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Is Chronic Pain Disabling You?
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff posted:
October is National Disabilities Month.

There is often a lot of talk here about being disabled and/or applying for Disability.

Are you considered disabled or do you think of yourself as disabled? How does that impact how you feel about yourself? Has it been difficult to accept the need for tools to aid you regarding your disability? Which was the hardest to accept?

If you are disabled are you still working?

Does your city/town accommodate the disabled pretty well with their sidewalks, accesses to stores, etc.? Or is there room for improvement?


We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
~Joseph Campbell
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davedsel57 responded:
Many people in this Pain Management Community, as well as the other WebMD Communities I am active in, know my story. I have been managing moderate to severe chronic pain for over 30 years. In May 2008 my spinal conditions had worsened and three doctors told me I would probably never work again. In June of 2008 I contracted an SSD attorney and was approved in early August 2008. I always thought I was approved so quickly because of my medical records or good attorney, but have recently found out that the SSA had a trial program that year to simply approve 1% of the applications without even reviewing them. I may or may not have been part of that 1%, but I am extremely thankful I was approved so quickly.

I've often shared that this has been very difficult to accept for me as it is for everyone. I had a successful career in Information Technology that I enjoyed very much. The last five years of working I was pushing hard to overcome ever increasing pain and limited functionality. Fortunately I was able to start receiving the SSD monthly payments as well as monthly payments through a long term disability policy. Finances became very tight but we were never late with any of our bills. My wonderful wife did have to begin working full time and was fortunately promoted to an assistant manager in the retail store where she was working as a cashier. Our needs have been abundantly met.

Currently we call me the Full Time Dear Disabled House Husband. I do almost all the cooking for our family and try and do some light housework. I get grandiose ideas that I can sweep and mop the floor some days only to get out of my recliner and be barely able to walk to the bathroom. We have learned to adapt and use paper plates and plastic silverware most days as loading and running the dishwasher is difficult for me. Our sons help some and my wife tries to, but she works 50-60 hours a week sometimes plus is healing from two work-related back injuries she sustained earlier this year. While life has become physically challenging for my, I rely all the more on my spiritual strength and work at keeping a positive attitude.

For the most part local area businesses are accessible to handicapped people. Ironically the store where my wife works does not have automatic doors and I keep saying they need them. I am still able to walk but do have a handicapped parking permit and always use that. Most parking lots have enough handicapped spaces. The only time it gets odd is when I have to renew my handicapped parking permit. I have to take it into the town hall with the documentation from my doctor so I must park in a 'regular' spot then. Many larger retail stores have handicapped shopping carts (I jokingly call them "cripple carts") and I usually use those. I have a grabber/reacher in every room in our home as I have trouble bending. I am hoping to put off the need for any type of wheelchair as long as possible, but if and when the time comes I will use one.

My motto remains: Keep doing research, Keep moving as much as possible and Keep a positive attitude.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings,

Dave
 
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HighnLoLita replied to davedsel57's response:
Wow Dave, 30 years in pain, that is allot of pain. I have been disabled since I turned 18 and to be honest, I never felt pain until here just about 9 months ago. I even had a daughter 22 years ago, 2 ectopic pregos, plenty of miscaraiges, some small surgeries, uti's, and other small pain problems and not to say they didn't cause any pain but, since 9 months ago up until now I am in chronic 10 pain . What I am trying to say is the pain I am having now is like I never had pain before and everything hurts and when it rains it pours type pain. I get Disability for Bipolar Disorder but, now I feel like I am mentally disabled and physically disabled. I guess it doesn't really matter anymore but, I did want to say that I so relate to you when you say you "get grandiose ideas that I can sweep and mop the floor" and you can barely make it to the bathroom...Well thanks for sharing and take care, Lita
 
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davedsel57 responded:
Hi, Caprice -

I'm thinking it may be beneficial to pin this discussion. It is getting lost and I feel it is very important.

Thank you very much.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings,

Dave
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to davedsel57's response:
Hi Dave,

It's linked from the announcement area on the board. (It's actually linked from any and all pain communities on WebMD.)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
~Joseph Campbell
 
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davedsel57 replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
Of course. I knew that, just did not think it through. Even better.

Thanks so much, Caprice.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings,

Dave
 
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Anon_13762 replied to davedsel57's response:
Dear davedsel57, YOU WILL BE IN MY PRAYERS
hi there and hope that you a so-what well today?
I am also on SSDisaility also with a handicap tag for car(I don't drive because I can't anymore so I need people to drive me, otherwise am home 24/7). I wish that I had a family member to help with the bills because everything is increasing except for the SSDisability which Has Not increased even one cent since I have been getting it. I am thank god not in a wheel chair yet but I do need a walker when I am outside.
Most people, businesses, or big companies don't try to help us because they don't either have a heart or just don't know how to use it. ALL I ASK FOR IS A HAND UP!
God Bless and have a blessed day
cane1 we can't give into our pain, one day soon hopefully with resreach our pain will be eased and we can live again.
 
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cane1 replied to Anon_13762's response:
Dear davedsel57, YOU WILL BE IN MY PRAYERS
hi there and hope that you a so-what well today?
I am also on SSDisaility also with a handicap tag for car(I don't drive because I can't anymore so I need people to drive me, otherwise am home 24/7). I wish that I had a family member to help with the bills because everything is increasing except for the SSDisability which Has Not increased even one cent since I have been getting it. I am thank god not in a wheel chair yet but I do need a walker when I am outside.
Most people, businesses, or big companies don't try to help us because they don't either have a heart or just don't know how to use it. ALL I ASK FOR IS A HAND UP!
God Bless and have a blessed day
cane1 we can't give into our pain, one day soon hopefully with resreach our pain will be eased and we can live again.Thanks for your Reply!Report This | Share this:Is Chronic Pain Disabling You? Dear davedsel57, YOU WILL BE IN MY PRAYERS<br />hi there and hope that you a so-what well today?<br />I am also on SSDisaility also with a handicap tag for car(I don't drive because I can't anymore so I need people to drive me, otherwise am home 24/7). I wish that I had a family member to help with the bills because everything is increasing except for the SSDisability which <u>Has Not</u> increased even one cent since I have been getting it. I am thank god not in a wheel chair yet but I do need a walker when I am outside.<br />Most people, businesses, or big companies don't try to help us because they don't either have a heart or just don't know how to use it. ALL I ASK FOR IS A HAND UP!<br />God Bless and have a blessed day<br />cane1 we can't give into our pain, one day soon hopefully with resreach our pain will be eased and we can live again.
 
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CTBeth replied to HighnLoLita's response:
Great topic, Caprice.
I always appreciate what Dave says. Lita, you've added so much since you've been with us.

I have been SSDI "disabled" since Nov 2007.

I hate the term. I hate and eschew anything that puts me in the "sick role". The only place I talk about pain and frustrations is with my MD, daughter, bf, and on this community and with the friends I've made here. It has been a life line in bad times.

Regarding my SCS, I've written about it a lot: it has made hell less intolerable and I have the non-rechargeable battery. I didn't want the recharge for the reason that, I feel, it would put me in a sick role by having to re-charge and draw attention to my injuries. Most if my friends don't even know that I have it.

If I'm in a lot of pain, I usually stay home and somewhat isolated, sadly. I haven't "evolved" to the point where I can be out with friends or in a social setting and look like I'm in pain.

I try to keep it a secret. I'm not really sure WHY I am drawn to this behavior. I am still ashamed of not being ale to do the things that I cannot do.

No matter how I feel, when asked, I always reply, "I'm fine, thank you. How are you?". Once, without thinking, I even replied to my pain MD that way.

My MD has talked to me about this and has advised me to be more "open", but I just cannot do this.

I can put myself in agony for days by trying to keep my house clean.

Why? I don't know. My family is filled with athletes and we have always stressed such a high value on physical fitness, healthy life choices and financial wealth- it's as if I the option of all this crap.

Seldom do my family members (except my children) make mention, offer me assistance, even visit me in the hospital or help me at home post-op (and there have been lots of post-ops). It is considered something to be ashamed of in my family, so I just comply, shut up, and put a smile on.

Almost every day when I talk to my Mom, she says, "Are you better today?" actually expecting that, by some miracle, my spinal cord injury will repair itself. Self pity, or even grieving or being realistic about my limitations is NOT allowed or tolerated.

My Mom called me yesterday and asked me to take her shopping; I seldom even drive anymore!

I have a handicapped placard for my car and I never use it. It is too humiliating for me.

My Mom, I think, was embarrassed to be seen with me when I had to wear a back brace all the time (when OOB).

So, LOTS of stress here! My family resents me because I cannot work full time. They blame me for not having enough money as I live on a fixed income.

Obviously, money is a huge thing in my family. I had to liquidate my financial assets (except my home, which I have been able to keep) and my family treats me as if I'm a loser/ failure in life because I'm not financially secure any more. My brothers both are very wealthy and have not once offered to help. My Mom will lend me money if I have no food, but she wants it back ASAP.

Meanwhile, I am her only daughter, she is very financially secure, and giving away money is not tolerated- even to her daughter. My Dad passed away long ago; he was different and would have helped me and my children.


Once my Mom even suggested that I pay my property taxes by selling my shoes! Is THAT ludicrous? I have already had to sell most-of my jewelry.

So, wow, this topic opened a can of worms for me.

I wish that I did not have to hide my reality from my family, but I do. If I cannot show up for a family function, they get angry.

It is hard. This is NOT a silent kind-of disease, either. I was in an auto accident and have well-documented injuries, surgeries, multiple long-term complications including spinal cord injury and partial paralysis (incomplete C5-6).

Okay, now I'm crying. THIS is also unacceptable in my family.

Good to vent. Sad that it's the way it is.

CTB
 
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davedsel57 replied to CTBeth's response:
Beth,

Now I am crying also. I agree completely- this is unacceptable in any family. I am so sorry your family treats you this way.

Thirteen years ago my father molested my son. After speaking with him and my mother he denied that he did it. We reported this to Child and Family Services who confirmed my son was telling the truth. I broke off all contact with him and had not seen him since September 2000 when my mother passed away.

In January of this year, my father fell out of bed, sustained a serious concussion and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I had to step in and am now taking care of all his finances and found a good Assisted Living Facility for him. We again have a relationship and he says he is so happy we are back together and could not do any of this without me. However, he has never mentioned the incident. My son, who is now almost 22, has fully forgiven his grandfather and we have family outings together.

I guess I am trying to say that there may be hope for you and your family yet. However, and this point I know I would cut all ties and find other people to rely on.

As far as your being a recluse, that is very understandable. However, you know this is a sign of depression. I hope you have someone to talk with about your situation, either friends or a professional. You can vent here anytime as well.

Beth, I will be praying for you. You are a huge asset to this community and I enjoy reading your input.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.

Blessings,

Dave
 
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CTBeth replied to davedsel57's response:
Oh no, don't cry for me, LOL!

On the other hand, I do have my children and bf, and great MDs. My best woman fiend has been my bff for over-40 years and she's the BEST. Still, I don't like to talk about it with her.

I do stay home a lot, but not sometime as isolated as I'd wish- children, animals that need care, my daughter and her friends- there seem to always be someone here...but, my mother and brothers are just not the kind of people that I'd choose had I a choice of family.

I read a lot, write a lot, an studying Esperanto, keep my mind occupied.

Oh my- now I feel bad that my post seems so attention seeking.

I was at a friend's Yom Kippur (? sp) party earlier this evening. Wow, these people can party! There was so much food, drink, fun. I swear, this was a group of some-of-the best looking persons I've ever seen. It looked like Hollywood , LOL! I had fun.

Good to vent anyway...
 
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bj1208 responded:
Hi Caprice -

My story is posted - click on my pic or name to read -

I went from working 50-70 hours weekly as an accountant and have worked thru 2 corporate bankruptcies. I was also active in Martial Arts (when I could go!! LOL) and was a 3rd degree brown belt studying for 2nd degree brown belt. Work became too much so I had to stop the Martial Arts. I have had minor back aches thru out my entire life and really didn't think much about it but being in Martial Arts for 10 years helped as i was in the best condition.

I had been out of Martial Arts for about 2 months and my back aches were getting worse. One day I stopped by the grocery store and my first item was sugar - I bent over to get a bag and my back snapped - I had blown my disc out - plus we were in the process of moving from CO to MO - so here I was not really knowing how bad my back was and packing and loading - finally getting to MO. Hubby was working out of state (in Idaho) and we were staying with his father until we could get our own place. I was searching for jobs and finally found employment and started going to pain clinics, surgeons, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, etc., so from 2006 to the end of 2007 I had seen so many physicians and had so many treatments that finally I was sent to a spine surgeon where I was told surgery was the only thing left to do as I had Degenerative Disc Disease along with a ruptured disc that had splintered and bone was protruding on both the S1 nerve roots on left and right side. I had a fusion at L5-S1 (2/25/08) - my surgery was a success - I fused and healed but there was nothing they could do for the chronic low back pains or the nerve damage in both legs.

Hubby still has to travel in his work and we have a big house with his father living here and also my youngest daughter (21 yrs old) - my father in law can't do housework and my youngest daughter works nights as a waitress - so on her days off she helps with the house cleaning - BOY - if I do the housework I'm usually in bed for the next 2-4 days not being able to get up and walk - also grocery shopping is hard to do as I have to lean over the cart or get one of the electric carts. I can't sit for very long unless I have lots of comfy pillows - I can't stand for very long (wear leg brace on left leg as nerve damage is worse) and I use a cane when I walk as my legs will give out and I also have a fear of falling. I can't work as I can't sit at a computer desk and there is no way I can do accounting work being on the pain meds I am on - LOL I can only imagine what numbers I would come up with if I even tried~!

So being disabled means you can't do the things you were used to doing. Do I regret having the surgery?? NO - even though I am worse now than before my surgery I am glad I had it as my disc was really bad. Having Degenerative Disc Disease means that there is a severe problem with the disc and NO treatments will help it - it will only get worse and possibly fuse itself which can lead to worse pains - so surgery was the only answer and the surgeon did a great job.

Being disabled is a big change in lifestyle and I am greatful that my family is supportive. Hubby and I have 6 grandkids and that's my inspiration to get up every day - they make my day!~
 
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ebrunson6 replied to CTBeth's response:
Dear CTB, I am a 48 y/o male with the same thoughts. I know how you feel. My wife thought she married a tough guy like her dad. Pain, has brought me to a shell of a man. Thats my terrible additude anyway. I must accept. Anyway, I understand and thank you for the post. I guess we should both stay positive.
thank you. shay
 
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CTBeth replied to bj1208's response:
Although I am sure that your DDD is of the severe kind and know that spine fusion surgery can leave residual nerve pain, I think your definition as quoted,


"Having Degenerative Disc Disease means that there is a severe problem with the disc and NO treatments will help it - it will only get worse..." can cause fear in others with this diagnosis.

The following is from an article in SpineHealth.com:

It also includes a really-helpful video.

http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/degenerative-disc-disease/what-degenerative-disc-disease


A large part of many patients' confusion is that the term "degenerative disc disease" sounds like a progressive, very threatening condition. However, this condition is not strictly degenerative and is not really a disease:

Part of the confusion probably comes from the term "degenerative", which implies to most people that the symptoms will get worse with age. The term applies to the disc degenerating, but does not apply to the symptoms. While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the low back pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better over time.
  • Another source of confusion is probably created by the term "disease", which is actually a misnomer. Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc. For more information view Degenerative Disc Disease Interactive Video .
Disc degeneration is a natural part of aging and over time all people will exhibit changes in their discs consistent with a greater or lesser degree of degeneration. However, not all people will develop symptoms. In fact, degenerative disc disease is quite variable in its nature and severity.
 
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CTBeth replied to ebrunson6's response:
Hi Shay,

If my memory serves right, you were involved in a spinal cord stimulator discussion a few months back: am I correct?

I'm sorry that you're not doing well. Are you still considering the SCS?

I'm feeling a lot better today, emotionally anyway.

I'm fortunate that my own children and partner are compassionate and understanding. It's really my family of origin, my Satan-spawn, so to speak, Mom, haha.

She is a problem in my life and her denial of my difficulties, negative judgement of me due to my financial losses, and the crap she perpetuates throughout her side of my family- well, THAT is a different story.

The good part is that my children see this quite clearly and are supportive of me. They know, without a second thought, that if it was one-of them, I'd give my life to help in any way that I could.

I cannot imagine watching my child in need and caring more about money than my own child.


She is not a nice person; I am. If the integration of this into the psyche was only THAT easy, haha

CTB


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