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Careers for People with SI Joint Problems

Hi Everyone,
I'm new to this message board and have found reading other's experiences helpful, so I thought to reach out for some advice. I have been dealing with severe SI joint pain for 1.5 years. It started 2 summers ago, while I was babysitting I was sitting on the ground and when I reached forward I felt a strange pop sensation. Then later that night I started to feel it, really badly. For the next 2 months I was in sever pain, I could barely get up and down from a chair, walking up stairs was so painful, sleeping was aweful, I couldn't sit for too long, stand for too long, it seemed every move I made was painful. I was in between jobs and I had no insurance, so I was unable to see a doctor for it.
Finally after 2 months I found a well paying teaching internship at a private school. A friend got me hired there because she was in need of an assistant in her Kindergarten class. I asked her if it was alot of bending, telling her I had problems with my back. She said she thought I would be fine. I was imagining kindergarten was a bit different than preschool where you have to be continually on the ground with the children. Well I was wrong, this school doesn't believe in too much desk time for the children, which is great, but it was really hard with my problem. Since I was new I just killed myself, I was bending all day, sitting with the kids on the floor, lifting, all in alot of pain. Finally when my Health insurance kicked in I went to see a doctor who diagnosed me with just lower back pain and sent me to a physical therapist. I tried the exercises but they didn't help too much. I was waking up every morning so stiff and with excruciating pain on the side of my thigh/ hip area. I had lower back spasms, burning pain down my legs, pain in my buttocks, and often numbness and tingling. After 6 months I went to get an MRI because the pain just was not letting up, it didn't show anything in the disks and my doctor just kept telling me it shouldn't hurt so much because my disks are fine. So I asked to be referred to a spinal specialist , because I knew how much pain I was in, and it was this doctor who diagnosed me with SI Joint inflammation. All of the symptoms matched up and it all makes sense now, this was in August this year. It is a relief to know why I have been having this pain, but also now I'm not sure what to do.
I asked for accommodations at work in the classroom this year, since the bending and sitting on the floor was aggravating the condition. My coworker didn't seem too happy about it, but agreed. So in September I started to use a picker upper stick, because there are always things needing to be picked up from the floor, I had us dry artwork on tables and not on the ground, I sit on a chair during carpet time, and I only do light cleaning like dishes and sweeping, not washing the short tables or vacuuming. With not bending so much and limiting activities that would usually hurt, I have seen an improvement. I went back to the spinal doctor and he said he thinks it can get better if I'm seeing improvements and also put me on prednisone for 10 days. I'm also going to see a new Physical Therapist, as the last one I was seeing directed my care for Lower Back only and not SI Joint.
But now that I'm taking precautions at work, it has become noticeable that I have this problem and last week my Coworker talked to my boss about it. She called me in and told me that because it seems that my condition is chronic, they probably won't ask me back next year. She said they need to train a new person who can sit with the kids on the floor and be able to lift them if an emergency happens. They don't have openings in higher grades where there is not much bending, they only need someone in the lower grades.
So I'm feeling totally down. I think they will let me finish my internship until June. But after that I don't know what to do. I don't have a college degree, this school is private and doesn't require a traditional degree. I am considering just finding a part time job and finishing college, but don't know what to go into now that I have this Joint problem. I'm not sure what kind of part time work I can get while healing and I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions. Also I am wondering if anyone has any advice or ideas for careers that may work for someone with this condition? From the research I have done it seems I won't qualify for disability. Also I do want to work, I just can't think of a career that has a good balance of sitting and standing and walking, with little bending and lifting. I'm just feeling really lost, alone, and losing hope. Thanks for reading and any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
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  • I too was working with young kids (preschool and a baby as a nanny). Luckily, the parents were very understanding and willing to accommodate me.
    I was pursuing ECE degree and decided that it wasn't for me for health and other reasons. I am now pursuing a career as a Nurse Midwife. I am getting surgery next month (SI fusion) and I have been getting accommodations at school. I'm hoping that surgery will help enough that I won't need accommodations in the future but even if I do, I decided that I have lost too much in my life because of my illnesses to let it also take my passion away.
    I'm currently working as a nanny for older kids. No lifting or bending. Light housekeeping (wiping down counters, loading dishwasher, etc.) and driving the girls around are my main responsibilities. If you still want to work with kids, you could try that!
    Also, I might look into a desk job. I know sitting isn't ideal for SI issues either but at least you could get up and stretch as needed.

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