeks while in physical therapy. I returned to work full duty for 3 months until I couldn`t take it any more with lumbar/bilateral leg/feet pain. Out of work again and sent to a different physical therapist. 3 months later I had a discectomy. I was good for 9 days and then the pain returned. I had a second MRI. Results were: herniated disc again along with L4/L5 bulge and L4/L3 bulge/annular tear. Another discectomy 3 weeks after the first on L5/S1. One month later, sent to a third physical therapist. They closed after 1 month. I`m now at my fourth physical therapist and things are going decent.

My doctor approved "work conditioning" to prepare me to return to work. One week after work conditioning, my pain returned in back, legs, and feet a little worse than before the surgeries. MRI says herniated again. Why? What else can be done? I`ve got to be able to manuvere 150lbs., but I only got up to 20lbs at physical therapy and that was against the Physical Therapist`s better judgement. Workers compensation will only pay so long and for so much and I`m wanting to return to work!

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness. On this site, we try to answer general questions about condition, but cannot diagnose or recommend treatment. You appear to have some very, very specific questions about your back, which can only be answered properly by a physician who is familiar with your history, physical exam, and test results. Your questions about the testing results you've been given or the risks, benefits, and alternatives for proposed treatments of this condition need to be directed to your treating physician(s). You should insist that they answer these questions in a way that you are able to understand before consenting to any treatment. If your physician is unable to help you understand these issues, you should get a second opinion. Take care.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University