In order to get approved for disability benefits for back pain, you’ll have to show the Social Security Administration, SSA that your pain is beyond the moderate back pain that many people experience and that you have trouble standing, walking, or sitting or long periods of time or perform work under substantial gainful activity, SGA.
Compression of the root nerve in the back is one of the few physical disorders of back pain that are counted as disability in the Blue Book of Impairments. Hence, if a compressed root causes chronic or severe pain, that makes you unable to perform SGA, you might qualify for the Social Security Disability benefits and Medicare.
Back injuries can be caused either by natural causes such as aging, poor posture, heavy work, excessive strain on the back or by accidents such as fractures, spine damages due to accidents, nerve root compressions, bacterial infection of the spine, sciatica pain etc. Other conditions could also include diseases like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis etc.
Many applicants filing for disability based on back injury list osteoarthritis or osteoporosis as their main causes of chronic back pain rather than a traumatic incident or a severe back injury. This is because a back injury due to natural processes is more common than accidental injuries. That is why the SSA takes into account back injuries caused by the natural processes.
Eligibility for Disability based on Compression of Nerve Root
The medical criteria for proving that your back pain is indeed due to nerve root compression involves a basic leg raising test that should be positive (lying down or sitting) in order to be labeled as nerve root compression by the doctors. The test is performed by your physician or doctor in the clinic. To get approved for disability benefits based on a spinal disorder, you must indeed be able to prove that your spinal nerve root is compressed and that the compression is causing the pain to radiate, limiting your range of motion or angle of movements in proper direction, dulling your reflexes or sensations and your muscles to be atrophied or weakening of the muscles.
Although you are not technically required to have an MRI scan done to show the root nerve damage/compression, doing so might help your case. Let’s be absolutely clear: this is not an easy disability listing to prove or get approved for getting disability benefits – However, even if you do not have an impingement of an MRI to show your nerve root compression, your doctor or physician might still be able to prove to the authorities that you do indeed have a genuine disability due to the nerve root compression.
Here is how to ensure that your doctor is supportive of your disability claim
If your back pain has prevented you from working under SGA for more than twelve months or if your doctor/physician is sure that your disability will last longer than 12 months, then you should indeed file your claim for disability due to nerve root compression immediately.
If your back pain causes significant deficiencies in your bodily movements such as stooping or picking up things, sitting up properly, unable to sit up or stand for long periods of time, unable to walk without crutches or a wheelchair, unable to bend etc, then make sure that all these conditions are properly recorded with medical evidence or your doctor’s statements in your medical records. These might be beneficial in helping you win your disability claims benefits due to nerve root compression.
Lastly, if you or a loved one with a muskoskeletal impairment such as back pain due to nerve root compression needs help with disability claims, you might contact a disability attorney to help and prepare you for proper disability application.