Dealing with chronic pain
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deliberating cervicogenic headaches and severe osteoporosis

JezzJezz Member Posts: 7 Listener
edited January 2018 in Dealing with chronic pain
Hi. I am here because I have deliberating cervicogenic headaches, a crushed T6 and disk tear at the L4 and L5. I am 60 years old. I am faced right now with either staying at work and risking losing my job because I can't do all the physical labor anymore or taking a medical retirement.
I have only 1 1/2 year left before I'm 62 where I can collect retirements benefits. I fear my employer may just oust me if I can't perform the heavy lifting, bending, stooping, or walking.

I live in the US. Michigan. Around the Detroit area.
I am married. 20 years this year. My husband had a failed spinal fusion done nearly 15 years ago now. We have been through a lot. Financially this is going to be really hard. I've been preparing myself, but not enough. I'd have to move from this house, we couldn't afford it on retirement pay. We will sink if I have to wait for disability for medical retirement benefits. I was going to get some free advice from a couple lawyers. I haven't yet. I'm on a medical from work due to my mental status anxiety and stress (that's entirely a bigger story.) My doc has put me on xanax, nasty drug, so my mind is foggy. 
I had a forum friend refer me to here. I hope this forum is what I need and that I can get some helpful information. We all know talking to others in similar situations always helps.
Later and take care,
Jezz

Replies

  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Jezz
    Welcome to the community, I am sorry to hear you are having such a tough time.  As we are based in the UK, all my information is probably only relevent to UK based people, but I think you are right that sometimes, just being able to chat with people who understand can be so helpful.

    I would definitely think that seeking some legal advice would be good for you.  Are you employers being supportive?

    I found this information about employment laws around disability in the US that might help.  And I had a quick google for free legal advice in Detroit came up with a lot of links, I would look for those who specialise in disability employment.

    Best of luck, and I look forward to chatting with you.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • JezzJezz Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thanks Sam,
    I found the disability forum for my area. I'm going to do some reading today. There is plenty of legal advice here. I will be calling a lawyer soon.
    It's 5am right now, just got up so my mind is fuzzy.
    The reason I'm off work right now is I had a nervous breakdown. I yelled in retaliation to a coworker who I feel was disrespecting me totally. And on many occasions to. When I talk to the bosses about it they chalked it up to him being from Macedonia and maybe that's how they treat woman. Not in America they don't. So they sent me to counseling and I went to my doc who gave me time off work and is sending me to a psychotherapist. There are two guys showing signs of verbal abuse I work with. I can't work with that.
    In the end of all this if I go back to work with 2 abusers and I can't work fully 100% due to my disabilities then the new boss will have to oust me anyway. I'm just trying to set myself up for this happening. It obvious I will get no help with lifting, stopping, climbing ladders, or walking too much. I will be in dire pain as I did this already this past year and went to my doc about it. It's just not possible for me to give 100% at work.
    Thanks for the help, I'll go read now some of the posts.
    Jezz
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Jezz
    Im sorry you are going through this, it sounds really stressful!! Abuse in the workplace is just unacceptable!! 

    In the UK employers have to make 'reasonable adjustments' to your role if you are a disabled person.  You can read more about this here, but I dont know what the rules are in the US Im afraid.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • JezzJezz Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Cervicogenic headaches, that's the results I got finally after several years of going to many Neurologists. The several neurologists didn't know what caused my migraines and I was put on many drugs that never helped, I tried physical therapy and that never helped, in fact it made it worse. Some of the drugs I was on caused severe digestive problems, ulcers on the duodenum and stomach. I was very ill. I needed to take a lot of time off of work.  I tried Botox with one neurologist, he did it several times, it caused more pain in the neck and the back of the head. The pain is always on my right side, the pain was chronic and almost everyday.

    Then I went to the University neurologists pain clinic. They put me through the ringer with a battery of tests, the therapies again, medications and I refused the injections and left them (too expensive and out of insurance network). But that doctor said the cause for my headaches was called Cervicogenic. The problem is in my neck. I always knew it was because I have had sever pain and locking up in my neck for years. Now that I'm older the neck condition has gotten worse. This is the results of the MRI scan:
    IMPRESSIONS:    1.  Multilevel disc degeneration with associated osteoarthritic changes.    There is resulting mild spinal canal stenosis at C4-C5.
    So Disc degeneration and spinal stenosis is what I'm dealing with.

    The pain is radiating from the neck. When I use my arms at work, raise them over my head, having to hold my head back in a position that hurts, lift heavy things at work it causes migraines. You cannot believe the amount of pain when a migraine hits. It is so sever I have to pull my head forward hold an ice bag on my head until it goes away. Sometimes just for a little bit sometimes all night long. On top of the pain, I had sever tiredness, dizziness, and ringing in the ear. My eyes don't focus. Sleeping is broken as many times the migraines hit during the night. I've tried sleeping in different positions, nothing works. This has been going on since 2008. 10 years.

    I went to my husbands pain doctor last year. He did several nerve blocks. The last nerve block took my migraines away for almost 8 months. He said I got lucky. When they came back I went to that doc again. He said the next step to pain relief is a Cervical Rhizotomy. So he did that in the C2, C3, C4. One can not believe the after effects of burning pain of the nerves in the back of my neck. Burning pain so much I could not have anything touching the neck. Clothing, hair, all touch and it was very painful. The doc said that nerve pain was uncommon but it happens. I endured the pain and went to work with this. I still have the burning pain today, yet docs put me on Neurotin. I don't know if the neurotin is making it better or just time in healing. Thsi was almost 2 months ago. Ugh, the neurotin alone causes Diarrhea. Can't work and sit in the bathroom all day. Over all though this Rhizotomy has decreased my migraines to once a week. Doc says this procedure may work for 6 months to a year. Then I have to do it all over again.

    So that's my story in a nutshell about Cervicogenic Headaches. The pain is deliberating and disabling. This in itself can be my reason for getting a disability retirement. At least I hope. I cannot go to work and keep lifting, pulling, stooping, walking, climb ladders to look up, use my arms for strenuous  heavy repairs. My employers are not going to let me have any limitations. They just don't recognize limitations in my job, I can't fulfill my assigned job duties. I am a biomedical engineer tech at a hospital. Now a huge corporation of hospitals in my area. The hospital used to be a small time hospital who cared about it's employees. This is how I got to have 28 years in there.
  • JezzJezz Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Sam, the rules in the US are fairly simple. Workplace abuse is clearly unacceptable. Yet, verbal abuse is hard to justify. The US laws do not state verbal abuse as a crime. Plain and simple it's his word against mine. Lawyers do however have won many cases of my kind. Just proving my abuse will be difficult. Since he hasn't touched me I'm not sure I'd win in a court of law. The one guy is a liar and other is very good at being a quiet narcissist. Both are defending the other. So that's 2 against one.
    With my deliberating pain and stress, right now, I can't handle it.
  • JezzJezz Member Posts: 7 Listener
    I didn't tell you about the back pain and my thread states 'and back pain'
    I have severe osteoporosis. I fractured my T6 four years ago. Lifting the dog of all things.
    I didn't have a clear diagnosis from my GP doc at the time, (I got rid of her after that) I went to work with this, not knowing I had a fracture. It was very painful and the pain radiated around my torso. Today the pain still radiates around the torso and the MRI says that vertebrae is crushed. 

    Last year we were packing and moving my mother in laws stuff (she past away).
    I hurt my lower back. I went to work when the pain subsided for awhile. The pain would come and go. My MRI says I have burst my L4-L5 and it caused a disc tear. I couldn't get out of bed many times and had to call into work. I couldn't walk when the pain hit. I went to my new doc, who works at the hospital (great guy), he gave me 2 months off of work to help me heal. Since then I haven't had the severe pain but only radiating pain down my legs at night, mostly the right side. I'm on medication for that. Every so often and when lifting, I get a sharp pain in the lower back. Then I have to sit or lay down. No work then either because I cannot lift over 10lbs.

    In conclusion the deliberating cervicogenic headaches, the burning pain in my neck, the radiating pain from the crushed T6, the 2 burst discs L4-L5, plus the abuse and stress from work is maddening.  This is what I call Chronic Pain mentally and physically. It's all I can handle just to have a happy moment and enjoy anything in life.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    It must be really tough for you :(
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • JezzJezz Member Posts: 7 Listener
    It is very. Maddening!!!  :'(
  • JezzJezz Member Posts: 7 Listener
    I spoke to a lawyer yesterday about getting disability retirement. I would qualify if I wasn't working. Good news is she said it would only take 3 months to get benefits. Now I just have to find a doctor to put me on complete disability.
     Then, I'm scared.No frightened out of my whits. 
     I love my job but can't work it 100% anymore. I don't think they allow disability either. I've been on intermittent leave for years, my doctor writes in my lifting restrictions but it goes unnoticed and I'm faced with doing full lifting daily.
    I'm scared because disability pay is half of what my income is, I'm not ready for move out of my expensive home yet. On disability pay I'd have to move into something cheaper. I just wish I had my home paid for. Just wasn't in my cards for that to be.
    Also giving up my lifestyle isn't easy to think about. I've been gearing myself for this for a couple years now though. I think I can do it. My husband on the other hand likes my income, yet he's brainless when it comes to the bills. He thinks I have a money tree somewhere. Its going to be harder for him.
    Then I have to think about getting Medicare. We have a lot of medical bills to pay.
    I'm from the US, we don't have social medicine for all.
    Just writing out my fears. Sorry for dumping.
    Thanks for the links. I did find one with lots of info.
    Jezz
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,731 Disability Gamechanger
    Im sorry this is such a stressful time for you, and I hope that talking about it is helping a little 
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
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