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How To Get Va Disability For Back Pain

Receiving Neck Pain Disability Benefits Without A Diagnosis

VA Claims for Back Pain and Back Disabilities | Are You Rated Properly?

Unlike other disabilities recognized by VA, service connection for neck pain does not necessarily require a current diagnosis. A Federal Circuit court ruling in April of 2018 decided that VA can award disability benefits for undiagnosed pain if it is linked to an injury, symptom, or in-service event. This erases the need for an official opinion from a medical professional.

Although this benefits some veterans, it also increases the amount of evidence required to link the pain to the in-service event. If there is no diagnosis, a veteran will still need to show VA that connection. This process starts with the veteran submitting evidence that they experience chronic neck pain. VA disability will not be awarded to those who cannot prove they have long-lasting or recurring issues.

The veteran continues to prove service connection by submitting evidence that proves their neck pain interferes with their daily life. Other valuable types of evidence are lay statements and buddy statements. Lay statements come from family members or the veteran themselves, and simply detail more information about how the veterans daily life is affected by the disability. Buddy statements provide the same type of information but come from other veterans who may have served with the claimant.

Vacuuming Va Disability For Low Back Pain

When it pertains to reinforcing the lower back, focusing on your transverse abdominals which are wrapped around the midline of your body is among the most effective means to do it. These muscle mass are actually key in sustaining your spinal column and lower back. While people usually towards crises for their transverse abdominals, people can unintentionally throw out their lower back if their core isnt strong sufficient.

Exactly how to do it: In a standing placement, take a deep breath and draw your belly button in towards your spinal column, contracting as well as involving your abdominal muscle muscle mass as you do so. Think of if someone was mosting likely to come up and also punch you in the stomach as well as you want your digestive tract to be tough and also able to take it thats what it needs to seem like. Hold it, as well as launch gradually. Repeat a few even more times.

Diagnostic Imaging Helps But Credibility Is Key

The most common reason that long-term disability claims for back problems get denied is lack of objective evidence of disability. However, you can seek out diagnostic imaging to prove the disorder. This evidence alone isnt enough to win disability benefits, but it is valuable for your case. It can help show your pain is legitimate.

Make sure to tell the doctor about your problems and pain in detail. Then, they will choose an imaging technique that fits and analyze the results for a diagnosis.

The most common imaging techniques are X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. X-rays can check for instability in the structure of the bones to find issues such as spinal fractures. CT scans are more detailed than x-rays. They can image specific conditions such as spinal stenosis or a bulging disc.

MRI scans are used to assess details of the disc and nerve root. They allow doctors to identify disorders like degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, and spinal stenosis. An important note about MRI results is that there is no accepted link between back pain and what can be seen on an MRI. This is where credibility becomes very important.

One of the best ways to build credibility is to try a variety of treatments for your back pain. You will have a much better chance of getting disability benefits for back problems if you work with professionals who can back up your claims.

Credibility killers:

Credibility boosters:

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What Does Va Mean By Incapacitating Episodes

As I mentioned above, veterans can also qualify for a 20 percent VA rating by showing at least 2 weeks of incapacitating episodes in the last year. This applies most often to veterans who have periods where their back flares up or goes out, and they simply are unable to do much of anything. This really takes a toll on veterans and should be factored in by VA.

Fortunately, VA does factor that in. Its another way to rate a spinal condition. Having back pain or some limitations alone will not be enough to qualify for the 20 percent VA rating since VA defines incapacitating episodes.

In VAs rules, incapacitating episodes means signs and symptoms that your doctor says require bedrest that your doctor orders. The good news is that the episodes do not have to be two weeks in a row. You just have to have a total of at least two weeks in the last year.

VAs rules also provide that VA should use whichever method of rating your thoracolumbar spine which provides you with the higher rating. So, if you qualify for a ten percent using range of motion and a 20 percent using incapacitating episodes, then VA should assign you a 20 percent rating.

Types Of Injuries That Can Cause Back Pain

Chronic Pain Syndrome &  Your VA Disability Claim

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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How To File For Secondary Service Connection

To file a claim for secondary service connection, veterans will generally follow the same process as filing any claim for service connection. This means filling out and submitting VA Form 21-526EZ. Veterans can file the form online using the eBenefits portal, in person at their local Regional Office, or with help from a .

Like regular claims for service connection, the veteran will need to submit certain evidence with their claim. For secondary service connection to be granted, the veteran must provide:

  • A diagnosis for your secondary condition and
  • Medical evidence showing the link between your service-connected condition and secondary condition.

Specifically, veterans will need a nexus to link the primary, already service-connected condition to the secondary condition. Medical opinions from a medical provider can be very useful to demonstrate this link. Scientific studies which link the two conditions can also be used as evidence.

Additionally, lay evidence may also be helpful in regard to secondary service connection claims. Namely, veterans can submit lay statements outlining how their primary service-connected condition caused or aggravated their secondary condition. Family members, such as a spouse, can also submit lay evidence which explains how the two conditions are linked. For example, if a veterans back pain caused their depression, a spouse may be able to explain this connection through a lay statement.

Veterans Back Pain Claims

Back pain is a common condition among veterans who have completed active duty service. Chronic back pain can inhibit your ability to maintain employment or meet your own day-to-day needs. Fortunately, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs if you suffer from service-related back pain.

From acute injuries to repetitive stress syndrome, some forms of back pain will never heal entirely. This is especially true in chronic condition cases that involve nerve damage in the spine. Let an experienced VA benefits attorney advise you on pursuing veterans back pain claims.

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Disability Ratings For Back Injuries

Once the up-hill battle of service-connection for a back injury is over, veterans are often shocked by their rating decision. After years of fighting to show that their back problems are related to service, when they finally win, VA often awards only a 10 percent rating for the veterans pain.

In general, back injuries are rated low for the anguish and disability they cause. Our attorneys understand how the VA rates back conditions and secondary conditions, and we can help increase that rating and make it closer to actual compensation for impact your back disability has on your life.

There are two ways the VA compensates for back disabilities. The first relates to range of motion. The second is specific to intervertebral disc syndrome and rates based on the necessity of incapacitating episodes.

Back Disability Ratings Based on Range of Motion

Most people with back problems dont spend a lot of time thinking about how far they can bend or twist theyre too busy being in excruciating pain. That focus is where many veterans inadvertently get themselves in trouble. Pain of any severity, even life-altering, agonizing pain, is ratable at only 10 percent. There are limited exceptions, but, for the most part, appealing to the VA for a higher disability rating based on pain will not result in an increased evaluation.

What You Need To Know About Joint Pain Va Disability Joint Pain Vs Arthritis

Back Pain, What You NEED TO KNOW to Maximize Your VA Disability Rating!

You should seek medical attention for any pain you experience. If the pain is caused by an infection, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can take over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If your pain is more intense, you can try heating or applying ice to the joint. Alternatively, you can also try applying heat to the affected area. To relieve the pain, you should stay away from the activities that cause you to have joint pain. A doctor can prescribe you dietary supplements, such as glucosamine, that are effective in reducing your symptoms.

If you fall or are hit on the leg and notice any swelling or deformity in your knee, you should seek medical attention. If you cant put weight on your leg, it could be a sign of a more serious ailment. If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately. The most important thing to do is to be patient and do not panic. The pain you experience is normal and is not related to any other health problems.

Va Disability Joint Pain Vs Arthritis Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes degeneration of the joints. People suffering from this disease will suffer from chronic pain in their joints and stiffness. They may also suffer from depression and sleep disturbances. Fortunately, there are treatments for osteoarthritis. These treatments include a change of diet and exercise. The good news is that you can get relief from your osteoarthritis symptoms today.

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How Do I Get A Doctor To Support My Claim

Any physician who is qualified to write an IMO or “nexus” letter on your behalf may do so. Just note that not all doctors are skilled at this task nor do all doctors have the tools at hand to write an IMO report or Nexus Letter.

If you are interested in getting an IMO, Jim Strickland with the popular website, has a list of recommended IMO doctors here.

If you absolutely can’t get an IMO, and haven’t submitted a “Nexus Letter” previously, find a doctor who has written these letters before and make a routine appointment to meet face-to-face with that doctor. Ask them directly to draft or sign the letter. Assuming that the physician agrees with your “nexus” claim, it is perfectly acceptable for you to draft the letter on her behalf. Then ask them to review and sign it, or edit and then sign, if the doctor feels more comfortable with that.

We advise you not to ask a nurse or clerk to perform the task of getting the physician’s signature. These members of the care team often see themselves as “gatekeepers,” to guard and protect the physician from tasks that will only take up more valuable time. They may believe that “rules” or “law” won’t allow the physician to sign such a document and may refuse you access to the doctor. Most physicians will sign such a letter if it is brief, to the point, and factual.

Our Attorneys Understand Va Benefits For Back Injuries

Veterans frequently express confusion and frustration about both service connection and the evaluation of back conditions. Since back conditions can affect all aspects of a veterans life, this article will provide clarity to understand how to maximize VA benefits for a back condition.

Applying for and receiving the correct disability compensation from the VA for back conditions connected to your time in service can be difficult.

Whether you have problems proving your back problems are related to service or proving to the VA just how debilitating your back injury is, you may find yourself needing assistance when applying for VA disability compensation for injuries to your back.

At Berry Law, our team of dedicated VA appeals lawyers can help you appeal an unfavorable decision by the VA. Contact our team today at to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation.

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Evaluating A Knee Disability: Dbqs And C& p Exams

The VA often uses Disability Benefits Questionnaires to evaluate a veterans disability. These can be completed by your private doctor and submitted to the VA as evidence for your claim. The VA may also schedule you for a Compensation & Pension examination where the C& P examiner will complete a DBQ. Regardless of who is completing the DBQ form, it is important to remember that many knee ratings are based on range of motion measurements, and all range of motion measurements must be performed with a goniometer in order for the VA to accept them.

Discuss Veterans Back Pain Claims With An Attorney

VA Disability Ratings for Plantar Fasciitis

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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Va Disability Rating Criteria For Spinal Conditions

Here are some standard VA disability ratings for back issues and what they mean:

  • 100% VA disability ratingfor unfavorable ankylosis of the entire spine. This means your backs unusually stiff and you cant stand up straight, touch your toes, or turn from side to side.
  • 50% VA disability rating for unfavorable ankylosis of your middle and lower back. This is about the same as bullet #1, but your shoulders and upper back are mostly unaffected.
  • 40% VA disability rating for unfavorable ankylosis of your upper back. This means you have the same issues as bullet #1, but only in your upper back and shoulders.
  • 40% VA disability rating for favorable ankylosis of your middle and lower back. This means you have the same issues as bullet #1, but only in your upper back and shoulders
  • 60% VA disability rating for Intervertebral Disc Syndrome episodes lasting 6+ weeks. IVDS means you have loose disc fragments lodged in different back areas, causing chronic pain. If these issues last 4-6 weeks every year, youll get a 40% VA disability rating. For IVDS episodes of 2-4 weeks per year, its 20% for 1-2 weeks per year, your VA disability ratings 10%.
  • 100% VA disability rating for total paralysis in your legs, arms or both due to spinal injury or degenerative arthritis.
  • 20% VA disability rating for scoliosis, reversed lordosis, or abnormal kyphosis.
  • 40% VA disability rating if you have constant fibromyalgia pain, or 3+ annual arthritis flare-ups.
  • 100% VA disability rating for spinal cancer.

Common Types Of Neck Injuries That Qualify For Va Compensation

Although the diagnosis might matter when it comes to conditions that deteriorate with age, such as problems with spinal discs or variations of arthritis, VA typically focuses on symptoms when assigning ratings.

Certain conditions can cause lasting issues that dont get worse over time. These injuries can be caused by a variety of factors. Any injury that is documented while an individual is enlisted is eligible for service connection. Combat and deployment do not factor into this decision, so even car wrecks that happen on leave are considered viable.

Some of the common neck injuries which VA will cover include the following:

Neck injuries can even be caused by sitting still for too long. Veterans nowadays may have to sit for multiple hours a day. If you experience back or neck pain from sitting in a chair for too long, you shouldnt be embarrassed to apply for VA benefits. Regardless of the cause, VA disability for neck pain is awarded to those injured while serving.

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Secondary Service Connection For Knee Pain

A new disability that appears secondary to a service-connected injury or condition may allow veterans to prove secondary service connection. Secondary service connection can also be an aggravation of a non-service connected disability that is caused by a service-connected condition or incidence. In other words, your knee pain may not have happened while you were in the service, but it could be a symptom that shows up much later that is the result of a service-connected incident.

Knee pain can appear as a secondary service connection related to:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip injuries
  • Partial or total joint replacements of either knee

For example, if a veteran injured their right foot during service, they may have started favoring their left leg while walking. This may have put strain on the left knee, resulting in knee pain. The same can apply to the left foot and right knee.


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