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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    I was injured six weeks ago at work lifting a pallet jack battery. I was sent to my employers local clinic and have been dealing with all the bs since. I was out of work for one week and returned to work on "modified duty" for the past 5 weeks now. I have moderate to severe back pain and numbness in my butt and down left leg to toes and right leg to just above the knee. I can not sit in a car/truck for more than 30-45 min without the onset of pain, and just sitting on the couch is uncomfortable, nevermind chasing my 1 year old daughter around the house. Six weeks of pt later I was finally ordered a MRI. The findings of the MRI were :

    mild disc dessication of L3-L4,L4-L5, and L5-S1 levels.
    minimal disc buldge at the L1-L2 along the superior margin, and at L4-L5 and facet hypertrophy.
    Moderate disc narrowing at the L1-L2 level with disc dessication and endplate change as well as small anterior osteophytes.


    Now, I have absolutely no idea what any of this means, but as per my workers comp doctor, its nothing to worry about and I should finish another 2 weeks of PT and I will be good to go back to full duty at work.(lifting constantly, for I work as a truck driver for a food service company). My problem is, I am not comfortable with the level of care I have recieved sofar and I am left with a lot of questions regarding just how this will effect me in the future and If I should really continue lifting 50-100lbs constantly with buldging discs. Should I hire a workers comp atty? Is there a way I can get another opinion? Any answers will help me for I am lost.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,078

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    at any time at your own expense you can get a second opinion.

    if you wish a change of doctors or a second opinion you can request one in writing from the carrier/employer. they are not obligated to provide one and a different opinion will have to be resolved with the comp court.

    more info here
    http://lwd.state.nj.us/labor/wc/work...ers_index.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    PA, but worked in NJ
    Posts
    821

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    NJROB

    Welcome to the NJ WC forum.

    Sorry to hear that your having difficulty with your condition and care. It was NO ACCIDENT you got 1 week off of work then got "modified" duty as this limits liability for the employer, as b4 you can get TTD you must wait the waiting week, which you get paid for after 3 weeks of no work.

    I am not being insensitive (NJWC law is) as your not being happy with the care you have received is not on the top of the ins carriers list of things to improve on.

    Disc dessication is the beginning of a more serious condition but all are covered under the DDD (Degenerative Disc Disorder) I disagree with the Dr in that this can not be a VERY painful condition at times, you must consider these Drs are paid WELL to "assume" claimants fall on the not so painful side of this. Everyone responds differently to this condition some may not even notice it while some others feel they are getting OJ'd in the back!!

    If your job is physical, then more than likely PT will not help as PT is to strengthen the back muscles and this would seem to me to be more appropriate for a pencil pusher who may need to tone up some back muscles for support.

    My advice is wait and see, right now I dont see the need to hire a lawyer but if you do you will want an experienced WC lawyer not someone who takes out a full yellow page ad saying I am the WC lawyer!! Expert lawyers dont even advertise as the word of mouth keeps them plenty busy. When you get sent back to full duty and you most likely will if at that time you feel significant increase in your pain you need to stop and report this to your supervisor and you will be re seen by the same Dr if your fortunate enough to have a semi decent employer. However without more findings in your studies there may not be a surgical procedure that may benefit you. On the other hand it would be reasonable ( if this senerio be the case) for you to then get a series of epidural shots in the effected areas. Your employer should be OK with this as it will not have you off work more than 2 days but you will most likely go back to modified duty??


    Again wait and see you may just wake up one morning and feel like your old self again.

    I feel it would not be productive to go in guns blazing demanding to see other drs or spending you own money to learn what you already have learned. Take the keywords in your findings and Google them till you understand what is going on in your body. Key words : disc dessication facet hypertrophy, anterior osteophytes


    You can spend your money to see another Dr but these Drs do not carry the same weight as Drs in the NJWC circle, again I dont think you will learn anything different. This Dr may take you out of work but you will not get paid for time off unless you have vacation time or sick leave. Your employer holds all the cards and this can be seen by some employers as you going rouge and wanting to get WC benefits only! This does not seem to me to be the true case.

    Lets see how things go in the upcoming weeks ahead and if you need more information /and or support feel free to call. TRUST ME I have been where you are now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The best thing that can happen is that you do recover. If this is your 1st run in with back pain chances are good you will bounce back, but I understand how you feel now,



    Good luck

    BUG

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    Thanks for the advice. Is there any explanation for the pain/numbness is butt and legs being that the MRI results are as they said "no that bad"? All i know is I never had that kind of thing going on before this injury and if there isnt anything serious going on then why do I feel as bad as I do? I agree the PT is useless, because half the time I do all the exercises on my own while the therapist walks around helping other people and I do believe my back muscles are plenty strong. IDK, im just very annoyed with this whole process and Im not looking for any benefits or money, just a explanation and a true treatment plan.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    Bugs, PT for lumbar back patients is not just for pencil pencil pushers and it is not strengthening back muscles but for core stengthening (abdominals most importantly). Those bulges on the MRI that look minimal when PT is lying down actually appear bigger upon standing according to nurse mhotts recent post that is the new research findings as per her doctor. I would not want to minimize a potentially serious condition that may get worse over time especially with a return to work. Also talking to an atty is free, why put it off? Sciatica is a sign of nerve impingement be careful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    PA, but worked in NJ
    Posts
    821

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    NJROB,

    You are very welcome, The best way for me to explain the pain /numbness in the butt and legs is that any "abnormal" finding in your MRI is justification, as I wrote everyone will respond differently to this "abnormalality" and it seems that you drew the unfortunate straw to be suffering this way? Also the WC DR's primary job is to get you back to work. In some cases the personality of the IW will play a lot in whether or not positive reinforcement from the treating DR will help, it has been demonstrated that ones mind set will play a role, so if the Dr says its not so bad and you will be OK with a little rest and some PT or something, some will accept this as their situation. ONLY you know for sure if your pain is substantial, and it is imperative that you report your pain as you feel it to be.



    Should you feel that you are not receiving the proper corrective medical care or are returned to work when after you try, you know you are unable to perform your duties that you were hired to do, it would be strongly advised that while you are out now, this would be a good time to begin searching for the appropriate attorney. Do your homework B4 you retain lawyer. Yes, consultation is free, but consulting with the wrong lawyer may lead to hiring the wrong lawyer. I have a guide that is helpful when interviewing your potential lawyer, if you want to see just ask. In any event it would not hurt to begin your search, as word of mouth, and asking your family lawyer for a WC expert are also appropriate. Should you be the unfortunate one that is totally disabled due to pain, you will want an EXPERT in WC law not just a lawyer who claims to do WC work.

    As stated you can potential fully recover with no residual effects or this could lead to total disability due to pain. Everyone responds differently. You can have 100 patients with same or similar findings and 25 not even know they had something wrong, 50 have some discomforts but are able to manage with OTC meds and little rest, and 24 may require steroid injections and return to work, but there's always that 1 who may end up totally disabled. I am just spit balling numbers here so if there is a study out there with different numbers I will concur as did with CORE strengthening and PT.

    What is a positive note is there was no findings or impressions left that would lead me 2 believe there is nerve impingement, from the findings but it still is a possibility, I guess? It could just be an irritated nerve,as the back still is a mystery, even to the experts. AN EMG may be appropriate to determine nerve capacity/and or damage. I am sure you have been instructed to stop any activity that causes significant distress or increase of ongoing pain, and this would be advise to follow.

    Hang in there.

    BUG


    Leslie, the term "pencil pushers" was an expression used to describe some back pain sufferers who do not exercise, or do physical work day in and day out, (or are otherwise out of physical conditioning) who may be suffering due to poor "CORE" strength. I do believe back muscles are part of ones over all CORE strength, and I believe NJROB understood what I was trying to say from his reply. I will agree that bulging discs do get larger as well as smaller, over time, I have not heard that discs grow larger when standing, for sure they are under more pressure when standing. I am not a Dr nor do I know of, or read Nurse mhotts work? In time NJROB will have a better idea of where this is going.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    Bug the nurse is an IW who just posted that info here on the board. The PTP was very hostile towards her then changed his tune and threw in the info. Interesting thread. You know the pain he is referring to is called sciatica and while many suffer from different degrees of sciatica it is never a good sign with a recent back injury. The sciatic nerve is being pressured, most likely from the herniation.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    PA, but worked in NJ
    Posts
    821

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    Leslie,

    I agree completely about the sciatica issue it can be a terrible way to live, may I ask what state is the nurse posting on? I dont recall seeing her on NJ and due to the complex differences in each states laws I stay where I am more sure of the law and rules.

    I think NJ ranks high on the list of having the most "hostile WC Drs" in the nation, and they rarely throw the IW a bone, as they are busy throwing um under the bus!!

    BUG

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    Bug, rnhott from CA. That is r n it runs together and looks like m. It's the post about AME started out rough.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Advice ASAP on Back Injury and Treatment. Not Happy with WC Doctors

    I get sciatica, have a good chiropractor that puts it all back together every so often. Good at disc decompression also. It is an option that som e WC will allow

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