"Diagnosis and treatment of back pain"

About: Muscloskeletal service

(as the patient),

I visited my GP in November 2006 with back and leg pain and over the next five months struggled on, having been told it was due to arthritis/wear and tear. I asked for a referral to the Muscular Skeletal team for advice on correct posture and ways of coping in April 2007. Whilst waiting for this appointment I saw an orthopaedic surgeon privately who arranged a spinal x-ray and MRI scan. It was found that I had two severely herniated discs and showed signs of cauda equine which is a "red flag" indicator of the need for urgent medical attention. I had NHS surgery in October 2007 when I was told I was to remain flat in bed for the first 48 hours and in hospital for a further 48 hours. The nurses insisted I got out of bed much too early despite my protests that I was to remain flat and I was discharged in less than 48 hours. Sadly I have been left with significant nerve damage and constant pain. I tried to return to work on very much reduced hours but was retired on ill health grounds in January of this year. I will always wonder if I had received the correct diagnosis at the beginning and had been left flat for the first 48 hours after surgery if the outcome would have been different. I would much prefer to still be working and earning my own living instead of living off a very small pension and benefits. After surgery I seriously considered suicide as I felt I was of no use to anyone and without the unfailing support of my family and friends would not be here today.

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