Compression of the nerve roots in your spinal cord can cause incapacitating symptoms interfering with your ability to perform your job functions. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that severe nerve root compression is debilitating and thus included it as an official impairment in SSA’s “Blue Book” of impairments, automatically qualifying you for disability. However, Detroit disability lawyers know the difficulty to meet the requirements for the automatic disability.
Cause of Nerve Root Compression
SSA recognizes the underlying back problems that could lead to nerve root compression (“NRC”):
- Herniated disc, aka herniated nucleus pulposis (HNP)
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet arthritis
- Vertebral fracture
Other back conditions could also cause NRC.
Requirements for Nerve Root Compression Disability
According to the SSA, you must provide evidence of pressure on your spinal nerve root or spinal cord and:
- Limitation of motion in the spine
- Loss of sensation or reflexes
- Muscle weakness or atrophy, and
- If the lower back is involved, a positive result on the straight-leg-raise (SLR) test, both in the sitting or laying down position.
Further, your NRC problem must last or be expected to last at least 12 months.
Detroit disability lawyers find that although SSA does not require objective medical tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or myelography reports to prove NRC, having these medical tests is beneficial. These tests could show abnormalities in your back, such as a nerve root impingement on your MRI, in support of your doctor’s diagnosis of NRC.
With or without these objective tests, Detroit disability lawyers recommend that you treat with an orthopedic doctor who will conduct a comprehensive spinal exam. The exam should test your reflexes, sensations, muscle strength recorded over time, and range of motion. The report should also include your subjective reports of pain and your doctor’s estimates of your ability to walk, bend, squat, rise, and lift.
Denial of Application
Most people’s NRC problems do not qualify under SSA’s official impairment listing since meeting all of the requirements is difficult. You could, however, still qualify for disability benefits through a “medical-vocational allowance.” SSA is required to consider the effect of your back pain and impairment on your capacity to perform daily activities and function at work. Thus, it is important to include in your medical records any significant limitations to your functional capacity such as inability to sit or stand for long periods of time, or walk without assistance, and show that your limitations impedes your ability to perform your past relevant work or other type of substantial work activity. In such circumstances, SSA will consider your age, education, work history, and residual functional capacity (“RFC,” what you can do in spite of your limitations).
Seek Detroit Disability Lawyers
When filing your initial application or appealing your denial, it is important to include as much evidence of your condition and limitations as possible. Contact experienced Detroit disability lawyers with Marc J. Shefman at (248) 298-3003 for assistance today!