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C & P Diagnosis Question For Any Back Experts!

Question

I'm cuurently rated 10 % for Lumbar spine L2 & L3 wide hemilaminectomies, epidural abcess rated in 2000. I asked for an icrease based on condition got worse and did C & P in Last march, just got a copy in the mail.

Diagnosis:

For the VA established diagnosis of Lumbar spine L2 and L3 wide hemilaminectomies, epidural abscess, the diadgnosis is changed to sever degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, status post L2-L3 laminectomy surgery. This is a result of progression of the previous diagnosis. The claimant has developed severe degerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, status post L2 L3 laminectomy surgery. The degenerative changes are associated with the prior Laminectomy at L2 & L3, and this has occurred with chronic inflammatory changes in the lumbar spine, and with abnormal weight bearing. There is no evidence of epideral abscess on mRI and that condition has resolved. The subjective factors are: History of chronic pain, Objective: findings on MRI and diagnosis is consistent.

Range of motion

ROM Deg

Forward Flexion- 20 20

extension- 5 5

right lat 10 10

left lat 10 10

right rotation 15 15

Left rotation 15 15

Repetitive ROM not possible because repetitive range of motion of lumbar spine is not possible because of sever pain in the lower back with range of motion.

My question is since i getting 20% for Lumbar spine L2 and L3 wide hemilaminectomies, epidural abscess- would they ad code 5003 as an additional condition? How is the range of motion rated when it cannot be done repetitive?

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I posted parts of the rating schedule below. There are a number of different ways the spine is rated. You can be SC for both conditions, but because of the pyramiding rule, you will only get the higher percentage used in your combined total. However, you might be able to get a separate rating for nerves if you have radiculopathy going into your legs.

Your Forward flexion ROM is 20 degrees. Because it is less than degrees, you might get a 40% rating, which is a lot higher than the 10% or 20% rating you would get under 5003.

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine; or, forward flexion

of the thoracolumbar spine 30 degrees or less; or, favorable ankylosis of

the entire thoracolumbar spine 40

Also, because this is a request to increase your SC rating for lower back, you might want to dig in your records for 12 months preceding the data that you filed the increase request. They are supposed to grant you an EED matching the earliest treatment you had within that 12 month window. They often cheat people out of retro because they don't let them know it's possible. This only applies to increase requests, not new ones.

IMHO, I hope this works out well for you.

4.71a - Schedule of Ratings - Musculoskeletal System

http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_71a.DOC

5003 Arthritis, degenerative (hypertrophic or osteoarthritis):

Degenerative arthritis established by X-ray findings will be rated on the basis of limitation of motion under the appropriate diagnostic codes for the specific joint or joints involved (DC 5200 etc.). When however, the limitation of motion of the specific joint or joints involved is noncompensable under the appropriate diagnostic codes, a rating of 10 pct is for application for each such major joint or group of minor joints affected by limitation of motion, to be combined, not added under diagnostic code 5003. Limitation of motion must be objectively confirmed by findings such as swelling, muscle spasm, or satisfactory evidence of painful motion. In the absence of limitation of motion, rate as below:

With X-ray evidence of involvement of 2 or more major joints

or 2 or more minor joint groups, with occasional incapacitating

exacerbations 20

With X-ray evidence of involvement of 2 or more major joints

or 2 or more minor joint groups 10

Note (1): The 20 pct and 10 pct ratings based on X-ray findings, above, will not be combined with ratings based on limitation of motion.

Note(2): The 20 pct and 10 pct ratings based on X-ray findings, above, will not be utilized in rating conditions listed under diagnostic code 5013 to 5024, inclusive.

General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine

(For diagnostic codes 5235 to 5243 unless 5243 is evaluated under the Formula for Rating

Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes):

With or without symptoms such as pain (whether or not it radiates), stiffness, or aching in the area of the spine affected by residuals of injury or disease

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire spine 100

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine 50

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine; or, forward flexion

of the thoracolumbar spine 30 degrees or less; or, favorable ankylosis of

the entire thoracolumbar spine 40

Forward flexion of the cervical spine 15 degrees or less; or, favorable

ankylosis of the entire cervical spine 30

Forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine greater than 30 degrees but not

greater than 60 degrees; or, forward flexion of the cervical spine greater

than 15 degrees but not greater than 30 degrees; or, the combined range of

motion of the thoracolumbar spine not greater than 120 degrees; or, the

combined range of motion of the cervical spine not greater than 170 degrees;

or, muscle spasm or guarding severe enough to result in an abnormal gait

or abnormal spinal contour such as scoliosis, reversed lordosis, or

abnormal kyphosis 20

Forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine greater than 60 degrees but not

greater than 85 degrees; or, forward flexion of the cervical spine greater than

30 degrees but not greater than 40 degrees; or, combined range of motion of

the thoracolumbar spine greater than 120 degrees but not greater than 235

degrees; or, combined range of motion of the cervical spine greater than

170 degrees but not greater than 335 degrees; or, muscle spasm, guarding,

or localized tenderness not resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal

contour; or, vertebral body fracture with loss of 50 percent or more of the

height 10

Note (1): Evaluate any associated objective neurologic abnormalities, including, but not limited to, bowel or bladder impairment, separately, under an appropriate diagnostic code.

Note (2): (See also Plate V.) For VA compensation purposes, normal forward flexion of the cervical spine is zero to 45 degrees, extension is zero to 45 degrees, left and right lateral flexion are zero to 45 degrees, and left and right lateral rotation are zero to 80 degrees. Normal forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine is zero to 90 degrees, extension is zero to 30 degrees, left and right lateral flexion are zero to 30 degrees, and left and right lateral rotation are zero to 30 degrees. The combined range of motion refers to the sum of the range of forward flexion, extension, left and right lateral flexion, and left and right rotation. The normal combined range of motion of the cervical spine is 340 degrees and of the thoracolumbar spine is 240 degrees. The normal ranges of motion for each component of spinal motion provided in this note are the maximum that can be used for calculation of the combined range of motion.

Note (3): In exceptional cases, an examiner may state that because of age, body habitus, neurologic disease, or other factors not the result of disease or injury of the spine, the range of motion of the spine in a particular individual should be considered normal for that individual, even though it does not conform to the normal range of motion stated in Note (2). Provided that the examiner supplies an explanation, the examiner’s assessment that the range of motion is normal for that individual will be accepted.

Note (4): Round each range of motion measurement to the nearest five degrees.

Note (5): For VA compensation purposes, unfavorable ankylosis is a condition in which the entire cervical spine, the entire thoracolumbar spine, or the entire spine is fixed in flexion or extension, and the ankylosis results in one or more of the following: difficulty walking because of a limited line of vision; restricted opening of the mouth and chewing; breathing limited to diaphragmatic respiration; gastrointestinal symptoms due to pressure of the costal margin on the abdomen; dyspnea or dysphagia; atlantoaxial or cervical subluxation or dislocation; or neurologic symptoms due to nerve root stretching. Fixation of a spinal segment in neutral position (zero degrees) always represents favorable ankylosis.

Note (6): Separately evaluate disability of the thoracolumbar and cervical spine segments, except when there is unfavorable ankylosis of both segments, which will be rated as a single disability.

5235 Vertebral fracture or dislocation

5236 Sacroiliac injury and weakness

5237 Lumbosacral or cervical strain

5238 Spinal stenosis

5239 Spondylolisthesis or segmental instability

5240 Ankylosing spondylitis

5241 Spinal fusion

5242 Degenerative arthritis of the spine (see also diagnostic code 5003)

5243 Intervertebral disc syndrome

Evaluate intervertebral disc syndrome (preoperatively or postoperatively) either under the General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine or under the Formula for Rating Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes, whichever method results in the higher evaluation when all disabilities are combined under §4.25.

Formula for Rating Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 6 weeks during the

past 12 months 60

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 4 weeks but less than

6 weeks during the past 12 months 40

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 2 weeks but less than

4 weeks during the past 12 months 20

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least one week but less than

2 weeks during the past 12 months 10

Note (1): For purposes of evaluations under diagnostic code 5243, an incapacitating episode is a period of acute signs and symptoms due to intervertebral disc syndrome that requires bed rest prescribed by a physician and treatment by a physician.

Note (2): If intervertebral disc syndrome is present in more than one spinal segment, provided that the effects in each spinal segment are clearly distinct, evaluate each segment on the basis of incapacitating episodes or under the General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine, whichever method results in a higher evaluation for that segment.

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I posted parts of the rating schedule below. There are a number of different ways the spine is rated. You can be SC for both conditions, but because of the pyramiding rule, you will only get the higher percentage used in your combined total. However, you might be able to get a separate rating for nerves if you have radiculopathy going into your legs.

Your Forward flexion ROM is 20 degrees. Because it is less than degrees, you might get a 40% rating, which is a lot higher than the 10% or 20% rating you would get under 5003.

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine; or, forward flexion

of the thoracolumbar spine 30 degrees or less; or, favorable ankylosis of

the entire thoracolumbar spine 40

Also, because this is a request to increase your SC rating for lower back, you might want to dig in your records for 12 months preceding the data that you filed the increase request. They are supposed to grant you an EED matching the earliest treatment you had within that 12 month window. They often cheat people out of retro because they don't let them know it's possible. This only applies to increase requests, not new ones.

IMHO, I hope this works out well for you.

4.71a - Schedule of Ratings - Musculoskeletal System

http://www.warms.vba...ART4/S4_71a.DOC

5003 Arthritis, degenerative (hypertrophic or osteoarthritis):

Degenerative arthritis established by X-ray findings will be rated on the basis of limitation of motion under the appropriate diagnostic codes for the specific joint or joints involved (DC 5200 etc.). When however, the limitation of motion of the specific joint or joints involved is noncompensable under the appropriate diagnostic codes, a rating of 10 pct is for application for each such major joint or group of minor joints affected by limitation of motion, to be combined, not added under diagnostic code 5003. Limitation of motion must be objectively confirmed by findings such as swelling, muscle spasm, or satisfactory evidence of painful motion. In the absence of limitation of motion, rate as below:

With X-ray evidence of involvement of 2 or more major joints

or 2 or more minor joint groups, with occasional incapacitating

exacerbations 20

With X-ray evidence of involvement of 2 or more major joints

or 2 or more minor joint groups 10

Note (1): The 20 pct and 10 pct ratings based on X-ray findings, above, will not be combined with ratings based on limitation of motion.

Note(2): The 20 pct and 10 pct ratings based on X-ray findings, above, will not be utilized in rating conditions listed under diagnostic code 5013 to 5024, inclusive.

General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine

(For diagnostic codes 5235 to 5243 unless 5243 is evaluated under the Formula for Rating

Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes):

With or without symptoms such as pain (whether or not it radiates), stiffness, or aching in the area of the spine affected by residuals of injury or disease

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire spine 100

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine 50

Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine; or, forward flexion

of the thoracolumbar spine 30 degrees or less; or, favorable ankylosis of

the entire thoracolumbar spine 40

Forward flexion of the cervical spine 15 degrees or less; or, favorable

ankylosis of the entire cervical spine 30

Forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine greater than 30 degrees but not

greater than 60 degrees; or, forward flexion of the cervical spine greater

than 15 degrees but not greater than 30 degrees; or, the combined range of

motion of the thoracolumbar spine not greater than 120 degrees; or, the

combined range of motion of the cervical spine not greater than 170 degrees;

or, muscle spasm or guarding severe enough to result in an abnormal gait

or abnormal spinal contour such as scoliosis, reversed lordosis, or

abnormal kyphosis 20

Forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine greater than 60 degrees but not

greater than 85 degrees; or, forward flexion of the cervical spine greater than

30 degrees but not greater than 40 degrees; or, combined range of motion of

the thoracolumbar spine greater than 120 degrees but not greater than 235

degrees; or, combined range of motion of the cervical spine greater than

170 degrees but not greater than 335 degrees; or, muscle spasm, guarding,

or localized tenderness not resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal

contour; or, vertebral body fracture with loss of 50 percent or more of the

height 10

Note (1): Evaluate any associated objective neurologic abnormalities, including, but not limited to, bowel or bladder impairment, separately, under an appropriate diagnostic code.

Note (2): (See also Plate V.) For VA compensation purposes, normal forward flexion of the cervical spine is zero to 45 degrees, extension is zero to 45 degrees, left and right lateral flexion are zero to 45 degrees, and left and right lateral rotation are zero to 80 degrees. Normal forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine is zero to 90 degrees, extension is zero to 30 degrees, left and right lateral flexion are zero to 30 degrees, and left and right lateral rotation are zero to 30 degrees. The combined range of motion refers to the sum of the range of forward flexion, extension, left and right lateral flexion, and left and right rotation. The normal combined range of motion of the cervical spine is 340 degrees and of the thoracolumbar spine is 240 degrees. The normal ranges of motion for each component of spinal motion provided in this note are the maximum that can be used for calculation of the combined range of motion.

Note (3): In exceptional cases, an examiner may state that because of age, body habitus, neurologic disease, or other factors not the result of disease or injury of the spine, the range of motion of the spine in a particular individual should be considered normal for that individual, even though it does not conform to the normal range of motion stated in Note (2). Provided that the examiner supplies an explanation, the examiner's assessment that the range of motion is normal for that individual will be accepted.

Note (4): Round each range of motion measurement to the nearest five degrees.

Note (5): For VA compensation purposes, unfavorable ankylosis is a condition in which the entire cervical spine, the entire thoracolumbar spine, or the entire spine is fixed in flexion or extension, and the ankylosis results in one or more of the following: difficulty walking because of a limited line of vision; restricted opening of the mouth and chewing; breathing limited to diaphragmatic respiration; gastrointestinal symptoms due to pressure of the costal margin on the abdomen; dyspnea or dysphagia; atlantoaxial or cervical subluxation or dislocation; or neurologic symptoms due to nerve root stretching. Fixation of a spinal segment in neutral position (zero degrees) always represents favorable ankylosis.

Note (6): Separately evaluate disability of the thoracolumbar and cervical spine segments, except when there is unfavorable ankylosis of both segments, which will be rated as a single disability.

5235 Vertebral fracture or dislocation

5236 Sacroiliac injury and weakness

5237 Lumbosacral or cervical strain

5238 Spinal stenosis

5239 Spondylolisthesis or segmental instability

5240 Ankylosing spondylitis

5241 Spinal fusion

5242 Degenerative arthritis of the spine (see also diagnostic code 5003)

5243 Intervertebral disc syndrome

Evaluate intervertebral disc syndrome (preoperatively or postoperatively) either under the General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine or under the Formula for Rating Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes, whichever method results in the higher evaluation when all disabilities are combined under §4.25.

Formula for Rating Intervertebral Disc Syndrome Based on Incapacitating Episodes

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 6 weeks during the

past 12 months 60

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 4 weeks but less than

6 weeks during the past 12 months 40

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 2 weeks but less than

4 weeks during the past 12 months 20

With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least one week but less than

2 weeks during the past 12 months 10

Note (1): For purposes of evaluations under diagnostic code 5243, an incapacitating episode is a period of acute signs and symptoms due to intervertebral disc syndrome that requires bed rest prescribed by a physician and treatment by a physician.

Note (2): If intervertebral disc syndrome is present in more than one spinal segment, provided that the effects in each spinal segment are clearly distinct, evaluate each segment on the basis of incapacitating episodes or under the General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine, whichever method results in a higher evaluation for that segment.

Ok that helps- however is see in the C & P in another section is states:

THORACOLUMBAR SPINE: The examination reveals evidence of radiating pain on movement described as lower back to lower buttocks. Muscle spasm is present described as lower back. The muscle spasm produces an abnormal gait. There is tenderness noted on exam. There is guarding of movement as decribed in range of motion.

Is that what you mean by radiculopathy?

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So the way i understand rang of motion- I'm looking at approx 40% rating?

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