Scleroderma & Raynaud's UK (SRUK)
6,869 members3,246 posts

Does anyone know if there is any evidence that suggests that a person with Systemic Sclerosis is most likely to have a weakened spine?

The reason why I am writing is because, I injured my back in 1999, whilst attending a patient in my work place. As a consequence, I have herniated, dehydrated discs with nerve impingement and recurrent sciatica. On the advice of my union rep in 2011, I applied for industrial injury, although I was awarded 20% benefit I made an appeal against this decision. The reason why, was the DWP examining officer stated that I had a slight scoliosis

and a soft tissue injury, which was not the case.... I have 2 MRI scan reports that clearly state I have a damaged and degenerative spine.

.However, despite the evidence I lost my appeal and my benefit was taken away.The statement of reasons given by the judge and medical doctor stated that my back was already weakened because at the time of the accident I was developing Systemic Sclerosis. They also claimed that I probably started to develop the disease back in 1992 when I had a DVT. In the statement it also claims that the medical staff who treated me for the DVT, failed to diagnose the connective tissue disease. May I also add, that I wasn't even diagnosed with Systemic Sclerosis until 2001. Can anyone offer any advice ? I find this explanation really difficult to accept, and I want to take request that the decision should be set aside and take it forward to a higher tier in court....... Has anyone any thoughts?....... I also injured myself again for the 2nd time in 2011 and exacerbated my back injury...... Since this accident my health has been on a downward spiral and I have been faced with the decision to retire from work.... Please can anyone help???

6 Replies

Are you a nurse? Perhaps you should change jobs or alter it rather than give up work. In my opinion work is important for our well-being. I worked until I was 72. I have had systemic sclerosis perhaps all my live. I don't know if it gives a weakening of the spine or bones. We have a disease that is part of the musculo-skeletal diseases. I don't know if it is significant. I have osteoporosis that is treated as osteoporosis.


Hi Zenabb, thank you for looking, and I value your opinion. I am a nurse and have worked all my life. My employers were looking into redeployment, however the " sedentary " roles they were finding me were of a much lower band that would make a big difference in my final pension. I struggled with the decision for a long time to apply for ill health retirement, but I have accepted the fact that I need to start listening to my own body and look after myself instead of other people and their families. It's been a very difficult time for me, as I am a highly skilled critical care nurse who has worked in a fast paced, busy environment for a long time. My employer did not want to lose my skills, but I need to be honest with my self and be realistic in the fact that I was struggling with the air conditioning, the shift patterns and physical aspects of the job. My back injury has finished my career.... On my days off work I would be barely able to function and struggle to even maintain my own home and routine. The financial difference between my earnings and benefits is huge, so I hope you can appreciate I haven't taken this decision lightly. I have already been offered work on a voluntary basis for the CAB, and I am exploring my options.....


Hiya Wartsandall

You have to do what is right for you. I worked all my life and I attended college and uni part-time so I was able to get great jobs because of my qualifications. And like you, I worked really hard. In August 2004, I was in a brilliant job, as a Re-Mortgaging Executive, but had to leave due to the onslaught of Fibromyaglia, Scleroderma, Arthritis, Sogren's, plus worsening, Raynauds, Asthma, etc. Like you, it was not a decision I took lightly but I was becoming more and more ill and so something had to give. This was not a career move, as your decision wasn't either. You must do what you think is right. 'One size doesn't fit all' because we're all different. I've since been diagnosed with PBC, Pancreatitis and several other linked illness. I was in hospital recently and had a CT Scan as I have a blocked bile duct. Anyway, they've now found a problem with my lower back that I was just putting down to Sciatica so now that has to be investigated. I attend four different hospitals already and have five different Consultants, - General Surgery, Gynaecologist, Rheumatologist, Gastroentrologist in one hospital and a different one in an other hospital. I also have a CPN, a Social Worker and an OT. So we can all have similar conditions/illnesses but they can affect us in a different way. As I said, you must do what you feel is right no one should sway your decision because only you know what you suffer. All the best, Maggs (:-)


Hi Maggs3petts,

Thank you for you answer. You have had similar experiences and can appreciate how difficult it is taking it one step further to stop working because of your health problems..... It has been a very difficult time for me and I'm still questioning myself..... If only I had a crystal ball and was able to see what lies in the future, but as we all know life's not that easy..... I worked really hard to achieve my nursing registration and I feel that I have been forced to make the decision to retire because of time frames and questions about my capability to function as a nurse.... Our illnesses are so similar and we have the same problems. I am taking a huge gamble applying for ill health retirement, if it's not successful I will be at the mercy of ATOS...... But, I have to take the chance and pray that things work out....

Take care x


Hi WartsandAll: I feel your intense pondering, I understand your plight. I am disabled from the complications of Scleroderma and Raynauds and it wasn't an easy decision. Our health overrides and dictates certain decisions. One very important comment that you made about your situation, is that you will pray. The powers of prayers are awesome, and I will certainly keep you in my kind thoughts and prayers for a victorious outcome. I pray that your phases of decisions will operate smoothly. You must do what is ultimately best for you; the powers of prayers and your faith will give you strength and courage throughout all processes. GOD bless you. With Understanding and Compassion, Thelma


Hi Thelma, thank you for your kindness. Today, I took my application for ill health retirement one step further. I am now waiting for my employers response to my request. Thank you for your understanding. Take care x


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