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Sad to say, losing my job due to chronic pain

deltaladyddeltalady Posts: 610
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Chronic Pain
Well, I've fought the good fight but pain has won. My wonderful good paying job that I love is going to go to someone else very soon because I can't make it to work every day due to my pain levels. The thought of no income, paying for Cobra and no relief from this sciatic pain just is overwhelming. Some times my anxiety is very high and other times I'm just resigned to the fact that my life is not like it used to be but I'll get through it.

Medications, physcial therapy, chiropractic, massage and exercise and 2 epidural injections have done nothing to change the pattern of pain in my left leg. Supposedly, it is my L4/L5 herniated disc that is causing the pain, but since I've never had back pain, I'm skeptical. Where do I go from here? I'd have back surgery if I felt confident that the disc was causing this wretched pain in my leg. Last weekend I had probably the best two days ever -- my pain was about a 3 or 4 (YEAH!) -- went back to work Tuesday and Wednesday and by Thursday I was back to full throttle pain. It's a smidgen better today.

Thanks for listening to me WHINE -- but I know this website is full of people who understand and have been there. I hope we all find relief sometime in the future so that our quality of life is returned.

I'd appreciate any advice from others who have had to quit their jobs due to pain. PAIN the new four letter word!



  • That's sad that you're losing your job. No long term disability there? I have the same L5-S1 and had it for a year and have been off since Feb. '08. Do you use a cane to get around? Anyways sorry you lost your job. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Same situation here, just had my second epi--no relief, actually my left leg buckled the day after the epi and the pain got worse. (last friday 1/23). Before the extreme pain started and I just had what they considered sciatic pain, I had an excellent pt and unfortunately he left after Katrina. 3 pt's later and I went to the neurosurgeon..diskogram showed L-5,S-1,S-2--OR according to the pm md who did it, it was L-5,L-6?,S-1. Doesn't matter to me. I'm really considering the hardware fusion surgery. I stand 10 to 12 hours daily 4 to 5 days a week. I keep the insurance of the family. I can't take meds all the time, even if they worked. I have a 3 yr old. So here we are. The way I look at it, is find the best surgeon you can and go for it. What could it do?? Make it worse?? I doubt it. Make sure you heal correctly and get the best knowledge of the subject you can get prior to and have support for after (physically). Then hope for the best. See if the md can do microsurgery, to decrease scar tissue. Also, I've heard fusion through the stomach instead of the back is better outcome, including less scar tissue, which can cause pain also.
    I'm not telling you to do this, just thinking I would. And it looks like I may have to. One more injection in a month or so, then back to the neurosurgeon for me. Let me know what you decide and I'll be praying.......
    P.S. What about the Americans with Disabilities Act?? I don't know too much about it, but I would look into it. Also SSDI--you've paid your dues it sounds like. But I understand that you probably would rather just be able to work--me too.
    Good luck--
    Fipah, (friend in pain and hope)
  • Hi jkerner, sorry to hear about your chronic pain and job loss. It is a sad day when that happens. Everything comes to a sudden stop and no other doors are opening.
    I would suggest you take the attitude that you are having a prescribed long break from work to see if you can effect a recovery. Give it a good 6 months.
    This will also give you time to consider other jobs, perhaps part time with flexible hours.

    My neck and shoulder pain was so bad that I could only really be of any use at work two days out of five, and within an hour of using the PC my muscles were all 'red hot' and stinging. Pain killers had very little effect. Physios said I was too tense to work on.
    It all started with the advent of computers into the office in the mid 80's, and I kept getting progressively worse. The money was good so I just put up with it.
    Finally I was retrenched in 1998, but then went back for another 7 years on a casual basis. AND doing data entry of all things.
    At least with the arrangement I was able to pick and choose my days and hours.
    Eventually it was all too much and I just had to stop..
    It took a good 6 months to see any real improvement, but even now i have about 10 minutes of PC use only before the pain starts up.
    The computer is definitely the prime cause of my cervical arthritis.
    So give yourself a good chance to recover-you never know what good the rest will do. All is not lost and you may well find another avenue to pursue.
    Just take it day by day and try to get better without stressing out.
    It will probably take you a while to get over the job loss-you go through a grieving process, but you will.
  • I have worked at the same company for almost 9 years now. In my office we're more like family than business even though we are a corporation. I've thought of everything. SSDI, FMLA, Short term disability whatever to get me by until I get past the surgery pain. Since it doesn't seem that any of these are options for me then I have considered just quitting. If I weren't the only income in this house I probably would have called it quits already so I totally understand. But I also have to remember that someday somewhere there is going to be a moment when I either have to accept that this pain may be part of my life forever or I will just wake up one day and it will be gone. I'm hoping it's the latter. Please don't toss out the idea of surgery if it could help at all. I wish you the best and remember we are always here to lend an ear.
  • I also was asked to resign from a job I loved and had been there for 9 years. Sometimes I couldnt make it for the whole day, I worked 10 hour days, alot on feet, but I also had to use a walker since my fusion in dec of 2007.
    I am now retired, have applied for disability, have heard anything yet, since oct of 2008. I just keep plugging along and drs want to do 2 more surgeries. The pain dr has finally got the right amount of pain meds and I am pretty well at a 1 or 2 all day long. I have to sleep in a recliner as I cant lay out flat in bed.
    Keep smiling and keep a positive attitude, when god closes one door, he opens another !!!!!

  • First of all - I understand how you feel. I had to leave my wonderful job with very nice income (I worked on Wall Street, Investment banking) due to disabilities I got after my first spinal surgery. I was fighting to the end but I couldn't win either.
    I am concern reading your post; I got feelings that you are not sure what exactly causing your pain. May I ask you if you had Discogramm, Myelogram, CT, MRI tests done? Discogram is one of the most painful but most accurate tests they have. I just wonder if you had any studies done. And if yes, how come they don't know what causing your pain?
    Are you under PM care? On any PK?

    I read some people ask you about LTD, STD.
    This is not that easy, guys. First of all, DR has to have you done every possible test to Dx you with whatever this is.
    Than ALL options may be considered include the surgery and if your refuse, they will not provide you with any disabilities from work. Been there, done that, you know?
    My car accident was at '03. I had a lots of damages since, worked with pain, million tests were done to me and all suggested surgery only. I was in so much pain 24/7 but refused to have surgery till '06.
    I couldn't get STD or LTD due to CP since I did not go for surgery to fix the problem. I knew I will go for surgery eventually , just tried to prolong my time in fear to loose my job. How understandable and how silly, is in it? :-)

    Best of luck you! Hope all goes well.
  • I have read a lot of post about losing a job over our pain and jkerner I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I own a company and if the company you work for hires over 15 people or they recieve government contracts than they are required BY LAW to make appropriate accommendations for you. With my employees if somebody becomes injured, even if it is not on the job, they almost become unfireable. If your pain is so bad and this can be verified through a doctor that coming to work everyday is unhealthy or presents unfair challenge than your company would be required to make changes to your schedule, set things up so you can do your work at home (including buying the equipment). There is an enormous amount of legislation and case law. Do not just give in tell your HR department that you want accommendations under the ADA, get a written report from your doctor, be tactfull but make sure that the company understands that they will place themselves under liability. If they do let you go get a lawyer and sue them if they have enough assets you will not have to worry about working again. Most important document everything, every meeting with your boss, hr department, dr's, showing a judge a timeline with be very important. If you have any co-workers that can testify for you that would be useful to. The fact is, in the US companies, other than mom and pop operations, can not legally do this kind of stuff.
  • I can understand. I work retail and stand all day.I asked my PT to give me and note to sit on a stool. It has helped alot pain level @ 5-6. Days I don't have a chair it takes day to get rid of the pain. I keeping hoping my nuero will give me dissability. Will that help? I don't know. Otherwise my pain would be 7-8. Good luck in whatever you decide to do and take care. By all means don't give up
  • I've read through everyone's comments and to answer a few questions - yes, I've had an MRI to confirm that I have a herniated disk. The doc seems to think that's what's causing the leg pain.

    I only started with my company (developer of hotels)in March of last year. They have been super about all the time I've been gone because they saw things develop first hand,physically with me day by day. I did apply for AFLAC short term disability when I started with the company so that's an option.

    Again you are all so kind to send your thoughts. I really appreciate it -- your support means the world to me!
  • Here's a link that I found. Not much information, though, but could you help me understand how the bullets discussed within this, can help? Thanks.

  • Im so sorry to hear of your situation. I too have just lost my job due to the pain. I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't even open the file cabinets. It is very hard after working all of my life. I filed for SSD and Im waiting for reconsideration decision. I wish you the best of luck. You will be in my prayers.
  • Hi I find myself in a very similar situation to you. I have nursed for 23 years and my pain and back problems have meant I have been off for five months now I have had elective nerve root blocks with no relief.

    I am due to see my neuro surgeon next week to discuss the latest investigations I have had. But work are looking at putting me on a formal re-deployment. In reality this means very little as if there is no siutable job you are out on your backside in three months.

    So my income will be based on benefits wich is about 15% of my wage. Trying to look on the bright side I am going to apply to do a post grad in social work.

    The way I look at it if we have to suffer financially we might as well make it worth it.

    Best wishes and good luck
    Dawniee xxx
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