What works for your back injury?

  1. Ok, I'm at a loss.

    I have intense upper back/neck pain. MRI shows vertebral abnormalities and degenerative changes, and I'm not sure what to do to get through the day with work-lifting and turning and doing all the other things we do as nurses (I do extended shift home care) without tearing up or having episodes where I briefly get woozy and the world goes dark.

    I go to PT, have more meds than I'd like to admit, use TENS, ice, heat, see a chiropractor, massage therapist, and several other practitioners to try to get through this. It's now officially chronic.

    I know this is not a place to give medical advice or referrals or whatnot, I have all of that. I want to know what you, as nurses, have tried, and what has worked for you personally. I know how to lift properly, and I do medically supervised weight training. I have used a rib belt and a low back brace, which has rigid support.

    The kicker here, theoretically I'll be graduating with my RN (eligible to take the boards anyway) in December, but that is contingent on getting through one more semester of clinical. However, if I'm having trouble lifting a little over 50lbs, what's going to happen when I work with the big people (ie. adults )?

    I'm getting so frustrated, and a little depressed. I love my job. The sad thing is that I've only been a nurse for a little over a year. I don't want it to end like this. Please help if you can-my brainstorming on this topic has been reduced to a minor spring shower.
  2. Visit MellyOne profile page

    About MellyOne

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 40; Likes: 2
    Home Care Nurse
    Specialty: Pediatrics :)


  3. by   jennyfyre
    I am a unit coordinator, not a nurse. I was a nursing assistant for about 5 years prior to my back injury. 3 bulging discs in the low back and 3 in my neck. I was kinda where you're at... so I decided to become a unit coordinator on a peds unit. (Occasionally I help with holding and feeding the babies ) I was taking meds, and pretty much doing all the things you're doing except the TENS unit (felt like spiders to me!!). As a last resort, and totally thinking it was a waste of time.. I tried acupuncture. It took several times, but gradually I was able to switch from Vicodin and Percocet to just ibuprofen! It gave me enough relief that I was finally able to do the PT exercises to strengthen my back and trunk. Now I only take narcs about once every 6 mos. or so.. when I've really abused my back. I never did go back to school for nursing, but decided that I'm a pretty darned good HUC. I've also worked as a lane server at a bowling alley for 10 years and bowl competively. As a total disbeliever in acupuncture, it sure did wonders for me and gave me back my life. Besides, what do you have to lose??
  4. by   fathernurse2b
    I know you have probally have already thought of this but, work peds. Does your facility have any transfer devices( sliding boards, gait belts, roller boards) all these things really help in bed to stretcher transfers and if you are under restrictions follow that. Sound like you are doing all the right things...exercise, pt etc..Our facility has a back safety program and I'm the coordinator. The things I would recommend you already do. Just work within your limits and get all the help you can....
  5. by   teeituptom
    I use magnetic therapy, works wonders for my feet and back. Keeps ,e working and golfing almost pain free
  6. by   MellyOne
    Thanks for your input everybody! I have been seriously considering acupuncture, and my chiropractor even does it in his office. I've used a pro-tens and electric acupuncture before, but I'm sure it's not quite like the real thing.

    I am a homecare nurse who works peds, but unfortunately for me, there are few children that have lifts in the home and my primary client is a growing adolescent with spastic cp and is quadrapalegic... I have an opportunity to work with the "littler folk", but I'd like to stay with my primary client too. I get as much help from her family as they are able to give, which I am forever thankful.

    I will be starting my final clinical rotation in the fall (in the hospital), but I do not believe I will be able to work peds. By golly, I'll try though!! I'll have to try to convince one of the instructors that they need to precept in one of the children's hospitals around here . I had a patient on my last rotation that required assistance urgently; it was me and another gal who had to lift this 300lb para, wonderful person, just really really heavy and couldn't help much. I dread that scenario in the future...

    How do you use magnetic therapy? I am learning more about alternative therapies as time progresses, and I am also under the care of an herbalist (who does mind-body skills therapy as well). I've heard of it of course, but I've never really looked into the specifics...

    Again, thanks for the advice!