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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Alright guys, I am new here, and I am hoping that it will be good to talk to and hear helpful tips from fellow veterans on dealing with the VA hospitals lackluster care.

I'll start by introducing myself a bit, I am a USMC Infantry Combat Veteran, OIF era. I seek care in the VA Boston area. I am rated at 70% service connected, and am currently receiving Individual Unemployability because I had to leave my job due to my issues. I am being treated for PTSD, TBI, Chronic Upper Back Pain, Left knee pain (ACL and MCL tear), and GI issues (possible Ulcers, GERD, IBS etc... tests incoming). I also must say how grateful I am for most of the services offered to veterans.

Alright, so here is my main problem. The chronic upper back pain I spoke of earlier is currently under treated, and not diagnosed. I had sought help from a local Doctor, but had to stop going because I simply could not afford those prices any longer. This is the best I can write out everything, I have been trying to take notes and write everything down since my memory isn't all that good.

The pain: The pain is in my upper back, right side, shoulder area. It can get excruciatingly painful and debilitating. Not sure if it is related or not, but I get a strange 'electric shock' feeling on the back of my neck, right side, where the spine connects to the skull. The pain is definitely made worse by physical activity of any sort, even simply standing for more than 30 minutes can cause it to 'flare up' and driving is another time it acts up. Yard work and chores at my house are incredibly hard to get done without being in pain, and the pain leads to me being in a shitty mood. At it's worst it is a deep pain, like it feels like it is under the bones and such, a 8 or 9 on the stupid pain scale is not uncommon. The skin feels sort of subdued, like it's sort of numb feeling above where the pain is. This has been ongoing for YEARS now. At least 7 years. Documented in my med records since bootcamp.

The tests: The VA doctors have done many tests, XRAY's have been done, and they show nothing wrong. MRI's have been done, and also show nothing abnormal (that would cause that pain at least... cyst was located on Thyroid gland) a CT scan has been done on my head while I was having very bad migraines and it didn't show anything that would cause the back pain. I asked if maybe the Gall Bladder was involved as it can cause pain in that area, the GI specialist said it was doubtful, but in one of my upcoming tests (Ultrasound) he should be able to tell for sure.

"So called treatments": I will now list ALL of the things that either the Doctors have done, or I have done to try and curb the pain, and the results of the treatment.

  1. Physical Therapy. Was required of me when I complained of this issue while still active duty. I did I believe 2 months at the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital. It did NOT help me for this problem. I have done PT for my knee before, and that DID help, so I have a good grasp of how it is supposed to work. Currently, my VA Doc has suggested trying it again, I am NOT open to this idea, as A) no help previously, and B) I cannot drive into Boston 3+ times a week for PT sessions.
  2. Menthol 10% cream. No help whatsoever. Was 'prescribed' by my Primary Care.
  3. Lidocaine Patches. Prescribed by Primary Care doc as well. Oddly enough seems to make me notice the pain MORE when I have one on... otherwise nothing.
  4. Nortriptyline 25mg. Prescribed by my local Neurologist doc when I could afford to see her. Didn't work.
  5. Cyclobenzaprine muscle relaxer. Prescribed by VA doctors. Made me too tired to function, and made me felt weird. Didn't help with the pain either, but did help with getting to sleep.
  6. Naproxen tabs. Both prescription ones and OTC, zero help. Told to discontinue due to possible Ulcers.
  7. Acetominophen 500mg. No help. Told to stop taking them by PC due to possible Ulcers.
  8. Oxycodone 10mg Acetominophen 325mg. Prescribed by local Neurologist. ONLY thing that has helped at all thus far. Was only given 1 bottle (40) before I stopped seeing that Neurologist, she stopped seeing me as a patient because she "doesn't know what's wrong with me, but it doesn't appear to be anything that she can help with" gave me the 1 bottle and said she hopes it helps and for me to go back to my Primary Care. Didn't fully cover pain, definitely took the edge off though and made me able to function.
  9. Ice and Heat. Feels ok while icing/heating but doesn't relieve the pain and the effects don't last.

The 'diagnosis': As of now, no diagnosis. Things that the Doctors have mentioned... Muscle Strain, A sprain, Muscle spasm, scoliosis (false)

Things that I have mentioned that they dismiss: Lyme Disease, Gall Bladder Issues, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ruptured Disc, Spinal Stenosis.

Current course of treatment: Pain Clinic said they will give me 'trigger point injections' and I am completely uninterested in that, A) they have no idea whats even wrong so I don't see how injecting something will work, B) I have family members with back issues (ruptured discs) who have had this treatment and they said it was NOT WORTH IT at ALL. But that is about it. They said they will NOT give me medication for it, first thing they said in fact, then said injections or nothing pretty much.

What do I WANT: I'd love to know what the main problem really is, but until that can be established I want PAIN RELIEF. this is INSANE that I have to live like this for no reason. I don't want to seem like a drug seeker, but HOLY HELL it's the only thing that has helped me out at all, and realistically I don't think I would have hatched a plan 7 years ago to constantly complain about the same pain to get drugs?? Is there something special I have to say to them to get treatment? Do they just NOT prescribe pain medication now? I know it is an issue in this country, but it's xxxxxxx insane that I just on my own dealing with this pain thats ruining my life. It's just not fair that I got to see how that 1 month of life went while I had a prescription, adn then that was it, now I'm back to nothing. It's literally driving me crazy. I don't even want a ton pills or anything!!! Just enough so that I can get stuff done around my house, and spend time with my girlfriend and family without being a raging jerk to everyone due to being in pain. I don't want to get addicted to them either, I understand that can happen, which is why I spread out that 1 prescription I did have. Even typing this out, they have me brainwashed to feel like a junkie by wanting medication for my problems.


Anyways, that did feel good to get off my chest... I really look forward to getting some feedback, or help, or ANYTHING. But even just venting was ok... I'm sure my Girlfriend is very tired of hearing me bitch about it all the time... ha ha ha.

Semper Fi.


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For a short time new members have to have their posts approved. You should get ptomoted fairly soon and will be able to post in real time. Had to do this cause it cuts down on spammers and also people who like to harrass Veterans. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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Thank you, I understand that safeguards need to be in place to keep out the riff raff.

Look forward to being a full member.

Can I not modify my profile until then?

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I feel your pain and I mean it. I went about ten years with pain in upper traps and shoulder. It drove me wild. I could not get good DX for it until recently. Doctors now think it is herniated disc and stenosis in my neck that causes referred pain. The treatment is an operation but they cannot promise it will cure the pain. I have good ROM but reflexes in my left arm are pretty dead. If you can find a doctor in or out of the VA who has the same problem you do then you might get some decent pain relief. I still suffer but get fentynal which helps some.


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Thank you, I understand that safeguards need to be in place to keep out the riff raff.

Look forward to being a full member.

Can I not modify my profile until then?


Your membership has been advanced to provide more posting options.

BTW - when it comes to pain - I don't think we will ever find a solution

that will last all the time, whether it be RX's, therapy, heat/ice, etc . .

Pain needs continuous treatment to keep at bay the best we can.


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Yeah, I agree with you about pain being permanent, I don't want a magic cure, though that'd be nice... I just want to take the edge off the bad pain, the pain that I know is lurking, waiting for me to try and be productive. That pain, and the knowledge that it WILL come back when I do physical chores or whatever is what is stopping me from getting that kind of stuff done. I'm not in terrible pain right now, by all rights I should get out in my yard and clean up the hurrican debris that's still there, but that looming threat of terrible pain stops me in my tracks... last time I did do yard work I was rewarded with about 8 hours of laying on my couch not moving trying to get the pain to subside. This is what my Doctors fail to grasp, that when I go to the appointment, obviously my pain scale is low, because I haven't done anything to cause it to flare up, so I am assuming that since they don't see me being in pain, that I must not really be in pain ever. It just sucks. Injuries and Wounds aside, I am still a relatively young man, I am not working, and I feel like my house is my own personal prison. I know I won't ever be able to comfortably do certain things, but I would like to be able to do SOME things. Keeping a clean house and yard would be one...

I have heard horror stories of those fentanyl patches, honestly that sounds too intense for me. I don't even like taking pills for anything, but when I know they are helping and can see the results, it eases my mind. That's why it is hard for me to keep up with the anti-depressants, I don't see a result, and I don't feel any better, so to me, I'm putting some weird drug in my body that isn't helping me, but will have weird side effects... with pain relievers, I feel better. I can get some work done, or walk around the zoo/park with my family and not be buckled over in pain, or be in a poor mood because I'm hurting while everyone else is having a fun time.

In any case, neither option has been discussed by my primary care. When I told her that my civvie neurologist had prescribed the 10mg Oxycodone, she replied that that is way too large a dose, and that she wouldn't continue the scrip for me.

To clarify as it might be getting confusing: I wasn't seeing both doctors at once. I had seen the VA a while ago, I didn't have any results for my back problems. I figured a civvie doctor local to me would be better, for one I wouldn't have to worry about driving into Boston for all my appts, and for two, I thought I would receive better care. Anyways, After the civvie neurologist prescribed medicine, then said that she couldn't see me anymore (because the problem was out of her scope of her specialty) and I went back to my civvie Primary Care, I realized I couldn't afford that battle. I took my test results from those doctors and the xrays and MRI's to the VA to resume treatment with them, for free.

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    • By tazntaylr
      I have been working with a VSO to file my claim. I am currently in the process of gathering information. Only thing, file for MST with PTSD or file PTSD. VSO was hung up on the sexual part of MST.
      Was in service 1991-2000. In 1995 was involved with a female soldier, who also was involved with another male (married) soldier. After an exercise and the last night sleeping together she asked me to kill his wife. After the second time I went to CID and wore a wire twice. While the Article 32 hearing was going on she was let out of pre-trial and started harassing me, being around me. I was moved from my company to another, and ultimately to the brigade HQ (rear detachment). Brigade HQ was deployed then. Both the female soldier and male soldier were other than honorable discharged, but I was exiled for a year. Not the same after. As I was getting out in 1999 I learned that she had asked other people in the unit to kill me. I was seen at a Vet center into 2000.
      Same time as the Article 32, my chain of command was trying to discipline me for an Article 15/court martial. The incident was with the female soldier (before she had asked me) and was on a trumped up charge. Even had the 1st sergeant threatened me in his office about "if he could not get me on that charge he would find another". After my time in Brigade HQ I returned to almost a new unit, only 5% knew me. All I wanted was out, but he harassed me every day to change my mind and go to the promotion board. Would not even let anyone drive me to airport to PCS.
      It took my wife to point out that when I get harassed or witness it at work that I am affected by it. I am currently being seen for it by the Vet center I was seen at before. The vet center had listed me as PTSD and marked as military trauma. 
      Also, I don't have anything from that time as I was not in a good place and as a 26 year old did not want the reminders in my barracks room. So if anyone knows how to get the CID or JAG records I am all ears.
    • By anxiousinMD
      Hello and TYIA for any responses and for reading my long post.
      BLUF: I would appreciate some insight or just plain ol speculatin on why the VA raters would submit me for a lumbar strain increase (that I didn’t submit for) while working on my current claim? Also, are secondary conditions disqualified in the 60% calculation for SMC Housebound? I know it says the 60% must be separate from the 100% condition, but how does this work if I’m on IU, with secondary conditions? 
      I’m probably overthinking at 4am but why would they submit me for an increase for a condition when I didn’t ask them, and the increase has no bearing on the final rating due to VA math, unless it qualifies me for SMC, or they believe I should be qualified. I’ve never raised the issue of SMC and I’m still learning about it trying to figure out my claim, and I know they are supposed to do due diligence, but that’s not my first hunch since that’s why I’m still in this process.
      History: I filed a claim in 2015 for PTSD increase and TDIU, was granted increase in 2016 to 70% PTSD, denied TDIU. Combined, 80% with other SC conditions. BBE/VSO said I was denied increase to 100% even though I had a nexus statement from a psychologist saying total social and occupational impairment, at least as likely as not, etc., but they said because I was still employed (I was on long term disability leave but not yet “terminated” and yes they had the relevant evidence through my employer and insurance), and my VA treating provider’s opinion took precedence who didn’t feel my symptoms quite qualified me for total of course, though he‘s a CRNP versus a psychologist and I don’t think he even knows me. I thought they were supposed to take the rating and credentials that favor the Veteran but never mind me. I also survived and was approved for Social Security and life insurance premium waivers during this period without having to appeal, with the same medical information and evidence, with the same VA SC conditions, even coming from VA docs and providers.
      Of course I appealed the rating and TDIU denial (they can decide) in 2016. I also submitted a new claim for secondaries to PTSD, and in my fog, with that claim an increase for PTSD and TDIU, even though I already had those on appeal. I believe I read or was told somewhere (or maybe my brain made it up) that if I submitted new evidence, the raters could look back at the effective date and could EED to the original claim if the evidence shows and close the appeal. Or, they could approve me from the date of the new claim and the appeal could deal with the stuff before that. But what they did was what they are apparently supposed to do (according to Peggy and the VSOs): defer the appeal related claims to the appeal. DOH.
      Current Status: Early this month my claim progressed and I was granted an increase to 30% for IBS secondary to my 70% PTSD, and since I had a pre-existing 10% for nerve condition and 20% for lumbar strain, that brought me to 90%. My claim never went to complete and I never got the BBE, ebenefits bounced around from gathering of evidence to pending decision approval within days of my last C&P (I had one for PTSD and one for IBS). I’m not sure why they would give me a C&P for PTSD if they are deferring that part of my claim to appeal as I was told. Maybe they’re just giving me a checkup because my 30 appointments and inpatient stays and shock treatments over the past year weren’t enough medical evidence.
      I learned of the increase bc I got a small retro and my ebenefits letters and disabilities changed within days, but the claim stayed open. I found out by calling Peggy and VSO that it’s due to an increase for my lumbar strain that someone in the rating chain put in. I do have plenty of evidence in my medical records that show my back is also crap. I got sent to a C&P for my lumbar strain and now I wait in GOE. The C&P examiner, Peggy, VSOs specifically say I was submitted for an increase for my back, not a review. BTW, in ebenefiits in the disabilities section, the PTSD increase is still open, the TDIU disappeared, the IBS is rated, and the lumbar strain doesn’t appear. Yes, I know ebenefits is unreliable and I should find something else to do, but compulsively logging into ebenefits is an activity quite similar to playing a slot machine for me. Every 1 in 10000000 logins I might get a glimmer of hope, and it keeps me going lol.
      I Wonder: What difference does it make if I’m rated 20% or 30% for my lumbar strain? Why would this be raised since my overall rating won’t change from 90% either way? Trust me, I AM NOT COMPLAINING AND I AM GRATEFUL, anything they do (and they have been getting faster and more Vet-friendly it seems) positive for the Veteran that saves future agony and torture is an appreciated blessing. It would help in the future in qualifying for SMC, but I don’t qualify with the math now. Just wondering if they don’t have enough to do over there, because in the future I’d probably have to get another C&P. Also, I would have to have another condition at 30% for that math to work out, and I pray nothing else worsens enough for that to happen.
      Does “separate” mean it can’t affect the same body system or it can’t be a secondary condition? Because with secondaries, I could potentially qualify for SMC, and therefore the VA rater would be setting me up for success. Otherwise, it just seems like extra work for them when they could close my case and get their quota numbers and help another Vet...again, not complaining but whoever is on my file seems to be thorough regardless.
      I know they could be doing anything over there, and I’m glad they’re working on my claim, but just for s&g I’d appreciate any guesses or suggestions, and any help clarifying the SMC Housebound math thing please.
      Thank you all.
    • By hawkfire27
      Please delete
    • By Stick Slinger
      I was never diagnosed in service with OSA. I weigh 220 and I am 6' tall. I am rated at 70% for PTSD and the meds I take add to the OSA. I had my personal Dr. and the Psychiatrist I see both write letters to support that the meds I take add to and cause the OSA. My Dr filled out the DBQ and sent it in as well. I had a failed sleep study results sent in  with my claim. I also have documentation I sent it that back up the fact that OSA is tied to PTSD and is aggravated by PTSD. Then sleeping with the prescribed CPAP machine adds to the PTSD. Just curious if anyone has ever won this claim? I am going to appeal but wanted to get any advise here first if someone has any to share.. not sure if there is anyone who has gone this route before and won?
    • By kent101
      I see now the VA is using ecstasy on Veterans saying it helps cure mental illness. Ecstasy causes some major brain damage. The VA Hospital forcefully did lobotomies on 2000 WW2 Veterans and ruined their lives.
      Roman Tritz’s memories of the past six decades are blurred by age and delusion. But one thing he remembers clearly is the fight he put up the day the orderlies came for him.
      “They got the notion they were going to come to give me a lobotomy,” says Mr. Tritz, a World War II bomber pilot. “To hell with them.”
      The orderlies at the veterans hospital pinned Mr. Tritz to the floor, he recalls. He fought so hard that eventually they gave up. But the orderlies came for him again on Wednesday, July 1, 1953, a few weeks before his 30th birthday.
      This time, the doctors got their way.
      The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal. Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals.
      The VA doctors considered themselves conservative in using lobotomy. Nevertheless, desperate for effective psychiatric treatments, they carried out the surgery at VA hospitals spanning the country, from Oregon to Massachusetts, Alabama to South Dakota.
        Roman Tritz talks about the scars from his lobotomy.  
      The VA’s practice, described in depth here for the first time, sometimes brought veterans relief from their inner demons. Often, however, the surgery left them little more than overgrown children, unable to care for themselves. Many suffered seizures, amnesia and loss of motor skills. Some died from the operation itself.
      Mr. Tritz, 90 years old, is one of the few still alive to describe the experience. “It isn’t so good up here,” he says, rubbing the two shallow divots on the sides of his forehead, bracketing wisps of white hair. 
      The VA’s use of lobotomy, in which doctors severed connections between parts of the brain then thought to control emotions, was known in medical circles in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and is occasionally cited in medical texts. But the VA’s practice, never widely publicized, long ago slipped from public view. Even the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it possesses no records of the lobotomies performed by its predecessor agency.
      Musty files warehoused in the National Archives, however, show VA doctors resorting to brain surgery as they struggled with a vexing question that absorbs America to this day: How best to treat the psychological crises that afflict soldiers returning from combat.
        Between April 1, 1947, and Sept. 30, 1950, VA doctors lobotomized 1,464 veterans at 50 hospitals authorized to perform the surgery, according to agency documents rediscovered by the Journal. Scores of records from 22 of those hospitals list another 466 lobotomies performed outside that time period, bringing the total documented operations to 1,930. Gaps in the records suggest that hundreds of additional operations likely took place at other VA facilities. The vast majority of the patients were men, although some female veterans underwent VA lobotomies, as well.
      Lobotomies faded from use after the first antipsychotic drug, Thorazine, hit the market in the mid-1950s, revolutionizing mental-health care.
      The forgotten lobotomy files, military records and interviews with veterans’ relatives reveal the details of lives gone terribly wrong. There was Joe Brzoza, who was lobotomized four years after surviving artillery barrages on the beaches at Anzio, Italy, and spent his remaining days chain-smoking in VA psychiatric wards. Eugene Kainulainen, whose breakdown during the North African campaign the military attributed partly to a childhood tendency toward “temper tantrums and [being] fussy about food.” Melbert Peters, a bomber crewman given two lobotomies—one most likely performed with an ice pick inserted through his eye sockets.
      And Mr. Tritz, the son of a Wisconsin dairy farmer who flew a B-17 Flying Fortress on 34 combat missions over Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe.
      “They just wanted to ruin my head, it seemed to me,” says Mr. Tritz. “Somebody wanted to.”
      Counting the Patients
      A memo gives a partial tally of lobotomized veterans and warns of medical complications. A note about documents:
      Yellow highlighting has been added to some documents. The names of patients not mentioned in these articles have been redacted, along with other identifying details. All other marks are original.   The VA documents subvert an article of faith of postwar American mythology: That returning soldiers put down their guns, shed their uniforms and stoically forged ahead into the optimistic 1950s. Mr. Tritz and the mentally ill veterans who shared his fate lived a struggle all but unknown except to the families who still bear lobotomy’s scars.
      Mr. Tritz is sometimes an unreliable narrator of his life story. For decades he has meandered into delusions and paranoid views about government conspiracies.
      He speaks lucidly, however, about his wartime service and his lobotomy. And his words broadly match official records and interviews with family members, historians and a fellow airman.
      It isn’t possible to draw a straight line between Mr. Tritz’s military service and his mental illness. The record, nonetheless, reveals a man who went to war in good health, experienced the unrelenting stress of aerial combat—Messerschmitts and antiaircraft fire—and returned home to the unrelenting din of imaginary voices in his head.
      During eight years as a patient in the VA hospital in Tomah, Wis., Mr. Tritz underwent 28 rounds of electroshock therapy, a common treatment that sometimes caused convulsions so jarring they broke patients’ bones. Medical records show that Mr. Tritz received another routine VA treatment: insulin-induced temporary comas, which were thought to relieve symptoms.
      ‘Anxious to Start’
      The VA hospital in Tuskegee, Ala., asks permission to perform lobotomies. To stimulate patients’ nerves, hospital staff also commonly sprayed veterans with powerful jets of alternating hot and cold water, the archives show. Mr. Tritz received 66 treatments of high-pressure water sprays called the Scotch Douche and Needle Shower, his medical records say.
      When all else failed, there was lobotomy.
      “You couldn’t help but have the feeling that the medical community was impotent at that point,” says Elliot Valenstein, 89, a World War II veteran and psychiatrist who worked at the Topeka, Kan., VA hospital in the early 1950s. He recalls wards full of soldiers haunted by nightmares and flashbacks. The doctors, he says, “were prone to try anything.”
    • By FAVet777
      Thanks for reading this. I have been trying to find all the information that I can about getting re-examined. So I thought I would start here and I did my research on here. I am rated at 70% for PTSD with Major Depression Disorder long with a few other claims that rounds out to 80%. Ill mostly be disscussing my mental health award and not the others Since the that is my highest rating. My benefits where awarded in July of 2017 as far what e-benifits shows. that was my backpay date. In my award letter that I got in the mail it states for all my conditions even tinnitus that "since there is a likelihood of improvement, the assigned evaluation is not considered permanent and is subject to a future review examination". First let me state that I am beyond grateful of my award and I do not wish to try to try to increase my ratings or bring any attention to my file or profile with the VA. I am content with where I am at. I go to the VA every two weeks for my 1 on 1 with my Mental Health provider. So I am knocking out two birds with one stone as far as getting my treatment and showing the VA that I am seeking treatment. 
      Now...What are the circumstances of me getting Re-evualutated? Is it the luck of the draw and I might get randomly selected? I know plenty of people with lower ratings that are not TDIU or P&T that have been rated for over 4-5 years with no exams what so ever. Consider me being paranoid but I want to be Pre-emptive. Especially since my award letter clearly states that ALL my conditions "is subject to future review examination". When would the VA see that my condition has improved if it did? Would they get an alert from the VA Hospital that I am doing better? Or would it would it arise if i get selected for a review and they review my medical records? Like I said earlier im contempt at 80% and more than anything I just want to stay out of sight out of mind on the VA's raters radar and continue my treatment in peace. 
    • By pctinc2001
      i've been to the va doctors on several occasions with severe back pains. I've noticed that they never assigns bed rest but will give me a note for time off from work. Can I use the Dr's note for time off under their claim to help me when I file for an increase? Or do I just ask for bed rest. 
    • By pctinc2001
      Is there a way I can service connect my diabetes and my sleep apnea. I have been suffering from sometimes severe back pain from a service related injury. How can I connect the two if was never mentioned in my service records. I injured my back while on a rotation at NTC. After injuring my back i was on a profile for the last 16months, before they Chaptered me for weight control (218lbs). Before my injury I never had a problem with my weight.  when I finally got my c-file i learned that i was up for the MEB, but they chaptered me before that. Again, how can I sc diabetes and sleep apnea?
    • By Broken Cat
      I am in the process of putting together a claim package for mental health issues related to MST.  Try as I might, I cannot find a VSO with experience in my situation.  It's taken me years to accept that I need help and that I need to address this once and for all, so when I say that I cannot handle doing this twice (submitting a sub par claim and then doing appeals) I really mean it. From day to day, I vacillate between thinking my problems are actually other people's inability to cope OR feeling like there is no point to me and that I'm a burden.If it weren't for the whole not being able to pay bills and risking alienating my kids for all eternity, I'd be perfectly content letting the world turn while I hang out at home and being maladjusted and mean.
      In my perfect world, there would be a check list of things to submit for a fully developed claim. On this checklist, there would be a list of key phrases or high points that would help sway the decision makers into awarding adequate compensation. I haven't been able to find anyone that has had success doing this with a case like mine.  I have police reports from the MST.  I have trauma counseling records and AD medical records that clearly state a d/x for PTSD related to rape on X date. My counseling sessions identified dissociation behaviors, PTSD, and anxiety. One doctor even noted that I was combative and stated that I wished harm on my attackers. 
      Obviously, the Navy handled this clear cut case of rape, with evidence and my complete cooperation, like they do any scandal.  They buried it and came after me.  That might be a secondary stressor, but I've been warned that claiming a secondary stressor could hose up everything and to keep my mouth shut?  kind of amazing that the advice that is meant to help, sounds a lot like the advice that sent me careening out of control all those years ago.
      Anyhow, I survived, got married, got out, and went in and out of counseling.  Over the years, I've been diagnosed with PTSD, Chronic Depression, Chronic Adjustment Disorder, Agoraphobia, Generalized anxiety Disorder, and Dissociation Disorder.  I don't trust military medicine or the government, so most of my counseling was done through non-profit organizations and women's shelters. They're so secretive, that I felt it'd be safe to tell them what I went through and my statements wouldn't end up in the Navy's summary of Mishaps... again. So, I don't really have records of those, except for prescriptions that were reported to Tricare.   I do have my civilian medical records. It has page after page of doctors complaining that I broke down, was combative, emotional etc, etc.  I do have a few sessions with shrinks at MTFs in the last couple years. They were not keen on actual diagnostics, they just gave me the pills I asked for.
      I'm shopping shrinks to assess me and give diagnosis. I'm not sure I need a nexus letter, but I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt.  I have a letter from my ex boss describing how my work performance plummeted over the years and how he made accommodations to keep me on. I also have a letter from me, describing my bad days and my rituals to get through them. My husband and his best friend were witnesses to the fallout of my rape, in terms of the military's response to me.  They can verify in statements that I did report it and go into counseling. They can also verify that I'm socially isolated and very codepenedent on them to meet new people or get involved in activities.  I don't have a single friend that they didn't make for me, first.  I do not know how to people. I don't have friends from work. I don't have "my own" friends from church. I don't even have people who like me well enough, and include me in things, without my husband and his best friend acting as intermediaries.  
      oh, I also have the most recent sentencing transcripts for the ringleader of my attackers.  The judge stated that he felt this dude was unrepentant and a monster. He cited his past sex crimes, "both in the record and that didn't make it to trial" and his history of convincing others to help him conceal his crimes.  If that's not a shout out from the bench, I don't know what is.

      Anyhow, I guess my question is, has anyone here done a fully developed MST claim with multiple bullet points for anxiety, phobia, ptsd, and depression, and get 100% or at least, a high enough rating to qualify for unemployability?  Without having to go through appeals and lawyers?  Was a police report enough, even if the military dropped it?  Should I give the C&P my evidence, letters, and my personal statement too? I'm sure I have 1000 more questions,  but I'm mostly looking for someone who has done what I'm trying to do.
    • By Blueboy
      The BWNVVA counsel is afraid to bring these actions because “I don’t want to piss them off” [leadership]. My thought is who cares if we piss them off. They have let us hang and denied passage of the Blue Water Navy Bills for at least 10 years. Although discharge petitions have not been very successful in the past, some have done what they intended. The thought of embarrassing the leadership is fine with me. They should be embarrassed! Pissing them off does not affect the outcome of the BWNVVA bill status, because we will lose nothing. We do not have presumptive status. Congress denies us at every turn. Since that is a fact we lose nothing. Perhaps this will turn it around. We can keep begging for our rights for another 10 years, or bring this to closure now. Let it be known that I do not represent the BWNVVA in any capacity.
      It's not clear to me whether a discharge petition was used in 1991 for HR 566. I do know there was a suspension of the rules to bring it to the floor for a vote. Whatever you call it, the bill was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
      "A discharge petition is a means of bringing a bill out of committee and to the floor for consideration without a report from the committee and usually without cooperation of the leadership by "discharging" the committee from further consideration of a bill or resolution.
      563 discharge petitions were filed between 1931 and 2003, of which only 47 obtained the required majority of signatures. The House voted for discharge 26 times and passed 19 of the measures, but only two have become law. However, the threat of a discharge petition has caused the leadership to relent several times; such petitions are dropped only because the leadership allowed the bill to move forward, rendering the petition superfluous. Overall, either the petition was completed or else the measure made it to the floor by other means in 16 percent of cases."
      PL 102-4 Actions H.R.556 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)
      Received in the Senate, read twice, considered, read the third time, and passed in lieu of S. 238 without amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 99-0. Record Vote No: 9.
      On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays (2/3 required): 412 - 0 (Roll No. 16).
      For more information go to
      Text: https://www.congress.gov/bill/102nd-congress/house-bill/556
    • By TJMarine
      This is my latest C&P what am I looking at? Can anyone break this down?
      Neck (Cervical Spine) Conditions
                              Disability Benefits Questionnaire
          Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P
          [X] Yes   [ ] No
          Evidence Comments:
            BOARD REMAND
          1. Diagnosis
          Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with a cervical
          spine (neck) condition?
          [X] Yes   [ ] No
          Cervical Spine Common Diagnoses:
            No diagnosis provided.
             Diagnosis #1:  CERVICO-OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA
             ICD code:  ==
             Date of diagnosis:  9/28/2015
             ICD code:  ==
             Date of diagnosis:  2016
             ICD code:  ==
             Date of diagnosis:  4/29/2015
             If there are additional diagnoses that pertain to cervical spine (neck)
             conditions, list using above format:
               On today's C&P examination, 11/21/17, Veteran reports several incidents
             1992-1995 of blunt trauma including carrying 50 caliber machine gun
             barrels and ammunition.  Involved in ground defensive tactic also known
             "Bull in the Ring" in which the marine is in full gear and is potentially
             tackled by several marines.  Following this , Veteran incurred
             concussion-1992 or 1993).  Also went to Bethesda for back school(approx.
             week).  Currently, Veteran reports daily neck pain.  Denies neck surgery.
             Denies no recent physical therapy.  Uses Flexeril, Ibuprofen, Oxycodone,
             and Tens unit for pain relief.  Last treated by chiropractor in
             Bay, Florida).
          b. Dominant hand:
             [ ] Right   [ ] Left   [X] Ambidextrous
          c. Does the Veteran report flare-ups of the cervical spine (neck)?
             [ ] Yes   [X] No
       d. Does the Veteran report having any functional loss or functional
             impairment of the cervical spine (neck) (regardless of repetitive use)?
             [X] Yes   [ ] No
                 If yes, document the Veteran's description of functional loss or
                 functional impairment in his or her own words:
                    Can't do much of any type of physical activity, that's really
                    limited.  Obviously a hindrance, job related stuff.  Multiple days
                    off from work(pain, stiffness).  Can't do lawn activities.  Can't
                    wash dishes.  Can't play with your kids like you want to. 
                    is impossible-Sometimes you have to sleep sitting up in a chair.
          3. Range of motion (ROM) and functional limitations
          a. Initial range of motion
             [ ] All Normal
             [X] Abnormal or outside of normal range
             [ ] Unable to test (please explain)
             [ ] Not indicated (please explain)
                 Forward Flexion (0-45):           0 to 46 degrees
                 Extension (0-45):                 0 to 15 degrees
                 Right Lateral Flexion (0-45):     0 to 23 degrees
                 Left Lateral Flexion (0-45):      0 to 14 degrees
                 Right Lateral Rotation (0-80):    0 to 48 degrees
                 Left Lateral Rotation (0-80):     0 to 44 degrees
                 If abnormal, does the range of motion itself contribute to a
                 functional loss? [X] Yes, (please explain)   [ ] No
                    If yes, please explain:
                    Limited bending.
             Description of pain (select best response):
               Pain noted on examination and causes functional loss
               If noted on examination, which ROM exhibited pain (select all that
                 Forward flexion, Extension, Right lateral flexion, Left lateral
                 flexion, Right lateral rotation, Left lateral rotation
             Is there evidence of pain with weight bearing? [X] Yes   [ ] No
             Is there objective evidence of localized tenderness or pain on palpation
             of the joint or associated soft tissue of the cervical spine (neck)?
             [X] Yes   [ ] No
                If yes, describe including location, severity and relationship to
                Tenderness on palpation of the cervical spine.
          b. Observed repetitive use
             Is the Veteran able to perform repetitive use testing with at least three
             repetitions? [ ] Yes   [X] No
                If no, please provide reason:
                Unable to perform due to severe pain.
          c. Repeated use over time
             Is the Veteran being examined immediately after repetitive use over time?
             [ ] Yes   [X] No
                 If the examination is not being conducted immediately after
                 use over time:
                 [ ] The examination is medically consistent with the Veteran?s
                     statements describing functional loss with repetitive use over
                 [ ] The examination is medically inconsistent with the Veteran?s
                     statements describing functional loss with repetitive use over
                     time.  Please explain.
                 [X] The examination is neither medically consistent nor inconsistent
                     with the Veteran?s statements describing functional loss with
                     repetitive use over time.
             Does pain, weakness, fatigability or incoordination significantly limit
             functional ability with repeated use over a period of time?
             [ ] Yes   [ ] No   [X] Unable to say w/o mere speculation
                 If unable to say w/o mere speculation, please explain:
                 This examiner is unable to opine and would otherwise be speculating
                 state whether pain, weakness, fatigability, or incoordination could
                 significantly limit functional ability during flare-ups, or when the
                 joint is used repeatedly over a period of time.  Therefore this
                 examiner cannot describe any such additional limitation due to pain,
                 weakness, fatigability or incoordination.  Furthermore, such opinion
                 is also not feasible to give degrees of additional ROM loss due to
                 "pain on use or during flare-ups" without speculation.
          d. Flare-ups
             Not applicable
          e. Guarding and muscle spasm
             Does the Veteran have guarding, or muscle spasm of the cervical spine?
             [X] Yes   [ ] No
             Muscle spasm
                [X] None
                [ ] Resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour
                [ ] Not resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour
                [ ] Unable to evaluate, describe below:
                [ ] None
                [ ] Resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour
                [X] Not resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour
                [ ] Unable to evaluate, describe below:
          f. Additional factors contributing to disability
             In addition to those addressed above, are there additional contributing
             factors of disability?  Please select all that apply and describe:
               Less movement than normal due to ankylosis, adhesions, etc.
             Please describe:
             Decreased ROM.
          4. Muscle strength testing
          a. Rate strength according to the following scale:
             0/5 No muscle movement
             1/5 Palpable or visible muscle contraction, but no joint movement
             2/5 Active movement with gravity eliminated
             3/5 Active movement against gravity
             4/5 Active movement against some resistance
             5/5 Normal strength
             Elbow flexion:
               Right: [X] 5/5   [ ] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
               Left:  [X] 5/5   [ ] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
             Elbow extension
               Right: [X] 5/5   [ ] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
               Left:  [X] 5/5   [ ] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
             Wrist flexion:
               Right: [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
               Left:  [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
             Wrist extension:
               Right: [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
               Left:  [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
             Finger Flexion:
               Right: [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
               Left:  [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
             Finger Abduction
               Right: [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
               Left:  [ ] 5/5   [X] 4/5   [ ] 3/5   [ ] 2/5   [ ] 1/5   [ ] 0/5
          b. Does the Veteran have muscle atrophy?
             [X] Yes   [ ] No
             If muscle atrophy is present, indicate location: Upper Arm
             Provide measurements in centimeters of normal side and atrophied side,
             measured at maximum muscle bulk:
             Normal side: 37.5 cm.
             Atrophied side:  36 cm.
          5. Reflex exam
          Rate deep tendon reflexes (DTRs) according to the following scale:
             0  Absent
             1+ Hypoactive
             2+ Normal
             3+ Hyperactive without clonus
             4+ Hyperactive with clonus
               Right: [ ] 0   [ ] 1+   [X] 2+   [ ] 3+   [ ] 4+
               Left:  [ ] 0   [ ] 1+   [X] 2+   [ ] 3+   [ ] 4+
               Right: [ ] 0   [ ] 1+   [X] 2+   [ ] 3+   [ ] 4+
               Left:  [ ] 0   [ ] 1+   [X] 2+   [ ] 3+   [ ] 4+

               Right: [ ] 0   [ ] 1+   [X] 2+   [ ] 3+   [ ] 4+
               Left:  [ ] 0   [ ] 1+   [X] 2+   [ ] 3+   [ ] 4+
          6. Sensory exam
          Provide results for sensation to light touch (dermatomes) testing:
             Shoulder area (C5):
               Right: [ ] Normal   [X] Decreased   [ ] Absent
               Left:  [ ] Normal   [X] Decreased   [ ] Absent
             Inner/outer forearm (C6/T1):
               Right: [ ] Normal   [X] Decreased   [ ] Absent
               Left:  [ ] Normal   [X] Decreased   [ ] Absent
             Hand/fingers (C6-8):
               Right: [ ] Normal   [X] Decreased   [ ] Absent
               Left:  [ ] Normal   [X] Decreased   [ ] Absent
          7. Radiculopathy
          Does the Veteran have radicular pain or any other signs or symptoms due to
          [X] Yes   [ ] No
             If yes, complete the following section:
             a. Indicate location and severity of symptoms (check all that apply):
                Constant pain (may be excruciating at times)
                 Right upper extremity: [ ] None   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ]
                 Left upper extremity:  [ ] None   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ]
                Intermittent pain (usually dull)
                 Right upper extremity: [X] None   [ ] Mild   [ ] Moderate   [ ]
                 Left upper extremity:  [X] None   [ ] Mild   [ ] Moderate   [ ]
                Paresthesias and/or dysesthesias
                 Right upper extremity: [ ] None   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ]
                 Left upper extremity:  [ ] None   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ]
                 Right upper extremity: [ ] None   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ]
                 Left upper extremity:  [ ] None   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ]
             b. Does the Veteran have any other signs or symptoms of radiculopathy?
                [ ] Yes   [X] No
             c. Indicate nerve roots involved: (check all that apply)
                [X] Involvement of C8/T1 nerve roots (lower radicular group)
                    If checked, indicate:  [ ] Right   [ ] Left   [X] Both
             d. Indicate severity of radiculopathy and side affected:
                Right: [ ] Not affected   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ] Severe
                Left:  [ ] Not affected   [ ] Mild   [X] Moderate   [ ] Severe
          8. Ankylosis
          Is there ankylosis of the spine? [ ] Yes   [X] No
          9. Other neurologic abnormalities
          Does the Veteran have any other neurologic abnormalities related to a
          cervical spine (neck) condition (such as bowel or bladder problems due to
          cervical myelopathy)?
          [ ] Yes   [X] No
          10. Intervertebral disc syndrome (IVDS) and episodes requiring bed rest
          a. Does the Veteran have IVDS of the cervical spine?
             [X] Yes   [ ] No
          b. If yes to question 10a above, has the Veteran had any episodes of acute
             signs and symptoms due to IVDS that required bed rest prescribed by a
             physician and treatment by a physician in the past 12 months?
             [ ] Yes   [X] No
          11. Assistive devices
          a. Does the Veteran use any assistive device(s) as a normal mode of
             locomotion, although occasional locomotion by other methods may be
             [ ] Yes   [X] No
          b. If the Veteran uses any assistive devices, specify the condition and
             identify the assistive device used for each condition:
             No response provided.
          12. Remaining effective function of the extremities
          Due to a cervical spine (neck) condition, is there functional impairment of
          an extremity such that no effective function remains other than that which
          would be equally well served by an amputation with prosthesis? (Functions of
          the upper extremity include grasping, manipulation, etc.; functions of the
          lower extremity include balance and propulsion, etc.)
          [ ] Yes, functioning is so diminished that amputation with prosthesis would
              equally serve the Veteran.
          [X] No
          13. Other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs,
              symptoms and scars
          a. Does the Veteran have any other pertinent physical findings,
             complications, conditions, signs or symptoms related to any conditions
             listed in the Diagnosis Section above?
             [ ] Yes   [X] No
          b. Does the Veteran have any scars (surgical or otherwise) related to any
             conditions or to the treatment of any conditions listed in the Diagnosis
             Section above?
             [ ] Yes   [X] No
          c. Comments, if any:
             No response provided.
          14. Diagnostic testing
          a. Have imaging studies of the cervical spine been performed and are the
             results available?
             [X] Yes   [ ] No
                 If yes, is arthritis (degenerative joint disease) documented?
                 [X] Yes   [ ] No
          b. Does the Veteran have a vertebral fracture with loss of 50 percent or
             of height?
             [ ] Yes   [X] No
          c. Are there any other significant diagnostic test findings and/or results?
             [X] Yes   [ ] No
                 If yes, provide type of test or procedure, date and results (brief
                    9/25/2014,MRI Cervical spine:Visibility of the central canal of
                    cord at the C5 level with diameter of 2mm, not considered to
                    reflect significant syringohydromyelia and not associated with
                    or abnormal enhancement.  Spondylosis and degenerative disc
                    of the cervical spine.  Right-sided predominant disc osteophyte
                    complex at C6-7 causes mild right central canal and moderate right
                    neural foraminal stenosis at this level.  No other central canal
                    stenosis with milder areas of neural foraminal encroachment
                    detailed above.  C2-3:Focal shallow central to right paracentral
                    disc protrusion.  No central canal or neural foraminal stenosis.
                    C3-4:Mild generalized disc bulge.  Mild right than left neural
                    foraminal stenosis with central canal patent.  C6-7:Mild
                    generalized disc bulge with more focal disc osteophyte complex in
                    the right paracentral, right subarticular, and right lateral
                    stations.  C7-T1:Negative for disc herniation.
                    8/14/2012, MRI Cervical spine:Herniated disk C3/4, C5/6, and C6/7
                    levels.  Bulging disk C2/3 and C4/5 levels.  Diffuse spondylitic
                    changes.  Straightened alignment suggesting muscle spasm.  Focal
                    area of cord contusion or compression myelomalacia at C5 level.
          15. Functional impact
          Does the Veteran's cervical spine (neck) condition impact on his or her
          ability to work?
          [X] Yes   [ ] No
              If yes, describe the impact of each of the Veteran's cervical spine
              (neck) conditions, providing one or more examples:
                Veteran is capable of limited lifting, carrying, and bending.
          16. Remarks, if any:
              NOTE:Veteran performed neck flexion repeition which reduced ROM to
               Unable to perform any further repetition for other ROM maneuvers.
              Additional exam request information:
              For any joint condition, examiners should test the contralateral joint,
              unless medically contraindicated, and the examiner should address pain on
              both passive and active motion, and on both weightbearing and non-
              In addition to the questions on the DBQ, please respond to
              the following questions:
              1.      Is there evidence of pain on passive range of motion testing?
              2.      Is there evidence of pain when the joint is used in non-weight
              bearing? YES


                                       Medical Opinion
                              Disability Benefits Questionnaire
          Name of patient/Veteran: 
          ACE and Evidence Review
          Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this
          [X] In-person examination
          Evidence Review
          Evidence reviewed (check all that apply):
          [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA)
          [X] CPRS
          Evidence Comments:
            BOARD REMAND
          a. Opinion from general remarks: (a)  Please state all diagnoses as to the
          Veteran's cervical spine, and
          address all diagnoses already of record: herniated disk and bulging disk
          of the cervical spine and spondylitic changes, muscle spasm and
          contusion/compression, spondylosis and degenerative disc disease of the
          cervical spine, mechanical cervical pain syndrome and radiculopathy. 
          (b)  Please provide an opinion as to whether it is at least as likely as
          not (a 50 percent or greater probability) that any diagnosed cervical
          spine disability was caused by or etiologically related to active duty. 
          Please specifically address the back injuries and complaints of back pain
          noted in the STRs.
          (c)  Please specifically address the Veteran's lay statements that he has
          suffered cervical spine pain since service, and that in service he
          suffered injury to his neck while carrying heavy equipment and continuous
          wear of duty gear.
          (d)  Please address the conflicting evidence of record and offer a
          clarifying opinion, notably the February 2013 VA examination positing a
          negative nexus, and the April 2016 private opinion positing a positive

          b. Indicate type of exam for which opinion has been requested: NECK
          CONNECTION ]
          a. The condition claimed was at least as likely as not (50% or greater
          probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed in-service injury, event
          c. Rationale: Upon review of all available medical evidence, including
          virtual VA, and Board Remand, the following pertinent information is
          and reported in 'Evidence Comments': Prior VA Examination, 6/25/96, reports
          Mr. served in the Marine Corps.  he was inducted in 1990 and
          received separation with an honorable discharge in 1996.    Medical History-In 1992, he
          had onset of pain in the neck area diagnosed at Quantico.  Xrays were
          negative.  Impression was muscle spasm and stress. Enlistment RME/RMH for
          national guard, 4/13/98, reported no neck problems and normal exam of the
          spine.  Miami VAMC, Outpatient clinic, 5/6/2005:Assessment is chronic neck
          and low back pain-Will get plain films and MRI, does not want any meds.
          2/28/2013, VA examination opines "Unable to find SMR evidence of significant
          neck injury or complaint in service.  No evidence to support chronicity of
          problem for over 10 years post-discharge."  THIS OPINION IS GIVEN LOW WEIGHT
          neck was completed providing a diagnosis of mechanical cervical pain
          and radiculopathy. As received 4/8/16, VA physician, ,
          states that the Veteran suffers from cervico-occipital neuralgia and
          radiculopathy with bulging disc "are as likely as not a direct result of
          blunt trauma received during the patient's military career.  His conditions
          are a severe occupational impairment to the veteran and has been exacerbated
          by many years of continuous wear of duty gear related to his profession." 
          today's C&P examination, 11/21/17, Veteran is a credible historian and
          reports several incidents in 1992-1995 of blunt trauma, involving ground
          defensive tactic also known as "Bull in the Ring" in which the marine is in
          full gear and is potentially tackled by several marines.  Following this ,

          Veteran incurred concussion-1992 or 1993).  Veteran also reported chronic
          neck pain during service was due to carrying 50 caliber machine gun barrels
          and ammunition.  He also went to Bethesda for back school(approx. week). 
          In summary, the Veteran has been under chronic medical care for neck pain
          first reported during service(6/25/96) and the condition has progressed from
          cervical muscle spasm to mechanical cervical pain syndrome and
          cervical herniated and bulging disc with muscle spasm, cord
          contusion/compression myelomalacia, cervical spondylosis and degenerative
          disc disease, cervico-occipital neuralgia, and cervical radiculopathy with
          bulging disc. A nexus has been established.  Therefore, it is at least as
          likely as not that the claimed condition has direct service connection. 
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