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End of treatment? Lower back injury in CA
#1
Hello all,

So grateful that I stumbled upon this forum. I've been reading posts and I've already learned so much, thank you to all that post here.

I live in CA, female, early 40's. I work as a retail manager. I injured by back in May while moving heavy boxes and furniture. I asked for assistance in the form of an outside labor company but was told "there wasn't a budget for that". So, I trucked along and tried to do it myself along with one other employee. I ended up straining my back pretty badly while moving a heavy cabinet. I had immediate sharp shooting pain in my back down to my leg. Went straight to Clinic and treated for muscle strain initially. Pain continued and had X-rays, MRI that found disc bulge between L4/L5 and subsequent nerve pinch. Doc also thinks I might have issues with my Sacrial Joint? I was but on TTD for one week then placed on Work Restrictions after that. I've been on these restrictions for almost 5 months now (4 hrs a day max, limited standing, sitting, walking, limited push, pull, lift). Essentially inhibits me from doing my normal job which is very active, lots of lifting, long hours on my feet, etc.

After months of PT and acupuncture, I'm still in pain. Sitting or standing more than an hour straight causes intense pain across my back (almost feels like a brick is sitting there). I also get pain radiating down my leg and occasional tingling/numbness in my leg/foot. I've gone from an active person to someone that is exhausted and in pain after a few hours of normal work. Doc now wants to try Epidural Injections (I've read mixed reviews and my doc is relatively new to these procedures). My apprehension to scheduling the injection made him very defensive and he stated if I didn't do it that he'd have to release me and tell my employer there was nothing more he could do for me OR just release me to work with NO restrictions at all (don't see how this would be possible as I'm in intense pain WITH restrictions).

Does it sound right that my doctor is essentially telling me he will close my case if I don't do the injection? Can he release me to work with no restrictions even though I'm still in great pain? My employer has been accommodating with giving me modified work but I'm sure their patience is wearing thin after 5 months. Can they fire me now?
 
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#2
sounds like you've gotten everything this doc has to give.
time to try another that has more experience and different options.
you can change to any doc within the carriers MPN or request a second opinion from an orthopedic specialist.

get a list of those in your are and notify the carrier of your new treating MD.
any employee can be terminated at any time; having a claim does not give you immunity.

moe info on medical benefits here
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/MedicalUnit/imchp.html
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#3
Thank you, 1171. I just received a list of physicians that are accepted through the WC carrier. Time to research and try another doc.

I get my re-assessment from my current Pain Management doctor next week. My concern is that since I haven't scheduled my Epidural, he will release me back to work without restrictions (despite the fact that I'm still in considerable pain). I will likely not have a new appointment with another doctor before that time.

I can still use the FMLA if he releases me, correct? There is NO way in my current state that I can work FT without restrictions. Unless, of course, I want to endure intense pain and pop pain pills at work all day.
 
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#4
Pain I some bad news for you.they dont care if you are in pain.just if you are as fixed as you are gonna get.Then you get a rating,then your done.if they dont see a problem that can be fixed on a MRI or an Xray or one of their test. then your done.Pain is something they cant find on a test so they dont pay for pain or suffering.Good luck with the new doc
........I love cats, I just cant eat a whole one by myself......







 
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#5
(10-08-2012, 02:35 PM)PainOC Wrote: Thank you, 1171. I just received a list of physicians that are accepted through the WC carrier. Time to research and try another doc.

I get my re-assessment from my current Pain Management doctor next week. My concern is that since I haven't scheduled my Epidural, he will release me back to work without restrictions (despite the fact that I'm still in considerable pain). I will likely not have a new appointment with another doctor before that time.

I can still use the FMLA if he releases me, correct? There is NO way in my current state that I can work FT without restrictions. Unless, of course, I want to endure intense pain and pop pain pills at work all day.

I don't know what you mean "use my fmla"?
as far as I know employers still require medical verification for medical leave; FMLA is not unpaid vacation.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#6

Quote:I don't know what you mean "use my fmla"?
as far as I know employers still require medical verification for medical leave; FMLA is not unpaid vacation.

Meaning if I have a legitimate medical issue, would I still be able to take unpaid medical leave? I've had co-workers go on leave for various medical issues (Epstein Barr, Neck Pain to name a few). Would back injury/pain not qualify?

jayne, thanks for the input. That's what I'm afraid of at this point. I don't see how I can perform a very physical job with this level of pain. I'd be forced to resign otherwise. So scared about my future. :/

Thanks to you both for your posts. I appreciate your feedback. Smile

 
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#7
you dont ever quit you keep going if they cant find a place with your Drs restrictions then they pay TTD or you get unemployment. you quit you get nothing understand!
........I love cats, I just cant eat a whole one by myself......







 
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#8
Thank you!! That makes sense.

My Workman's Comp rep got back to me today and said I can't switch to a different doctor unless I get a QME? I have to call her because that doesn't make sense. I don't want a second opinion per se I just want to be treated by a different doctor!
 
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#9
(10-09-2012, 10:46 PM)PainOC Wrote: Thank you!! That makes sense.

My Workman's Comp rep got back to me today and said I can't switch to a different doctor unless I get a QME? I have to call her because that doesn't make sense. I don't want a second opinion per se I just want to be treated by a different doctor!

Q. What if I disagree with the MPN doctor's treatment plan?

A. If you disagree with your MPN doctor about your treatment, you can change to another physician on the MPN list. You can also ask for a 2nd and 3rd opinion from different MPN doctors. If you still disagree, you can have an independent medical review (IMR) to resolve the dispute. See the information on your MPN provided by your employer.

Q. What if I disagree with the MPN doctor’s opinion regarding my ability to return to work, whether I’m permanently disabled, or if I need future medical treatment?

A. If you disagree with your MPN doctor on any issues other than diagnosis or treatment, you must request a qualified medical examiner (QME).


more information here
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/WCFaqIW.html



Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#10


Q. What if I disagree with the MPN doctor's treatment plan?

A. If you disagree with your MPN doctor about your treatment, you can change to another physician on the MPN list. You can also ask for a 2nd and 3rd opinion from different MPN doctors. If you still disagree, you can have an independent medical review (IMR) to resolve the dispute. See the information on your MPN provided by your employer.

Q. What if I disagree with the MPN doctor’s opinion regarding my ability to return to work, whether I’m permanently disabled, or if I need future medical treatment?

A. If you disagree with your MPN doctor on any issues other than diagnosis or treatment, you must request a qualified medical examiner (QME).


more information here
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/WCFaqIW.html

[/quote]

Thank you so much for posting that. I went back to the email from the rep and she most definitely said I could not get a second opinion just by asking. From what you posted above, that does not seem to be the case. Here is an excerpt from her email to me:

If you are seeking a second opinion you need to request a Panel QME from the medical unit.

Now I'm not sure what to do. That is my case manager so I guess I have to go to her supervisor?

 
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