By Guest Blogger Carol Conduff, founder and executive director, The Spine Health Foundation
“I got to the point where my life wasn’t worth living. I was standing on the edge of the bridge, figuring it was better to jump than to go back to where I was. I have a new life now.”—Bill Walton, NCAA and NBA legend as reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune, on April 17, 2010.
Bill Walton had suffered with back pain for years and tried many noninvasive treatment options, to no avail. Everything changed when he was introduced to a surgeon offering a new surgical technique. The surgery was a success, and Bill went on the record stating his surgeon saved his life.
One out of 10 Americans is affected by chronic back pain. Chronic back pain is difficult to explain and even more difficult for others to understand. Ongoing, chronic pain can cause depression, unemployment, pain medication addiction and family breakdown. These negative effects can lead to isolation, exacerbating the condition and situation. It’s a difficult and never-ending cycle for the affected individual.
Chronic back pain is a widespread epidemic in our country. The cost of back pain to Americans is estimated to be anywhere from $50 to $200 billion each year in lost wages, productivity, disability and medical care.
Access Help Through The Spine Health Foundation
The costs associated with chronic back pain are tremendous, and The Spine Health Foundation (SHF) is making a small difference in the total sum. But we are making a big difference in the lives of our recipients and their families by giving them back their lives.
Since 2011, SHF has provided access to more than 800 medical resources, including 34 spine surgeries.
Recently, a young working mother reached out to SHF for help. She has since seen a specialist, undergone medical treatments and spine surgery. She is now back at work and moving forward with her life.
“I have had back problems and pain for several years,” she said. “I went to see a doctor, but since I was uninsured, they couldn’t just get me the help I needed.
“One day, late last year, I had a fall and was taken to the ER. The physician recommended I call SHF. This is when I learned of this wonderful foundation. I am honest when I say that I do not know where I would be today if not for Carol and The Spine Health Foundation. She has helped me and others so much! I’m still receiving help through the foundation and I am grateful and blessed.”
September and October are spine health awareness months.
By Guest Blogger Mercedes Rauen, executive director, Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois
September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.
While I do not have a spinal cord injury (SCI), and I believe it is best when the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois (SCIA of Illinois) can be represented by a peer member—I appreciate this opportunity to let people know about paralysis.
SCI is a low-incidence disability. Nationally there are about 12,500 traumatic spinal cord injuries a year. That number is small when compared to medical conditions that impact hundreds of thousands. Many of us live our lives without knowing a person who is paralyzed.
But spinal cord injury does not discriminate; it can happen to anyone at any age.
The leading causes of traumatic injuries are motor vehicle crashes, falls and violence. Most injuries can be prevented, which is why the SCIA of Illinois’ injury prevention presentations to students and adults are important.
Resources When Spinal Cord Injury Happens
Whether the spinal cord is damaged by trauma or medical conditions, loss of function and voluntary movement below the point of injury may occur.
Along with paralysis and the inability to walk, other effects may include dysfunction of the bowel, bladder and sexual function, chronic pain and spasticity. Multiple complications including pressure sores, urinary tract infections, respiratory complications, pneumonia, osteoporosis and depression may occur.
Nearly every aspect of life is affected by paralysis. Relationships change. Financial costs are staggering. Wheelchair accessibility and accommodating the disability become a way of life.
SCIA of Illinois is a resource for information, education and guidance to facilitate life in the world of disability. It is a place to find peers who share their knowledge and hope for the future.
During SCI Awareness Month, SCIA of Illinois, along with Adaptive Adventures, is holding a three-day outdoor adventure called “Beyond Boundaries.”
Teams from rehab hospitals go to the Mississippi Palisades State Park to camp, hand cycle, kayak and rock climb. Using adaptive equipment to pull oneself up a 145-foot rock is an extraordinary experience. Some people think they will never be able to do such things, but with a good support network, they can.
My favorite quote is from the book, “Options–spinal cord injury and the future.” W. Mitchell is featured in the book, and he was burned in a motorcycle crash and later paralyzed in a plane crash. He went on to become an author, TV host, international speaker and much more.
Mitchell said, “The way I look at it, before I was paralyzed, there were ten thousand things I could do; ten thousand things I was capable of doing. Now there are nine thousand. I can dwell on the one thousand, or concentrate on the nine thousand I have left.”
- Mitchell knows life with paralysis is not easy, but it can be very good! SCIA exists to help make that happen. Learn more about SCIA of Illinois online.
By Jim of Allsup
People who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits often have a lot of questions.
Where do you apply for Social Security disability? Who can apply? How can you find out if you are eligible or possibly qualified for SSDI benefits?
For the first time, people with severe disabilities have an easy way to get a lot of these questions answered—and fast.
With empower by Allsup, people can receive a free online assessment of their likelihood of being eligible for SSDI benefits.
They can find easy to understand information on their desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.
They can also start their SSDI application from the convenience of their own home, and receive 24/7 customer support, as well as user friendly videos and audio to walk them through the Social Security disability process.
It’s a one-of-a-kind experience exclusively for Allsup customers, and we hope you like it.
Another feature of the new empower by Allsup is the ability to learn about returning to work, once you receive SSDI benefits and when you medically recover. There are so many important benefits to the SSDI program—that’s why you shouldn’t give up.
Your SSDI Application: Do It Right The First Time
It’s no secret that applying for and receiving SSDI benefits can be one of the most disheartening, stressful and frustrating experiences for millions of people with severe disabilities.
The Social Security disability backlog continues to get worse, which means the best opportunity someone has to receive SSDI is to make sure you qualify with your initial application, and do it right the first time.
By using empower by Allsup, we hope you can discover the smart, easy, helpful way to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
We want to help you do it right the first time—and avoid the hearing backlog that now stretches past 530 days.
Plus, best of all, empower by Allsup’s web-based technology is paired with Allsup expert disability representation by your side, all along the way.
Here at Allsup—we believe this is a better way to apply for SSDI.