Cervical Spondylosis ESA

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I am new to this site and I have found it very interesting and helpful.

Let me begin.

Almost a year ago I was having problems with my right hand, my GP referred me to a doctor at a local surgical centre. I was immediately diagnosed as having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. My hand was operated on a month or so later, without me first having any tests. My hand has never recovered. Due to continuing pain I was sent for a nerve induction test which revealed that the problem lay elsewhere. I then saw a neurologist who suspected CS. I then had an x-ray and MRI scan. The scan clearly shows what the registrar called considerably where and tear to a large area of my neck. I have stenosis, two herniated discs and a lot of wear to the vertebrae and a trapped artery. The registrar said that it was cuased by heavy work. Surgery would invole a major operation and did not think it advisable, he said that nothing could be done for the trapped artery. Incidentily, in America a trapped vertebral artery is referred to as \"Bow Hunter's Syndrome\" - I was an archer for fifteen years and no doubt this contributed to the damage. I am now waiting to see a Neuro Surgeon if only for a second opinion to convince the DWP bods, also I am to see a physio therepist.

From the end of May last year I was claiming ESA, I had a so-called medical assessment by an ATOS doctor who had special powers. He could tell my pulse rate and that both of my heart chambers were working normaly without taking my pulse or using a stephoscope. I told him that I was having carpal tunnel release two days later, also, that I had severe tennis elbow. I performed the required movements, albeit with pain and answered his many questions. He spent most of his time clicking answers to questions on his computer. Naturally I failed the test. The Decision Maker would not take any notice of medical evidence from my GP, consultants or surgeons or that I had surgery two days after the assessment. Many people ask what planet the ESA decision make comes from, I have found that ESA (Employment Support Allowance) also stands for European Space Agency. So perhaps the decision maker really has come from somewhere in outer space, he or she certainly is not human. Anyway I took my case to a tribunal and WON. I am now to have a second assessment in two weeks.

I was hoping for some successful treatment for CS but have not been given much hope, particularly as surgery has been ruled out due to the risks. I now have to live with CS for the rest of my life, I am 50 years of age. Will physio help, what about painkillers though I do suffer from vertigo, will a Tens Machine be of any benefit? The CS is causing pain in my hands, arms, shoulders, neck and is causing lower back pain due to change of posture. I am beginning to get pains in my legs and all my limbs are becoming a lot weaker.

Can anyone offer advice or a few crumbs of comfort?

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  • Posted

    Hi Janner

    Sorry you have had to come to this site and you are having problems. If you have had a good look on here you would see that most of us are having problems with ESA. The system doe's not work for those that need it most and needs relooking at by the powers that be, all we can do is fight for our rights, so you need to keep doing so. As for your CS problems you need to talk to your GP about medication, we all find different meds that work for us but not others, it is a bit trial and error. I have CS with myelopathy so I can understand your pains and trouble with walking, I can't walk very far at all. I am awaiting appointment with a neurosurgion as I was told surgery was the only option or I will end up in a wheelchair. My CS is servere so like you I may be told it can't be done, I have to wait and see. My GP has tried me on several meds over the last year and the combination I am on now at least maks the pain more bearable. Would be carefull about physio as it could make it worse, check wiyh your GP. Hope you find ways to cope and others on here can also be of help.

    Regards Tony

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  • Posted

    Thanks Tony. I will be wary of physio. I too am waiting to see a neurosurgeon but this in only to get a second opinion and more evidence. The doctor I saw last week advised it though he does not think a surgeon will suggest trying surgery. I hope you have better luck than me.

    I have been fore warned as to what to expect at the next ATOS assessment. I say to anyone having to go to one of these DWP/ATOS \"medical assessments\", treat the day as though it is one of your worst even if you feel a little better. If your are asked to perform any movement that may hurt REFUSE TO DO IT, it is your right. If the doctor at the assessment asks you too many questions in quick succession, tell them to shut up and give you a chance to answer as I had to. They don't give you time to think about your answers in order to try and catch you out. I also advise that you take someone with you as a witness, this is allowed.

    I went and did a bit of shopping today, it was a struggle, the vertigo makes me walk as though I am half drunk. ASDA is only a short distance away but when I got home my legs felt as though I had run a marathon.

    Elbow crutches may help but would be difficult due to nerve damage in my right hand following Carpal Tunnel Release and severe left Tennis Elbow. I dread the prospect of a wheelchair though a Bus Pass would be helpful.

    CS is a very unpleasent complaint and I sympathise with fellow sufferers.

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  • Posted

    I too have CS along with cervical and lumbar spine stenosis, cauda equina syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome. I recently attended an ATOS assessment for ESA which was carried out by a nurse. Although I was very lucky to pass (30 points), at the same time I was taken out of the support group despite my condition being substantially worse than they were in April when I was placed in the support group by DWP. She also blatantly lied several times on the medical report. The conclusion being that I only had a mild disability and she recommended a return to work could be considered within 3 months! This despite the fact I am taking morphine for severe chronic pain and have recently had to use an electric wheelchair as my legs are now very weak and give way along with burning, loss of sensation and severe muscle twitching. Needless to say I am appealing and waiting to hear outcome. This legislation on disabled and sick people I think is going to hit a crisis point in the not too distant future. I think all those affected need to lobby parliament, a) to highight this issue, and b) sack ATOS healthcare whose assessors, in many cases are guilty of assault on the person and certainly misconduct.
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  • Posted

    Hello jules40

    What you have written is all true - the system currently in place - has been put in place by the secretary of state, and is totally biased to be in their favour - the examiners: and the people who are put on these Tribunal panel's are working to the letter of the law's that the secretary of state have placed before them, so their hands are moreorless tied.

    If you read my page - you will see what you're up against - I've seen this statement so many times by the assessors \"you'll be alright\" in such a time. It's a cop-out statement.

    There needs to be a case that goes to a proper court - but it's my view that even if this was to happen - the judge would alway's go in favour of the state because they're the one's who make the rules!!!

    There's no hope for us mate!! And they do like telling lies these people because they know that the system will protect them.

    Good luck

    Alan

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  • Posted

    Hello Everyone... :fairy:

    I have read all of your posts about the disability assessments you have to go through in the UK and I am disgusted!!!!!! I feel SOOOOOO sad for you all!!! sad I live in Australia and have CS as well...I has surgery almost 1 yr ago now....still in pain, but thats another story....What i wanted to say was how different the assessment for disability is in Australia....I am not on Disability myself because my CS was caused by a work injury 13 years ago, so i am under Work cover...but my daughter has mental illness and cant work due to that....All we have to do to prove disability is have our GP fill out a form that descibes the illness or injury...the only criteria for disability payments is that you will have your illness/injury for 2 or more years...THATS IT!!!! I feel guilty that its so much easier here....Im sooooo sorry you all have to go thru all of this... :cuddle:

    Take care...Love Jassy..xx.. :fairy:

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  • Posted

    Hi Jassy,

    Yes we are unfortunate in the UK in having governments that treat a lot of the disabled as sroungers who just do not want to work. There are those that cheat the system which makes the rest of us suffer. Also, our country is in so much debt that the government is looking to slash the benefits bill by kicking as many people as they can off of disability. If your heart is still beating then you are fit for work, if it is not still beating then you have to attend one of their sham medical assessments to prove it as they do not trust the word of your GP, Surgeon, Consultant or Undertaker.

    You are so lucky living in OZ.

    Janner

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  • Posted

    Hi all,

    I have cs as well as high blood pressure, gout, asthma, a small hole in my heart, and my heart stops and restarts which causes palpertations for which i am in medication for all of the above.

    I am waiting for an appointment for the pain clinic for my cs, but have currently been placed on the sick for a few weeks as i cannot containue with my job at the moment i work in a shop which i have to lift, stand for long periods and bend quite a lot.

    i see by your posts that you are all on about benifits will i eventully be so bad that this will be my future :cry: Queenie

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  • Posted

    Hi

    The answer to your question about benefit is probably not. This is because our government cannot afford it, they would rather all genuinly disabled people were on JSA as it is a lot less for them to pay out each week. For the first three months that you would be on ESA you would be paid the same as those on JSA. After three months they make you attend a sham medical assessment where you will be declared fit for work, unless you are dead. Even then they will still insist you attend the medical assessment as they take nobody else's word., not your GP, Consultant, Surgeon or Undertaker.

    I hope this answers your question.

    Janner

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  • Posted

    Hi Janner,

    I have just read your post and really hope you are still checking in to this forum as it shows the post was a year ago. I am 53 years old and suffer from everything you describe however as shocking as the pain can be  its the vertigo and "blacking out " feelings I struggle so much to deal with I havent been diagnosed with the trapped artery but I am diagnosing myself there seems to be no other answer and any medical intervention massage, physio chiro and acupuncture exacerbate my vertigo. I am quite literally going nuts with all of this and trying to be a mum, wife and work is getting so difficult i am at home more days now and feel pretty useless to the world. I have been suffering for many many years and my constant battle of staying positive can be really tough. I want to offer you a "few crumbs of comfort"and say that we are all in this together and our minds are amazing we can either be negative and give up or try to find something good in each day. I know I find that hard when I never know from minute to minute how I will feel. I use diazepam but im not advocating that because it is very addictive but it certainly helps me, like you many painkillers make me dizzier so I have to be careful. I have thought about a tens machine too I wonder if anyone else has tried that maybe some feed back on that would be good. I am really glad i found this forum today, I wish you nothing but healing vibes.

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    • Posted

      HI Donna

      Not sure if Janner is still about....those posts were abouu 2 years ago.  In reply to your comments on 'dizzy' spells,  as far asa I know, these are caused by arterial compression which can come with C/S.  I experience them myself occassionally,  and have to stop what I'm doing until it passes. Only usually lasts about 20/30 seconds,  and makes me feel fraint.  As I drive, and sometimes have to work up ladders,  knowing that it passes quickly enables me to keep a grip on it until it passes.  Regarding Tens machines,  I find them a bit brutal on the neck,  and I think they are not advised for C/S type neurological conditions ,  perhaps because outcomes are unknown.  I would tend towards being very careful if there's any possibility of setting off a dizzy episode.  Where Tens sometimes works is when applied to pains in arms/shoulders/hands, perhaps because it confuses or distracts from the nerve signalling already in play.  I've found that it only works temporarilly for very short periods,  and not really worth the effort.

      A good way I have discovered for easing headaches, dizzy sensations and neck stiffness,(and other referred symptoms)  is to change sleeping patterns/postures.  Try sleeping or napping semi-upright on a sofa,  with good pillow support for head/neck,  and see what happens after a couple of nights.  Works for me when I have a 'flare up',  and I've had good reports back from others with similar neck problems to say it helps ease the symptoms. Maybe worth a try !

      Gerry

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    • Posted

      Hi Gerry,

      Thank you so much for replying to my post.smile Thanks for your advice on the tens machine I suspected it would just make my vertigo worse as does all other intervention with my neck. The pain is so damn annoying and frustrating but the vertigo is so debilitating. I will try the posture changes with pillows but changing things like that actually scare me that my symtoms will worsen. I sound like such a whinger..... sorry. When the severe vertigo and blacking out sensations come its just horrible, such a hideous symtom! I would love to hear from anyone else that experiences the dizziness/ vertigo as well and what you do to manage it. I am so excited to be talking with you but so nsorry that you suffer this crap thing.

      Sending you healing vibes, Cheers Donna

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna

      Thanks,  and same for you.  Seems to me that you are experiencing two or three different symptoms all at once (pain/dizzyness/stiffness etc),  and that gets hard to handle in terms of treatment for each different symptom.  My approachg would be to focus on shifting any pain/headachy symptoms first (perhaps with the sleeping alterations).  But it takes time to work effectively.....maybe 2 or 3 nights,  and sometimes it does get worse temporarilly,  but that again can change with next adjusted sleep.  It's all trial and error/success initially,  but once you establish best sleeping postures,  it gets easy from there on.  For me,  it's nice to know that if I aggravate the neck,  I've got a good quick solution for rectifying within 24 hours....and no meds required. THe professional;s don't know about these home based therapies,  mostly because they have no means of monitoring them,  and so they go unmentioned. It's worthy a try, even if it does get uncomfortable at times....small price to pay in my book.  If you have any success with shifting pain/headaches/stiffness using this method,  I wouldn't be surprised to find that other symptoms, dizzyness/mugginess also eased at same time.  THey never disappear completely,  but a general easing of the worst aspects of a flare up creates more positive options for management,  and for me, that's usually as good as it gets.  At least try committing to 2 or 3 days/nights of changes,  just to see if there's any improvement that could be worked on.  A good introduction to it might be simply to have a few 'naps' on a sofa,  with semi-upright posture and pillow support,  and just assess any changes that you might notice.  The first nap might create new aches, because the neck must readjust,  but by the second or third, those readjustments might be beneficially significant.  I'll swear by it,  if that helps !.

      I hate to say this,  because I know what anybody's reaction is likely to be,  but it may well be your current sleeping regime which is adding a cyclical component to the continuation of your symptoms.  That's one area of your management of your condition which only you can experiment with or change. If it doesn't work for you,  you'll be wiser, but no worse off.

      Good luck

      Gerry

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    • Posted

      Hi Gerry

      Thanks for your reply I am going to definitely try changing my sleep patterns with pillows and posture, I hope that gives some relief to the pain and dizziness. I am in some kind of flare up and have been since coming back from a few days away which interestingly involved a different bed and pillows! I believe anything is worth a try as long as its not another invasive test or "cure" which sets off the symptoms of this hideous thing at a rapid and heightened rate.

      I just want to say that I have read some posts on here and have wanted to answer but didn't feel well enough at the time. I feel such sadness for everyone that has to come here to post their story as we all know we wouldnt wish it on anyone. I hope there are brighter days ahead for us all.However I am so glad that I have stumbled upon this forum as it has given me strength through  some really bad times lately.

      Geez I hate how much I whinge but I do feel safe on here as we all understand this crap condition.

      I would be happy to hear from anyone in Australia on here too, I am in NSW.

      Thanks again Gerry.

      Best Wishes

      Donna

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna

      Welcome to the UK...wonders of the internet !  I wouldn't worry (read as 'no worries'!) about the whingeing....it must out, to restore a bit of balance in our perceptions.  Some use the site for that purpose, and others, like me,  perhaps because we've already done it, use it to explore treatment options.  It's all part of the process of getting something that resembles a grip on the whole C/S enigma.  The 'sofa'  thing has never been studied / monitored /defined /researched as normal physio treatments have  been,  but ,  from my experience,  that has been a huge oversight by the professionals.  It may well achieve differing results for different individuals,  but without trying it there's no way of knowing how beneficial it may have been.  Nothing to lose,  and no appointments, no meds,  no waiting/hoping,  and all done at home over just a few days, at no expense.  It does take a few days at first attempt,  for adjustments/changes  to take effect....hopefully for the better.  Any results, good or bad,  please let us know.

      Regards

      Gerry

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    • Posted

      Hi Donna, I am still suffering and certain symptoms are getting worse. Apart from my neck I also have Lumbar Spondylosis which causes problems with my legs which obviously effects my walking. This steadily getting worse, on flat ground walking is painful but bareable, once I have to go up or even worse down hill the pains in my lumbar spin e kick in with a vengance. All we can do is enjoy life as best we can, be positive about something to take our mind off the pain. A chap once said to me let don't my pain stop me from going out, if I am in pain at home why not go out and be in pain somewhere else. He has a valid point there. So I go out when I can during the day and even go on coach trips once or twice a month, the seats are more comfortable than those on a bus, I walk slowly and carefully and at least able to enjoy different scenery. If you are in pain don't stay at home looking at four walls, it will drive you potty. Enjoy time with family and friends even though you are in pain.

      The dizzyness and blakouts are the "myelopaphy" form of cs where thye blood flow to your brain is restricted by pressure on an artery.

      I kow it hurts by try to stay positive and say to yourself you are not going to let it (cs) rule your life.

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