Can I Work With a Ruptured Disk?

A ruptured disc is a spinal disc with a tear on the outer shell. These tears allow the softer tissue inside the ruptured disc to bulge out, often pinching off nerves and causing pain. Generally, the pain is experienced in the neck or lower back, as well as the other parts of the body served by the pinched nerves. The pain can range from mild to debilitating.

Ruptured discs are among the leading causes of disability in the US. If you are planning on claiming Social Security Disability because of a ruptured disc, you should make a point of being under a doctor’s care if possible, as the best evidence of your disability will be your doctor’s record of the severity of your condition and all treatments that have been tried.

The symptoms associated with ruptured discs do sometimes improve with treatment. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, your medical records must indicate that you have been experiencing debilitating pain for at least three months and that your condition is expected to last at least a year (total).

Although ruptured discs do have a listing in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, your medical records will need to show that you are incapable of performing the kinds of tasks that would be required of you on any job which you are qualified for. This includes both physically oriented jobs and sedentary jobs that you have done in the past 15 years or that you could reasonably be trained to perform.

Ruptured Disc and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work

Often, having a ruptured disc makes it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time. The pain associated with a ruptured disc may also limit your range of motion, making tasks like lifting, bending, pushing and pulling impossible. These are the kinds of things that Social Security Disability adjudicators consider when determining whether to approve Social Security Disability claims.

You should make sure that your medical records clearly state all limitations on your daily activities as well as how they affect your ability to stand, walk, lift, and perform other physical activities. Often, doctors don’t include this kind of information on medical diagnoses, but your limitations will need to be spelled out clearly before you will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.

If you have any questions regarding whether your claim or medical records are phrased in a manner likely to result in an approved Social Security Disability claim, consult a Social Security Disability lawyer. Claimants represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney have significantly improved chances of having their claims or appeals approved and receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

Ruptured Disc and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

When it comes to your ability to perform sedentary work, the SSA will consider such things as how long you can sit in one place, how well you are able to concentrate on intricate tasks, and your manual dexterity. If you are older than 55 and have never had a sedentary job, the SSA will not often expect you to be retrained to do sedentary work.

Those who are younger than 55 will generally need to show that they are either incapable of sitting in one place for six hours or more or that they cannot perform work which requires manual dexterity or concentration. Those with a ruptured disc can often demonstrate that they cannot perform sit down work by showing that lower back or neck pain hinders them from sitting in one place for long periods of time.

As with other physical restrictions, you should make sure that your Social Security Disability claim includes information on any restrictions to sitting in one place. Many Social Security Disability claims are denied for reasons as minor as the claimant’s being able to sit in one place and watch TV for long stretches of time.