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Thread: Back Surgery

  1. #1
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    Default Back Surgery

    I am home recovering from a 2nd back surgery since October 15,2009. I could not prove the first surgery was job related, but the second surgery was the result of throwing a roof ladder on the second story roof to check a chimney. I re-herniated L-5 S-1 disk again and had to have surgery. I just read over NFPA 1582 and I fall in the category A which the way I understand it is that I am not able to return to the fire service. I am wondering if anyone has had to cross this bridge? Any and all replies will be greatly appreciated.


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    I haven't crossed that bridge so to speak, but have concerns as well; I herniated two disks in December of last year and had surgery the first week of March. I'm concerned that I may not pass a physical, however I am in excellent health and my recovery is going very well. From what I have read of NFPA 1582, 2007 edition, it shouldn't be a problem if you can recover completely. In the 2003 edition diskectomies and laminectomies are specifically stated as being Category A conditions, however in the 2007 edition, they are (I think) specifically not mentioned as either Class A or Class B conditions.

    http://www.nfpa.org/onlinepreview/on....asp?id=158207

    So presuming that you are able to make a full and complete recovery, there should be no issue, However, it sounds like according to the guidelines that if you are unable to make a full recovery, it may be up tot he discretion of your Dept Doc as to what you can or cannot do. I'd guess that since you are throwing ladders, etc, they might take issue, depending on your limitations.

    Good luck! I'm not clear on when these things happened to you; have you had two surgeries SINCE October 15, 2009?

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    L4/L5 and L5/S1. Im only 27 and had surgery 3 months after the injury, which my doctor states as the prime reasons that my recovery has gone so well. I have had no complications nor return of any pain.

    I'm suprised that you were back at full duty only 6 months after your initial injury; while my doc recommended a minumum of 3 months, I understand that a year is pretty common before guys get back to throwing ladders, etc. Did you have Physical Therapy? I'm sure you know but core strength is key to recovering from a back injury. I am religious about my rehab, and I think that has helped me out a ton.

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    Default back surgery

    I had my first surgery on Oct. 15, 2009 and my second surgery on April 9,2010. I have not read the 2007 edition. All I have found was the 2003 edition. What disk did you herniate? Thanks for the info.

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    Default back surgery

    My doctor said that if I had a normal job he would let me go back after 4 weeks, but since I was a firefighter I needed to stay out 6 weeks. Well I ended up staying out 8 weeks then went back to regular duty. I am an engineer on the ladder and this particular call we needed ladders thrown and on our ladder we split up with an outside crew and an inside crew. Well I am on the outside crew due to being the driver and our ladders are over 20 years old. We grabbed a 28 and 16 roof ladder. To make a long story short the 16 foot ladder got me when I was lifting it and putting up on the second story. I had not felt that good since high school. Well now I am not sure of the recovery time with this surgery. I have been told by my doctor to be extremely careful because if I re herniate it again I will have to be fused.

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    That's supriseing; I suppose that every doc is different, but they told me I couldnt' go back to a 'regular' job for 6 weeks and not back to fire fighting (I'm a volunteer) for 3 months... whilch seems like an eternity but is well worth it if I can get back to real life. I should have gone back to my job today (cabinetmaker) but there wasn't work to be had due to some scheduling mix ups... so I am still at home rehabing.

    From what I understand, a fusion would prevent you from coming back. Did he prescribe you physical therapy?

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    Default back surgery

    The doctor told me before my 2nd surgery that the 2nd surgery would not relieve my lower back pain, but it will relieve the pain that was going down both legs and the numbness. He said that hopefully physical therapy will relieve that back pain and if it don't fusion may be next. He did not want to fuse me because I have 2 disk herniated above where he would fuse me. He said that is the only thing he could guaranty is that if he dose the fusion I will have problems later on with the disk above the fusion. He said he tries to give everyone 2 discectomies before fusion, specially with my age. He told me before the surgery that I may be back in 12 weeks discussing fusion, he said there a certain amount of people that keep herniating disk and there is not enough evidence on who these people are. He said it is a small percentage. He likes to be conservative and that why we decided to go with an open discectomy. Good luck on going back to work. It sucks setting home being bored. I also volunteer in my home county, and I hate hearing the pager going off and I can't go and help.

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    As I understand it any back issues that continue to cause pain or a neuro defecit are the kinds of injuries that are going to keep you from coming back. According to NFPA as i understand it, ANY fusion is considered a Class A, and as such you wouldn't be able to come back. One thing that it is important to remember is that there is moer to life than fire fighting, even if it is how you make your living. Nerve issues are not to be messed with. I'd talk with your union rep and figure out what your rights are and how you need to go about protecting them. But you have to take care of your body.

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    Default back surgery

    I have talked to my workers comp manager and she said that they will rate my back, but if the doctor says that if I can go back and perform my job duties as per my job description then I will be able to go back. I am in NC and we do not have an union. My doctor has me starting a 6 week physical therapy program at my 6 week after surgery. Then we will discuss what will be next. I know there is more to life than firefighting, but when you have a dream come true as being a firefighter its hard to swallow that my dream may be over. I do have a firm foundation in my belief that God is in control and his will is more important than mine. Thanks for the info.

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