3 herniated disc in lower back

Patient

Q: I have my second lower back injury in 2 years at my current job. This time I was diagnosed with 3 herniated disc in the lower spine, the largest 5mm. I work as a order selector at a grocery distributor, moving anywhere from 5,000 lbs to 15,000 lbs a hour working 55 to 70 hours a week. Should I continue this career path? What type of long term damage am I creating if I continue this type of physical work?

Symptoms:  Lower back pain, pain shooting down left leg
Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. Your lower back injury is indeed quite serious. Three herniated discs put you at increased risk of developing chronic back pain and decreased range of motion. Any type of strenuous physical activity at this point may exacerbate your injury. The pain can in fact become so bad that you would be unable to perform your duties at work or in the worst cases, even move. We strongly suggest you consult an orthopedic surgeon to determine what your options of treatment are and assess what type of work you are safely able to perform. While at work, please wear a supportive back brace and avoid heavy lifting. We hope you feel better soon.

Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com

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