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How's your back?

Discussion in 'Safety Issues' started by Squizzy246B, May 6, 2007.

  1. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    Occupation:
    Digger Driver
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    I was wondering how many here have a dodgy back and how you look after it.

    Like it seems most males from my generation, I did a lot of stupid things as a youngun thats resulted in the old "Bad Back". Amongst other things I used to play Rugby Union which is not entirely known for maintaining a healthy back. These days I can often be seen logging on to HEF at 3 or 4 am in the morning...cause I can't sleep on account of my back giving me some Gyp.

    I see a chiropractor every 6 weeks or so, go for a treatment known as Bowen:

    http://www.lifeclinic.com.au/Bowen Therapy.htm

    and have just started taking Glaucosomine.

    Luckily I don't have to spend all day in the saddle now that I have some of my boys trained up in the machine. When we are laying blocks I normally do the block laying for the morning and then jump on the machine in the afternoon for a couple of hours...this keeps me more active.

    Awhile back I spent a couple of days in a 980C in a gravel pit...could hardly walk at the end of a 10 hour day!.
     
  2. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member

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    Richmond NH
    I do nothing for it. I just live with it. Along with bad knees, and elbows, and shoulder and neck.
     
  3. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    You forget hearing loss, failing eyesight and dodgey memory:rolleyes: ...plus weight gain, high cholesterol............:eek:

    I was inspired to start this thread by the KoO's pile of tyres!
     
  4. RollOver Pete

    RollOver Pete Senior Member

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    Indio, Ca
    I jacked up my back in 1992 @ 27 yrs old.
    This was a truck related injury.
    While tarping my pull trailer at Granite's yard in Mojave, I thought it would be kinda cool to try a Superman and fly off of the trailer. The fact that there was more than enough wind and for some reason I couldn't let go of the tarp had something to do with it. :beatsme
    The result was a couple of smashed tie rod ends and a bent spring.:confused:
    My hands and arms will go numb. Just depends how I sit. I don't believe that I have had a good night's sleep since then. About the time I get to sleep, I'll wake up because my arm or hand feels numb. Once I move just a bit, every thing's fine. Some nights are much worse than others.
    Doctors say that my back will never, ever get any better. Only worse...and that depends on me. Surgery is the only option.
    No thanks, I'll deal with the pain. :Banghead

    I can remember as a youngster hearing all them old men talk about back injuries.
    I thought, "yeah right gramps"
    Guess what.... them old timers knew what they were talking about.
    I never in my wildest dreams thought that a back injury would keep me from working.....it happens every now and then.:crying


    That injury put an end to me running any scrapers or skip loaders. Anything where you are twisted around while doing work. Sometimes it affects my grip. Tools slipping out of my hands is the most frustrating part. :spaz

    Drugs don't help.....so I've learned to tolerate pain over the years... thanks to random drug testing.:mad:
    :cool2
     
  5. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    Hi Squizzy,

    I'm resting at my computer after a morning spent hand-raking, shovel loading, and spreading gravel. Plus picking up decorative stone and blocks, and doing some painting inside the house early on.

    Like you, I mis-spent my youth at football, hockey, and working in farm fields picking pickles and potatoes. Then I was ejected from a sliding Ford sedan rear seat -- thorough the closed door window -- when it was hit just behind the door by a Nash Rambler. I cracked two vertebra in my neck, had many other serious injuries, and my back has hurt ever since. That wreck was in 1964.

    That didn't stop the Navy from accepting me in 1966, I had two legs, two arms, and I was breathing. That's all that counted.

    Now, after 40 some years, I'm still kicking, well, not very hard that is. I've been in more wrecks, been crushed by falling trees, operated and repaired heavy mining and construction equipment, even been shot at and missed a few times. I am lucky to still be alive.

    I fell ill to severe rheumatoid arthritis in 2001, had hints of it before in 1995. I've had bad knees for years starting around 1980 with several arthroscopic operations. I went into management and got away from daily wrench-bending and cat-skinning, though I every once in a while would do some of one or the other. I finally had both knees replaced in 2004, and to date, they are fine. The constant pain with them is gone and I can walk without crutches.

    My back is another matter. It always hurts. It is at it's worst first thing in the morning upon getting out of bed. It takes an hour or so to settle down to a "tolerable" level of pain. One reason for this is the arthritis, and all the banging around I've taken over the years. The other is that for reasons involving good food and a generous lack of exercise, I have put on several pounds since I got married 34 years ago. This increased weight and it's location, have a lot to do with the back pain.

    If I lost 60 pounds, I'd probably feel very good in the back. But I haven't weighed that little since junior high school. I won't tell you what I think of "quackopracters," since this is a family journal, but suffice to say they would not do me any good.

    My wife went to one for years and she's worse off now than when she started. She is using a morphine-based pain killer to get by on. She also has a condition called "facet arthritis." This is a loss of the cushion between the facet angles on the vertebra in the spine. When bare bone nerves meet bare bone nerves, the pain is exquisite.

    I have used a lot of aspirin and Naproxen for the pain over the years, plus a combination of very expensive arthritis medications, and Darvocet and aspirin together. That's when I was really bad off and couldn't walk. That helped the pain, but also caused Diverticulitis and eventually resulted in a perforated colon, a colostomy, deep vein thrombosis with clots in my lungs twice, and other very bad things.

    After surviving all that, I went on to use another expensive arthritis medication, without the aspirin, but continued using the Darvocet as needed. I also used Prednisone and some other stuff and in fact, still am. The other stuff is Methotrexate.

    Since my bout with Valley Fever last fall, I can no longer use the high dollar arthritis med. It contributed to a condition known as "compromised immune system." Since Valley Fever stays in the body, I now have to let my immune system recover, which may not help the arthritis, but at least my lungs won't disappear.

    The good news is that the previous medications reduced my RA factor from over 800 down to 60 or so. Nearly normal my doc says. So right now, I don't feel too bad except when I over do it. I'm coming off the prednisone slowly, and let me tell you, this stuff isn't easy to get away from. Painful!

    The bad news is that my lower backbones are in tough shape due to the many bad things I've done to them, the two types of arthritis, the extra weight I've packed for many years, and my age about 60. The Prednisone by the way, makes losing weight an even harder thing to do. Last year when I was operating a Cat and was off the stuff for several months, I was losing steadily at around four to five pounds a week. Doc doubts however, that even if I lost a lot of weight that my back will ever recover.

    My brother had some trouble with arthritis, and he tried everything over the counter he could get his hands on. He was always trying to get me to try some of the stuff he had. But I'd check it with my doctor and he's say it was of no benefit. That Glaucosomine you mentioned is a big seller here and my brother tried it too. But a few weeks or months later my brother would be trying something else. He went to a quackopracter for a while too and that only lightened his wallet. So, when he got really bad, he'd hit the booze pretty hard. I understand from his widow that this didn't go down too well with her. I have a 70 something brother-in-law that swears by the Glaucosomine however. Takes it faithfully every day.

    RollOver Pete and I, and probably you and many others share in the numbness in feet and hands. This is generally from a condition called Peripheral Neuropathy, which can be caused by arthritic afflictions, but also by exposure to chemicals like Agent Orange, though the Veterans Administration says NO!!.... It can also be a sign of Diabetes, so get checked out for that Pete. I had a friend that died because he was diagnosed too late for treatment. He suffered for several years with burning feet and hands.

    I'm hoping to return to work in a couple of weeks. I've recovered from the Fever and the Hernia surgery in March and I feel pretty good. The first two to three weeks out on a Cat are the hardest, especially in rock. But I seem to toughen up after that. But like Pete, scrapers are generally a young man's game and you gotta climb way up on loaders. So I'm going to try to stick with a Cat and see how I do.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    I grew up on a spud (potatoe) farm. At age 14 I revelled in how I could throw a 180lb bag 3 high and the hippies and surfies that worked for us could hardly get a bag off the ground...go figure. Fortunatley bulk bins came in not longer after and my first real boilermaking construction was to build a FEL (with forks) for a Massey Ferguson. No more bags.

    Funny thing is, my Dad was so proud of my building the loader arms for the Massey he took a photo. When I went to join the navy I took that photo and I later found out that tipped the scales in my favour....although they wouldn't accept my as a pilot cause I had flat feet:confused:

    Well, that makes me think I'm in pretty good shape with just a couple of stress fissures in L4 & L5.

    There is chiro's and chiros....good doctors and bad. Its hard to find a good chiro that can get in tune with your body....Doctors told me surgery was the only cure...chiro pointed out that I have an anatomically short left leg (1/2") (motorbikes) and I put an insert into my left boot. This simple act get me back on my feet and working in less than a week.

    The anti-inflammatory drugs will certainly rip your guts out...kidney failure is highly likely and heard some medical research suggesting other problems with ibruofen, voltarin and the like.


    Good luck![/QUOTE]

    Get better and stay well Joe.
     
  7. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member

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    Forgot those because of the memory thinggy. Oh and my cholestorol is fine.
     
  8. Copenhagen

    Copenhagen Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Colorado
    I dont know how you guys can run dozers all day everyday!

    I put 50 hours in on one last week and I can hardly move today!!!

    And I am only 24!
     
  9. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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    My back aches more frequently now than it ever has, but after reading this thread, I feel pretty darn good. I'd better quit complaining...
     
  10. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder

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    I had the L4/L5 disc removed in '88, I blew it out unloading a truck at work. I couldn't walk when it first happened. I'd say I'm at 95% today, I have about 3 or 4 bad days out of the year. I just have to be careful how I lift.
     
  11. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    To those young fellas reading this forum. Protect your backs, and all other parts of your body at all costs. You may feel at 20, 30 or even 40 that you are supermen, but about 50 you will begin to realize that you mostly are not.

    The boomer generation, of whom I am an early member, grew up with more adverse chemical exposure than any generation before us. Also an abundance of food, and things that did away with the hard work that actually helped previous generations maintain their health to a certain extent. We may never know how badly some things affected us that are now thought to be beneficial.

    There are lots of other things that eat away at your health over the years, but what you do personally can make a big difference. Its oft said that if you have your health, you have everything and that isn't far wrong.

    That said, skinning a Cat day in and day out can be a little rough, especially if you have been away from it a while. Scrapers are worse, particularly in a big production spread where the pace is fast, the haul roads rough. But, even though a Cat in rock can treat you like a marble in a tin can, its a slower marble and you can slow down a bit in the bad spots.
     
  12. Cat420

    Cat420 Senior Member

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    There's a history of bad backs in my family. Some of that is from the work they all did.(masonry, excavating, paving etc) I have seen how it keeps my dad from being able to do a lot of things and I have tried to take it easy, just ask him and he'll tell you just how easy I take it:D . I don't need to be telling macho stories from a wheel chair someday, watching other people do fun stuff. The newer equipment should help some. The previous generation had to run stuff that beat you up when operating correctly and I feel blessed to run equipment where operator comfort is part of the design.
     
  13. Dozerboy

    Dozerboy Senior Member

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    I've alwas had a lot of joint and back problems. I just deal with it now it been a few months since I bent over and couldn't stand back up. :drinkup it helps
     
  14. RollOver Pete

    RollOver Pete Senior Member

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    I love it!
    A 9L with a single shank in rock and I'm in Heaven. :rolleyes:
    The ground you travel on is only as smooth as you make it.
    Not the foreman, boss or anyone else driving around in his air conditioned IFS 1/2 ton gas pickup. That said, keep the blade loaded up! Take your time, and clean up as you go. If you bounce over something going forward, it will be 10 X worse when you hit it in reverse.:Banghead
    It's your back. Take care of it. If you get injured, you are easily replaced.
    Sad knowing that you are only worth the price of a phone call.
    :cool2
     
  15. Truckie

    Truckie Senior Member

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    Man that’s the truth, its 10 times worse in any machine.
    When I first started driving back in 95 I fell off a dump trailer. I was coming out of the trailer and was standing on the ladder ready to come down, and down I went due to ice. I was about 2 feet over the roof of the truck so you know it was a good fall. I hit the fender on the trailer and then the ground.
    I spent 4 months going to the back doctor to get straightened out.
    I am very careful of the things I do concerning my back.
    Now a days science I don’t drive and run a excavator with a shear I spend roughly 10 to 11 hour’s a day in the machine. The end of the day I sometimes feel it.
    When I first started back to work after being off 3 months with a broken foot I had sever back pain after I was on my feet more than 5 minutes. I was really scared this would last, but I was able to work that out, thank god.
    Back injuries are no joke. Be careful and take care of your back no matter what.
     
  16. Dozerboy

    Dozerboy Senior Member

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    My kidneys hate rock, but our scraper hands can mess up a cut almost just as bad at least in rock it’s my own fault.
     
  17. TALLRICK

    TALLRICK Well-Known Member

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    It can be rough in a dozer, but I always thought a skid steer was the hardest on someone's back. Guess I am very luck, being 6'7" tall and never having any back trouble, despite running machines and working on them.
     
  18. CascadeScaper

    CascadeScaper Senior Member

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    My back? It's great! But, I'm 20. Needless to say I take precautions. I find that by getting out of the machine every once in a while and stretching helps keep me more comfortable. Plus, I'm sure it helps when you do take a good shock load, being kinked up and taking a large shock never feels good.
     
  19. nedly05

    nedly05 Senior Member

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    My back is stiff most mornings, I have to see the chiropractor at least once a month. I pinched a nerve this winter, that's the worst back pain I have ever had. It hurt in 3 different spots down my leg and when I was in my truck for a long time my foot would go numb.
     
  20. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    So how are the HEF invalids getting on these days?:rolleyes: