Ouch...my back hurts

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    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.
  2. 21 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    don't write off case management as boring. you could get a job in the facility you currently work for, making equal pay (at least), and not having to lift patients. i'm sure the facility you work for would be happy to give you a job as a case manager vs. paying workman's comp or any other alternatives.

    you're a nurse, right? aren't we always complaining about not having enough time to spend with patients? as a case manager, you would actually get to talk to the patients...and help them in a huge way. it might be something you would actually enjoy. it's not a desk job...you get to go around and socialize with the patients and healthcare staff, but not do the "dirty work."
    RehabRNjc likes this.
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    Thanks Minnymi,
    I didn't mean to insult case management but after re-reading my post, I could see how it might sound offensive, I'm sorry. At our facility, the case managers spend a great deal of time with insurance companies, that's not really my dream.

    I already asked if they would consider cross-training me, and my DON's answer was "Why? By the time we got you trained you'd be well enough to work the floor again." I don't think she understands exactly how bad I'm feeling. Of course, I hate all pain, so maybe I'm worrying I won't ever get better when I shouldn't.

    I don't want to get hurt again, if every 7 years I hurt my back and each time it's worse than before, I'm going to be the one in the hospital bed in 14 years.

    How do people manage to do this job without ever getting hurt?
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    This will be closed stat. Seeking medical advice.. and all that.. in the terms of service.

    Why would you risk you health ? You deserve a full work up and whatever assistance you can get in the meantime.

    There are many venues to assist you in your rightful pursuit of workplace disability.
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    i'm not a case manager so you didn't insult me. i have seen what they do though and considered doing it when i'm older. there have been so many times i've had elderly patients especially who have told me horrifying things and i wanted to help them, but as you know, we can't do it all. thank goodness for case managers....

    i'm just saying..if you can't work the floor again, don't discount the option, or other positions RNs are offered within the facility. you might find that you enjoy something that doesn't require you to return to school.

    that's a good question you asked. i hurt my back several months ago assisting to lift a patient in a very stupid manner to be quite honest, but i was busy and wanted to just "get it done" and of course, we don't realize how old we're getting until our back goes out! i didn't report it...ever...and by the time i realized it hurt my back, i thought it would be silly to say, "well, last week i lifted a patient....etc." i haven't had any trouble lately though.

    and people always say, "where else can you go to school for two years and start out making X dollars?!" i went for four, but you get the point. anyway, there's a reason for that "good pay" just like there's a reason coal miners get paid well with zero education and sometimes zero teeth......they risk their health. so do nurses.
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    You're probably right Been There, it does sound like I'm seeking medical advice. I'm not, I want career advice and suggestions and someone else to say "yeah, my back hurts too, it stinks", but this does come pretty close to the line of violating TOS, so I'm okay with it being shut down.

    Minnymi, I hadn't thought of nursing as an extremely high risk job like mining, but what you say makes sense. I guess I should have saved some of that cash for times like these. Oh well, I'll get through. By the way...I hope you feel better soon.
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    I think if the content of your original post is actually read, one can easily see that you are asking career advice, not medical advice.

    I would seriously consider the case management if that will be an easy transition for you, as in you can stay with your same employer and benefits.

    I would like to point out that as a NICU nurse, my back/neck rarely hurt. Now ,don't be fooled, there is potential especially when it comes to moving around equipment. I did hurt my neck last year moving some equipment so it's quite possible.
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    Quote from TiffyRN
    I think if the content of your original post is actually read, one can easily see that you are asking career advice, not medical advice.

    I would seriously consider the case management if that will be an easy transition for you, as in you can stay with your same employer and benefits.

    I would like to point out that as a NICU nurse, my back/neck rarely hurt. Now ,don't be fooled, there is potential especially when it comes to moving around equipment. I did hurt my neck last year moving some equipment so it's quite possible.
    i agree...there's no reason this post should be shut down per seeking medical advice. that's silly. just answer the question.
  10. 0
    Quote from minnymi
    i agree...there's no reason this post should be shut down per seeking medical advice. that's silly. just answer the question.
    "Any faking no pain advice? "

    As an EXPERIENCED nurse I was alarmed by this, and other statements made by the OP.
    Yes, that constitutes seeking medical advice, to an EXPERIENCED nurse.

    OP could cause serious long term damage by continuing to work with pain.
    As an EXPERIENCED nurse with a passion for pain control , I answered her question with her health and well-being first in mind.
    EXPERIENCED nurses are not "silly" they are able to read between the lines.
  11. 0
    I took the "faking no pain" line as a joke.


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