Tag Archives: disability

Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability

Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability in America | Planet Money – By Chana Joffe-Walt – March 2013

This may seem like a strange article to post for someone who’s on disability themselves. However, I know there are many, many people out there scamming our disability system, sometimes for eye-popping amounts.

  • Scammers are the ones that give the impression that helping supposedly disabled people is a pointless waste of money.
  • Scammers are the ones that will cause the system to go bankrupt.
  • Scammer are the ones who cause our own painful conditions to be doubted and denied (for both disability and opioid treatment).

Yet we are the ones who have to shoulder the blame because we’re accused of being such scammers, both in disability claims and in getting opioids for our chronic pain.  Continue reading

Pain Tolerability Question vs Numeric Rating Scale

Pain Tolerability Question vs Numeric Rating Scale for Assessment of Self-reported Chronic Pain – Research Letter, Anesthesiology – April 20, 2020

This study shows that most people find high pain levels less “tolerable” (and more disabling). and this suggests that asking about the “tolerability” (extent of the disability) could be a more useful method of rating pain in general.

Introduction

The exclusive focus of the numeric rating scale (NRS) on pain intensity reduces the experience of chronic pain to a single dimension. This drawback minimizes the complex effects of chronic pain on patients’ lives and the trade-offs that are often involved in analgesic decision-making.    Continue reading

Sheehan Disability Scale – Useful for Pain

It seems that chronic pain is somehow not considered serious or damaging enough, by itself, to be disabling. Because of its invisibility and having to rely exclusively on patient reports, a healthcare provider finds it easier to shrug it off, believe it’s not really “that bad”, and invalidate our struggles when we cannot prove our suffering.

I recently found a rating scale normally used for psychiatric disorders that rates a symptom’s interference in three large realms of life: Work/School, Social, and Family/Home. The Sheehan Disability Scale takes any troubling symptom seriously.

I think rating how much a person’s life is affected by their pain gives much more information than ratings of how bad pain “feels”.  Continue reading

Neurological and Spinal Manifestations of EDS

Neurological and spinal manifestations of the Ehlers–Danlos syndromesHenderson – 2017 – American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics – Wiley Online LibraryFeb 2017

This research review makes it very clear that people with EDS suffer a great deal of pain from the neck up, that EDS is a physically disabling condition, and that its effects are multi-systemic.

This is the article I will present to the new doctor that is taking over from the wonderful doctor who has been prescribing me sufficient opioid pain medication for the last 10 years.  They work in the same medical group and this new doctor has on occasion refilled my opioid prescriptions when my regular doctor wasn’t available, so I hope she will continue doing so.

Just reading this review crushes any hope I’ve had of ever “getting better” because there are so many physical issues that arise when our body structures are held together (or rather, not held together) by defective connective tissue.

Continue reading

hEDS Patients Face Many Physical and Mental Challenges

Young hEDS Patients Report High Number of Physical, Mental ChallengesBY JOANA CARVALHO, MSCSept 2019

“[A]dults with EDS reported that pain, fear, stigma, and negative experiences with health care caused them to feel the most limited in their lives. We are unaware of any similar studies obtaining patient reports on what the hardest part of hEDS is for pediatric patients,” the researchers wrote.

Moreover, previous reports have shown that adult hEDS patients often experience symptoms of certain psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression, which have been found to be directly correlated with physical symptoms of the disorder (e.g., fatigue, tiredness, and pain). 

When they say “directly correlated”, they mean anxiety and depression are also symptoms of EDS. I’ve posted extensively about this connection:   Continue reading

Not All Pain Is the Same: Extent of High-Impact Chronic Pain

Not All Pain Is the Same: Characterizing the Extent of High-Impact Chronic Painpainresearchforum.org – Epidemiological findings highlight the need for patient-centered care –  by Stephani Sutherland – Apr 2019

Chronic pain exacts a huge toll on patients, healthcare systems, and the economy. But the way that chronic pain is typically defined—by how long it lasts—provides little information about

  1. the people suffering from chronic pain,
  2. the degree to which they are affected, and
  3. how to best treat them.

These days, chronic pain seems defined mostly by how many milligrams of an opioid need to be taken to make it bearable. The patient’s specific condition is considered irrelevant.

This is a sad side effect of medical pain: because it is only perceptible to the patient suffering from it, the easily accessible numerical measure of medication is used instead (scientific laziness, bordering on fraud).  Continue reading

Three Things Clinicians Should Know About Disability

Three Things Clinicians Should Know About Disability – by Joel Michael Reynolds, PhD AMA Journal of Ethics – Dec 2018

The historical relationship between health care professionals and people with disabilities is fraught, a fact all the more troubling in light of the distinctive roles clinicians play in both establishing and responding to that which is considered normal or abnormal by society at large.

I offer an overview of recent disability theory, outline a set of responsibilities clinicians have to disability communities, and provide recommendations for clinicians who hope to justly treat patients with disabilities and improve their care and health outcomes.  Continue reading

Effect of pain on cognitive impairment in older adults

The effect of pain on major cognitive impairment in older adults – July 10, 2018 

Highlights

  • Pain is a common problem, even in this relatively healthy community-dwelling cohort
  • High pain levels are associated with increased risk of developing memory impairment
  • Pain is not associated with developing attention or executive function impairment  [This has not been my experience -zyp]

Older adults frequently report pain; cross-sectional studies have shown that pain is associated with worse cognitive function. However, longitudinal studies are lacking.   Continue reading

Suicide attempts by disability claimants double

Suicide attempts by disability benefit claimants double after controversial assessments introduced – by May BulmanAlina Polianskaya – Dec 2017

Though this study was done in England, it shows how attempts to minimize disability claims due to chronic pain by coercing patients to “perform”, and claiming they are fit to work when they really aren’t, cause even more harm.

According to new analysis of NHS data from surveys taken in 2007 and 2014, nearly half of people surveyed on out-of-work disability benefits said in 2014 that they had attempted to take their own lives.   Continue reading

Court Rules Chronic Pain Is A VA Disability!

Court Rules Chronic Pain Is A VA Disability Military.com – Apr 2018 By Jim Absher

A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims may have a major effect on the outcome of many veteran’s disability claims. On April 3, the court ruled that pain, without any underlying disability, may be a valid reason for awarding VA compensation benefits.

This seems like a momentous change, yet I’ve only seen this one announcement buried on a site for military members.

Such a ruling by this huge government agency could affect many other healthcare organizations and be the beginning of a return to reason.  Continue reading