3 years ago, I had a "minor" accident at work, a fall on my tailbone area. I was taken to the workmen's comp doctor, they x-rayed, no MRI, and said use ice. I did. The pain seemed temporary, but I realized a few months later I was occasionally limping at work, as I do a lot of walking.
A year later, I was in a building with new construction materials around, and the territory was new to me, and had another fall, a bad one, right on the L5 area. I could not get up for some time and no help was there. I finally did, and the next day I was in bad pain and bruised all over my lower back and hip, where I'd rolled and hit a long sharp wooden object.
As I'd had one accident the year prior I did not report this, I was in fear of losing my job. I kept quiet about it, but pain started gradually increasing to where I was limping noticeably, and had to use a cane to get up out of a chair. It was horrible, and I was trying to hide it. I was told at work to "lose the cane" or I'd be assessed for ADA and possibly be transferred out. The stress about losing my job no doubt affected my pain.
As I was having symptoms of burning in the buttocks, mostly right sided, some left, and numbness and tingling down my right leg, I went to a reputable orthopaedic surgeon who did an MRI. I had a herniated disc at L5/S1, a great deal of inflammation and what appeared to be some matter that could be hitting nerves, as well as some nerve root impingement. He prescribed a cortisone injection which did nothing after the anesthetic wore off. Never again! No drugs prescribed touched the pain. I did PT for 4 months, and still do the exercises. After 9 months of still having pain, though much better after PT, the doc did another MRI and said he had to check and see if the name was right, because the disk matter had reabsorbed into my system and I now had no disc to speak of, it was thin and black between the two vertebrae on the MRI, and he said that was good!
I asked why then am I in so much pain? (BTW, a 3rd incident at work, where I, a 60 year old woman, was ordered to move a 500 lb object (on very small casters) across a large room as proof that I could handle my job)...is what I am sure caused what my doc said was the rupture or tearing that occurred. He believes, since that incident was almost 2 years ago, that I should not be having pain, but I have constant flare ups. Some times I'm good, I can walk fine! Then bam, something goes wrong, and I can barely move.
Since I am now almost 62, the injured area is of course developing arthritis and this is part of my pain. The doc said the rest of my back bone is like a healthy 20 year old...I only have the degeneration where there have been several blows to the area. I can never count on doing or going anywhere because I don't know if I can walk far enough, or have a flare up. I've tried everything including prayer. I've thought of suicide when it is bad. I hate to think in the years left that this pain is what I have to look forward to. All my doc can do is give me a note for work to not lift over 20 lbs, not repetitive bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, reaching. No surgery he says, and I'm with him on that. Any advice welcome. Thanks, Jane