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Can restrictions be taken away even though there is no change?

Sadie83SSadie83 Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi everyone,

I'm not sure where to post this, I hope someone here can help me out.

I suffered a back injury a few months ago and found out through an MRI that I have a L4-L5 herniation. I'm seeing a surgeon and a pain management doctor to treat the pain that I am in. I saw my surgeon 6 weeks ago, he had me on very strict restrictions; I just went to see him again and he himself said that I had no change whatsoever, declared me at MMI and took all the restrictions away.

I'm still in a lot of pain, I can't sit or stand for too long. Can't lift heavy things or walk for a long period of time. He told me a couple of times that I had no change at all and then he said he "couldn't" give me permanent restrictions, I kept mentioning that I was still unable to function normally. His reply was "okay, I'll give you a 50 lbs carrying restriction."

Can a doctor do this to a patient? I seriously believe that he was convinced by my employer's insurance company to do this. Is there anything I can do? Can I threaten to file a complaint with the medical board?

I plan on making an appointment with him again, taking all of the documents I have from him and my other doctor and making him explain how just 6 weeks ago I was on strict restrictions and now he took them away. But I wanted to come on here and ask you all for opinions/help.

Thank you!


  • If you suspect that he was "bought off" by your employer's insurance company, you may want to consider switching to a new doctor.

    It is always wise to let your body and your pain level dictate what your restrictions should be. After all, there is no doctor anywhere who lives in your body. Therefore, you know your body better than doctors do.

    Not sure where you live, but have you considered applying for disability??
  • Well, because I'm going through workers comp, I have to wait until both doctor's put me at MMI. This doctor has, but the other one hasn't.

    It's at a stand still until the second one releases me.
  • MMI=Maxium medical improvement. That means no matter what they do you are not going to get any better, at this moment in time. Now he took his restrictions away knowing you are still under the care of another doctor. So what that means to me is, as a surgeon there is nothing more he can do for you, but has deferred to the pain management doctor, as he has NO surgical option for you at this time. However it doesn't mean that you won't continue to get better under your pain management doctor, sense he is no longer a treating doctor, he wouldn't have any restrictions to give you, unless of course he had performed some type of surgery, and those were his restrictions.

    Sometimes doctors are really are doing this in your favor. The favor part comes from if you were to get better and say he placed a weight restriction on you at 20 lbs, and discontinued his care. That weight restriction would be on you for life. Say your employer has a miniuim weight restriction at 50lbs. You would not be capable of doing the job, even if you had gotten better, given the weight restriction. In some cases that can put you out of a job as you are no longer fit for the job your employer hired you to do.

    My suggestion to you is to see your pain management doctor, and discuss both short and long term goals of getting you back to work, and getting you better.

    The question is did the surgeon ever discuss a surgery with you and you turned it down? If so that could be some of what is in play here, he has nothing left to offer you as i said before. For now you need to work with the pain management doctor about what treatments you can try to help improve your condition. I will tell you one thing that won't fly very long in work comp, is just getting medications and seeing how your doing. Now if you have had injections and depending on what the results were could also be some of what is going on here. If you have been in physical therapy and a therapist has said you haven't showed up, or didn't try in the sessions that all goes back to the surgeon as well. One suggestion I would give you is to be sure you are collecting all your medical records. Work comp has to provide you copies of them. Even if they argue it is in your best interest to know first hand what is contained in those medical records. You need to take a active role in your care. I will tell everyone on work comp at the end of the day the doctors go home, your employer will still exist and move on, the physical therapist goes home and so. If you use a lawyer they go home too. But at the end of the day you have to leave with the condition you have left, so it is so important to take a active role in your medical care and don't wait for some adjuster to do it or say they are doing it.
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