Many people have back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Center at least 80% of people will suffer from some sort of back pain.
Back problems are generally covered by Social Security Listing 1.04 for “Disorders of the Spine.” The listing covers three causes of back pain. The first requires evidence of nerve root compression and “neuro-anatomic distribution of pain” along with limitations in range of movement, muscle strength, and sensory loss. Generally, if a person has the type and severity of back pain suggested by this portion of the listing, that person is probably on the way to the hospital!
The second type of back pain considered by Social Security is Spinal Arachnoiditis. Spinal Arachnoiditis is an inflammation of the arachnoid, which is a thin layer of tissue covering the spinal cord. This inflammation can be caused by injury, infection, surgery, or even injections into the spine. Since spinal arachnoiditis does not usually show up on MRIs, it can be hard to prove. The best evidence of arachnoiditis is a biopsy of the tissue itself.
The most commonly addressed form of back pain is Spinal Stenosis, which is covered by section C of the listing. Spinal Stenosis can be shown by MRI, CT scan, or myelogram. Stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, which eventually, presses the spinal column onto the nerve roots causing severe and unremitting pain. Depending on where the stenosis is occurring in the spine (Cervical, Thoracic, or Lumbar), an individual can have symptoms such as numbness in the fingers, hands, legs, or feet, and difficultly walking.
It is not enough for a claimant to simply allege “back pain” as a reason for disability. Social Security needs objective medical evidence. This evidence can be in the form of tests and laboratory findings, as discussed previously, or objective physical reviews from physicians, preferably physicians specializing in Disorders of the Spine. Those treating physicians should also provide the potential claimant with an evaluation of physical limitations and work related restrictions.
If you have become disabled due to back pain, the first step should be meeting with and discussing your back pain with a doctor. Once you have undergone a thorough examination by the doctor, and the doctor suggests that your spine disorder is severe, you may want to apply for Social Security Benefits. If you want more information on this subject, please do not hesitate to call our office at 214-999-9999 or 817-999-9999.