advice from chronic pain ladies and gentlemen

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/19/2010 7:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had headaches and back pain since 1991 when I fell off a 20 ft. catwalk onto a cement floor.  Had a hard hat on which saved my life.  No severe injuries at that time just headaches and back pain.  I have had 2 knee surgeries, 2 shoulder surgeries, 2 broken ankles with one requiring surgery.  In early June I took A fall and fractured all 3 bones in my ankle and tore my shoulder out of place.  In early June they did what is called a trimalleolar dislocation supination surgery on my right ankle then they waited until I could walk and then did a bankart repair surgery on right shoulder.  I can barely get out of bed and walk without my meds.  My short term disability ins (thank God I have it) will run out in a little while so will have to go back to work soon.  I have kind of a demanding job but am sure I will manage but am not looking forward to the pain.  I'm just wondering if any of you have been through something similar and how did you cope.   Did everything turn out allright.  Any advice would be great.  This is a very good job for this area  with great insurance so quiting is not really a good option.  Thank you for letting me vent.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 9/19/2010 7:51 PM (GMT -6)   
You don't have long term disability insurance????
If the pain's too much you can apply for workman's comp or SSD.
My ex brother-in-law feel off a chicken house he was working on and filed for workman's comp and eventually SSD due to back injury pain.

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3697
   Posted 9/19/2010 10:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to the Healing Well Chronic Pain Forum! You found an excellent place to come and vent, we might not be able to heal you! But we sure can lend you our ears an listen to you, and give you what advice that we may have, but most certainly we can give you all our support!  You are definitely not alone with your pain when you come here, we all know what it is like to live with chronic pain! So we can all empathize with you on that!  The question I have is,.... will you be ready and able to go back to work when your short term disability runs out? I mean you might be mentally ready but will your body be physically ready and will your Doctors release you for work?  And will your company let you come back?  I am alll for you going back to work if you are physically ready, but you sure don't want to go back if your not ready! Cause  you could end up causing yourself more damage and possible permanent deabiliting injury! Anyway it sure sounds like you have had some really nasty injuries. I do hope you get alll  healed up and everything works out well for you!
Again I welcome you to our forum! Good Luck to You!
White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

Post Edited (White Beard) : 9/19/2010 9:17:16 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 9/19/2010 11:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not sure where you work, but you mentioned that your work is quite demanding. I'm not sure whether that means physically or mentally demanding. I know if you mean physically demanding, when I was out on STD I was able to come back on restricted work, part-time and the STD continued to cover the days I was out even though I had exhausted all my time. That might be something to look into. If that's not possible, you might qualify for some kind of modification or accommodation to your work (assuming you live in US) under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Even if you don't actually qualify under ADA law, often employers are willing to make minor changes to your work situation in order to keep you.

If you're more concerned about how the meds will impact your mental capacity, talk to your doctor about that. There are alertness medications out there -- they're not ideal & are an absolute no-no if you are working heavy machinery, but for other jobs they can mean you can function much closer to normal levels. I have been on Provigil, but it now has a sister med, Nuvigil that is easier to get samples/coupons for. It's not a long-term fix, but hopefully if you can get the rest and rehab that you need it will get you through a few weeks and you will finish healing enough to cut back on the pain meds.

Beyond that, if you haven't taken a total of 12 weeks off yet, you can apply for FMLA protection. You won't get paid and you may have to pay a portion of your health insurance coverage, but your job will be protected. In some cases, you can even pick up a few hours a week at a low-stress, low lifting temp job or private contract job to help make ends meet (though please read things carefully & consult an expert if needed). You may be able to apply for some sort of assistance during that time -- certainly private charities can help plus you can talk to the utility companies and maybe get them to give you a month or two of "write-downs" -- no payment required if your bill is under a certain amount. Sometimes that is reported to the credit bureaus, sometimes not; not a big deal if you don't have credit card balances & worth it if it means the difference between eating/getting meds and not. Speaking of credit cards, you can usually get 1-3 months deferral of payments on them. So basically you would only need to find a food pantry and a place to get assistance with your rent/mortgage and medications if you take FMLA unpaid leave.

Hope that helps. Feel free to give us a bit more info so we can give some more specific advice. Hang in there!


New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/19/2010 11:35 PM (GMT -6)   
thank you for for you response white beard. I love this site because I feel I can relate to all of you. Those are good questions you have and to be honest I don't know if I will be ready to go back to work when disability runs out. As time gets closer I will have to see what my options are.

spinal soldier
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 687
   Posted 9/20/2010 9:18 AM (GMT -6)   
although it's not easy and takes getting into the habit; start stengthening your core muscles: front upper and lower abs, obliques, and your lumbar paraspinals. when i get the urge and all the stars are in alignment i try to exercise them. best wishes to you.
L4,L5,S1 bilateral Laminectomies, Foraminotomies 2002
L4-S1 PLIF with instumentation 2008,

current Rx: OxyContin 60mg 2x, Dilaudid 8mgs [brand] 4x p.r.n. brk., Phenergan 25mg 3x prn nausea, Lyrica 75mg 2x,Adderall 20mgs 1x A.M., Soma 350 mg 3X, Relafen 1000mg 1x, Klonopin 1mg H.S. or prn anxiety Supplements: CO-Q10 100mg, Vitamin D 2000IU, Fish-Oil1000mg EFA, B-Complex50 3x/day, GABA 750mg
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