Spine Disorders can be debilitating conditions, forcing those who suffer from them to face excruciating pain on a daily basis. Needless to say, those who suffer from Spine Disorders are often unable to work, as the condition affects their ability to perform the duties and responsibilities of day-to-day life. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can often offset the financial hardship faced by those who live with Spine Disorders. If you are suffering from a Spine Disorder and feel that you may be entitled to disability benefits, there are some important things you need to know.
Spine Disorder - Conditions and Symptoms
Back pain that is related to spinal disorders are the second-leading cause of visits to primary care physicians. It has been estimated that more than 12 million visits to doctors each year are due to Spine Disorders and related back pain.
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a Spine Disorder. Most Spine Disorders are caused by injury to the spinal cord or a misalignment of the vertebrae in the spine. If the vertebrae of the spine are misaligned, it can cause an instability of spinal balance, resulting in stress on the nerves that are connected to the spine.
There are a number of Spine Disorders that people may suffer from. The most common Spine Disorders include slipped discs, disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, herniated discs, vertebral fracture and bone spur formations. Spine Disorders can be caused by injury, obesity, osteoporosis, illness or spinal deformity. Some cases of Spine Disorder may be caused by something as simple as poor posture habits, sleeping on an inferior mattress or even a lack of exercise.
The symptoms of Spine Disorders vary from one individual to the next. While back pain is the most common symptom of a spinal disorder, other symptoms may present themselves depending on the level of compression of the vertebrae and stress on the spine. Oftentimes people suffering from Spine Disorders will also suffer from poor circulation, tension headaches, migraines, inner ear imbalance, numbness of the limbs and, in severe cases, even paralysis.
A diagnosis of a Spine Disorder will usually begin with a physical exam provided by your primary care physician. Treatment will be recommended to address the symptoms that you are experiencing. If the symptoms are not alleviated with the recommended treatment, an X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be ordered.
When visiting your physician for treatment related to your Spine Disorder, you should discuss how the condition is interfering with your ability to work. It will be important for your doctor to document this if you plan on applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Spine Disorder
If your Spine Disorder is interfering with your ability to work you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Spine Disorders are covered under the Social Security Administration's “Listings” of qualifying health problems. These listings are used to determine whether or not a claimant is entitled to receive disability benefits.
When evaluating Social Security Disability claims for spinal disorders, the SSA will refer to seven different Spine Disorder diagnoses. These diagnoses include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, osteoarthritis, facet arthritis and vertebral fracture. However, a diagnosis of one of these Spine Disorders will not, in and of itself, qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you are applying for disability benefits and are diagnosed with one of the above Spine Disorders, you will also need to meet other determining criteria in order for the SSA to approve your disability claim. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, your Spine Disorder must result in a compromise of the spinal cord or of a nerve root and the symptoms of the condition must prevent you from being able to participate in gainful employment. Your medical evidence will need to show that you are unable to perform work due to the condition, and that means communicating with your doctor how the condition is preventing you from doing your job.
Spine Disorder and Your Social Security Disability Case
Spine Disorders are covered under the SSA's impairment listings. Because of this, chances of your Social Security Disability case being approved are good as long as your particular Spine Disorder meets the SSA's guidelines. However, it is important to remember that Spine Disorders can be complicated medical cases and it is crucial that you have enough medical documentation to prove your case to the Social Security office.
When applying for disability because of a Spine Disorder, make sure that you have seek proper medical treatment prior to your claim. You will need complete medical records to support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. If there is not enough medical evidence to support your claim, your claim may be denied. If that happens, you can go on to appeal the decision, but you will need to gather enough medical evidence to successfully appeal the denial of your claim.
If your initial disability claim for is denied, you may wish to hire a disability attorney to represent you during the appeal process. Your chances of winning an appeal or even an initial claim can be increased significantly with proper legal representation.