Back injury: stories & support for an injured RN - page 2

I'm writing this because i'm feeling like i'm holding on to a thread. I've been out of work for 2 months already which is even worse to say that I have only graduated in may and just started my... Read More

  1. by   kittagirl
    Back pain is evil!
    No other way to describe it and unless you've had the misfortune to go through it you really don't understand how miserable it makes you feel.

    When I hurt my back I was off for 3 months I was fortunate that I was helped with Physio, and lots of anti-spasmodics

    I never had an MRI (too long ago, shows how old I am)

    The thing that got me was my physio was insistent that when I was having a 'good' day that I should get out of the house and do something nice for myself, even if it was just having a coffee or getting a paper, but wouldn't you know that was always the time I'd bump in to people from work.
    And I get a phone call by the end of the day from my manager asking when would I be back to work..................

    Luckily I had the support of the physio who at my request would call my manager and get her reason why I couldn't go back yet and a really good Occupational Health Team (though in hind sight I think they were trying to make sure I didn't sue)

    But it was the things that I can laugh at now that really got me down at the time.
    Like my partner, coming in from work, finding me in tears on the kitchen floor.
    I put a Lasagne in the oven (homemade, I had been having a really good day) but went in to spasm when I tried to get it out and it had burned. I was near hysterical, all he keep doing was patting my arm, trying not to giggle, saying don't worry we get take away. I was like a toddler
    "I don't want take away, I want Lasagne!"
    "Fine I'll go to the Italian, that you really like and get it there (an hour drive away)"
    "Nooooooooo I don't want that Lasagne I want my Lasagne"

    This went on for about 10 minutes, great patience my other half.

    He still reminds me of it occasionally.

    But Good Luck and keep taking the pills!
  2. by   derek_mango
    welll here is am!!! CHRISTIE's "compassionate RN boyfriend" hahaha. i thought i would drop by and say a few things. christie gets so excited when she gets new responses to this thread. she checks it everyday and tells me all the time when new people respond. i wanted to thank everyone who has and who will share their stories. such a small thing as taking a few min to share a story or make a comment on this thread has really made a difference in christie's life at this point. i can really see it when she smiles and reads or tells me about this thread. i think it has really shown her that she is not alone in this setback for her. i call it a set back because even though i know that her hope is at a low and she feels that she will never get better...i know she will. she has improved soooooo much since the beginning. i can see that it's sometimes hard for her to see that...but i can she's a very strong woman who can accomplish anything when she sets her mind to it. i see this back injury as being no different from anything else she wanted and achieved in her life. she wants to get better...and i know...SHE WILL!!! of course i don't pretend to know what it feels like for her. there's no way i would ever do that. as all you nurse's know....pain is relative. everyone feels pain differently and it affects everyone different. all i can do is be empathetic and support her the best way i can. i know she feels as though she can't give me anything right now. i know she feels that she can't give me attention or do things that she wants to for me. i know she feels like she is demanding a lot of physical and emotional attention. i dont see it that way. i see it as...that is what she needs right now to help her through this hard time in her life...and that is what i'm going to give her as her loving caring boyfriend/best friend/future husband. not cuz i feel obligated to...but because i truly want to. i guess it's the "compassionate RN" in me hahaha. i know she would do the same for me if the roles were reversed. hang in there hun! there is no doubt in my mind that you will get better. it's God's will :P sorry for the mushy stuff everyone but i just had to say it.

    as for as back injury stories. i feel like a goof for telling this story but i'll do it cuz that's the name of this thread haha. if my story was assessed using the pain scale 0 being the least amount of pain and 10 being the most amount of pain you have ever would definitely be a 1 compared to the other stories i read on here :P

    well i used to work in long term care as a care aide. so the stories goes...we were changing a pt in the bathroom and she suddenly dropped to the floor. being the young naive and inexperienced health care worker i was...the other aide i was working with decided to each loop an arm under the armpit and get her off the floor. keep in mind that she was a very very heavy pt. we accomplished our task and went about our day like normal. the next alarm goes off and i proceed to jump out of bed (christie could tell u how i literally do jump out of bed). to my suprise/shock. i couldnt move. my back was completely locked. i couldnt bend it. i didnt have any pain but i was completely immobile. i layed in bed for 1/2 a day. luckily the feeling went away later that day. i never really found out what happened cuz well...i have this funny thing where i don't like going to the doctor (christie again can tell u about this :P) it really opened my eyes though. i unknowingly felt so invincible before. back injuries never even crossed my mind. it just goes to show how easy it is to neglect our bodies and how we really need to take care of ourselves.

    christie's back injury has also helped me in my nursing practice. it's so easy for us to as RN's to be so judgemental when it comes to pt's who are in pain. especially for me cuz i work in ortho where pain management is a way of life :P her injury has really shown me that people's pain is really so subjective. different people feel pain differently and it really does affect everyone differently. we have no right to judge. this has made me so aware of that and i really try and advocate for my pt's who are in pain...especially those of whom have been shunned already from tainted nurses.

    wow i really said a lot hahaha. anyways...please continue on with the stories everyone. they really put a smile on christie's face and i love seeing it. you're not alone hun!!!! remember when i told you that?
    Last edit by derek_mango on Jan 29, '07
  3. by   JaneyW
    Are you waiting for the MRI because of the medical system in Canada? Do they have you in physical therapy because it is VERY important! I'm glad we are helping you feel not so all alone. There are other websites and message boards devoted to back injuries (AKA spinal injuries) out there--I know what a lifeline they can be.

    As for hospital nursing, well, I don't know. I do L&D with mostly mobile patients and am very careful, but when I am pushing a gurney down the hall for an emergency, I think about all the re-damage I can do. I work only per diem, but it just takes one thing. My ortho surgeon told me to do what I want because (as you know!) I can pop a disc by coughing hard or twisting in the shower just as easily as I can at work. He also tells me he can always fix me again, but he isn't the one who has to endure the cure!

    Good luck to you and stay moving. Keep us updated.
  4. by   LadyNASDAQ
    I send you hugs and advice.

    First, I know you're out of work but I bet you could become a telephonic case manager. Just GOOGLE this. It's good pay and there is a great demand for this kind of work. You are trained by the company and there are a ton of jobs. You work for either a company or insurance companies with full bennies. A friend of mine can not work as an ICU Nurse yet she didn't have to be retrained out of Nursing. She was trained with Nursing skills in mind and is doing quite well for herself. My sis will be applying to a company in the area and is very interested in this. Her reasons are to get away from bedside Nursing. This would be perfect for most people.
  5. by   derek_mango
    ur back was great this weekend hun. heavy boxes :P
  6. by   southern_rn_brat
    Back pain here too. It's horrible! The pain from a pinched sciatic nerve is the worst pain I've ever had. I start physical therapy monday. Tell me it will work guys! I'm doing pool therapy first. I feel for all of us with back pain.
  7. by   christie_0307
    pool therapy sounds like a great idea! i did physiotherapy and massage therapy and i felt as if it was just tooo darn painful! I couldn't walk the next day.. the pain would just shoot to my feet. Honestly... all the physical things I have been doing have not even helped me half as much as mental or spiritual therapy. Lately I have had enough with the stress in my life and have decided that I can't take it anymore (as you can see in the initial posting). So I have been doing what I need to, to remove those stresses. I left my house, expressed my anger to my father and spent time with those who I feel really care about me. I have learned that back pain leads to depression. But now that i am a little bit better I am starting to feel like I was depressed way before I hurt my back... I was trying to succeed in a world I did not fit into. So ladies and Gents!!.. I have decided to leave bedside nursing to pursue a nursing career that I truly aspire to. Not entirely sure what that will be.. but I have grown to realize I need to follow my heart. And for now.. that is the greatest back pain reliever I have yet to discover.
  8. by   nervousnurse
    Wow, I can relate to soooooooooo much of what all of you are saying!!! I am in constant pain right now, after being with my new job only a month! My employer has been SO nice about it, but I might resign..........I'm so afriad of re-injury!!!

    (((hugs))) to all of you!!
  9. by   woody62
    I suffered three low back injures before I finally herniated my L4-5 on the right side. My surgeon took the position that the previous three injures had more then likely caused a bulging of my L4-5 disc. The three injuries occurred over a period of twenty years, when I suffered severe pain and back spasms, treated with Valium. I lifted a 100 pound little old gentleman, up in bed, by myself, when I herniated the disc.

    I have worked with a number of health care providers, all suffering low back herniation, all after having suffered several incidents of low back strain. I believe that low back herniations have more then likely are the result of several previous back injures without a herniation.

    Nurses who suffer herniations generally are unable to return to bedside nursing because of chronic pain issues. Or so it has been my experience, as a major case manager. This is one of the reason's I encourage all nurse to go on and at a minimum get their BSN. They then have a platform from which to launch an advance degree and return to nursing. I also have found that most hospitals and most peers are initially supportive but then to dismiss complaints of chronic pain. And are unlikely to develop a position for an employee who can no longer return to bedside nursing.

  10. by   2jessica
    I was reading your post and I think its funny how you think you have acquired a herniated disc while brushing your teeth and coughing at 22 yrs old...I remember the time I thought I hurt my back from sweeping at home at 25yrs old. The fact is , back pain never starts immediately as the damage is done, I guarantee you hurt yourself picking up a heavy patient but idnt feel the pain until you coughed at home. This happened to me , I hurt my self initially in the hospital trying to move a 500 lb patient without appropriate help as we were short staffed, i remember feeling a pop, but didnt get it. the days weeks and months following were undescribable pain,, i woulf come home after my shift and crawl on my hands and knees. I asked a dr about the sciatica i was feeling and she told me to do yoga. So I thought i was being a baby, and being a new nurse didnt know much. i finally quit the hospital and did home health my back problems where mot constant and i didnt know any better. continueing to work i never called off , I was doing home health lifting and moving 300 lb patients myself for wounds or whatever, and the pain got worse, i complained to my boss but i didnt know what was going on again never called off, just dealt with it. The doctors told me i was a little over wieght so i should exercise, i was too young to have anything wrong with me at 160 lbs, i thought ok i am being a baby, the more i told my boss that moving so and so is killing my back, the harder she made my job until i eventually quit, within a few days of quiting i went to a walk in clinic because of the pain , had a xray, i eneded up having spondylolisthesis high grade 3 and a collapsed disc, within a few months i couldnt feel my legs, workers comp denied, lost everything to get on medicaid to have a fusion, went back to work 2 months post op with a back brace on and no pain meds, so i would not end up homeless with my kids..

    1 year and 10 months later i was out having a good time, slipped and fell, went to the er via ambulance, sent out the door with a rx for ibprofen, i was told i was fine and was treated very poorly, i couldnt feel my arm or a leg. tried to go to work the next day and had to leave because of the pain, went to a walk in clinic, another xray of cervical and lumbar, ended up with a fractured fusion mass, which is now a grade 2 spondylolisthesis,. continued horrific pain left work the following week, the dr refused a MRI of my thoracic as i requested and told me my insurance was not going to pay for a MRI of my whole spine, ok Cervical was loss of normal cervical lordosis and the grade 2 spondylo of lumbar, the following week after a appt with nuero was only conserned about the previous surg, the following week my primary, i asked about all the swelling between my shoulders and he treated me like a junkie and said everybody has a bump back there and left the room, a few days later had to leave work because of the pain again, went to walk in clinic crying and demanded a MRI of the thoracic, the results?

    T3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 bulging disc with multilevel disc degeneration and a cyst at T8, The cyst was a syrinx caused from extreme swelling that caused a slight tear. My job which was a sit down job was made aware of my injuries,I most certainly didnt want my boss to think that i am at home watching TV having a dandy time, I knew something was teribly wrong and everybody has been ignoring me, The day I asked about temp disability I recieved a meeting notice, aT THE MEETING i WAS WROTE UP FOR MISSING TO MANY DAYS AND BEING 2-3 MINUTES LATE. I have a dr note for every day that I have missed, I have even showed my boss my MRI so she would know that i am making every effort possible in being a good faithful and honest emplyee, and I got wrote up for being injured. 2-3 min late ok, sometimes I cant walk and I walk so slow its embarrasing that my 68 yrs old co worker is passing my by not to mention me getting dizzy and nauseated so bad that i think i am going to pass out. on my breaks i had to lay down and i cried every day from the pain, i have so many symptoms i wont list them as my post is already long...

    IMPORTANT lesson about nursing, DONT GET HURT and if you do, remember that your fellow co workers specifically your boss doesnt care its about production and the company losing money and they will try to get rid of you before you can get workers comp or the temp disability insurance that you have been paying for. My doctors, who flirt with me say I have no working restrictions other than no lifting of more than 10 lbs even though i cant even go grocery shopping for more than a hour and have to rest to go to my car. There tests for my physical endurance is to gab their fingers and press their hand like its a gas peddle( these dummies must think i am in a coma) If you can do those 2 things you can work 40 hrs a week. so there you go. Word of the wise ( now any way) Learn from me and not your own, I dont wish this on any body
  11. by   christie_0307
    WOW, I am so sorry to hear about your long journey with this pain!! One thing that stood out for me is how you persevered through it all. Each time the doctors pushed you out, you knew in your heart and your smarts that they were the wrong ones. The resistance is definitely there. While I

    was at my appointment with my boyfriend at the time, the dr. had the nerver to say " you hurt yourself coughing??!!!" in a ' yeah right you were having sex " kind of way.

    I thank you for your guidance and am well rehearsed with learning to put me first. The good news is with exercise and yoga i have managed to reverse my hernia and a CT confirmed that it is now gone! It's taken 3 years but I am so happy that I can actually throw a ball or sneeze without being afraid... well sometimes I still am :P

    So to any of you who suffer from back pain.. don't give up! Take care of yourself and don't listen to what others say to you. You know your body more then ANYone else, and you know what it needs most ... attention!
  12. by   sassy_squirrel
    I can sympathise with the coughing causing your injury. I think I sound stupid when I say that but it's the truth. I was sitting on my couch coughing and sudden pain down my spine (only 21/22) - I couldn't even breathe properly. It's better now...I still get twinges though. However I do both physio and chiro treatments.

    But then I also tore the muscles in between my ribs by coughing as well. It can and does happen. At the time I had chest infections (including the one that caused my back injury) and whooping cough. I do also have scoliosis (mild but diagnosed when I was 7) so that may have been a factor.

    I don't think people understand how far reaching back pain can be unless they have experienced it for themselves.

    A funny story....hmmmm this is more just silly than funny. My doctor put me on panadiene forte when I did my back the initial time (this is almost 4 years ago now) I was still at uni. It didn't remove any of my pain but just made me very fuzzy. I had an assignment due in. I do not remember writing the assignment. I have no idea if it made any sense or if it was even completed before I handed it in...I passed it though. LOL.
  13. by   2jessica
    For those of you that have actually cough and herniate a disc, i am not saying any thing derrogitory towards you and the fact that it happen to you is horrible. The facts are that nursing is the top 5 careers for back injuries. A nusre can lift up to one ton in one shift. I would hate for anyone that lifts people up for a living not get the workers comp they more than deserve from not knowing when your injury happened. There are people out of work on workers comp for the most rediculous things you can imagine, I have seen workers comp pay for a vaginal prolapse for example( there are more) while she picked up a tote bag but yet a nurse is denied as lifting is out of your scope of practice. Yep thats what I was told. Can you believe they told me that!So if they have a wound and they're immobile I am suppose to tell them, If you cant roll over I cant do your wound, Could you imagine telling that to someone? I am sorry your about to pass out but if you cant walk to the oxygen I cant help you... Of course I am being a bit sarcastic now but just think about how that sounds for a min. Back pain is not always felt right away, and if you are like me you will try to ignore it until it goes away because you dont want to be a baby and you are the back bone of your family and your used to being tuff. However this can be very damaging to you later on. If you ever have back pain associated with leg or arm pain, its very important to put every one aside and take care of yourself, get it checked out. The number One rule I forgot in nursing is "If you dont take care of yourself, you cant take care of anyone else". I always put myself on the back burner, kids and house come first. Now I realize without me we wont have a house.