Ouch...my back hurts - page 2

Okay, I've been an RN for 3 years, before that I was a CNA. In 2005 one month into my first job as a CNA my back got messed up. Not too terribly bad, minor back sprain. We where 2 person transfering... Read More

  1. Visit  Been there,done that profile page
    1
    Quote from RehabRNjc
    Okay, I've been an RN for 3 years, before that I was a CNA. In 2005 one month into my first job as a CNA my back got messed up. Not too terribly bad, minor back sprain. We where 2 person transfering a guy who just stopped standing and picked up his feet. We were both brand new and instead of lowering him to the floor we fought to keep him up and move him to the bed. Three months later, I was back at work. Occasionally after a long shift or very heavy patient load, my back would hurt.

    Now I'm going to have some trouble. On Saturday, I had 4 patients who where Max assist with 2 people. During one of the transfers, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back that radiated up my shoulder and down my hip and leg. Then the pain was gone except what I thought was my normal back pain, which I normally ignore. That night it hurt too bad to lean over my toddler to buckle her into her car seat and I had to get help. The next morning, it hurt to pull the weight of the car door open. I went to work. I thought if I just worked through it, I would be fine. I can't afford to miss work.

    I should have called in sick. Instead, I tried to suck it up and work. I found I couldn't hold a patient chart without sharp pain 8/10, and patient care? No way, hurt to bend, twist, open closets, I couldn't do it. I got chewed out by my supervisor and DON for not making an incident report immediately, then they sent me to the ER.

    Now I've been off work for almost a week and I know workman's comp isn't going to pay enough to cover the bills. Besides, my back hurts. When I tried to tell them at the follow up appointment today that I was fine, they started palpating my back/hip/arm/neck and I had to pull away. I'm not a good faker.

    I'm afraid my career is over. My right arm is numb, my back has a sharp pain 8/10 without tramadol, 6/10 with. I can't run around doped up on tramadol anyways, so this stinks. I can't exactly look for a different job when I'm on worker's comp, but I'm not sure I will ever feel better. I'm very afraid this is the new normal back pain.

    Has anyone had back problems and still been able to find a nursing job? Clinic jobs are hard to get, do clinic nurses lift? I could look for case management job or something equally boring, but I could also use this as an opportunity to change careers. Any career advice? Any workman's comp advice? Any faking no pain advice? I just gotta make some money.
    Your supervisor and DON are aware of your injury have and directed you.
    Please have your injury evaluated (honestly)before you assume that your career is over and you need a sit down job.

    The powers that be know what is going on.. and you need to take care of yourself.
    Best of luck, keep us posted.
    wooh likes this.
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  3. Visit  scabby21 profile page
    0
    I am a Clinic Nurse and I very rarely have to lift anything unless it is a smaller child and I have to help them get on the exam table. The only other lifting I do is when we get supplies in and I have to stock them. So overall not much lifting and usually not anything heavy, especially nothing as heavy as lifting full grown patients in the hospital setting. But like other posters have said there are other options for you in your current facility that you could probably get that would not require lifting or much lifting at that. NICU's would have very little and when I worked in the ER I never had to lift. But don't go switching jobs just yet unless you feel that it is necessary and you find a job that is better than your current one. In the long run you have to do whats best for you, your family, and your quality of life.
  4. Visit  GinaDecorRN profile page
    0
    You may be fortunate enough to be offered a less physically demanding position by your employer. I was not. After injuring my back (SI joint) in a fall on my hospital's icy parking lot I was given a couple months of light duty while going to physical therapy. When the Workman's Comp physician said I had permanent limitations - a lifting restriction of 20 lbs - I was told I would be terminated. My employer felt it would be a liability if I were to have any patient contact reasoning that if they needed assistance ambulating, or fell, I would injury myself or them due to my limitation. My back injury has been a red flag on interviews with other department heads. I had been a model employee. Employee of the month award, and was transitioning from telemetry to ICU. I was terminated in 2009. I still have reoccurring back pain from simple tasks, and occasionally need physical therapy, but have refused to rely on pain medication. I was just hired as a substitute school nurse. I hope to eventually become a hospice nurse. Good luck. Back pain changes your life in countless ways.
  5. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    1
    been there is right....... we cannot offer medical advice as per the terms of service.
    what i see is that the op is asking career advice.

    depending on what your medical team tells you is necessary you decision to leave the bedside is yours. there are many areas of nursing that won't include the heavy lifting that is necessary at the bedside. in the job economy today you are very fortunate that your facility is willing to retrain you for a different area. there is case management. go back to school and maybe teach/become an educator. try md/office or dialysis...the are countless of options.

    as a personal story and journey.........when i was 18 i was lifting a patient with a "hoyer" lift (hydraulic lift)....the weld holding the patient broke. i grabbed the patient dangling in mid air and pulled him onto the bed (never do this). i ruptured several discs in my back.....a career ending injury they'll said. i had been out of school 3 months. i have radical back surgery (the only surgery available at the time) with spinal fusion of l3 l4 l5 and s1.

    i have been a bedside nurse for 34 years this month. i have been sidelined by a neuromuscular disorder the last 18 months that has nothing to do with my infury. i was an icu nurse, cath lab, trauma flight, emergency department, supervisor of large facilities (>500 beds) an educator and some management/director positions. i have back pain. i live for ibuprofen. i love my whirlpool tub. i swim for exercise. i love my heated/vibrating recliner. i love lidocaine and flector patches. there were bad days, but i loved the bedside.

    every person is different. i chose to fight to stay at the bedside and i guess i'm a good actress. i am one of those people...where there's a will there's a way. unfortunately there are many stories like gina's....that is what makes nursing sad as we don't take care of our own when we are sick or injured.......i was dumped as well when i became ill.

    i wish you the best and i send get well vibes.
    Gold_SJ likes this.
  6. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    0
    Quote from GinaDecorRN
    You may be fortunate enough to be offered a less physically demanding position by your employer. I was not. After injuring my back (SI joint) in a fall on my hospital's icy parking lot I was given a couple months of light duty while going to physical therapy. When the Workman's Comp physician said I had permanent limitations - a lifting restriction of 20 lbs - I was told I would be terminated. My employer felt it would be a liability if I were to have any patient contact reasoning that if they needed assistance ambulating, or fell, I would injury myself or them due to my limitation. My back injury has been a red flag on interviews with other department heads. I had been a model employee. Employee of the month award, and was transitioning from telemetry to ICU. I was terminated in 2009. I still have reoccurring back pain from simple tasks, and occasionally need physical therapy, but have refused to rely on pain medication. I was just hired as a substitute school nurse. I hope to eventually become a hospice nurse. Good luck. Back pain changes your life in countless ways.
    I'm so sorry...... When one door closes another door opens.
  7. Visit  Gold_SJ profile page
    0
    I had a substantial back injury in the hospital system at the bedside with a morbidly obese lady, I was used to hold her weight up. Causing damage to my L4, L5 and S1 I can't describe the pain. Lots of chiropractor, Dr care, core exercises and pain relief later after approximately a year. I returned to a functional level.

    Now I am very very careful with lifting, caring for my patient and paediatrics (for me) has provided a good area that assists in protecting my back. Generally less full weight assists, children generally are lighter (picking up toddlers though XD and playing games it could be debatable).

    If you get proper medical care I'd hope you'd be able to return to your job like I did. Maybe a place with less bedside care or lighter patients such as neonates/peadiatrics etc. Where there's a lower chance of someone slipping and grabbing onto you redamaging your back? Just look after yourself ok and hope you find the area that will provide a safer environment for you.

    Most important praying the pain will go away and you'll get better. All the best.
    Last edit by Gold_SJ on Nov 24, '12
  8. Visit  canned_bread profile page
    0
    Do not pretend you have no pain, that will make them think it's less of a problem, and it sounds like you have a serious problem. If you deny the pain, it will come right back at you.

    I am sure you know that back problems are often life-long, and I'm not sure on your diagnosis but it does sound like it might be time to do something that isn't on the floor. Ask your hospital what jobs are going around, there might be something they have there. It's hard to tell though since it's recent and acute, maybe the pain will lessen with a few months of treatment and then you don't have to do a paper-nurse job, but something that just isn't on the floor. What specialities do you know?
  9. Visit  Ruby Vee profile page
    0
    i hope the question about faking no pain was a joke.

    i had a severe back injury six years ago, had surgery and went back to work in the icu. i'm on medical leave right now for something totally unrelated. please have your back injury evaluated and see what can be done for you. with pain radiating up and down, surgery may be an option. once you're clear on the extent of your injury, your medical and surgical options then you can begin to make decisions about your career options. but please know the extent of your injury first.
  10. Visit  RehabRNjc profile page
    0
    Just a follow-up, yeah, the comment about "faking pain" was indeed tongue-in-cheek as my DON had informed me that if I just told them my back didn't hurt anymore, this would all go away. It was offensive but I stuck to it and will reach "full recovery" in a few more weeks.

    This did make me reconsider bedside nursing, I admire nurses who can do it, but I never want to hurt like that again.
    While on light duty, they had me cover in another part of the hospital and I discovered a position that is more suited to me in every way. Plus, I'm still a nurse in the same facility, so sometimes they call me to start hard stick IV's and I still go to codes and do the charting...so it all worked out, but WOW what a horrible mess.

    I think in the end this whole situation gave me some real insight about myself and my career and personal goals. So I think this is the end of this story


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