Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Please help! How many of you are working full time with chronic pain?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Chronic Pain
As you can see by my signature, I am still having chronic pain from my 12/09 surgery. I have been on State Disability since 6/23/08 and therefore it is up on 6/23/09. I would not qualify for Social Security Disability at this time. I am supposed to return to work this Wednesday or Thursday as they have actually held my position, not without harrassing me along the way, making me train temps, work some from home at one point and giving me ultimatums. I have a desk job. I tried to go back to work in November for 8 days (not knowing I needed another surgery) and the new boss yelled and screamed at me several times. The stress made my pain so much worse that I went back on disability. They also placed me on Cobra for my health insurance which I have continued to pay.

My PM and OS do not agree on what is causing my pain and I am in the process of getting another opinion. My PM had an MRI done and said two of the screws in my neck are in too far and to see my OS about it. I saw my OS and he said the person who read the MRI is an "idiot" and per my CT, the length of the screws are perfect however, two screws are loose (even though the CT report says the hardware is fine). He has me back in a soft collar 24/7 except for showers. My OS does not feel the bone stimulator does any good after the first 90 days after surgery however, I do not feel there is any harm in continuing to wear it so I am. He gave me Nuerontin and said come back in 3 weeks. I can not take any medication stronger than Soma, Neurontin, Xanax and Fiorocet. I can take an occasional Vicodan however they don't do much of anything for the pain except make me feel sick.

My boyfriend, family and friends all say that my health is more important and not to worry about it if I can't go back yet. I feel so guilty and useless that I am thinking I should try it again for a week at a time, as my OS will write the release that way.

Please let me know if you are working in this kind of pain, if you have a desk job and how well you handle it.

Sorry for rambling. I'm so frustrated, can't stop crying and really need some advice from people that understand.




  • have had chronic pain for approximately 10 years and 4 back surgeries. i have worked all of this time except when i had to go out for surgeries. i teach and i went out in april last year and the year before due to surgery. i have no sick time due to kidney problems this year. i work all the time because i have to and want to. i have problems getting up and going to work, but i force myself to get up and work. sometimes i had to pull over on freeway because pain was so bad and sometimes i could not get out of bed but i had to due to meetings. i could not stand to stay home even though i am in pain. if i did not need money, i would still work. counter productive to sit at home. i need to keep active. i just take meds and grin and bear it. once i get to work, it is not that bad. keeps my mind off of pain.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Thank you for your responses.

    My biggest problem is that I am unable to take any medications strong enough to handle the pain for a good amount of time. The ones I take now only dull the pain and last about 3 hours. I have to try and stretch the dosage to 6 hours which is very tough. The doctor will not prescribe it for every 4 hours because it would be too much tylenol. I feel so stuck. I am hoping the Nuerontin might do the trick but I am only on the first week of it and won't be able to increase the dosage for another 4 days or so.


  • yes i am working i have been back in work since january and go full time this week. it has killed me but we need to pay the bills. fortunately i have been moved to a more sedentary role with a much more empathic manager.

    you just have to take each day at a time and when you can rest there are just no easy answers.
    good luck to all x
  • I too work full time, I take 150mg Tramadol during the day which only takes a tiny bit of the edge off. I also run my TENS constant through the entire day. Evan at that I can barely stand to work a full shift. I am miserable every day and by the time I get home I'm generally hurting pretty bad. Like you, I also take a lot of time for doctor appointments and leave early or even call in when I'm having a particularly bad day.

    I do have a desk job and our chairs are supposedly "ergonomic" but I don't like them. I do have an exercise ball as well. I have the ability to get up often and do so quite a bit.
  • Having dealt with post-operative (L-5/S-1 Fusion) back pain now for the past 18 years, I would strongly recommend taking your time with what you attempt to do in the way of work, play, etc. since pushing yourself could only do more irreversible damage in the end. Take care of your health issues first, since you can always get the right job "again" but you can only lose your physical health once...and then it's gone for good.

    Ask one of your Doc's if they believe more in the way of a muscle relaxer (versus a pain med) would help to ease you pain level, since often times the extra stress and load put upon your supporting muscle structure (due to spinal degeneration) can cause a great deal of pain in addition to the skeletal issues.
  • that is why they invented oxycontin. it's time release percocet and does have no tylenol in it. other time release meds do not have tylenol also. ask dr for change in meds instead of vicodin. a lot of dr's are paranoid about oxycontin and don't like to prescribe it, but it is worth a try
    he can just say no
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Thanks So much Jeffrey. My family seems to feel the same as you do about health being more important right now but with this economy and my disability being up in June, I would be taking a chance of giving up a lot and being even more of a burden. BTW, I am taking the muscle relaxer Soma (350 mg) 2 to 3 times a day. I am not really sure if it makes a difference or not. I also take Xanax 2 or 3 times a day and Fiorocet (2 tabs either 2 or 3 times a day). Like I said earlier, I was just started on Neurontin which I think helps but am not allowed to up the dose for about 4 more days.


    My PM doctor suggested Oxycontin to me but I have a real problem with side effects of Opiods and Narcotics. When he tried me on the Fentanyl patch, I ended up in the hospital for 3 days and I had similar side effects with Dilaudid. I can barely handle the side effects of the Vicodin and Percocet is even harder for me to handle. They make me very sick and non-fuctional.

    Thanks again,

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    is something that each individual knows. For many people, working full time is the only option.
    While working was not my only option, I've been working full time while dealing with chronic pain since 1978. There were countless days of being at work getting by only because of using pain medications. Then there were days when the pain and medication was too much and the day was miserable.
    For the past 10 years I have been working from home (with a big company) 5 days a week. It started with 1 day a week, which turned to 2, then 3, etc.
    I could not drive into my office (55minutes) and then put in 8 to 10 hours on the computer and then drive home.
    By the time I got home, I was useless. So to benefit everyone, working from home was my only way to work full time.
    In about 15 days I will be retiring. I have been cutting back hours over the past month and I have already seen an improvement with my cervical and thoracic condition.
    So, I do know how difficult it is to work while you are living in chronic pain.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • As you can see from my signature, I have lots of health issues, and lots of pain. But I have to work. I am a widow, and can't afford health insurance if I don't work. I drive a car for 8 hrs a day. Very difficult, as I can't take strong drugs while driving. As soon as I get home, it's 2 Tramadol, 1 Baclophen, and 3 neurontin. Once in awhile a vicodin if the pain is really bad, like last winter when some nights were 10-11 hours due to snow. I do it because I have to. 4 more years 4months, and 4 days (coincidence that's all 4's) and maybe I can retire.........if I have any retirement left after this past year. If not, I may just cut my throat and be done with it :''( Not really, but sometimes it would be nice just to have one day I didn't hurt. Except the alternative is worse. Hang in there, someday He will heal us all.

  • ron
    2-3 years and i will be exiting the wonderful world of education. students are worse than ever, swearing at you and not caring about grades or school and the no child left behind makes the administrators real jerks. i hope i can make it till then. the problem is my wife is 13 years younger than me so i will have to get an old man job to make her happy and to help with finances. according to teacher retirement, i am too old to retire with disability. you have to be under 60 and i am 62. i still like to teach but kids and administrators make it unbearabale. i believe other teachers will agree with me
    well good luck with retirement. off to hawaii? mai tai's and hula girls?
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Thanks again to all of you for your responses.

    I have decided to get a release from the doctor to go back for only a week at a time and see how I feel. That is what he did last time in November except that I may have a few more limitations now since I have to wear my soft collar 24/7 as he says that two of the screws in my neck are loose.

    All I can do is try my best and if that is not good enough for my work, oh well. My health has got to be more important right now.

  • Well, I went to my doctor's office to get the release note today and then faxed it to the HR person at my work. She called me immediately and sounded very annoyed. We went over the limitations that the doctor put on the release and she basically told me that she wasn't sure they wanted me to come back under those circumstances. Didn't care to know why I had a few more limitations now than when I tried returning in November for 8 days. She will speak with my new boss tomorrow and call me back then. At this point I am sort of hoping they just lay me off. It's really tough to go back to a place that doesn't care at all about you only how well the company does.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Isn't it the pitts, they almost force you to return, then when you make plans to do so, now they aren't sure they want you! You said originally you wouldn't qualify for Social Security Disability. Are you sure? If you employers let you go, I would think after being out of work for a year, you might be able to make a good case for permanent disability, especially with the disc degeneration that is going on. And keeps going on, LOL. It's not going to cure itself. I know stenosis is one of the medical conditions for disability, as well as DDD. I think you should re-evaluate your chances. Hope you don't mind my 2cents. I just hate to see someone who really needs it not even try to get it, when we know there are those who just play the system. Good luck, if you do try to work. Please let us know how it goes.

  • I still can only work part-time; at that's a struggle some days. I absolutely cannot take pain meds during work, which makes things harder. And, no, I'm not making ends meet with work part-time. I would highly recommend trying to go back part-time before full-time; if you attempt too much at once might be doing more harm than good.
  • I don't mind your 2 cents at all. I like to hear everyone's opinions and feelings.

    I guess what bothers me the most is that I really feel they harrassed me and used me at certain times when I was on disability. I trained one temp before I left in June and she quit without any notice after two months. They hired another temp and basically told him I would train him over the phone and he could call me any time (which he did). When he needed more help, the company had a driver bring over work for me to do from my home. I went through everything at home and sent out over 250 e-mails to their customers along with many other things I did as I connected to the company online.

    Now that the company is having financial problems and is only working a 4 day week, they have not had a temp in there since December so my work was "delegated to other people".

    Oh well. I will just wait until they call me this afternoon and, like I said, I hope they just lay me off because I really don't need this right now.

    As far as SSD, my OS does not think I would qualify at this time. I am honestly hoping to recover from all of this and find myself a new job with much less stress.


  • I also continue to work full time. I own my own business and the pluses are I can make my schedule - but for the next 3 months I am at the mercy of my client list - Usually I get @ 3 days off each month. I am a gardener and if i don't make the money in the next 3 months it is lost to another business.

    the bad news is there is no sick time or off time. Esp. now days are on job sites and nights are on paperwork. I have adjusted a trusted employee to take on some of the paperwork...to lighten that.

    While at work, medication is a must if I am to complete a job...also, I lay on the clients driveways to give my neck and upper back a break. at first I was embarassed...but you gotta do what you gotta do.

    This years is the first year it REALLY has become tough...as things have gotten worse, my limitations have grown....but need to make it through this season....

    It is tough to work with chronic pain....but I am grateful to have this business and most days glad I have it to go to , though it continues to add to the problem - What a dilemia?!
  • Hi Optimist,

    I wish I could go back part time however, there is no way this company would let me. They may not even want me to come back full time with the limitations that the doctor has put on the release note. If I do go back full time and it is too much, I will just have to go back on disability until it ends in June.

    I wish you luck in feeling better so that you can go back full time.

  • You are lucky to have your own business but since it is a physical job that must make things really tough! I know my gardener has been ill for a while and he has his son(s) and wife out here doing the work now. It's got to be hard and I wish you all the best. I wish everyone's pain would just vanish and we could all feel good again.

  • Dear Laurie007;

    I'm new here (not new to Pain Forums though!), so please forgive me fo "JUMPING IN", as it were.

    "I would not qualify for Social Security Disability at this time."

    I wonder why you think that you would not qualify for Soc Sec Disability? I worked as an advocate for MANY years, assisting people to get their benefits. Probably 50% of those who were APPROVED for their benefits either 1) Had disabilities of less SEVERITY than yours; OR 2) Had something that was disabling, but was very difficult to measure objectively (Depression, etc), which would rely upon a Clinician's Subjective "opinion"!!!

    It Sounds like you have LOTS of test results, procedure descriptions, radiology reports, various paperwork & Doctor's notes to support you in a claim.

    I had a Doctor who took the stance that he would send in all required paperwork (legally they have to), but would NOT make ANY statement attesting to the fact that I was/was not PERMANENTLY disabled. He felt saying I WAS, would be sending me a "hopeless message" & saying I wasn't would kill my chances of getting benefits.

    I got benefits with NO problem whatsoever. BECAUSE Soc Sec needs SOMEONE to say "Yeah she is" or "No, she's not", I had to see one of Soc Sec's "Pain Psychologist's" ONE TIME!!! Fortunately I KNEW what to say, as I'd been coaching people for YEARS. I believe it took 3 mos to get my first check.

    MOST DOCTOR'S are pretty ignorant of how the process goes and think you can't POSSIBLY get benefits without their SOLID support. If someone tried to convince you, that you were ineligible for that type of reason, they are WRONG!

    If you ever need assistance or to chat, don't hesitate to PM me!!!

  • I want to thank you both SO much for opening my eyes a little more to SSD. If the chronic pain does not get better I will probably give it a try. I am trying to think positive and have hope that things will get better in a little more time. Even though my OS said he didn't think I would qualify, I know he would put down whatever was needed and I honestly would not ask him to lie.

    Besides my neck and back I also suffer from panic attacks, depression and migraines which I also have plenty of documentation for.

    BTW, it is 3pm here and I have still not heard back from my work on whether or not they want me to come back tomorrow. Talk about stress!

    Thanks again to all of you, it really helps having other people that understand.

  • I am sorry you find yourself having to go through all this cr@p with your employer - on TOP of everything else. The added stress does absolutely NOTHING for your recovery.

    If you find you are not mending as well as you had hoped you would be 12 months from the date of your surgery, it really would not hurt anything for you to file a claim for Social Security Disability. The worst that would happen is your claim would be denied. By that I mean if you file a claim, but it turns out you do not meet the definition of disability, they will not arrest you or anything like that. They will just send you a letter. But if you DO meet the requirements and are approved...

    FYI - the requirements of Social Security Disability are:

    1 - you have to have a medically determinable (diagnosed by a doctor, not the neighbor - you would be surprised how many claims I had worked like that!) physical or mental impairment. (FORGOT TO ADD THIS: IMPAIRMENT HAS TO LAST - OR BE EXPECTED TO LAST FOR 12 MONTHS OR MORE, OR - God forbid - RESULT IN DEATH. comment added 4/2/09)

    2 - the impairment(s) have to be so severe they prevent you from doing your past work, and/or ANY work within the national economy (not just your home town or surrounding area).

    Like you, though, I hope you have a positive outcome and are able to get close to where you were before 2004.

    Also, there have been several members here who were so upset when their employers let them go (and rightly so!), only to find that was one of the best things that had happened to them since their physical problems began. If I have learned anything here it is that "when one door closes, another opens" (as hokey as that sounds).

    Me, I'm just here for the ride that is my life. I go where it takes me. I'm becoming too tired to fight anymore. But I'll keep on keeping on just the same!

    Take care!
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.