Can I Work With a Herniated Disc?

Applying for Social Security Disability with a Herniated Disc

If a herniated disc is causing you to suffer severe pain and experience limitations that make it unable for you to work, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

A herniated disc, which is sometimes called a ruptured disc, results from the cushioning between the two vertebrae being pushed out of its position.

This leads to nerves near the discs becoming irritated and pinched leading to compression. While herniated discs can be the result of something sudden like an accident, they can be caused from gradual deterioration.

While the symptoms that you suffer from a herniated disc can vary significantly, it can cause severely impacted mobility, debilitating pain, and numbness and tingling.

This pain may keep you from working, which means that you may be entitled to compensation. Contacting a Social Security Disability lawyer will help you understand the potential benefits and how to access them. A disability attorney can help you review the SSA's Blue Book to see if you medically qualify as well as how it may keep you from working.

Impacting Your Ability to Work

Herniated discs can severely limit your mobility and cause excruciating pain so your ability to perform your daily tasks, let alone your work duties, can be significantly impacted. Severe pain that originates in the back can radiate down the legs and limit your ability to walk or stand significantly.

If you experience numbness and tingling, that can also impact your ability to do normal tasks, such as bathing or dressing yourself, let alone work. Because of the impacted mobility, you may require a walker or cane so you can get around.

Severe pain often requires the use of pain medications. Most painkillers cause side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness, which can make it impossible for you to drive or operate machinery. While you may choose to undergo a surgical procedure, that is not always effective in resolving the pain issues.

You may have to undergo intensive therapy and rehabilitation and still not see a significant improvement in mobility resulting in the need to frequently reposition yourself and not stand or sit in one position for more than an hour at a time which makes working impossible.

Your symptoms, particularly the pain, tingling, and limited mobility, can keep you from being able to lift, carry, or reach, which limits your normal functioning as well as your ability to maintain your job.

If you can not work because of a herniated disc, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Limitations for Specific Jobs

With herniated discs, you would not be able to perform a variety of job tasks. You can’t work in construction, manufacturing, or warehouse jobs because they require regular reaching, lifting, and carrying. Your limited mobility and pain would make those activities impossible.

Because your pain medication causes dizziness and drowsiness, you can’t work in a manufacturing environment where you use machinery, lathes, or saws or be a commercial vehicle operator.

Because of the pain, numbness, and tingling you experience, sedentary work is impossible because of the radiating pain and feeling of pins and needles throughout your back and legs.

You couldn’t work as a heavy equipment operator or as a mail carrier because of the being positioned in a seat and how it would impact your pain and then how your pain medicine will make vehicle operation dangerous.

If you can prove you are unable to perform any kind of work and why, you are legally disabled per the Social Security Administration guidelines.

What Medical Evidence You Need

When you apply for Social Security benefits with a herniated disc, you want to make sure you have as much medical evidence as you can. Medical evidence is key to any Social Security claim, as it will back up your case that you can no longer work full time with a herniated disc.

The Blue Book, which the informal term for the guide the SSA uses to determine a disability, has a list of medical evidence that you need for when you send in your application for Social Security disability benefits.

The SSA will want a full report of the examination of the spine that includes, but not limited to:

  • The range of motion of the spine in degrees from a vertical position (zero degrees)
  • A detailed description of a person’s gait
  • Signs of tension and Presence of muscle spasms
  • Hand grip and pinch strength

You are able to access the entire Blue Book online, there it will include more medical evidence you need for your herniated disc case.

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits with a Herniated Disc?

If herniated discs have made working impossible for you, you may be ready to apply for Social Security disability benefits. There are several different ways you can choose to start the process.

You can go online to the Social Security Administration (SSA) website and start the application or call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 and ask to start your application over the phone.

You can also schedule an appointment at your nearest SSA office to go get things underway in person. To prove your case and get your claim approved, you need to provide as much documentation as possible to back up your claim and show your diagnoses and the severity of your symptoms.

Talk to Social Security Attorney

If you seek the counsel of a Social Security Attorney, you are much more likely to have your claim approved. An attorney can be hugely beneficial; you will have a competent professional fighting on your behalf to get the benefits that you deserve.

Additional Resources

Why Your Herniated Disc May Have Been Denied
Applying for Social Security with Herniated Disc