To work or not to work... that is the question

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Changed
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/16/2008 5:05 PM (GMT -7)   
My current dilemma...
I'm looking for opinions on this subject:
I was in a serious Motor Vehicle Accident in October 2006 which prevented me from working for 5 months.  I recoved from my 'main' injuries (broken bones) and was able to walk again, etc., so returned to work... but then started falling apart again late last year, and have been off work again since the very beginning of February.  Some unresolved injuries (which have NEVER showed up on tests such as MRI, etc.) and chronic pain were wearing on me, and making me depressed, tired, and frustrated to the point which made it difficult to get out of bed some days.  Now, I'm back to working with a physiotherapist who believes she can resolve some (most? all?) of my pain issues and suggested I stay off work for another 2 months.
Of course, having missed so much work to date, I'm feeling very hard on myself, and even my family doctor has become frustrated with me and thinks that I should be working right now.  Seems as though some people think I'm taking advantage of the system... and that really I should be thankful I'm doing better and that I should be going back to work.  I have completely mixed feelings.
How realistic is it to work part or full time when you are in discomfort and pain (most) of the time, and your working conditions seem to aggrevate your symptoms?  How do you know when you're ready to TRY AGAIN?
I'm confused, and sad.
All comments appreciated.
Thanks.

Muzz
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 395
   Posted 4/16/2008 6:16 PM (GMT -7)   
That is a decision that should have to made only by you! Only u know how u feel and if u r capable to do your job. I am blessed to have a job that is not too physically stressful and I only wk 2 nights a week. When I blew a disc in 04, I went from 4nights, to 3 and now 2. I have nights that really stink cos of the pain and not being able to take much in the way of meds, I'm a ped home care nurse and need to be mentally alert(or as much as I ever am...LOL) If it's not a prob where u work to be off longer, take if off, YOU are the one working the job, not your doc or anyone else. Take care of you!
I am not my pain, it does not own me.


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/16/2008 7:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Changed -
You're asking the million dollar question as far as I'm concerned, except I don't have an answer for myself so I'm not sure I can be of help. I think if you enjoy your work, and you can work part time with the right modifications, without significantly increasing your symptoms, it may be worth it for the psychological boost. On the other hand, if you can't get reasonable accomodations, and especially if you dislike your work (which causes more stress), maybe it's not time to go back. I would think it's certainly not time to go back if you're still in significant pain and you physical therapist (or is it your physiatrist?) thinks you shouldn't go back there's probably good reason. If you continue aggravating an injury it will never heal.

I certainly understand how others perceive this, plus for me I got laid off from my pt. time job with benefits, so now I'd have to get hired by a new employer. It doesn't sound like your doctor understand what you're going through - maybe your physical therapist needs to send your doc a report of his/her recommendations. I don't think I'm being very helpful here, but do want to off you my support and empathy.

BigLucy
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 413
   Posted 4/16/2008 8:58 PM (GMT -7)   
O.K. this is right up my ally. I'm working on my third week of FT work after 5 months of medical leave and one year of PT work. I have multiple chronic illnesses, CP and on pain meds--the reason I went back to work now was I'm not sure I'm ever going to get any better than this, so I decided to give it a try (you can look up my previous posts from three weeks ago to hear how hard the whole thing was at first). The good news is that after two and a half weeks, I'm starting to get use to FT work and it's not as exhausting as it was in the beginning--the first week was really BAD, came home every night and fell immediately into bed. I think going back to work has helped me mentally, I'm around friends at work, I feel useful, and I get away from always focusing on my self and my challenges. The not so good news is that it is hard to work FT w/chronic illness, I have to always be thinking about taking care not to overdue anything: I have to get minimum 9-10 hours sleep a night, I take frequent breaks (not authorized or anything, I just go sometimes to the bathroom and sit there, I know weird, but works if I need to get away and no one thinks of bothering you in there), I try not to take too much pain meds at work, try to wait as long as possible until the end of the day. I also don't over extend myself, I'm a reliable worker, but I'm not out to win any awards.

What I would recommend is to take a look at what is required of you on your job and ask yourself if you can realistically do that job while also taking care of your self/health. Good luck.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/16/2008 9:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Big Lucy,
I'm glad you posted here. I was wondering how you were doing! Sounds like you're managing. Probably will take awhile to see if you can keep it up, but one thing is that you'll know one way or another.

Good luck! Keep us posted!

Changed
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/25/2008 10:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Just wanted to post a note to thank all who have responded.  Despite the lack of my doctor's support, I'm going to stick to what my Physiotherapist has advised.  Right now, she seems to be the most knowledgeable health practitioner (with respect to the condition of my body), so I'm going to stick with that.
I'm really quite fortunate to have found someone like her.  One of the treatments we are trying is called IMS.  Has anyone heard of it?  It's had quite a good success rate in the chronic pain world.
Intrasmuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a total system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes (chronic pain conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system when there is no obvious sign of injury or inflammation). Check out: 
 
Love and light to all those out there who are doing their best to manage their pain.
 

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/25/2008 10:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Changed,
Is the IMS similar to a TENS unit? One of the things I use at home - and got from my physical therapist's office - is called an intraferential stimulator. I was lucky in that the people who make the machine were giving free ones as trials through my physical therapist when I happened to be there, so he gave me one. They send me supplies periodically, although I notice they bill my insurance for it. It's the portable version of what my PT does in his office. I'm a huge believer in PT, as it's helped me deal with chronic neck problems for over 20 years. But I think my PT is getting to the point that he's done all he can to help since my fusion surgery failed. Still, I probably wouldn't be as mobile as I am without all I've learned from physical therapists over the years.

I take it from your post you've decided to stay off work longer. I think better safe than sorry is the best motto, especially when it comes to trying to improve conditions that are causing chronic pain. Keep us posted on your progress!

PaLady

Changed
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/26/2008 1:05 PM (GMT -7)   
TENS?!  Sorry I'm not familiar, but perhaps I will do some research online.  Doesn't sound similar though.  IMS involves large (acupuncture like) needles being inserted into muscle.  Fairly painful when muscle tissue is already weak/tender/shortened.
Yes, I've decided to stay off work a little longer.  Currently scheduled to go back June 1.  May even switch doctors (GP) in order to find someone who has more experience with chronic pain.  It's unfortunate that there is still such a stigma associated with this.....

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/26/2008 1:46 PM (GMT -7)   
There are no needles inserted with TENS (transcutaneous electrical stimulation) or with my stim unit. There are electrodes placed on the skin, and then you connect them to a machine which can send pulses of varying frequencies and intensities. If you ask you physical therapist I'm sure he/she will be able to explain or even show you. I'm curious about what IMS is now!

Changed
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/26/2008 1:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Check out the website, and the page ARTICLES under the RESEARCH section (column at the top of the page).
I assume you live in PA? I checked the list of practioners and it appears there is one in Malvern?
The treatment was created by a man who lives in Vancouver, B.C. I'm a Canadian citizen and there are quite a few more practitioners up this way - but it may be worth your while to find one in your area.
I haven't noticed any radical improvements in my pain level yet and I'm also on some new medication so it's a bit hard to tell what's been making the difference... I AM feeling a BIT better.
I promise to keep you updated PA... if you have any interest.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/26/2008 2:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, I've already been through everything including surgery. Even my stim unit is only to help manage symptoms, not cure them. It sounds like the IMS is good if your pain is mostly from muscle, but mine is nerve pain. Back surgery has failed, so now it's all about pain management.

I hope you have great luck with your procedure!

Changed
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/26/2008 2:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Actually it's directly related to nerve pain. PLEASE read it and check it out. The articles will explain how the treatment works in more depth.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/26/2008 3:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I had some trouble with the website. Have an older computer. I'll ask my physical therapist about it when I see him this week, but to be honest I don't think I'd try any treatments involving someone sticking needles in me unless it was a highly experienced acupuncturist - and I don't evven have the money to spend on something like that anyway.

I hope it works for you, and thanks for the info.

PaLady

Muzz
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 395
   Posted 4/26/2008 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   
changed, there is a good threadover in the fibromyalgia section about TENS units, I use one and swear by it! I'm off the read about IMS.
I am not my pain, it does not own me.


A. Nonymous
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 183
   Posted 4/27/2008 10:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Changed,

Listen, I'm a work-aholic, and I can tell you that particular trait definitely has not helped me, and in fact really hindered my recovery from my last surgery. I had 3 surgeries in 9 months, and didn't take enough time off for any of them. The first 2 I recovered pretty quickly even though I didn't rest enough, but by the 3rd surgery, it took it's toll. A minimally invasive surgery that should have taken a month to recover 80% from took me 6 months to even feel human. If I'd taken an extra couple weeks off, it would have saved me 6 months of misery. To add insult to injury, my employer treated me like some kind of slacker because I continued to struggle physically, even though the cause of it was my over-developed sense of dedication and work ethic.

My point is this: no one else is going to take care of your body, and only you know how you feel. Now, obviously your first days back to work will be tough, so it's difficult to know when to push a little in order to make progress, and when this pushing will cause more problems. Listen to your body, and give it time to heal.

I'm going for fusion surgery Tuesday and will be off 4-6 weeks. I've never been away from work more than 5 business days in 20 years, so this is a difficult thing for me. Still, this time I intend to give my body every opportunity to recover. Good luck and God Bless.

Anon
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