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An answer for painful disabilities

In some quarters,  the perception is that people on long-term disability lie around the house doing nothing while collecting benefits. In fact, many sufferers want to get back into action and reclaim their lives, and a new self-help program might let them do just that. First things first - this is not a pill or a quick-and-easy cure. It takes time, hard work, and a certain amount of gritty determination. A company called Webility developed Maze-Masters and, by the way, it has nothing to do with finding the way through a series of alleys and dead-ends. The name refers to those lost in the maze of workers compensation and Social Security Disability systems, looking for a way out.

Maze-Masters is not a treatment plan. The company describes it as "evidence-based, structured, and outcome-based." That means that scientific evidence was used to design it, it follows a strict and rational protocol, and success is determined by improvements in the patient's health and mobility. Applicants are screened and those who pass are given customized training intended to get relief from symptoms and pain, cope with the impact of the disability on everyday life, rebuild the ability to move and do things that were part of life before the injury, and finally, live a more satisfying life.

Sounds like a miracle, right? Not really. Candidates are told there are no guarantees or promises of pain relief or mobility. The patient's medical condition may not change at all, and Maze-Masters will help them achieve the best life possible "under the circumstances" but that's all. Success is measured by completing the program, achieving some positive life changes, and a reduction in claim costs within a 12-month period.

The first three graduates swear by it. A groundskeeper who was unable to work and suffering from intractable back pain after spinal fusion surgery, is working a desk job and walking around again. An injured custodian who became dependent on powerful narcotics is being weaned off the medications and is working part time. The most dramatic case was a cafeteria worker who was bed-ridden for 10 years after a back injury. Her chronic use of narcotics actually increased the pain. The Maze-Master program detoxified her and found an alternate pain control method. She is now looking to get back into the world in a useful and meaningful way.

Source: Risk & Insurance, "Program teaches long-term claimants to transform their lives despite the pain," Nov. 26, 2012

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