Back Problems and Social Security Disability

The number one disability I see is an individual with a back problem. The diagnosis could be herniated discs, disc bulges, sciatica and many other conditions. Many people don’t even know what exactly is wrong with their back. Here are a few of the most common problems:

Herniated Discs– this occurs when a disc degenerates and breaks down- the inner core leaks out through the outer portion of the disc. Herniated discs can be mild or they can be severe. It’s the severe herniated discs that are usually the most painful although people can still experience back pain if they have mild herniated discs. Many of my clients end up seeing pain specialists in order to deal with their pain. They also try chiropractic manipulations, massage therapy, spinal injections, medications, acupuncture, tens unit and other therapies in order to cope with the pain. Sometimes the therapies do not work and the clients have to resort to surgery. However, surgery doesn’t necessarily alleviate all of the pain. It may alleviate some of it, but the pain may still exist.

Bulging Discs– a bulging disc is different because the disc simply bulges outside the space it normally occupies between your vertebrae, it doesn’t rupture. Like herniated discs, bulging discs can be mild or severe and they can also cause back pain.

Sciatica– it is a condition in which a person experiences leg pain, and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that begins in the lower back and travels down the person’s leg. The sciatica causes different symptoms for different people depending upon what is causing the sciatica.

The names of the above conditions are not important. What is important is how your back pain limits your ability to work. It will depend on your age, education, past work experience and the limitations caused by your back.
If you are an older individual you may meet what is called a grid rule. I discuss what grid rules are here: grid rules.  If you are a younger individual then you may have to show why you cannot work a sedentary job in which you sit most of the time.

You may also meet or equal what the social security administration calls a listing impairment. You can find the listing for spinal impairments here.

As you can tell if you are experiencing back problems you may or may not be a candidate for social security disability depending on a number of different factors.

Please remember that this is just general information, and everyone’s situation is unique. This article should not be considered legal advice.