Back disorders are regularly challenged by long-term disability insurance carriers. How can disability insurance attorneys Dell & Schaefer assist you?
As disability attorneys, Dell & Schaefer have represented numerous long term disability claimants that have been unable to work as a result of suffering back pain. Disability Attorneys Dell & Schaefer have an expansive understanding of the significant restrictions and limitations that a person with back pain must live with on a daily basis.
We have worked closely with top physicians in order to sufficiently satisfy a disability carrier’s threshold of evidence necessary to prove that a client is disabled by back pain.
Not everyone suffering from back pain qualifies for long-term disability benefits, therefore the medical records of each client must be reviewed to determine the level of restrictions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your long-term disability claim. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.
Back pain is one of the most common causes of a person filing for long term disability insurance benefits. The disability insurance companies are notorious for denying disability benefit claims based on back complaints. The disability companies will generally deny a back claim on the basis that there is no objective evidence to support the claimant’s subjective complaints of pain.
The reality is that medical studies have revealed that approximately 75% of the people that complain of back pain have unknown etiology. This means that 75% of the time doctors can not identify in an x-ray or MRI the exact cause of a person’s back pain. According to the disability insurance companies, a lack of objective findings means the claimant must be faking their back pain. After representing hundreds of people that have been disabled by back pain, our disability attorneys are aware of the exact information that must be provided in order to meet the disability insurance company’s threshold for proof of disability. While back claims are regularly challenged due to insufficient medical support there are numerous medical test available in order for a claimant to objectively support their disability claim.
Beyond just the physical limitations caused by a back disorder it is essential to take into consideration the side effects of medication and the level of fatigue that a claimant experiences on a daily basis. We never present a disability claim based on how long you can sit or stand or based on your ability to lift up to 10 pounds. These factors are insignificant when it comes to proving that you are unable to work at least 4 hours every day of the week with reasonable continuity.
What are causes of back pain?
Back pain is a common complaint that affects most people from time to time. However, for some people back pain becomes a chronic disabling condition.
Your back is an intricate structure composed of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs. Back pain can arise from problems with any of these components. Back pain most often occurs from strained muscles and ligaments due to improper heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement. Back pain may also be caused by structural problems in the back such as; degenerative disc diseases, stenosis, facet arthrosis, osteophytes / bony spurs, neural foramina narrowing, bulging or herniated discs, sciatica arthritis, skeletal irregularities or osteoporosis. Back pain may also be caused by rare and serious conditions such as cauda equine syndrome, cancer in the spine or an infection in the spine.
There are many causes of back pain as illustrated above, let’s take a look at the most common causes of back pain and their symptoms.
Bulging disc – A bulging disc simply extends outside the space it should normally occupy. Usually a bulging disc does not cause significant pain or discomfort.
Herniated disc – A herniated disc is also commonly called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk. Your spine is made up of bones (vertebrae) cushioned by small oval pads of cartilage or disks consisting of a tough outer layer (annulus) and a soft inner layer (nucleus).
When a herniated disk occurs, a small portion of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus into the spinal canal. This can irritate a nerve and result in pain, numbness or weakness in your back as well as your leg or arm. Common symptoms that are associated with a herniated disc may include; sciatica (a radiating, aching pain accompanied by tingling and numbness that starts in your buttock and extends down the back or side of one leg), pain, numbness or weakness in your lower back and one leg, or in your neck, shoulder chest and arm, or lower back or leg pain that worsens when you sit, cough or sneeze.
Degenerative disc disease – Degenerative disc disease is not actually a disease, rather it is a term used to describe the changes of the spine as you age. Degenerative disc disease involves the intervertebral discs. As you age, the discs can lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics. They also become thinner as they dehydrate.
When all that happens, the discs change from a supple state that allows fluid movement to a stiff and rigid state that restricts your movement and causes pain.
If you have chronic back or neck pain, you may have degenerative disc disease. People suffering from degenerative disc disease will suffer from chronic lower back pain with intermittent episodes of severe lower back pain, radiating hip, buttock and leg pain, numbness and tingling. Generally the pain does not go below the knees.
Lumbar disc disease – Lumbar disc disease usually starts with a torsional (twisting) injury to the lower back, such as when a person rotates to put something on a shelf or swing a golf club. However, the pain is also frequently caused by simple wear and tear on the spine.
Lumbar disc disease is fairly common, and it is estimated that at least 30% of people aged 30-50 years old will have some degree of disc space degeneration, although not all will experience pain or even receive a formal diagnosis. In fact, after a patient reaches 60, some level of disc degeneration is deemed to be a normal finding, not the exception.
Most patients with lumbar disc disease will experience low-grade continuous pain that will occasionally flare for a few days or more. Pain symptoms can vary, but generally are: lower back pain that can radiate to the hips and legs. This pain is generally becomes worse when sitting and can be exacerbated by certain movements particularly bending, twisting or lifting.
The low back pain associated with lumbar disc disease is usually generated from one or both of two sources: inflammation as the proteins in the disc space irritate the surrounding nerves and abnormal micro-motion stability when the outer rings of the disc are worn down and con no longer absorb stress on the spine effectively.
Lumbar radiculopathy – Lumbar radiculopathy refers to pain in the lower extremities in a dermatomal pattern. A dermatome is a specific area in the lower extremity innervated by a specific lumbar nerve. This pain is caused by compression of the roots of the spinal nerves in the lumbar region of the spine.
Most people describe radicular pain as a sharp or burning pain that shoots down the leg which is commonly referred to as sciatica. In more severe instances, sciatica can be accompanied by incontinence of the bladder and/or bowels.
Spinal stenosis – Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas in your spine, most often in your neck or lower back. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves at the level of compression.
Depending on which nerves are affected, spinal stenosis can cause pain or numbness in your legs, back, neck, shoulders or arms, limb weakness lead to a lack of coordination, loss of sensation in your extremities and problems with bladder or bowel function.
There are many valuable sources of back pain information available. You can also access resources over the internet such as:
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
- American Chiropractic Association