Specific Challenges Of Back Injuries
When a person injures their foot, they may find themselves out of commission and on bed rest while they recuperate. A pair of crutches or wheelchair can help them get around while their foot heals. For those with back injuries, though, the solution is rarely as simple.
Because doctors cannot see the tendons, ligaments and muscles the way they can bone fractures, back injuries are often incredibly difficult to treat. Instead of a straightforward prescription of bed rest or medication, medical professionals must go the trial and error route, gauging their patients reaction to targeted and sometimes painful treatment. Even exercise, commonly recommended to people recovering from accidents, can exacerbate back injuries.
Since the spine is so critically important to the way the human body moves, even activities like sleeping, walking and sitting can become painful for a person with a back injury. Stress, time in front of the computer and even the gentlest of exercise can jeopardize the progress of someone with a back injury. Such injuries affect virtually everything a person does and can be worsened in ways you least expect, making them one of those most challenging afflictions with which a veteran can be diagnosed.
What To Expect At A C& p Exam For Lower Back And Back Pain
The 2010 Global Burden of Disease study reported that low back pain is now the number one cause of years lost to disability worldwide. Veterans that are seeking compensation for a low back disability are limited, most of the time, to a maximum of 40% rating based on the limitation of motion of their spine.
A higher rating is granted only if the thoracolumbar or the entire spine is ankylosed, which occurs when the bones fuse and the joints become stiff, basically, there is no range of motion.
Low back pain has a significant impact on an individuals ability to work and manage the daily activities of life.
What Is The Painful Motion Principle
The painful motion principle means that regardless of range of motion, if pain is present, the claimant should at least be awarded the minimum level of disability for that condition.
For example, lets say you have full range of motion for your back, but you have pain during movement, you should be awarded the minimum level of disability for the condition, which for most muscuoloskeltal conditions is 10%.
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What If My Back Problems Arent Related To A Specific Injury In Service
Sometimes a veteran has a back condition that is related to service, but wasnt the result of any specific injury in service. That does not mean they have to give up on service connection. It just makes getting benefits a little harder. Many veterans attribute their back problems to service because they worked on their feet doing guard duty every day or because they participated in rucks, jumps, or other high-impact exercises.
For veterans who did not go to sick call for their back while in the military, they may want to begin by talking to family, friends, or fellow service members who remember their complaints of back pain in service. Buddy statements from those who remember complaints of a stiff or achy back can help trace the source of the injury back to active duty. Statements by the veteran him- or herself about back pain during service can help as well.
Sometimes a back problem can also be the result of another condition, like foot, knee, or hip problems that change the way a veteran walks and then causes injury to the back because of compensating movement or altered weight-bearing. In these cases, if the underlying foot, knee, or hip disability can be connected to service, and evidence shows that disability at least as likely as not caused or aggravated the back condition, then the veteran can also receive VA disability benefits for the back condition. In these cases, evidence of the underlying disability, as well as the back disability, is necessary.
What Is The Back Pain Va Rating And Can You Get Compensated
Troops are exposed to a variety of risks for both their mental and physical health. When it comes to back pain, situations may vary from person to person, but there are often lingering effects of such an injury. A back pain VA rating can vary Veterans with worse pain can achieve a higher rating. The higher your rating is, the more youre compensated. All Veterans suffering from such ailments need to know about this system and how to get the benefits and support they rightfully deserve. Learn more about the VA rating for back pain and how to receive compensation, including free physical therapy.
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Back Pain Va Rating Chart:
- 100% VA Disability for Back Pain: Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire spine
- 50% VA Disability Rating for Back Pain: Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine
- 40% VA Rating for Back Pain: Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine or, forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine 30 degrees or less or, favorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine
- 30% VA Rating for Back Pain: Forward flexion of the cervical spine 15 degrees or less or, favorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine
- 20% VA Disability Rating for Back: Forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine greater than 30 degrees but not greater than 60 degrees or, forward flexion of the cervical spine greater than 15 degrees but not greater than 30 degrees or, the combined range of motion of the thoracolumbar spine not greater than 120 degrees or, the combined range of motion of the cervical spine not greater than 170 degrees or, muscle spasm or guarding severe enough to result in an abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour such as scoliosis, reversed lordosis, or abnormal kyphosis
*If no limitation of range of motion is observed, but the claimant has painful motion, the minimum rating or 10% should be applied.
Va Disability Ratings For Back Pain Explained
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, to speak with a VA claim expert for free.
Hi Veterans, in this post, I will be covering the VA disability ratings for back pain criteria in detail.
Many veterans suffer from various back conditions due to their active duty military service and perhaps youre wondering if you can get VA disability for back pain.
Generally, VA disability ratings for back pain range from 10% to 100% and depend upon the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms, including Painful Motion, Limitation of Range of Motion , and Functional Loss or Impairment.
In addition, Back Pain is a common secondary VA disability claim, especially Radiculopathy secondary to back conditions or back pain.
Okay, lets jump into some important definitions first because these principles are critical to understand and may affect your final VA disability rating for back pain.
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Va Rating Table For Back Pain
The general rating formula that is used to rate the conditions listed above is mainly based on range of motion measurements. The cervical spine and the thoracolumbar spine are rated according to the following criteria:
As you can see, Range of Motion measurements plays a significant role in rating spinal conditions. Because the rating formula is almost entirely based on the VAs range of motion chart and measurements, its important to make sure that a doctor performs a range of motion testing according to the VAs chart as accurately as possible.
Also, the VA requires that all range of motion measurements be taken with a goniometer. If a doctor doesnt use a goniometer to measure your range of motion, the VA will not consider the results.
In addition to the range of motion measurements, the general rating criteria for spinal involve whether the cervical and/or thoracolumbar spine is frozen in a favorable vs. unfavorable position.
A favorable position means the range of motion measurement for flexion or extension is 0 degrees. Unfavorable means any position that is not 0 degrees in flexion or extension.
When Youre Diagnosed With Radiculopathy
If you see a doctor for your back pain, they typically look at your back in three sections. Each of these sections connects nerves from your brain to parts of your body: the cervical section near and around your neck and shoulders the thoracic section down your lower back and the lumbar section that extends to your tailbone. A veteran can suffer radiculopathy in all three areas:
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Types Of Injuries That Can Cause Back Pain
A medical examination will be required to strengthen the claim and increase your chances of approval. Doctors may or may not be able to pinpoint the source of the pain, but its often linked to one of the following:
- Arthritis. Spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of space around the spinal cord, can occur.
- Bulging discs. When the material in the discs in the back rupture or bulge, it can create pressure on the nerves, causing significant pain.
- Osteoporosis. This condition weakens the bone and can lead to fractures.
- Strains. Both ligament and muscle strains can occur from heavy lifting or awkward movements.
You may be experiencing pain from fractures, sprains, strains, herniations, nerve damage, or other injuries.
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Options For Veterans With Va Disability Ratings For Back Pain
Determining your eligibility for VA disability benefits is an important first step for getting the compensation you need. But for Veterans not rightfully compensated, there are various legal recourses that may be available.
The VA has reviews and appeals available for Veterans who disagree with their disability rating, and if you still feel short-changed, you can find legal councils that specialize in such cases throughout the country.
Military life is rough, and this means back injuries are, sadly, common. If you served, determine your back pain VA rating and be sure to check out the programs and options available to help you live a better life.
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What Is The Va Disability Rating For A Bulging Disk In Lower Back On Sciatica
More than 80% of the cases with episodes lasting at least 6 weeks in the previous year. During the last 12 months, 20% of episodes had a duration of at least 4 weeks but less than 6 weeks.
A protruding disc can be caused by a natural degeneration of the spinal disc or a physical injury. Because of the possibility of a herniation, the disc can protrude into the spinal canal and exert pressure on nerves. It is possible to apply for a VA disability rating for a bulging disc if you experience numbness, discomfort, and weakness as a result of your bulging disc. When a spinal cord bulging disc presses on the skin, the symptoms can be varied but not severe. A ruptured disc is one that leaks by the fibrous ring, causing the inner nucleus to push out of the disc. A deformed disc must be diagnosed and examined by a medical professional before receiving a VA disability rating. A bulging disc is rated disability based on both its individual ROM measurements and its total ROM measurements.
Are There Other Ways To Get A 20 Percent Va Rating For The Thoracolumbar Spine
Sometimes, I find that veterans with significant back disabilities have pretty good range of motion. So, they do not qualify for a 20 percent rating under VAs range of motion rules.
VA does provide three other ways to get a 20 percent thoracolumbar VA rating.
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Applying For Va Disability Benefits For Back Problems
Once youve been diagnosed with your back condition, you will need to establish a service-connection.
While most back disabilities can be traced to a specific event or injury that should be in your military records, you may also have back problems due to the physical stress of training and other work while in service. If that is the case you will want to obtain buddy letters from family, friends, and fellow service members, explaining the difference in your physical health before, during, and after your time in service.
Also, be sure to keep your own records, detailing what you experience day-to-day in regards to pain and obstacles to full functionality. You can do this by requesting your files from the military and always keeping another copy of your medical records.
In order to receive VA disability for back problems, like all VA Claims, the VA will be looking for as much evidence as possible.
For more information and details on how to submit a successful claim, check out this video below:
If you are ready to get started with your VA claim the fastest way to go is here! Dont allow back pain to prevent you from doing the things that you love!
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Back Pain As A Secondary Condition
Veterans may suffer back pain as a secondary condition, according to veteran disability law firm Chisolm, Chisolm and Kirpatrick.
For example, a veteran has a service-connected hip condition that causes them to favor one side when walking, resulting in an altered gait. This uneven shift in weight then contributes to back pain. In this case, the veterans back pain is caused by their service-connected hip condition, and therefore warrants secondary service connection.
You must file a new VA claim for a secondary condition. You cant use the same appeal process youd use to file for an increased rating.
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Discuss Veterans Back Pain Claims With An Attorney
There are many steps involved in obtaining VA disability benefits for back pain. You must not only establish that your condition is medically verifiable, but also link it to your time on active duty.
Let a VA disability attorney at our firm guide you through every step of the veterans back pain claims process. From filing a claim to receiving a rating, your legal counsel can protect your right to disability compensation. to discuss your back pain claim.
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General Rating Formula For Lower Back Pain
In most cases, VA uses the General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine under 38 CFR § 4.71a to evaluate back conditions, including low back pain. This general rating formula is based primarily on range of motion, or the measurement of the amount of movement around a specific joint or body part. The range of motion measurement typically encompasses the range of flexion and extension as well. VA generally rates low back pain as follows:
Importantly, if veterans do not meet the range of motion criteria outlined above, it is still possible to obtain a high rating for their low back pain if they have intervertebral disc syndrome as well. VA rates IVDS under Diagnostic Code 5243, which focuses on the number of incapacitating episodes veterans experience as a result of their low back pain. Here, VA defines an incapacitating episode as a period of acute signs and symptoms that requires bedrest as prescribed by a physician. IVDS is rated as follows:
- 60% with incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 6 weeks during the past 12 months
- 40% with incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 4 weeks but less than 6 weeks during the past 12 months
- 20% with incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 2 weeks but less than 4 weeks during the past 12 months
- 10% with incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least one week but less than 2 weeks during the past 12 months
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Hiring A Veterans Benefits Attorney
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Va C& p Exams For Back Pain
After you file your claim, the VA may decide to conduct a compensation and pension compensation exam on your back or spine if they need more information or medical evidence to support your claim.
C& P exams help VA evaluators determine the severity of your condition and assign a rating for it. Your rating will determine your eligibility for monthly payments and other VA health care benefits, according to the VA.
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Can You Get Disability Benefits For Sciatica Caused By Military Service
If your records prove that you had no back pain until you enlisted in the military and your physician concludes that sciatica at least as likely was caused by your service, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Does sciatica have a service-connected connection? Only in the case of severe incomplete paralysis does the rating criteria mention any specific symptoms that a veteran must experience if he or she is classified as mild, moderate, or moderately severe. The VA rating for peripheral nerve damage ranges from 10% to 40% in most cases. Scores are determined by the severity of Veterans symptoms and displays, as well as the manner in which they were recorded. If there is a disability claim against each limb, the Veteran may be eligible for a disability rating of 40% on each limb. sciatica has no permanent disability and is thus not fatal in and of itself. However, the majority of sciatica cases can be resolved with medication, physical therapy, or surgery.