Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - Printable Version
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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - wife of injured man - 02-09-2008 09:05 AM
Hi to everyone. I hope you all are doing well today. I have a few questions and I know this is the place to get answers.
My husband is a hard labor worker (all his life). He was injured last year and now has mild bulging disks in his neck (3) and in his thoracic area (3). He has mild irritation to his L5 nerve in his left leg. He also has severe carpal tunnel in both hands (although his whole hand is numb with hurting). We thought carpal tunnel was just the first 3 fingers and part of the fourth with the pinkie not being affected. Long story short, the neurologist wants to do a special EMG to hopefully rule out Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. This needs to happen before attempting carpal tunnel surgery. Do they do one hand at a time? Any thoughts on this?
He is having falls with his left leg giving out. He has to use a quad cane to get around. He can barely walk anywhere without problems. He does not sleep well at night, moving from one chair, or couch to another. He is depressed and in bad mental shape also.
Our atty (we hated to have to go this route), but after MONTHS of nothing from the insurance co. we had no choice, worked hard to get his payments coming each week (although the atty gets every 4th check). We are waiting on getting medical approved from the insurance co. Right now, he has state medical insurance, which goes away the end of the month. Then we cannot afford ANY medical treatments until the industrial commission approves them.
He was given a MMI rating of 5% for the neck and back only from a workers comp doctor. We are requesting a second opinion as we feel this is not accurate of all his issues. By the way, the insurance co wanted to settle for about what he would make in a year of hard work. We could not accept this.
During his employment, he worked 12 plus hours most days and had no physical problems whatsoever. Now he can hardly clean himself after a bathroom visit.
Will his weekly payments continue? We have a family to support. Will they finally pay for his medical treatments that he so needs? What is our future? Please give us any information you can share. We are down and out in North Carolina.[/size][/color]
Thanks to everyone! God Bless you!
Wife of Injured Man
RE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - nurse83 - 02-09-2008 09:19 AM
welcome to the forum; so sorry for your hubby's injuries and your troubles
others will be along to give you more info; i'm not an expert on NC w/c laws; heck i'm had trouble figuring out my state and had to get an atty also.
if your hubby was off work due to his injury why in the world did he go months without w/c check for his injury?
why is his only coverage state medical? isn't w/c paying for his medical tx?
those 2 things i would think are pretty basic state to state--the waiting period before you get your first check varies; in my state i had to be off work for 7 calendar days before weekly benefits kicked in. and my medical tx has been thru w/c since day 1 altho i don't much care for what they call tx
as for what answers i CAN give you; a normal EMG (at least in my case) has never left me feeling more impaired at the end than I was to start with. No big pain or swelling and no loss in my ability to drive myself home. so i would say that whatever he can NORMALLY do he will be able
to do almost immediately afterward
good luck with his settlement; definitely work out what you realistically need for his and your family's future needs and left the atty know what that figure is (and don't forget his cut) and don't forget to think about medical-will it be left open or will they buy that out too
you will be welcomed on this site and find a lot of great people
RE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - 1171 - 02-09-2008 01:03 PM
First of all find out all the information about your state's work comp system so you and your husband will not make false assumptions or get surprised along the way.
North Carolina offers a tremendous amount of public information about how their work comp system works.
you can start here
The temporary disability payments will only continue as long as he has not reached MMI for all his conditions. Once MMI is reached and ratings are given the carrier will be negotiating permanent partial disability payments.
The website has more on permanent disability benefits.
He needs to have the doctors address his mental state asap. Once the case gets past the MMI stage it'll be very difficult to open the psyche/emotional issues.
Have his treating doctors make a referal to a professional psychologist. Depression from prolonged and life changing medical conditions can become chronic quite easily. Neither he nor you can handle this type of injury; get professional help soon.
RE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - wife of injured man - 02-09-2008 08:32 PM
My husband reached his MMI (according to the first workers comp dr) in November and started receiving his weekly checks the same month. He was injured in the spring of 2007. This is weird to me.
We are requesting a second opinion MMI. Our atty says we have to go to court through the IC to get medical turned on. It is such a poker game. I hate this.
Thanks for any advice you can pass along. We will definitely be talking to the attorney Monday about all this. It is sad that it has been almost 10 months and hardly no medical treatment that was paid for by the insurance company. His mental status is screwed up. It was documented during his treatment with the wonderful workers comp doctor. She REFERRED him to see a Psych doctor. He was let go under her care and did not get all the Psych appts after that. Plus workers comp insurance denied him anymore Psych appts. Only 2.
Now that he is fired from his job, does workers comp have liability to retrain him (vocational training)?
RE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - 1171 - 02-10-2008 12:18 PM
as far as i can tell from the regulations (see the link i gave) rehabilitation is not affected by his job status so yes the entitlement is still there.
RE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - wife of injured man - 02-12-2008 12:37 PM
Thanks! I hope we can get his medical taken care of so that he is capable of doing retraining for vocational rehab. Right now, he is a mess both physically and mentally. We all are.
RE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - Pooh - 02-13-2008 04:42 AM
As far as I know there is no special test for neuro TOS, because TOS can be caused by many different things. I have Nuero tos and verified by damage to the long thoracic nerve. Trust me it's not a nerve I want tested again. It was the only one that I felt during the whole test, and I slept through the rest of it because of the xanax my neuro likes to give before he does these type of tests.
He should also be checked to make sure that there is no vascular TOS as well - this is done by injecting dye if I remember into the veins and doing an MRI. He would also need a Chest x-ray to rule out an xtra 1st rib, etc. There is a lot of different things that are done to rule in or out TOS basically. And a person can have a combo of vascular and neuro tos or they can have undefined tos.
Has he had a mri of his lumbar spine yet? Sounds like if he is having problems walking that he may need that done as well.
There is PT for TOS and it does help. However, it has to be specifically for TOS, otherwise it will end up doing more harm than good. I am an good example of that. I was given work hardening PT, but not for TOS and now 5 yrs later live with TOS daily. I now know what exercises to do when the TOS gets to bad and it does help with the symptoms some. Also heat and ice helps as well. Also other than having an extra rib - there isn't much that can be done. If the nerves are pinched in an area they can try and alleviate the nerves in that area, but that's about it.
If you google, thoracic outlet syndrome you will come up with lots of different website with info about it.
RE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Carpal Tunnel/Neck/Back injury - oblivyous - 10-04-2008 11:57 PM
wife of injured man Wrote:Thanks! I hope we can get his medical taken care of so that he is capable of doing retraining for vocational rehab. Right now, he is a mess both physically and mentally. We all are.Sorry to hear you about the pain your husband has & you all having to go thru the horrible workers comp system. It can be quite stressful for all in the household . Everything will work out in the end. Its just getting there takes so darn long.
God bless you all & be safe