Social Security Disability, Disc Herniation, Nerve Root Impingement, and Stenosis among others
Here's a comment left by cyberwife99 on a different post. In her comments, she describes her situation and poses a question which is answered immediately after.
First I would like to say thank you for helping so many of us...
I have a Large L5 S1 paracentral disc herniations, nerve root impingenment at S1, DDD and facet disease at L4 and L5 s1, calcified disc fragment, S1 Radiculopathy and central canal stenosis.
I was acutally schedule for surgery, Iv, checked in, talked to the anesteologist and started panic attacks.. actually about 2 weeks prior I started with hot flashes.. Now I have chest pains, hot flashes, shortness of breath, but I that day I actually asked to speak to my doctor prior to surgery. My last visit he prescribed me Vicodin and it really helped me.. I told him that and asked if it was necessary for surgery if that is helping. He told me to stay off of them and take otc (didn't work) and then reschedule if we need but he cancelled the surgery. I honestly didn't know that the surgery was that big of a surgery after all the research I ve been doing about it. I did go to my primary care and she prescribed me Lexapro for the aniexty/depression. I am terrified of the surgery.. everyone tells me I should have it but are the chances worth it? I don't want to have to go back in a could years possibly more then once to have surgery again. If I don't have the surgery would it hurt my case? Plus I can't afford cobra insurance $512 per month or my husbands insurance $422 per month.. Right now I get LTD but not sure if they are going to denie me now that I chicked out of surgery.
Sounds like you have significant problems with your lower back, and some additional anxiety problems. It is not unusual for people with chronic pain and spinal problems to have depression and anxiety. I empathize with your situation and unfortunately have no clear answers to your questions. All surgery has its risks and spinal surgeries carry the potential for great improvement or additional impairment. I think many individuals who suffer from your problems are eventually driven to make the choice of surgery because their doctors are reluctant to prescribe medications that are necessary to manage the pain. I can see that your doctor may feel this way as he suggested over the counter medications rather than prescribe vicoden.
I am not sure what your long term disability company will do with the fact that you have refused surgery, however I think they might have to consider the fact that you now have significant problems with anxiety as it relates to surgery.
In answer to whether or not surgery is worth it, or if there is a possibility that more surgical procedures are possible, I have to say there is no way for me to know. There is always the risk that surgery will not help your condition or worsen it, and the possibility that you might require future surgical interventions. If you chose to forgo surgery or you continue to have pain after surgery, you might ask your orthopedist or primary care doctor to refer you to a pain clinic. Pain clinics have the capability to prescribe medications such as vicodin for pain management on a long term basis.
I am still not clear as to whether or not you have applied for Social Security disability, however I would be surprised if that were not a requirement to receiving your long term disability benefits as most ltd carriers seem to have this requirement, which for them is simply a means by which to recapture what they perceive to be their expenses (IMO, you pay your premium and you are entitled to your benefit as a result, so they shouldn't have the right to require that you file for disability, or the right to demand any portion of your social security disability benefits).
Social Security disability is based strictly upon residual functional capacity (what your able to in spite of the limitations imposed upon you by your back problem), not whether or not you have had the surgery.
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