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nurses and bad backs

Started by disablednurse37 on 09/28/2010 9:10pm

This is a response to the nurse that is 37 yo and is having awful back pain. I feel your misery. I have been a nurse for 17 years and it destroyed my neck and back. I have had 3 cervical fusions in the past 5 years. I have bulging discs in my low back and now have developed progressive scoliosis. I am also 37yo and have four children. I am on long term disability from my job as an ICU nurse. Pain is with me 24 hours a day. I am on Vicodin and Soma. I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and my C3-C4 is bulging with mild effacement into the spinal column. My low back pain has progressed to where I cannot sit in a chair for more than a few minutes. I see my doctor to go over a bone scan I had done yesterday. My spine looked like an S. The hardest thing about this condition is how being sick and in pain affects my family. I am tired of them having to see me in agony. I am so limited in my activity that I feel like a exist but don't enjoy life. I put my "game face" on in the evening for them but find that it takes me all day to get to that point. I hate having to be on pain medicine, nurses know that there is such a negative response from other people for taking them. I am in too much pain not to. It is nice to know that I am not the only one out there that feels this way, when I read your message I felt compelled to respond. My body has been beat up by the profession and it saddens me to see how this has happened over time.

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I have an injury to my C-5,C-6 area of my neck. I am a RN with 20 years in the business. I know too well the beating we take for the sake of our profession. I am going back to school so I can have another profession. I have given enough to my current one. I have an ongoing battle with workmen's comp saying that I could go back to work. No, I can't. I can't lift my left arm (torn rotator cuff) and my hands keep going numb. So I'm stuck with 20 years experience and nowhere to go. I feel you pain,disabled, but I'm here if you need to talk.

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I too am an R.N. with 34 years of mostly Labor and delivery experience. I have had many,many back aches over the years.However April,2009 I could hardly walk any more. I was foung to have DDD,had a laminectomy with fusion L3,4,5. By April of this year I was still in alot of pain,so went to a different orthopedic to find that the L4,5 screws were loose,causing pressure on the nerve,so he removed them. The L3,4 fusion wwas solid.He did say after the last surgery,that it was possible I might need to try anterior fusion. I Really didn't want to have that type of surgery,however the pain has persisted,and my left leg has become numb.(After trying many alternative therapy)
So now I will be having Anterior lumbar fusion Oct. 11th. It will require a vascular surgeon to go in first for about 2 hrs.to move vessles,bowels,etc.Then the ortho will do the fusion.Total of 3 hrs. With complications of possible ilius, hernia, bleeding etc.
Needles to say I am very worried,but hope ful!.I the mean time I have not been able to work since April, and the months before the second surgery, I was miserable,and didn't feel like I was doing my job as well as I normally would.
I am able to get my pention,but unable to get disability.Tried talking to a lawyer about "The Gillette injury"cause.I wasn't able to find any Dr. to say that this was,in fact, work related. So, there goes all my plans for the future as a nurse.I am 56,too young to retire. Hopefully this surgery will make me back to 100%......but I do not see floor nursing as an option.Please Pray for me!!!Thank you!!!

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I feel your pain, but I have been a dental hygienist 17 years. After 17 years of looking down all day, I have chronic 24/7 pain. I have cervical disc degeneration and have a laminectomy/foranamectomy on c4-c7. Workmans comp says I'm old (at 39). My neurosurgeon says I have to decide between quality of life (pain) or income. So we are faced with living on lots of drugs and chronic pain or lose the house and means to care for our 4 kids. This amount of damage and chronic pain is not normal aging. There needs to be more studies done on musculoskeletal injuries and healthcare professions.

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So.. what can we do about this?
Everyone needs nurses and dental hygienist.....the body mechanic classes don't do the job,not in emergency sistuations!!!

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I too have been a critical care nurse for over 27 years and am looking at my second back surgery. People have no idea how much lifting we have to do in our job. Often folks talk about safe lifting practices and that is fine and dandy if you are a man lifting a stationary box with two handles however having a 200lb patient standup then fall backwards causing you to twist is not the same thing as lifting a box. Once you are injured, often the hospital treats you like broken furniture and wants to sit you out to the curve, no matter how much experience or how good of a nurse you were too them. You feel treated like a human crane. We as nurses need to get together and fight for legislation for no lift practices and lift equipment such as devices and special beds in every unit with lift teams. If a nurse becomes injured on the job then she should not be afraid to report it. Often these injuries are small injuries that happen from repeatedly lifting and twisting over years then one day you bend over to tie your shoe and their goes your back. In this scenerio it actually is a work related injury but many hospitals would disagree and fight you tooth and nail. If you are a nurse then get good short term and long term disability because you will need it.

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I had an anterior lumbar fusion done Oct,11th, One month ago, I am wearing a body cast to keep me from bending,twisting,and just about everything else! I will be wearing this for 3 months,and perhaps a brace after that. The results,so far have been good. (I almost feel I should wait a little bit longer to say that) When I saw my ortho. on Wed. he said,from the X-rays look good! They used cadaver bone graph,as well as placing a plate with screws to stabilize the lower back. It was the only option I had,since when the screws were removed in April,had left such a big gap, they had to go in from a different angle. The surgery went well,I just developed C-diff,pneumonia,and had to have a iron fusion after the surgery,so spent 7 days in the hospital,instead of 4. But I figure that is Murphys Law,since I am a nurse....something always seems to wrong!!!!Hopefully this will be it for me. I just Pray that this will work,and I pray that you will find some comfort soon!!!!

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I know its been months since there has been a post on the nurses and backs but Im a nurse to and was injured severly on the job...yes, helping a pt stand to get weighed and he fell back onto me. I have the whole c spine wreck. I am fortunate to be on workers comp. i think it sucks that your back injuries are not being covered. im sure they all KNOW its related to work. its always the bottom line. sorry and good luck to us all. may God be our strength.

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