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No approval for medical leave

got diagnosed with spinal stenosis L5-S1 with a tear. Went thru 6 weeks of physical therapy, which may have strengthened my back muscles but did nothing for the pain. Dr said it's never going to get better so suck it up  and deal with the pain. Got medial Branch Nerve Block. It helps for about a week easing 30% of pain. Dr refused to sign for me to lose any more work. Approved returning twirl with restrictions of having a stool available. Am cashier so was given opportunity to sit on. Bench near register. Only worked four hours, had to sit down every 20 minutes with no relief. Constant pain on scale of 1-10, it was 3-9 the whole time. Sitting only works if I stay seated and don't get up and repeat the same movements.( definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.). Left work in tears. I feel like two different people. Sit and I am fine, as long as it is a comfortable chair,but  walk, bend, turn , raise arm to reach,...then I go from 0-10 in ten minutes or less. So... trying to get doctors to just approve regular medical leave (already did max FMLA) and two doctors flat out refused to sign the paperwork BECAUSE  MY MRI IS NORMAL for my age. I call that bull. Chronic pain is not normal. Know many people my age with no pain. Normal for my age does not mean I can work. All I want is time off to FIND a way to successfully manage the pain. Next step is ablation, according to pain management. Dr yesterday starting listing off drugs available. I take tramadol ONLY when I cannot get comfortable after sitting. It knocks me out. He listed others, which I shook my head and said over and over they make me drowsy and I need something to ease the pain so I am not in constant pain when I move, not something to make me sleep after the pain hits. Said to talk to the PM doctor for other options. So, if I don't find a doctor to sign paperwork so I can go on leave I will have to retire and lose my insurance......    I understand that this is an aging thing and it only gets worse from here on out.  I just want to keep my job and insurance long enough for a successful way to manage this pain. Thanks for listening


  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,519
    It may sound cruel, but for a doctor to put their signature on a form for leave of absence, short term disability, etc, there has to be enough evidence in the diagnostic tests and clinical examinations to warrant that.

    Their positions are on the line if they do not report accurately and truthfully.

    Ok, that being said, I would ask your doctor, since he/she wont sign any paperwork, what are their suggestions.
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 995


    How can your MRI be normal if you've been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and L5-S1 tear???  I assume the diagnosis of your problems was made via an MRI image. Yes? No? Maybe?

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,241
    hello ljbooth !
    curious what kind of doctor you are working with?

    you mentioned nerve block and doctor telling you to such it up, then you read of list of meds and told you to see pain management doctor.
    does that mean during this time, you have not yet been seen by pain management specialist?

    personally, i found pm doctor to be best thing for me. very understanding and started treating my pain right away.
    also did other tests besides mri i already had done.

    im also curious what you mean by medical leave? how much time off are you asking for?

    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • techorbusttechorbust Romulus, MIPosts: 15
    So sorry you found the same kind of doctors I did.  Took over 2 years before I found one that said I was messed up.  Still fighting the pain thing.

    Best of luck to you!  Hopefully things will work out.
    Bulging disc L5-S1 with pinched nerve root.  High resistance to most pain medications and anesthetics.
  • Obviously time to look for a new doctor.  Spinal stenosis L5-S1 with a tear is not normal, especially if you're having all those symptoms.
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  • I also agree that if your MRI is "normal" why would they do a rhizotomy. From what I understand, they are done for facet joint pain, at least in my case. I also have stenosis and surgery is now recommended  early on for a better outcome. I got an SCS instead because more surgery is not an option for me. I also think getting a second opinion is good in the hopes of obtaining a medical release. 
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
  • I agree with others that point out that stenosis is not normal. Is the doctor who won't sign the papers the one who ordered the MRI? Id he or she an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon? I agree that it's time to find a new doctor. Get your MRI and radiology report and take them to a surgeon. Work issues aside, stenosis is a very correctable problem. I've had it corrected twice. After both surgeries I was pain free and functioning normally.

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