Advice anyone? - Printable Version
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Advice anyone? - trucker66 - 03-23-2009 02:20 PM
Has any one had any experience with the trucking industry and in particular, degenerative disc disease? Or how about post concussion syndrome?
I am a truck driver and on September 23rd of 2008 while I was sweeping debris out of my trailer I fell about 5 feet out of the back of the trailer and landed directly on the top of my head, I was knocked unconcious for about 30 minutes and experienced pain in my neck and middle back. Not to mention the horrible egg on my head. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where they took cervical and thoracic xrays, and also a ct scan of my head. all tests were negative. They gave me dilaudide for the pain and sent me on my way. I left the hospital with a severe headache, and have had the headache ever since. I also had some vestibular problems along with some memory loss and other cognitive symptoms, all which have seemed to improve with neurorehabilitation. A few weeks later I was stricken with an excruciatingly sharp pain in my lower back while I was getting up from a seated position. I told my doctor about this and she ordered xrays of my lower back which showed that there may be some signs of disk degeneration. She ordered an MRI of the lower back which indicated degeneration L2-L5 and also a herniated disk at L4,L5. I have been going to PT for 3 weeks now for my back problem along with taking skelaxin. There is great improvement in the muscles in my back but I still have extreme pain in my spine. I am also stricken with these unbearable headaches on a daily basis. The Doc is calling it post concussion syndrome. all I know is that I wake up with a pounding headache and I go to bed with it. I have trouble sleeping now, where I never ever had any trouble at all. I take Vicodin and Topamax for the headaches. I also am seeing an OD who is treating the headaches through manipulation. He gave me 3 shots of Lidocaine in my neck last week and plans to give me more shots in my back this week. The pain meds make it bearable, as to where I can function during the day, but I cannot get in a truck and drive. I also fear that at some point I will form a dependency on the pain meds. The back pain does not allow me to sit or stand for more than 30 - 45 minutes at a time. Has anyone else had these problems? Is there hope that I will recover fully and get back to doing what I love the most? After 6 months of pain and doing nothing I am going absolutely crazy. My life has changed so drastically. I am not sure how this whole WC thing will play out. Any advise would be appreciated.
RE: Advice anyone? - sparkey - 03-23-2009 08:06 PM
Sorry to hear of your injury. I do not have back pain as my injury is of my dominant hand ( neuropathy/RSD). Hopefully you will be able to go back to the career you had at the time of your injury but I was one of the unfortunate that had to give up mine due to not being able to hold a needle anymore as I was a phlebotomist and could not trust holding a needle nor feelings in my fingers anymore. You can only pray that you can go back to do what you loved to do and work really hard at it each day at therapy.
I just started the Topamax the other day and saw that it was for headaches and to tell you the truth I get headaches when I take it. Amazing eh??? It is pretty weird. I have not noticed anything different but that. I am on 100 mg's right now for the 1st week. I am taking it for nerve pain. As far as other pain meds. Just like any medication you can get use to it after awhile and it does not work as you would need more of it. After having pain for a few months you can become a chronic pain patient. As alot of us on here know, being a chronic pain patient is a terrible thing to be. It is very depressing and has alot of down sides that go along with it. Hopefully you do not fall into that catagory. That is why it is best to get back to work if at all possible as soon as you can no matter what you can do as far as light duty etc. It gets you out of the house and your mind off your pain at least. I 100% agree with it.
RE: Advice anyone? - trucker66 - 03-23-2009 08:28 PM
Thanks for the reply sparkey,
My neurologist started me on amitriptyline and that made me suicidal, so they tried the topamax. Istarted at 25mg then worked my way up to 100mg. it seemed to lessen the intensity of my headaches until I got to 100 then BAM I got the headaches worse than ever. Now they have me at 75mg and I still have the pain. it is about a 6 or 7 on the infamous 1-10 scale, where it used to be 9-10 every day. And the vicodin helps to bring it down to about a 4 for a few hours. I appreciate the kind words of support. Yhe Doc is telling me that I should probably find a new profession given the headaches and the condition of my back. The road sure does a number on your spine. And besides I do not want to put the general public in harms way by driving while I am taking narctics. I couldn't live with that. My problem is that I live in Maine but my claim is under Indiana jurisdiction, as the company I work for is based there.
I still am able to remain optimistic despite it all.
I hope all works out well for You also.
RE: Advice anyone? - Bad Boy Bad Boy - 03-23-2009 09:28 PM
Post Concussion Syndrome or swealing of Brain has taken place. That is mostly what that means. Even though you had a CT Scan of the Head - Brain, it might be wise to have a MRI with Contrast performed to see if there is any other problems there. 15% of people with post concussion syndrome, may not get relief from 6 months to a year, and some cases even longer. If you have dizzy spells, you can ask to be seen by a Ear Nose Throat Specialist. If the MRI shows no problems with the brain, headaches can be treated with medication used for Migranes. This Medication is very expensive also. Withdrawals from any medication can bring the headaches back.
Now, just an Opinion, but I seen the States of Maine you live in, and employer is in Indiana. I can somewhat understand the claim being handle by a State Law and Rules, but I also heard before, depending on what State the injury took place at. Is if it wasn't the home State of the two mentioned, your home State might be the place your claimed should be handled. To learn more on that, you just might need to speak with a very good workmens compensation Attorney on the State issue as to where it should be handled. Most 1st visits with these Attorney are free anyways.
As the problems with you Back (Lower Spine) degeneration is a normal ageing process which of course can be set off by an injury like you have had. The herniated disk at L4,L5, might be the source of your pain. You may wish further testing on this to see if anything can be done to help. Or, you can ask to be treated by a very good Pain Management Doctor.
Are you being treated in your home State where you live? If so, have you had any problems with the Insurance yet?
RE: Advice anyone? - Lilly - 03-24-2009 10:50 AM
I can only relate to the vestibular problems you are having. Dizziness, nausea, staggering...this is because of the upset of the fluids/salt crystal inside your head. When this happened to me (from a fall and apparent head jarring) I had to take PT sessions to get me over it. Ask the doctor about PT ....prefferably someone who can do the "Epiley Manuevers" on you. The fluids will remain dislodged if not put back into place. And sorry to say, now that it's happened once, it's easier to do again, and can come back.
Good Luck, Lilly
RE: Advice anyone? - Still in Limbo - 03-24-2009 11:25 AM
Hi Trucker, and Welcome to the Forum!! I was a Class A Trucker Myself, and I Worked Daily with DDD, I have 4 Dried Out and Bulged Discs in the L Region, and Worked Daily not even knowing I had them! As far as Your Herniation, it would Depend on whether Your Nerves are being Impinged by the Herniation, the Severity of the Herniation, and whether Time may Help the Healing Process, or whether Surgery May be needed. So as far as Your Back Goes, Yes, You may Possibly be able to Drive Again, but I know nothing about Head and Neck Injuries! It's Good to See that You Mentioned Worrying about Injuring Others, by Driving when not in the Condition to do so! My Injuries have Left Me Disabled, and I Hope You have a Complete Recovery!! You will get a Lot of Good and Valuable Info. Here, You have already Received Some, and I'm Sure More is to Come!!
RE: Advice anyone? - hurt at work - 03-24-2009 12:55 PM
Welcome trucker and sorry you are here as this is not a good thing.Back pain is no fun along with everything else you have going on.i hope things improve for you and soon.As you can see there are a lot of good people here to help you out and i don't think there is much else i can add to this other then if the back pain continues or gets worse you need more test done.don't wait to long and end up with permanent damage.i wish you the best and get better soon.