Career Prospects with CRPS

Hello Everyone!

This is my first time posting on any forum, so apologies in advance if my etiquette isn't up to mark and please feel free to correct me :)

Anyway, after having had an injury to my right arm 11 months ago, I have been suffering with CRPS in.. well, my right arm, originating from the elbow region. As such I can't lift anything over 1.5 kg, the joints in my hand have become very painful, I can't grip objects properly, can't type for more than 10 minutes at a time and due to the pain/ lack of sleep (4 hours, interrupted), I can't concentrate much on what I'm saying or others and must write notes down if I'm to do more than 1 task at once... And no, that's not just because I'm a male ;)

Despite all this, I received a call from DWP stating I am fit to go to work. And although I can't wait to get back to work, I'm struggling to think of a full-time career I'd be capable of keeping. My previous careers were sculpting and project management, but I don't have qualifications for the latter so isn't much use. I'm also 27, if that helps.

So does anyone out there, with or without CRSP, have any ideas about work that someone in my situation could do?

Thank you in advance

23 Replies

  • I hope this doesn't sound demeaning, but would you consider going into some kind of unskilled job that wasn't actually a career, just to see how you cope with the demands of turning up at work and staying there the whole day? Ideally somewhere there are a lot of other young folk working, so at least you can feel like there is a social element to it. My experience is that it is always easier to get another job once you have a job, than it is to get that first job when you have been out of work.

  • I literally just posted about my own CRPS. While I can not give you advice on job ideas/prospects I can however completely relate on all of your symptoms since I have the same thing & in the same arm no less. You are still young so I believe your chances of making this manageable is greater as long as it was diagnosed early & you start pain management. I have to ask which is your dominant hand? Are you able to drive?

  • Thank you both for responding :)

    To earthwitch, I would be happy to do unskilled work, but even that I'm struggling to think of work. But that's probably because my confidence has taken a pretty bad beating this past year. The job centre have the work-related ESA which sounded like a perfect chance to see what work I can do,, volunteer then get a full-time job when I know my capabilities. But being put on JSA, I'm worried about being in and out of different paid jobs as trial and error.

    To g3b... Etc :P I sincerely hope you're getting the help you need to manage CRPS. I was diagnosed last week, 11 months after having the condition so I don't feel it was diagnosed early, I may be wrong. They said I would receive pain management, but they called last week to say they weren't going to bother as it might not help. So I must take a pharmacy of meds for the pain, so I'm an incoherent, high as a kite dazed idiot for all but 2 waking hours. My right arm is my dominant arm, and I can't drive.

  • MR1711, that's just not good enough - pain management is something that everyone with CRPS needs! Is there a Pain Clinic attached to your nearest hospital? You could always complain about the treatment you have received thus far....

  • You have a diagnosis of CRPS, but no effective treatment. You may have a muscle shortening problem. Here a muscle over tightens and becomes painful. The treatment for this is to stretch the muscle out again. This can be a painful process which can take several weeks. See a sports massage therapist. Local football team should know some good ones.

    It would be worth taking up yoga to learn how to engage with stretching out muscle.

    Hope this helps

  • I have a visit with the GP tomorrow and might suggest this. Is it possible for this to happen immediately after an injury though?

  • This is a difficult question to answer. Injuries vary considerably. Also even if one can compare one injury to another for similarities there is another factor in that there is brain controlling muscular response to the injury. This response will vary from person to person depending on their ability to fine tune their muscle control.

    There is a big problem in the medical world. Treatment is based on someone doing research on a particular type of injury. They then publish their results on the effectiveness of treatment. The medical consultant then uses the mean result to base their treatment regime on.

    Before the episode of The Shipman enquiries. If a treatment did not work. The psychiatrist was very willing to base the failure of treatment on the patient and label the problem psychosomatic.

    When another researcher repeated the trial which recommended a particular type of treatment they sometimes found that the recommended treatment did not work. The new researcher found that no respected medical journal would publish their results.

    There are many people now compared to a few years ago repeating medical trials and finding that the results they are getting are different to the earlier done trials.

    A new regime of treatment is needed. Here the patient needs to be given the tools to do their own investigation. Many Medical doctors do not know how muscles behave in a system. They do not know the relationship between proprioception and muscle response.

    When I broke my wrist I experienced at first hand the intense pain and weakness that the muscle response from the wrist break caused me. It took me weeks to reduce the pain experienced in my muscles caused by muscle shortening. To get strength back in my fingers I had to rely on my McTimony chiropractor loosening the tiny muscles in my wrist surrounding the tendon sheath.

    It is the investigation on how to develop the skills to find and develop what will work for you. What is effective at one point of time will need to be changed at another point in time.

    Hope I have been able to give something effective to think about and develop for yourself.

  • My advice would be to get in touch with citizens advice and appeal the decision using their guidance. My friend who has CRPS and I have set up a support group in Northern Ireland for chronic pain. Not sure where you are from but if you check out our website you can read Michaela's story and email or contact us through FB. One of our committee members works for CAB so we can try to help as best we can

  • Thank you for getting in touch. I will be appealing the decision as soon as I receive the letter. My assessment was an hour late and performed at 4:50, the staff were waiting in the foyer wanting to go home and I wasn't given the chance to explain anything, simply yes or no. They're under the impression that the only problem is not being to use one hand. Thank you for the links too, I'll go and have a quick browse at those now :)

  • Like all these government departments they have targets to make and unfortunately that means turning a certain percentage down at the first stage. Take my DLA application for instance - they turned it down and then I asked for a review and was awarded the full rate without any further medical evidence being provided. Make sense? No it doesn't. We can always ask our CAB advisor to help you draft a letter regarding your appeal and you should mention the timing and lack of interest by staff. CRPS is an extremely painful condition so it doesn't all come down to mobility it's more to do with how you cope with the day to day struggles of having a chronic pain condition - how your meds affect you, sleeping pattern, exhaustion and how you could cope in a work place with all that pain going on. Your concentration levels are bound to be affected never mind even discussing your emotional state. They are looking for buzz words - it's just knowing what to say and making sure you have someone with you who can make sure you understand what is being asked. Best of luck and don't be afraid to contact us for further support.

    Lou xx

  • I have every intention of appealing. Don't get me wrong, I want to get back into work asap, but I want the most productive route possible, which jumping straight onto JSA will not provide. Trial and error through gaining and losing work could easily mean years in the benefits system. Work related ESA would be the best place to start. I'm pretty good researching and putting a case across. My former employer sacked me because of this injury, and I beat his solicitor without legal advice... It was fun, and killed some time :) But thank you for letting me know there's someone there, it means a lot, more so when there's been such little help to date :)

  • How dare they keep you waiting an extra hour when you are in pain!!!!! :-(

  • You can find the APPG for CRPS on Facebook. We are fighting to raise awareness of CRPS in the UK. Ask your doctor to refer you to Professor Candy McCabe at Bath, she is the countries top specialist

  • Thank you for getting in touch. I'll check out that Facebook page in a bit. And thank you so much for the name of Prof. Candy McCabe! I had done a bit of research and wanted a referral to Bath, so hopefully a name will help with the GP tomorrow

  • Do you have any suggestions for those of us that live in the US? Outside of APPG for CRPS as I am checking that now, I am finding there's a majority of folks here that are completely cluesless on the subject including my GP making it extra frustrating.

  • This is the best US one I've found

  • Thank you

  • A huge thank you to everyone who has been in touch on here. I started this post out of confusion, anxiety and a bit of fear. You've all made me feel so much more positive again. I'll let you know how it goes with the GP, and to address the title of the post, see what JCP recommend for a semi-comatose, babbling, drug-filled, incomprehensible one-armed bandit. I hope they like a challenge. Take care folks!

  • Good luckd!!

  • Hello again everyone! I hope you're all well.

    So to update on everything so far. I asked my GP for a referral to Bath. He refused, saying that the decision from the consultants in Birmingham are final. I asked if I could be referred to the pain management team. He refused, stating that the Pain Management team is for morphine junkies (his words, I know some of you may be going through Pain Management so please don't think that I share that ridiculous opinion). Sooo, I'm going to discuss the same issues with another, hopefully more enlightened and less offensive GP. He also arbitrarily offered me anti-depressants. I told him that the only thing causing me stress is constantly visiting hospitals and GP's and leaving with having had no progress at all after almost a year. Other than that I'm happy with life. Frustrating.

    As for the Job Centre, they said I shouldn't be working and should focus on appealing the ESA decision. It was pretty shocking, I thought they'd come down like a ton of bricks and do everything to make sure I could find a job and get back to work, but nope. Just appeal. So nothing productive came from that either.

    So, as for career prospects with CRPS... There's a bit of a brick wall, but they all fall eventually.

  • Your doctor should be struck off....

  • You definitely need a new doctor. Ask if choose and book applies but I doubt it.

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