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Worker's Compensation, RSD, and survival
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I need help from you all please, I was recently diagnosised with RSD in my Left arm/ Right arm. This has not been accepted by Worker's Compensation as of yet, my attorney has a appointment with my doctor on the 13th to get clear information before filling for the request of acceptance. He's worried about the right hand claim and say's the transferance of symptoms to other extremities is controversial in the legal arena and hard to prove. Here's my problem, where I worked before falling in October 2007 was a court and I typed 8 hours, 54 words per minute- every day Full time. My employer and their insurance SAIF, is offering me light duty back at the court typing all day 40 hours a week one handed with my right hand. I can not do this, the pain in my right hand, muscle cramping, pin's and needles and joint stiffness make it impossible for me to deal with. I have already lost most use of my left arm, I am unable to control the fingers to lift or hold things, let alone type. Just typing this is exhausting and difficult, taking me a hugh effort with lots of rest breaks, and I have lost it twice from hitting the wrong keys and had to start over. If I decline the offer my so helpful doctor agreed to without even telling me I will loose my temporary disablity benefits. This will cause a huge financial hardship for my family and I just can't do it, I would rather be in pain than cause any more difficulty for my family, dealing with me in pain has been hardship enough for them. In Oregon worker's compensation does not recognize pain as it can not be measured or verified. Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do to prove the disablity? I no longer trust my attorney or my doctor. I have already fired one doctor because he refused to look into the nerve pain and the problems I was experiencing with my right hand. My new doctor took all of 5 minutes reviewing my history and examining me before diagnosising RSD. Upon researching it I had to agree it was dead on for the symptoms I was experiencing along with the mechanical issues I have with my left arm and had been for quite some time, even before surgery which made it 300 times worse! Since surgery in November 2008 I have been unable to return to work even on Light duty because everything at my work involves a computer and typing. Emotionally I am out of strength to deal with this. My first thought was I should just end this whole ordeal, permanently before my right hand gets worse and I loose that option. I have calmed my mind and found the strenth to deny that as an option, but still do not know what to do. Recently My doctor put my on 900 mg of neurontin a day and ask me to live with the side effects to see if it would help with the pain after a trial period. I am experienceing loss of concentration, loss of balance in walking, double vision, blurred vision, horrible headaches ( I had this before neurontin but find the intensity of them is getting worse, not sure it is the medincine, or just getting worse period) I have flair ups just riding in a car, the vibration/bumping sends the pain beyond what I can handle, so I no longer go anywhere unless I have too, mostly just stay home. I don't trust myself to drive much, it is dangerous for me and for anyone else on the road. What can I do? I feel so helpless and like right now life is hopeless... This has been the worse thing to deal with ever for me, and knowing there is no cure just makes me think about the quality of my life vs how long I might live like this or worse... Sorry about this long post but I just needed to get this out, even if it does hurt to just type it...I need help dealing with the worker's compensation system in Oregon, dealing with my doctor releasing me with out talking to me and in general help in coping with all this, how do you do it? some of you work, how do you do it? Do you have RSD in your hands and work? What do you do for work? I have always worked typing and now am at a loss what I can do for gainful employment, but looks like I need to find a job if I can't do the work they are offering, what kind of job is out there for someone who can't type much or do physical labor? Please Please talk to me about how you do this....I need advice. I see my doctor again on Monday April 6th and need to be prepared to talk to him about all this in a helpful way (right now I just want to rant and rave at him or worse which I know is not helpful at all!)
Posted on 04/02/09, 09:40 pm
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Reply #11 - 05/09/09  8:04pm
" I am also on workers comp and going through a lot of trouble with them and my attorney has just filed a motion for a trial date. I guess the problem is, is that RSD is very hard to prove legally and the spreading of RSD is even harder to prove, for me workers comp has denied everything so my rsd has spread from my right hand to a full body rsd and I can't work either and my doctor signed the paperwork so I can get handicapped placard for my car. A lot of thoughts went through me also at first and some times still do, I can't get to sleep at night because I can't find a comfortable position and I also had to stop working but I am getting unemployment insurance and I have applied for SSD and SSI we just got the paperwork for us to fill out and I had the interview almost 2 months so we'll see what happens there. Driving in a car causes me flare up,s the weather does big time and being in Chicago here isn't a thrill :) "
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Reply #12 - 05/10/09  9:40pm
" Thank you all for your imput- I find myself looking forward to reading new posts and it really helps to know I am not the only person going through a nightmare with the worker's compensation/ RSD survival thing. "
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Reply #13 - 05/10/09  11:07pm
" oh- here's an update on my situation, sorry for the long post but I don't know how to shorten it, it's been a long complicated mess- my claim is still open and I am still receiving temp. total disability benefits. My attorney has been a busy boy talking to my doctors- the original diagnosis from urgent care when I first fell in Oct/2007 was left wrist sprain, right ankle sprain, left knee abrasion. The right ankle sprain, left knee abrasion healed no problem. Just my left wrist was the problem getting to heal.Up until a few weeks ago, that has been the basis of my claim and allowed treatment for. To make a huge long story as short as I know how(not very short!)- I have seen 8 doctors now in two different states about the left wrist,both for and against my case, and had one surgery in Nov/2008 when it was clear that my body would not heal it with conservative care. From time of fall to time of surgery I was still working full time on modified duty but having a huge difficulty doing so. One of these doctors I saw was the top specialist in the northwest on my type of wrist condition (instabilty of the DRUJ joint in the left wrist). I find myself wanting to tell my story so I guess I will start journalling- having this injury and trying to deal with developing RSD has destroyed all that I had going for me, and now I am struggling to rebuild my life. I basicly tried to continue as buisness as usual when I got hurt and was sure everything would heal and go away. Kind of like burying your head in the sand type thing. Anyway, recently my attorney added the following diagnosis from my orthopedic surgeon after he did the surgery- left wrist dorsal capsular tear (nice way of saying the ulnar bone is unstable in my arm, and the supporting ligaments are torn badly and may not ever repair themselves) partial tear of the radial side of the TFCC( which he tryed to fix but it made the problem worse, one of the risks of repair when repaired so late from the orginal injury) synovitis of the extensor tendons( fluid filling the tendon areas on the back of my hand/ wrist where the ulnar/radial bones meet)- usually a reumitoid athritis(sp?) problem (all other possible causes like diabetes, RA, cancer, vitimin b def, etc were ruled out in July 2008 after NCS)- but in this case probably from having rsd- and the idiot did a partial syndovectomy where he removed the fluid and stripped the tendons and surounding inflamed tissue from around the inflamed tendons and RETRACTED the ulnar nerve out of my wrist! so he could do it) and ulnar nerve neuritis at the cubital tunnel. During surgery (which I was awake for) the assistant kept making comments like- My god she's been like this for a year?, we can't connect it there, the tissue is gone, etc until my surgeon quietly talked with him and the comments suddenly stopped and the whispered from there on out so I couldn't hear. Now I had a nerve conduction study done in July 2008 which ruled out the ulnar nerve neuritis- it may have been that to begin with right after I fell but by then had spread into a nerve condition in both of my arm and was diagnosised as periheal (sp?) neuropathy in both arms at that time. I was whole arm splinted for months, and still am supposed to wear a forearm-down brace due to the wrist issue and first reported the burning pain in feb 2008 when the full splint came off the first time but my doctor told me just to get used to it, he knew I had nerve damage but had to get the mechanical issues stabilized before dealing with the nerve issues. I no longer can wear the brace because of break through burning unless the bone is really moving around- it's a catch 22 on the wrist brace thing- it moves more without the brace, burns bad with the brace sometimes lidocaine patches help sometime not.....Anyway- wow sorry I am really trying not to get into detail but it is very hard with all that has happened not to! I learned about RSD and was diagnosised with it 3+ months after surgery when I changed doctors. My attorney has now added RSD to the left wrist from talking with my current doctor. We are fighting to get a consultation with a physiatrist(physical medicine/rehabilitation doctor) to back up the RSD claim, which saif has declined to allow because it is not part of the accepted conditions, and a few days ago I had to see two doctors for saif, a neurologist and a orthopedic surgeon, for the need of continuing treatment on my case. That was a bizarre exam, and I have no way of knowing how it will turn out. However, the neurologist used a skin thermometer on my arms and got the same temp both sides, I do not know if the temp of 32 c on hands and 35 c on biceps is a good or bad temp reading, but am curious about it. The doctors for the IME exam seemed agitated that I have seen so many doctors, and kept mentioning two of them like they were impressed I had been able to see them on worker's comp. Thing was there- at the time I saw them saif was still appealing the claim and my private insurance helped arrange it- saif did not accept my claim, even after two court orders to do so, until right before surgery. My care was somewhat easier to get- but not much better on private insurance. Anyway- my doctor says it doesn't matter if I have RSD in my right hand as far as conditions for my claim, that having it in my left wrist is enough to prove why I can't work anymore. He learned his lesson and has continued to decline the modified job offers saif sends to him every 3 to 4 weeks, they have had two seperate doctors go over my case and make suggestions on how to get me back to work- using my right hand only to type. The activity increases on my case right now, and I am having some kind of doctor's appointment every week. I am so tired of all of this- and just want to figure out how to get the pain levels DOWN and go on with my life without attorneys, strange doctors, and weekly doctor visits. I truely feel like I am a criminal or something for being hurt, and like anything I say or do could be used against me in a court of law, and probably will be. I will let you all know how the rsd claim goes on whether they accept it or deny it.(due to history I am expecting the deny it part)Every doctor I see gets nervous about the screw ups on my case,the fact that I got an attorney immediately after the first denial from saif ( 10 days after I fell) the cover ups by the doctors because they don't want to be responsible for what's happened, and extremely nervous about where I work-for the judicial system of the state in a higher court. I hate the horrible care they have given, how they try to send me on after reviewing my case to yet another specialist, and the basic fact that I got care too late in the beginning to have a good outcome for my situation. Saif has a difficult time finding doctors to even take my case, several doctors have outright declined to take me after reviewing the case to both me for care and Saif for a consultation, and now I have to travel even farther to get someone to help back up the rsd claim. I had to basicly beg the doctor I am seeing to take me, and have found out he is not the best to deal with and doesn't know how to type so his notes suck...The specialist I am seeing on Friday of next week is over 80 miles away which sucks because the vibration in a car about incapcitates me of any reasonable thought or being able to move at all, but I am hoping she knows how to type and put thoughts down in order of events in an essay to help prove my case. Here it is the burden of the injured to prove that they had a injury, and to prove any disabilty, basicly from what I have seen the best well written documention is likely to win. And all I really wanted was to get well and for all of this to go away and go back to my job and life without pain!

Thanks for listening- as you probably can tell this took me awhile to type but atleast I am feeling better today and can face one handed typing- I think the bacfolen I just started on is helping a lot in that area.

God bless and gentle hugs to all! "
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Reply #14 - 05/11/09  10:56pm
" Stay strong :) "
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Reply #15 - 05/12/09  1:25am
" Dear mountainmon,

Unfortunately, many, many doctors know nothing or very little about RSD. Some still haven't even heard of it. That blows my mind! Let me tell you that RSD can spread, and it often does. Any doctor who says it can't is way behind the times. Let me tell you that your pain can be objectively evaluated. A doctor in Texas, who himself had RSD and put himself into remission with his own treatment for it, developed objective tests to determine if you have RSD and how bad your pain is. He cannot tell you on a scale of 1 to 10 what it is, but he can certainly tell you if your pain is mild or intense. How? First, he tests your nerve conduction by attaching electrodes to your toes. Each toe is attached to a separate electrode. He sends an electrical signal from one big toe to the other big toe, and then, he does the same with the second toe, and on down the line, until he has tested all your toes. What you feel is a tingling sensation. The higher the intensity of the electrical signal required before you feel the tingling, the less nerve conduction you have, and the higher your pain level. If you cannot tolerate the electrodes at all, you have the most extreme form of pain. Then, he measures the skin temperature of both thumbs and both big toes. They should be within a certain temperature range, just as the body should be. If they are out of the normal range and are more than one degree off from each other, then you have a pain problem. Next, he has you stand on thermal pads that register the circulation in the feet. Poor circulation in the feet shows you have a problem. Finally, he x-rays the feet, looking for subchondral cysts. These cysts are the result of RSD and related conditions. If they exist in the feet, they exist in other parts of the body. These four tests do not lie. However, you may have trouble convincing other doctors that this doctor knows what he's doing because he is not using main-stream medical testing and treatments. Although his treatment for RSD, which is electro-magnetic stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, is based on proven therapies, the machine he designed based on these proven therapies is unique. Therapists can buy the machine, but they have access to only a few basic protocols, as the treatments are called. He has refined and improved his treatment system far beyond what any of them can provide.Therapists can sometimes use the machine to get good results with RSD patients. When they can't, the only option is to go directly to this doctor. He has been putting RSD into remission since the early 1990's. I know. He has treated me, and I know many of his patients. He has an extremely high success rate. Why haven't you heard of him? Because he is one lone, brilliant doctor whose approach seems so different, that unless a person in pain is successfully treated by him, it is hard to believe he can do what he does every day and has been doing for years. If he could get funding for large-scale clincal studies, he would blow the top off the RSD treatment world. He has conducted a couple of small studies, but only his patients, who come for all over the US and from other countries after they learn about him, know the truth about what he can do with RSD.
If you want more information about him, you can go to his website at paindefeat.com. From there you can link to patient testimonials on YouTube. He also treats other conditions related to RSD, so you will find quite of list of ailments. You can also read for free the first part of his book, PAIN BANISHMENT, on Google Book Search, to learn how he got started. The full book is on Amazon.
I wish this book would be the ammunition you need, but I am afraid that even the info in this book will not convince those who wish to block your claims for disability. I hope you can find a doctor who is open minded enough to pursue info on your behalf about this treatment. If you go to Google Book Search, be sure to read the preface in the book. It is by a doctor extolling the virtues of the RSD doctor, whose name is Dr. Donald Rhodes. Chapters Two and Four also have letters from doctors praising Dr. Rhodes.

My best to you. I understand your pain. I've been there. I've been successfully treated. Thousands of others have also been successfully treated by Dr. Rhodes. This treatment should be available to everyone. It's that good. "
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Reply #16 - 05/20/09  1:02am
" Hi ya, as I mentioned my RSD started in my right hand and now I have full body RSD down to my left ankle. But I had to leave my job because of the rsd in my hand. My attorney I have for workers comp is also fairly familiar with rsd and as I gather you should have an attorney that fluent in both rsd and workers comp. Maybe what will benefit you is an FCE exam Functional Capacity Exam I was suppose to have to show what is permanently disabled but workers comp denied it again at the last minute. People hate these people but there is telemarketing :). Some companies do let employee's telecommute but you usually have to be employed by the company first. Be careful with work at home ads on the internet most of them are schemes, "
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Reply #17 - 05/21/09  3:04am
" just another quick update-not feeling well

got a letter today-stating that saif will continue to treat for a wrist sprain but all the rest is denied as "The condition(s) you claim is/are not compensably related to your work injury or there is no evidence that the conditions exist."

So here we go with a round of more court time- who knows what will happen next. I'm just worried about getting treatment-the rest will work it's self out one way or another.

wishing everyone gentle hugs and a good day! "
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Reply #18 - 05/30/09  12:23pm
" This is copied from RSDHope

Also copied from RSDHope


According to a national study on 809 RSDS Patients, it was found that RSD spreads in 75% of cases; with only 8% of these cases being to full body or systemic (thankfully). Most spreading involves for instance, wrist to hand, hand to shoulder, in some cases to opposite limbs and in rarer cases to eyes, ears, etc.

RSDS can spread in any stage and you can have symptoms from more than one stage at one time.

The Study also yielded interesting results concerning different types of treatments such as SCS units, pumps, sympathectomies, etc., as well as information on the percentages of patients with RSD in various parts of their bodies.

Melissa "
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Reply #19 - 06/06/09  6:16pm
" Almost the same thing as what happened to me workers comp approved everything for a year then after they said it was RSD they started denying everything. I have had no one look at me since January and not even any pain medication. So I have been going through this with nothing, It's murder. I have an attorney fighting for me also you really need one with anything and workers comp.

Melissa "
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Reply #20 - 06/06/09  10:45pm
" I went through workers comp. my attorney. Always told me to do the things they asked. Like the job.They wanted to try you on. And show them you can not do it. They put me on a job I tried and could not do it to there liking. So they put me back out on medical. He said It usually made them realize things faster. But remember every boss is different and that may not work for you. They explained it as a game. and there trying to catch you in a lie so they can get out of your paying medical bills. And yes the meds. are a never ending. And the side effects are bad. But on some of the meds the side effect get better in time. That is why they want you to stay on them for awhile. Good luck "

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