Lumbar Stenosis can be a very painful and debilitating condition. Oftentimes people suffering from Lumbar Stenosis are unable to work and are faced with serious financial hardship. Without an income it can be nearly impossible to pay for medical costs and day-to-day living expenses. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help. If you are suffering from Lumbar Stenosis and wonder if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will help you understand how your condition may affect your ability to receive disability benefits.
Lumbar Stenosis - Conditions and Symptoms
Your spine is made up of small bones called vertebrae. There are five vertebrae in your lower spine that are referred to as the lumbar vertebrae. These vertebrae have openings that allow nerves to pass through. When a person suffers from Lumbar Stenosis it means that the openings in the lumbar vertebrae have become narrow and that the nerves that go through these vertebrae openings are being compressed. When this happens, the compression can cause debilitating pain, weakness and loss of sensation in the legs. In some cases, the symptoms may become so severe that they prevent a person from performing normal work activity and interfere with day-to-day life. In the most severe cases, Lumbar Stenosis may even lead to loss of bowel and bladder control.
There are many conditions that can lead to Lumbar Stenosis. These conditions include arthritis, degenerative disc disease, tumors, bone disorders and infection. The most common cause of Lumbar Stenosis is degenerative arthritis.
In order to be diagnosed with Lumbar Stenosis your doctor must rule out other causes for your symptoms. To do this he or she may order x-rays, CT scans or an MRI. A nerve conduction test can also confirm whether or not the nerves in your lumbar area are being irritated from compression.
If you are diagnosed with Lumbar Stenosis your doctor may try to treat you with anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers designed to target nerve pain. It is important to remember that these medications only target the symptoms of Lumbar Stenosis and not the actual cause of the condition. In some cases surgery may be required.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Lumbar Stenosis
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses it impairment “Listings” found in the SSA Blue Book, when reviewing disability claims. Spinal stenosis is one of the conditions contained within these listings. Lumbar Stenosis is a type of spinal stenosis, but being diagnosed with Lumbar Stenosis is not enough in and of itself to have your claim for Social Security Disability benefits approved.
In order to be approved for disability benefits due to Lumbar Stenosis, you must have proof that your condition is preventing you from performing substantial gainful activity. When visiting your doctor to discuss your condition and your symptoms, make sure you discuss how your symptoms interfere with your ability to work. You need to have medical documentation showing that your Lumbar Stenosis is interfering with your ability to work in order to qualify.
In many cases the Social SSA will require you to undergo a straight-leg raising test when applying for disability benefits due to Lumbar Stenosis. This will involve laying down on your back on an exam table. Your doctor will raise your leg into the air and ask you about any pain you may be feeling. If you experience pain in your leg and lower back during this test, it is an indication that the symptoms you are suffering from are coming from the nerves in your lower back.
Lumbar Stenosis and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are suffering from Lumbar Stenosis and have enough evidence to prove that your condition interferes with your ability to work, you may be able to have your application approved at the initial stage of your claim. You will want to make sure that you provide the SSA with as much medical evidence as you can along with your application. This medical evidence should document that your condition interferes with your ability to work.
It is important to remember that only 30 percent of the Social Security Disability applications received are approved at the initial level. If your disability claim is not among that 30 percent, you can go on to appeal the decision. Many claimants will be denied at the initial stage of their claim and will go on to successfully appeal that decision later on.
It can take months or even years to successfully appeal a denied Social Security Disability application. However, if you do successfully appeal your denied claim for benefits you will be entitled to back pay from the SSA. The exact amount you receive will depend on how long your appeal has taken and the date you were determined eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you do have to appeal a denied Social Security Disability claim, it may be in your best interest to hire a disability attorney. Having legal representation during the appeal process can increase your chances of reversing the SSA's decision to deny your claim.