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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    22

    Default Neck Injury, Surgery And Disability - What To Do

    I've been on WC since 04 and on SSDI since 05. I'am a union concrete worker who received both neck and back injuries. Neither employer nor the IC have challenged any requests for any medical tests, physical therapy or any other requests [my attorney is on the ball]. I went to IME and he concured with my doctor competely, they both suggested neck surgery. I have decided to not go along with the surgery because of my age [58] and I don't want my throat cut to fix my neck! I went to get a FCE and was told I can't do concrete work anymore and was given a 10-25# weight restriction in various positions. It was very favorable to me according to my attor. The IC has not asked me to attened any Voc. Rehab. Not only that ,but my employer went out of business..kaput..sayanara..bye bye, I don't even have a light duty job to go back to, who's gonna hire a 58 yo concrete worker with restrictions? My union is prepared to offer me a "disability pension" so I don't lose my medical coverage, after I go back to work I can again be eligable for medical insurance.What do you guys think I can expect from a settelment? I don't talk $ with my attor. Is my situation unique? I wish you all well and thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    775

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    While I am not qualified to answer your question on dollars and cents, I am qualified to comment on your statement concerning surgery.

    Age 58 is probably the median age for neck surgery, certainly not too old. The anterior approach is the easiest way to do it and the most comfortable for the patient. The scar lies horizontally in the skin folds and will become almost invisible over time. You willl have little post-op discomfort if no fusion necessary, more stiffness than pain if it is.

    The most common complication is irritation of the recurrent laryngeal nerve and some hoarsness that might be permanent and that is only if the incision must be done on the left side, which is why you see most folks with the scar on the right.

    The outcomes are directly related to the number of levels operated on and by and large are very very good, with return to work activity in a few weeks without fusion, somewhat longer with, and full range of motion return in a few months. Obviously not every job is easy to return to, jack hammering perhaps among them, but heavy construction etc is not out of the question and many IW's do return to the trades.

    Neck surgery generally goes much better than lumbar surgery. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    9,108

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    Each state has their own comp system that controls how much disability each is eligible for. The formulas are in your states work comp code. The same situation is worth a different amount in each state according to the work comp rules of that state. Any answer would be total off the wall guess.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    The outcomes are directly related to the number of levels operated on and by and large are very very good, with return to work activity in a few weeks without fusion, somewhat longer with, and full range of motion return in a few months. Obviously not every job is easy to return to, jack hammering perhaps among them, but heavy construction etc is not out of the question and many IW's do return to the trades.
    Thanks for the encouragement POR. I'm 51 or will be March 25th and going for a multi level fusion of my C5-7 on the 26th. Need to be back to driving a tractor trailer by June 26th. Guess it is possible??
    Thanks
    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    775

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    It's almost certain you will make it.

    My only concern is that it's the rare over the road driver who actually makes it to retirement age. OTR drivers are the number one job classification for development of cervical degenerative disc and joint disease. Best of luck !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    Ouch!!! I do or did drive mostly local for the past 20 some odd years.
    My over the road stint was before my 25 years at my current employer.
    Tom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    I had Cervical Fusion done 6 years ago. I'm 39. I do have problems with sleeping, due to numbness in each arm, no matter what position I lye. Another problem I have is sometimes when I get tired and I yawn, a muscle in my neck cramps up. The first time this happens, it will scare the hell out of you. I immediately look up in the air to stretch out the neck muscle. My scar is on the left side and is barely noticeable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    Thanks for the info JuliusErving. How quickly did you recover to your full potential? And did you have the arm numbness before the surgery?
    Tom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    I never will recover fully. I didn't have any symptoms leading up to my injury.
    The first year was really tough. I have learned to live with this disability.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: whaddayathink?

    I guess I didnt ask the proper question about whether my case was "unique" or not...... Since my old employer is no longer in business and I can't return to light duty via his employ ,AND the IC is not sending me to Voc. Rehab. what can I expect?? Is it up to me to find a job that meets my FCE guidelines?? Or will I be compensated by the IC?Please read my 1st post in regards to particulars..oh ya I'm from IL. Thank you and good health to all.

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