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Assistance navigating disability and help in general for condition.

Hello to anyone who may read this, 


My brief story and question at end: 


I am only 51 years old, I have a condition that is limiting me to work as a vascular sonographer in a hospital that I have been working for almost 30 years. I am becoming disabled through repetitive motion and currently I am in continual pain to neck, shoulders and all joints in the upper body since JAN 2022. I have two small children, wife and a home, so I am blessed. Unfortunately I am becoming more limited daily and with working as a vascular sonographer, I am worsening my condition without a doubt because it is a measured effect. While I was also diagnosed with cervical disc herniation JAN 2022, no providers are willing to indicate that the disc is the cause, for which it might not be, but none the less, I am not doing well physically and now it is progressing mentally since. I have seen (2) orthopedic surgeons, (2) pain management physicians (no drugs ever!), PCP, Physiatrists and have completed physician therapy and all feel as if they do not know what is wrong, and it is most likely repetitive injury, and believe it or not, I have been told "hope for the best" by neurology. What have we become? One physician diagnosed me with "myofascial pain syndrome" which upon researching, has no definitive outcome or foundation of mechanics. All the muscle relaxers, gabapentin etc prescribed make me too drowsy and unwell, so I stick to Ibuprofen and Aleve. 


I have been made fully aware of "perspective" since I have been treating patients for 30 years and even remember my first patient in school in 1992 who passed, so I have perspective on personal and world affairs not to mention the struggles of our history and the world's, but this does not change what is happening nor does it help navigate what needs to be done. 


I have both long term work disability and an outside AMERIPRISE disability insurance plan since 2003, so in theory, I could pursue these, but the hurdles are unknown, for no one is able to guide and believe me, willing to assist., no one. 


Has anyone ever experienced such a dilemma? I am informed legal counsel may be appropriate but how does that work. Has anyone reached out to AARP to assist with synthesizing all the data needed to navigate, is this even a resource AARP has provided for someone in the past?


Enough of my "sad" story, I am shamed in even writing this, but the reality is looking me in the face every minute. 

If any one reads this, or would like to respond, at least I can get even a further perspective of someone else's struggles in pursuing "long term disability". Like I said, I have been in medicine for 30 years and am quite aware of the "black hole" of medicine for injuries such as mine. I am sure there are several persons on here who have unanswered pain conditions. 




Periodic Contributor

I have not read all the responses given.  My suggestion is begin the disability process paperwork, you may get rejected, but apply again if rejected, sometimes that’s the process.

Have you used and set up A.D.A. (American with Disabilities Act) forms to help reduce and set limits on your job requirements.

Hope some of this helps.

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Trusted Contributor

very very sorry for what you are going through.  You are certainly not alone.  Many of us have experienced endless horror stories trying to wind our way through the bureaucratic maze.  You might want to join some support groups for the disabled community directly.  And maybe brainstorm with some of those people.  Also, you know, with support groups re problems with the medical care world and the red tape and all those issues.

Medically, since mainstream medicine seems to have become a dead end for you, I would certainly encourage you to look into some natural medicine therapies.  A Holistic MD is a regular MD with an interest in natural you get the best of both worlds.  Also from Integrative Medicine MDs...and with Osteopaths.  So, you might want to look into those.

Also, massage therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture.

If you are still engaged in repetitive work, I would strongly recommend you excise yourself from that.  It is like general triage...first remove yourself from the source of the danger.  Very hard to heal while still aggravating yourself medically.

I am chronically ill (carbon monoxide poisoning). I know of many stories of folks who have suffered enormously, even come close to death, who have then come back and regained quite a bit of their health.

So, there is always hope.

Take care.

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Hi John, 


Thank you for your kind reply. I have already engaged acupuncture etc and holistic approaches. Unfortunately, due to needing to earn a living I have to work in my job that is aggravating my situation because having a 6 and 9 year old at 51 is costly. I trust your advice is sound and agree with it, that is why I am diligently looking to excise myself from my profession, but that is all I have done my whole life, starting over with bills, mortgage, kids, wife, etc makes it truly almost impossible and when you carry the insurance for your family. I am in a tough spot for sure. I will keep looking into guidance to help navigate any disability etc. I suppose I am in a stage of uncertainty at the moment and hopefully will have better mental clarity as I start to get possible answers. 


I miss the support America had in the "good old days" - now, it's eat or be eaten without a care to the wind by the medical profession. 



Trusted Contributor

I am sorry you are in such a Catch-22.

A friend of mine was a jazz musician, a guitar player.  He got carpal tunnel and could no longer play.

Years, before, he had been a judo champ in France.  One of the guys he used to regularly beat as a kid, eventually became a member of France’s Olympic team.  He was just that good.  Extraordinarily tough guy.

And one day, we just found him in a corner balling his eyes out, because he could not believe he could no longer play his gigs….all he ever wanted to do.

I worked in non-profits before I became disabled.  My wife has worked in non-profits her entire life.

What I would say, is start to call around to all the major charities —- Catholic Community Services, Salvation Army, all of them.  Just start to make calls and see what comes of it.  Maybe they can help, maybe they can’t.  With this kind of thing, you just can’t ever accept a no.  Just got to keep on asking, keep on pressing.  Eventually you may find a sympathetic ear.

What you need is not so much an organization that has a mission to help, but a person who actually, personally likes you and wants to help.  That is the key.  If you get that person, who has a bit of power, that can start the dominoes falling in your direction.  And finding that person could take 100 phone calls or even 500 phone calls.

Then you have local churches.  Many local churches have a “giving group.”  And they will focus on individuals in the community who need help.  Again, all you need is that one person, that one person who cares, who is going to help you find a way out.

Call all your political representatives…state and federal. See if someone in those offices has an idea.  Oh, who knows, maybe there is a grant for some people to get re-trained in an entirely different field, that won’t aggravate your injuries.

Then…and this can be hard…make a list of everyone you have ever known. From school, from church, from sports..whatever.  Make that list and draw up a letter.  Find someone with some good writing skills…and see if they can just draft a general letter…letting people know what is going on and asking for help.

You just never know.  I went to high school with a class of about 700 people.  I think about 10 of them became millionaires.  No one would help me, but that doesn’t mean you will only get a no.

My wife was doing some fundraising for a charity.  Met the right person.  They gave the charity a cool million dollars…one donation.

Just keep trying…

Very sorry for how difficult it is…

Take care…

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I understand that your post is from a couple of years ago, but I still want to express my empathy for the challenges you were facing at that time. It's clear that you were dealing with significant health issues, and I hope that you were able to find the support and solutions you needed to improve your well-being.If you ever revisit this forum or if anyone else is reading this, it's worth considering approaches like Functional Medicine when dealing with complex health conditions. Such medicine practitioners take a holistic approach, which can provide valuable insights into the root causes of health problems.

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