On December 4th my husband injured his back at work. He is a yard shifter and his job requires him to get in and out of a wagon hundreds of times per shift. The wagon is poorly designed in that when you go to sit in the seat you essentially have to drop down several inches. He was extremely fatigued because he was working mandatory 16 hour shifts for the holiday and when he sat down in the seat he felt lower back pain that gradually got worse as the night went on.
Pain: His pain is centered directly over his spine from L1-L5 and the surrounding muscles. While the surrounding muscle pain does go away the pain directly on his spine is constant and he feels like he has a ‘rock pushing in on his back.’ It is better in the morning (3) but progressively gets worse and ends up being an 8/9 at night. He can’t sit upright at all and needs to be reclined. He also can’t walk more than 5 minutes without a flare-up.
Treatment: Sadly he had to go through workers comp and I’m sure you can guess how that went. He suffered for over a month until they finally felt like sending for an MRI, X-Ray and PT. He has seen a chiropractor, PT, spine surgeon, two physiatrists and two occupational medicine doctors. He has been on two muscle relaxers, TENS, heat, ice, massage therapy, epsom salt baths, lidocaine patches, Biofreeze, and trigger point injections. The only thing that gave him relief for about an hour was the TENS and a heat pack. He also bought ergonomic chairs, different pillows and tried sleeping in various positions on beds and recliners. His physiatrist just started him on Amiltryptaline 10mg last week. When I asked if this was out of the ordinary for back pain to go on this long she said no and there is nothing on the MRI that indicates why he would even be in this much pain.
In March he will be free from seeing these assigned workers comp doctors and be able to go to a doctor that actually listens. He is going into a deep depression because of the pain and he wants to go back to work. (There are no light duty positions. He either works or he doesn’t).
I asked his doctors if it could be the hemangioma in his L1 causing all of this and they all said no because those are benign and asymptomatic. However I read online that they can cause issues. Has anyone dealt with a hemangioma before? How was it treated? Anything that we should be asking to steer us on the right path? We just don’t understand how there is ZERO improvement after three months.
Oh and he also keeps an extremely detailed pain journal that so far none of his doctors even cared about except his PT.