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How do you manage pain & work?

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    How do you manage pain & work?

    I am in soo much pain that I can't work more than 10 hours - two 5 hour days a week. I am t-12 & L-2 incomlete- but with extreme neuropathic pain in lower legs and feet. How is every one else I am reading about able to work? I am three years post injury. I can't collect SS benifits because I have a State job that doesn't pay into Social Security- however I use to pay into it but worked at this job for 11 years so I just missed the cut off by a year. I didn't have disability insurance so I need to work to pay the bills.
    I want to get more energy back- I am exhausted by 5pm everyday and I am unable to function after that time. The pain really increases at the end of the day. I have two Kids and I want to have more fun in life with them before they get any older. Any suggestions--cures--ideas??

    No ideas on what to do about it, but I think quite a few of us are in the same boat as you. Some days I feel quite antsy being jammed into the wheelchair, sometimes just going out to the car and sitting in it for a bit to move the lower body around helps I found.

    Edit: Re-read your post, your pain must be really nasty, at first I thought you were working 10 hour days, but if you are doing 2 5 hour days, damn, that must be bad. Have you tried Neurontin? I found it marginal and discontiuned it because of too much lower leg edima for my tastes, but it may help to maintain some sanity for you.
    Last edited by Andy; 7 Sep 2005, 12:02 PM.


      I've been taking neurontin, it doesnt take the pain away but does seem to take the edge off a little bit.

      "Stand strong in the storms of life,The sun will always shine on you" Kid Rock


        I am an L1 injury and 3 years post, have much of the same pain as you have. Nothing seems to relieve it and you get it sitting standing and what not. Only thing that helps me is to lay down. With the level of injury it makes it difficult for pain cause it is where our natural curve of the spine should be, and for me I am fused from T12 to L2, so not so much of a natural curve anymore. I have a lot of leg pain and foot pain, lots of cramping especially in the mornings and late evenings. Nothing seems to help. I am interested if you find out anything that helps. I am not working right now but I attend classes 5-7 hours twice a week and feel the same way. takes the rest of the week to recover from those two days. I worry I will not be able to support myself by working a full time job because it will be too much. And like you said, I want to be able to do something during those days aside from just going to class, but energy is also a big issue, especially when trying to deal with the pain.


          capecod - the only way I've been able to handle the neuro pain at work and in general is to keep moving. Workouts are a must at home with an Easy Stand 6000 and an Uppertone. The more I move the better I feel. I even went to planet mobility about 2yrs ago and bought a used Easy Stand 5000 for my office at work. I need to stand and keep moving or the neuro pain and stiffness is almost unbearable.

          I also don't take any pain meds because of their "loopy" effects. I'm not a good "drug" person and am not comfortable taking much more than aspirin and ibuprofen - which, in small doses, help.

          If you have time for a workout and really focus on your diet, proteins and carbs work for me, you may find your energy levels increasing as well after that 5pm time frame. Smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day work much better for me than large ones.

          Good luck, I hope you're able to solve your problem. .
          Last edited by Chris Chappell; 7 Sep 2005, 4:02 PM.


            T-12 here and the same pain. It is the worst in my anus area and about 5 hours in chair I have to find a bed or floor or just somewhere to get of my butt.

            I have worked since I was 15 years old and I thought I would never say this but I miss work my old job before I got hurt especially. I do get SSD But it is just enough to pay the bills and buy a few cans of sardines. With gas prices and everything else increasing in price I see hard times ahead.

            Far as the pain I have tried all kinds of drugs and nothing has worked. I am seeing a pain mgt. Doc. that wants to do a trial implant of electrodes in my spinal area to block the pain. Has anyone had this type of implant.


              I use my sick days selectively.

              I also try to space out my time off so I have some every month - at least a week every other month ... but I've been there a few years and have the seniority. Less than two years to go and I'll be eligible for another half week.

              Fatigue is not something I've been able to put a handle on - it plagues me - but then again I work rotating 10hr shifts. I've thought about seeing a dietician but that's all I've done so far.

              Fortunately I do not suffer neuro pain ... but I do have days (every month) that are unbearable. Those are the times I use my sick days (fortunate enough to have 10/year and can save up to 36/year).

              Is this a job where you can 'build up' your work hours or is it possible to work from home at all?

              The only advice I can give is to get plenty of rest between workdays.
              Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

              T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12


                I too am fused T12-l2. I am never comfortable except when I lay flat on my back. I can't sit for more than a few mimutes - I have to constantly sit and stand and drag myself around. I am able to ambulate somewhat with a walker. I can't even sit in my wheel chair with any comfort. If I ever find something that works I will let you know. I take neurontin, baclofen, tizanadine and tamoral.