I have a herniated disk am I done :( - page 2

So to make a long story short I have been having pain in my lower back starting a month ago and the last 2wks it got really bad and started to get shooting pain in my right leg. Well I went to the... Read More

  1. by   Baloney Amputation
    My husband had a 4-wheeler run over his back (don't ask!), broke 4 vertebrae, and has had many, many problems with his back for years because of that. However, he still manages his work as a floor nurse. He does work LTC, so he does more push/pull of huge carts everywhere and of wheelchairs than of lifting residents. He does have to call off work when he's having his near-incapacitating muscle spasms of his back. Fortunately, a TENS unit along with Flexeril and Lortab have been helpful to him.

    In other words, please don't give up!
  2. by   nkara
    I had a hernieted disk in L4/5 as well as a cracked disk. I had the surgery to shave the disk and they left the cracked disk alone. I am perfectly fine with my case load, lifting patients, changing briefs, etc. Don't let that interfere with you wanting to do what you love. You will always have help and if you do the lift properly you will be using your legs and arms more than your back. Trust me... I went through hell with my back before surgery and now I'm fine. :spin:
  3. by   Ruby Vee
    i, too had a herniated disc (l5-s1). i work in a busy sicu, and yes, i still work there. after 12 weeks of alternative therapies failed to make any difference in my back pain and leg pain and lack of function, i had a discectomy. after 12 more weeks of pt, i went back to work. that was christmas day, 2006 and i've been working full time ever since. a herniated disc is not the end of the road, or even the end of your career at the bedside. good luck to you!
  4. by   southernbeegirl
    dont let this stop you!

    i have 2 herniated discs...have had them for years. physical therapy will help you strengthen your back.

    i say dont let it stop you.
  5. by   Jokerhill
    I could not feel my left leg for about 6 months with my herniated disk, but kept working in ICU. Then my PCP told me it was getting worse and suggested I go into something else with no lifting. I thought about it and I changed to NICU no patients heavier than 15 pounds, now 7 years later working full time with just a bit of occasional pain and a slight limp when I'm tired.
  6. by   Aneroo
    Yes, it might be harder. What is wonderful about nursing is that there are a lot of specialities you can chose from. Continue your studies. We had people in my program with chronic injuries (graduated and now working in an ICU). I have a hearing loss and am still able to do my job. I know that's totally different than a back injury, but a LOT of us have limitations or disabilties and we still do it because we want to!
  7. by   NewRN2008
    I had a severly herniated L5/S1, i had a partial discectomy 2 yrs ago. That surgery happened between my summer of nrsg school, and now i am a full fledged RN. I have other issues that i have problems with that contribute, but i am able to work- i dont have that pain down my leg anymore, and after my surgery i could actually FEEL my leg again- because i couldnt feel part of my leg prior to the surgery it was so bad.
    So dont let anyone tell you that you cant do it, nrsg is hard, for sure, i have a limited amt days that i will work in a row- help with things at work, but i get through it. I LOVE what i do, nothing will stop me from that. mostly! lol. there are days where the pain gets me, but like i said, i have other issues combined as well.

    if you ever ever needed to talk, or had questions further, please PM me and let me know. i would love to be support where i didnt have it when i went thru what you are now.
  8. by   cursedandblessed
    i've had a couple herniated in my neck for about 6-7 years. everyone is different, everyone's body heals differently, and everyone has a different amount of pain they can take. yesterday wasn't a good day for me, i had to take ibuprofen for it, something i don't do anymore on a regular basis. i get massages a couple of times a month, and it keeps the muscles loose for me. i use the ibuprofen only a few times a month now.

    see a spine specialist, and what their options are for you.
  9. by   ThanksForAllTheFish!
    when i started my bsn-accelerated program i had had problems with my back. eventually i got an mri, found a slight bulging disk, and went through some physical therapy during nursing school. i have been a nurse now (in the icu) for 9 months. still have issues with my back, not nearly as bad as in school. for other reasons, i am ready to leave the bedside and go back into research (my first career) with my nursing degree, hopefully as a clinical research coordinator. i also know that leaving the bedside will be better for my back. i'm only 27 and i know for a fact that my back will not be able to handle 20+ years of bedside work. are you already an rn/lpn and are going back for a bsn or is this the beginning of your nurse schooling? if you really want to go into nursing, do it. but listen to your body, protect it. think of alternative nursing careers that might be less demanding on your back once you've finished school. good luck!
  10. by   Moogie
    Herniated C5-6 and 6-7 here, partial discectomy and fusion with a titanium plate. My symptoms were severe upper back and neck pain, plus numbness and tingling in my left hand and arm. It hasn't been easy to return to nursing. I did a little direct care as well as non-direct care jobs for a couple of years, then moved and started work in a LTC facility. I've been to PT, done traction at home, been back to my surgeon several times because of continued pain. X-rays and MRIs have shown that everything was normal. My surgeon examined me several times and told me that it would be okay for me to return to floor nursing.

    I thought he was out of his mind. By the end of a shift, I would be in tears because of the pain. Then again, I hurt when I wasn't working. Continued to have numbness and tingling in both hands, sometimes in the feet. Diabetes? No. Blood sugars are fine. Muscles ached. Out of shape? Yes. But I was too tired to exercise and condition myself. Multiple sclerosis? My biggest fear. Too afraid to find out.

    Finally went to my provider. It turns out that I have fibromyalgia. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my previous injuries. I'm taking medication, watching my diet and slowly easing back into exercise. I refuse to let this condition interfere any more with my life. I'm being realistic and listening to my body. At this point, I am not ruling out anything.

    A back injury can indeed affect one's nursing career. But it doesn't necessarily mean ending that career. A BSN gives you plenty of options besides bedside nursing.

    You could also work in a facility with a no-lift policy.

    Best of luck to you in whatever path you take!
  11. by   AZMOMO2
    There are many treatments for back pain that make the pain go away for long periods of time. Like injections or an epidural. See a pain specialist or your doctor for short term steriod treatment to take away the inflammation if Ibuprophen doesn't work, physical therapy, message, chiropractic treatments, back braces and proper body mechanics ALWAYS... and a great pair of shoes that help absorb the shock... Works for ME.
  12. by   KateRN1
    I'm surprised no one mentioned chiropractic. I have two herniated disks, one cervical and one lumbar. I do fine as long as I see my chiro regularly--twice a week or more during an exacerbation and once every two weeks on maintenance. I second the shoes recommendation. Crocs do it for me.