(This was also posted in "injured workers forum")
My lower back injury happened approximately 60 days ago. It was reported immediately to my HR dept and I visited a doctor about 2 weeks after the injury. I am covered under NJ Workers Compensation.
The first 3 weeks the pain was significant down one leg. The first doctor took me out of work and prescribed meds and 2 wks of PT.
1. Lower back (mostly knot feeling in butt)
2. Siatica down leg (extreme)
3. Feeling of numbness in foot
After Physical Therapy the Siatica in the leg reduced significantly. I learned to compensate my activity for less pain. 60 days later the pain has lessened although it remains to be consistant in the butt area and the numbness in the foot continues. The pain is about a 5.5 on a scale of 1-10. I would consider the pain mild to medium. It's not excrutiating pain, I am able to get around, drive, bend and pickup things. I can sleep with meds. I can induce the pain by stepping up my activities. Of course I am taking it easy and going slow and being very careful. Still out of work.
MRI reads L5 - S1 disc degeneration with concentric prominent disc bulge with central focal disc protusion with slight left paracentral asymmetric irritation towards the left S1 nerve root with the .......
Now I'm with a back specialist (orthopedic) who finds my symptoms classic. Again, I consider the pain to be mild yet the pain shouldn't be there either. The doctor is recommending Injections (steroid/epudoral?) under X-ray assistance. He's not recommending surgery yet, although I asked and he explained the simple procedure that would reduce the bulge of the disc that is pressing against the nerve.
The doctor says that my options include leaving it alone, injections, or possibly surgery. He also advised that I could continue with the pain, but since I am lucky enough to be covered by the insurance that I could have it addressed. BTW, this particular doctor is a well respected doctor in my community (not just a run-of-the-mill WC doctor) and is also a well respected former employer of my mother-in-law.
Do I need a lawyer?
- My doctor told me to call and schedule the injection.
- He did not schedule another visit during my last visit.
- He also gave me a Patient's Work Status of Temporary Total Disability.
I have not yet scheduled the injection. I needed to research first and see what I was getting into. I want to weigh out whether the medium pain and numbness in the foot that I am experiencing was bad enough to warrant the injection.
1. Could the injection worsen the existing pain (beyond 48 hours)?
2. Could the injection create new complications (beyond 48 hours)?
2A. I'm a whimp , is this injection uncomfortable? (like taking blood?)
3. If the injection works, is it possible that the numbness will reduce?
4. What happens with the WC (NJ) if I choose not to do the injection?
5. What happens with the WC (NJ) if I delay the injection?
6. At this point how long at minimum should my employer expect me to be out?