Can I Work With Scoliosis?

If your scoliosis prevents you from going to work, you may be able to qualify for social security disability benefits. These benefits are available to anyone who has been diagnosed with a disability which is either life threatening or likely to stop you from working for at least 12 months. Scoliosis is defined as a potentially disabling medical condition which makes it difficult to earn a living. If you have the evidence to prove that the symptoms of your scoliosis prevent you from working you should consider filing an application for disability benefits.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a medical condition that causes the spine to curve sideways by at least 10 degrees. This degree of curvature may be detected by an x-ray. Many people are affected by mild scoliosis, but over time the shape could worsen leading to severe scoliosis which is considered disabling. People who have developed a medical condition such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy could develop it but in the majority of cases, the cause isn’t known.

The Four Types of Scoliosis

  • Congenital - this can develop in the uterus but is only detected as an infant. Surgery is often needed to correct the curvature of the spine.
  • Idiopathic – this is often only detected in adolescence but in later life the spine’s joints often break down.
  • Neuromuscular – this may develop in people who are unable to walk because of a neuromuscular condition like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
  • Degenerative scoliosis - this tends to occur later in life when the joints in the spine naturally degenerate or break down.

Is Scoliosis a Disability?

Yes, but it does not have a Blue Book listing so in order to qualify you need to look at the symptoms found under section 1.00: Musculoskeletal in the Blue Book. If you aren’t sure if you can prove your disability is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits you can ask your doctor to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test. The test assesses both your physical and mental abilities and whether you are able to work.

Scoliosis and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work

To be approved for disability benefits, you’ll require an X-ray, MRI, or CAT scan which reveals how serious your medical condition is and a doctor’s physical examination which shows you are limited in what you are able to do. This includes your ability to take part in physical work.

Scoliosis and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

Scoliosis can cause limitations and difficulties with many different types of daily activities, such as exercising, walking and lifting. These problems often show up later in life but even mild cases of scoliosis can decrease the body's ability to perform at its full athletic potential. This could mean you may not be able to undertake sedentary work.

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