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Avatar universal

Help in Ontario. Chronic knee pain and where to go from here

Hello there,

I saw that many people were extremely helpful to others here and I'm hoping I can shed some light on my predicament.

I injured my knees in the US military. It's been somewhat manageable for the last few years, but usually with the changing of the seasons, it gets pretty bad. About 5 months ago, it started getting worse and regularly got to levels where I was in so much pain I couldn't concentrate or do anything but hobble back and forth to try to finish my day's work. Even my days off were spent sitting at home because of my level of pain. Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, etc, wouldn't even touch the pain. The only thing I could do to manage it was to sit at home on the couch with ice and advil and hope it got better. Even over the last few months, I spent so much time inside that my Vitamin D levels were really low and many times, I couldn't even take my dog for a walk around the block or had a difficult time doing grocery shopping.

Lately, it's been bad for about the last 5 months and is showing no signs of improvement. I ended up on Short Term Disability through my work benefits for just over 3 months, ending last week, the whole time going to doctor's appointments, trying to find the root cause of my pain. Upon starting Short Term Disability, my doctor estimated I'd be back at work within a month and a half, saying that she didn't think they'd support me for much longer. I went to MRIs, X-rays, blood tests, and other appointments during the 3 months I was off work. In the end, my doctor couldn't find any root cause to my pain. She said that she "doesn't mean to sound insensitive, but she has nothing to work with for my pain, and so legally, morally, and ethically, I have to be sent back to work".

So I go back to work. They're trying to get me back to working 30 hours by the end of the month, and if I don't work a set number of hours per week, the benefits company won't pay the other half of my wages. Last week, I worked two days and was in so much pain by the end of the second day and the following morning that I had to call in to work, which I always feel really bad for doing, but ultimately had no choice. I had to call my manager to get my hours, who suggested that maybe I need to start looking for "other options".

I've since called and talked to EI, who suggests sickness benefits, saying I need a note from my job and my doctor stating I can't work due to injury. Apart from this, I'm also afraid I won't be able to make ends meet on EI. What do you recommend? I'm feel a bit lost as to what the best option is from here.
2 Responses
1530171 tn?1448133193
Hi there.

There are a few possibilities.
First you really need a diagnosis, whether it is PTSD, Osteoarthritis,
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, or perhaps permanent damage to your knee joints from the original injury, which should have been verified shortly after the injury.
Nonetheless, we live in a society where formality is a necessity
when dealing with any type of government/health authority/employment regarding disability.  
In the absence of a root cause, or rather the doctor's inability to find the cause, should have led to a referral to a specialist.
Since, I do not know any details of your medical history, other than what you posted here, it is difficult to speculate, however, I can suggest that you
look into the following:
Tension Myositis Syndrome, all of the conditions I mentioned earlier
and chart each condition's symptoms and diagnostic criteria.
Then you may do a comparison with your own set of symptoms, the various tests you had and the findings from all those tests.
This way you will easily find any omissions, discrepancies or things that may have been missed, which perhaps may lead to a diagnosis if pursued properly.
Please note that some of these conditions are very difficult to diagnose and
consequently difficult to treat.
For example Fibromyalgia diagnosis is not only difficult to dx, it often not considered an "established" medical condition by many doctors.
So when suspecting fibromyalgia, one must see a Rheumatologist for a dx.

Tention Myositis Syndrome ( Look into Dr. John Sarno, the expert in this)
is considered "alternative" to most conventional doctors.

Any abnormalities within the knee joints have to be checked by an orthopedic doctor who specializes in knee joint problems.

I went undiagnosed for years, doing the medical merry-go-round
and when my Neurologist got my files mixed up with another patient's and made a suggestion that I see a psychiatrist for my physical issues, that is when I simply  I decided to "divorce" the conventional medical system!!
I had enough, which actually worked out to my advantage, that I got p*****
My studies in holistic medicine, energy medicine, cellular medicine, etc.
in the following years, helped me take charge of my own health matters and totally regain my health.
I'm not suggesting you do anything of the sort, just to bring you the awareness, that you may have to take charge of your health matters
in order to get results.
Doctors, when it comes to conditions that are complex and chronic, really don't have a good record for success.
It seems that they fair better with treating acute conditions.

With a formal dx, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits if it is a chronic condition without cure and/or proper treatment for it.

Best wishes.

Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply!

I am currently being referred to a specialist and a rheumatologist. It's just taking a while to get there.

I was also recently highly recommended a specialist in my area, who turned out to be a much less than satisfactory visit. He diagnosed it as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, a diagnosis I've heard many times before. He insisted on doing most of the talking and, when I tried to explain exactly how much pain I'd been in by stating I was on short term disability, he interrupted me and said that he "wasn't prepared to substantiate disability", and that "Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is uncomfortable, but it shouldn't keep you from working. I know it's uncomfortable, but you just have to work through that." Needless to say, I won't be going back to that doctor. I was going in looking for answers, not to try to get someone to qualify me for any disability. I want to work, but I'm finding it very difficult to even work a 4 hour shift without a lot of pain that leaves me in a chair when I'm not at work. I can't even take my dog around the block some days.

I never deployed, so PTSD isn't something that I'm dealing with, although the high stress of being "broken" in the military and the subsequent loss of what I saw as my intended life career has caused me considerable depression and anxiety, both things that were documented while still enlisted.

My results from tests from my family doctor only showed that there was inflammation in the knees, slightly swollen lymph nodes in each, fluid on the left knee, and very early signs of arthritis in the right.
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st. louis, MO
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