Spine & Nerve Root Disorders
Understanding the Disorders of Radiculopathies
Spine (back and neck) disorders are very common among people applying for disability. Disorders of the skeletal spine that result in the compromise of one or more nerve roots are commonly referred to as radiculopathies. Some of the most common causes of radiculopathies include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spinal arthritis.
A herniated disc occurs when the soft, inner material of the disc pushes through a tear in the outer layer and comes into contact with a nerve root. This can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected area of the body.
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows, compressing the spinal cord and often causing pain, tingling, and weakness in the limbs.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a condition that occurs when the discs between the vertebrae begin to degenerate and lose their ability to absorb shock. This can lead to the compression of nerve roots and the development of radiculopathy symptoms.
Spinal arthritis is a condition in which the joints in the spine become inflamed, leading to the compression of nerve roots and the development of radiculopathy symptoms.
If you are living with debilitating symptoms of radiculopathy that have made it impossible to work, we want to help you get the Social Security disability benefits due to you. Contact us at (231) 403-0040 or via our online form to get started.
Treatment for Radiculopathy
Treatment for radiculopathies typically involves a combination of conservative measures such as physical therapy, pain management (pain medication and/or injection therapy), and activity modification, and may also include surgical intervention in more severe cases.
There are essentially two ways that a spinal disorder will be considered by the Social Security Administration. The first way is to look at whether the individual meets the “Blue Book” listing impairment for spinal disorders. While spinal disorders can be considered under a number of different listings, current listings which deal most directly with spinal disorders are Listing 1.15 and 1.16. The full text of these listings can be seen here.
These listings are highly technical. Discussing the full text of these listings and what they mean requires a significant understanding of medical terms and goes beyond what can be discussed here. Generally speaking, in addition to objective tests (such as MRI’s, CT scan, x-rays, or EMG), these listings require evidence of severe nerve root or spinal cord compression resulting in severe problems in the upper and/or lower extremities. This often takes of the forms of weakness, radiating pain, loss of coordination, or gait problems.
Whether you work reduced hours or cannot work at all, Social Security disability benefits could be the answer.
Relatively few people are granted benefits under either Listing 1.15 or 1.16. This is due to the extreme requirements of these listings. But even if a person cannot meet a Listing Impairment, the Social Security Administration must still consider how the spinal disorder affects a claimant’s ability do perform work-related functions, such as lifting, walking, standing, or using fingers or hands for repetitive actions.
There is a “Social Security Ruling” (a policy statement from the SSA) which addresses how the Social Security Administration makes this determination, which can be viewed here. The most important evidence to help a case is a statement from treating medical provider which provides his/her opinion on your ability to work.
Unlike other nationwide and large firms that handle Social Security disability cases, at Nolan & Shafer, PLC, you will work with the same attorney from start to finish of your claim. Furthermore, there’s no fee unless you we win your case.
Call (231) 403-0040 or contact us online to discuss your options for receiving benefits for your radiculopathies. We accept cases throughout Muskegon.
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