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Can Anyone Help Me?

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I have been dealing with the VA for 4 years now. I am service connected at 40% for my back and now 20% for my leg because of my back. I have been assigned a VA primary care docter who does not want to do anything for me except prescribe pills. Everytime I end up in the emergency room which is now 4-5 times a month on a good month the docters tell me I need a MRI. My docters excuse is that if I get one they will want to do surgery and it will limit me the rest of my life. I tryed to explain to him that I am limited now I am 25 years old and cannot do anything except come home from work and lay in bed because I hurt so bad. I am to the point where I cannot work some days, and recently hurt so bad I could not even drive to the hospital. I have tryed telling him that I don't want pills I would like something done to fix the problem. My back is pinching nerves in my leg and I am slowly loosing feeling and movement in my leg. I am affraid in a couple years from now I will not be able to walk. All I am looking for is a little help to the problem I don't exspect it to be fixed right away. Has anyone else out there gone rounds with docters trying to get help and not just prescribing pain pills? Am I fighting a loosing battle? Can anyone help me I am only 25 and some days feel like it will never get better.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Welcome to the site!

I'm assuming that we are talking about a VA doc. If so, give him/her one more chance. Tell them that there are too many mechanical and neurological parts located in the back, and there are too many different diagnoses to be playing around. If someone suggests surgery, that does not mean you have to do it. I have one of the most screwed up backs some of my docs have ever seen, but because I am 35 they don't want to operate yet. They literally told me that we need to wait until I am physically in a wheelchair. If the doc still won't do it, then you need to go to or contact the chief of the primary care service at your VAMC and request a change in provider. If that does not work, then you need to go to the patient advocate. Your primary care doc is the only person that can order these tests at the VA, that I am aware of. The only other options I can think of is if you ask for a consult to the pain management clinic and the neurosurgery clinic. Both of them will want to see a MRI of your spine and may be able to send you for one.

There is a ton of spine claim information in the spine claim repository thread. Click the link in my signature line and read away. Good luck!

I'm moving your thread so it will get better noticed.

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Just ask your Primary Doc for a Neurosurgury consult. The Neurosurgeon will order the test. How long has it been since your last MRI?

Was it done at the VA? I had to go around with them too.

Be straight up with them. Tell them something is wrong.

Do read Rentalguy1's Spine Repository. This man has but a lot of time into it and it is a great tool for a Vet to use.

Good luck.


Edited by jbasser
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I am service connected for my back. Had fusion surgery involving 2-titanium clamps and 4-bolts. Surgery helped alot. Was total invalid before surgery because of low back pain and left leg numbness/burning. **You do need to have a current MRI along with neurology evaluation. Just don't wait too long, I did. I now suffer permanent sciatic problems. Also, I recommend obtaining more than one opinion, especially if you require surgery. As prior mentioned, rentalguy1 spine repository is a excellent reference.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

They have to do better than that. Welcome to Hadit. Are you working? Of not file for Social Security Disability and also ask VA for a Higher rating if you have not already

Good Luck

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Some VAMCs now offer chiropractic services....I know that many ppl (and docs) frown on this type of treatment; but I speak from personal experience...give it a try. If your VAMC doesn't have it...ask to be referred out for it. It can't hurt!! Seriously, it really doesn't hurt. I've been seeing one for injuries to my neck from a car accident and WOW....what a difference!! All the VA docs wanted to do was...................yup, you guessed it.......keep me on pain pills. Now just after a month my neck is about 80% improved...no pills.

I know it isn't for everyone....but I would go that route before surgery.

With VA Prime Care....you have to make noise. Let them know you are not happy with what they are doing (or not doing). And document, document, document!!! Be sure to get copies of your medical records quarterly at the VA.

take care,

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I applaud you for still trying to work, but the more stress you put your back to, depending on your work invironment, job duties, etc. It maybe time for you to think about taking the time off to not only help relieve the stress on your back, but give you time to get the help you need to hopefully help you get better, if it is at all possible.

If you do decide to stop work for a time, and claim for SSDI will have to show that you are expecting to be out of work for one year, and even then, your application or rather award should you win SSDI, won't kick in until you have been out of work for six months.

The second thing to do, is to get documentation from a Dr that it is no longer advisable, given your back, pain, and number of days you have had to take off from work, that you are no longer able to work or hold down any substantial gainful imployment, sitting or standing or combination of both.

Also, talk with you employer about your back problem and how it is affecting your work, (only if you dicide to stop working and with the advice in place from a Dr) Ask them to document your time off and how with your back and pain issues it has so affected your work, that they concur with your Dr. that would be best for all concerned. Hopefully they could also add something that tells how good an employee you had been, but that your medical problems are so effecting your job, it has become a health and safety issue with there other employees.

Letters from Co-workers who also work with you or side by side with you can also attest to how they see and perceive your work performance and even to when you exibit pain at times. Things like helping to carry things you would otherwise carry yourself, or anything they've had to do for you because of your back issue, even if your boss does not know and/or know about them doing it.

Are wearing a back brace? From the sound of your post, it appears that you suffer some degree of depression over this issue and you should be evaluated by a psychiatrist for depression. It's not in your best interest and pride to try and suck up what you are suffering and letting things slide until you are actually or need the use of a wheel chair. I am in an electric wheel chair most of the time away from my home, and even then pain is an issue I still have to deal with. Sitting down for long periods of time while I run around town doing business or grocery shopping, has me hardly able to get up out of it when I reach home, my legs just don't want to work and sometimes it is very scary when it takes a bit longer than usual for my legs to loosen up to where I can then at least walk around my house with the aid of a cane.

As recommeded here, I would most certainly be applying for an increase, especially if you were able to get the information I talked about above. I would also, if on the advice of a Dr. you decied to stop working, add to your claim for increase a claim for TDIU, Knowing full well the VA is highly unlikely to rate you 100% disability for your back and leg issues, but they are however likely to rate you high enough that you should also be rated for TDIU.

The only way this is all going to get done is if you, yourself and no one else is pro-active in seeing that all this is done. A VSO (Veterans Service Officer) will be helpfull in drafting and submiting your claim and evidence, but don't just drop it all in their lap and expect it to get done. Keep yourself informed and on top of everything about your claim and you should have a better chance of coming out with a check in the win colume than not.

If you can afford one, an IMO as to the current severity of your condition and expected relief, should you decide on surgery, and how long a recovery time you might be expected to need after such a surgery, since if you are expected to be unable to work for enough time after surgery, you should be awarded a temperary 100% rating while recovering. You'll have to look into the regs on this, to see if you qualify at that time.

I realize you are young and want to continue working, but to do so may well make things worsen to the point that even with surgery, you may not be able to return to work for some time and may need retraining into a different line of work.

I believe, for myself that is, had I known way back when, what I know now about the effects of, even minor TBI's, and had been SC and had been receiving the proper treatment upt till now, I could well be still working, even from my wheelchair and the cognitve dysfunction I exibit today may have been mitigated, at least to the point that I could have been trained into a job that took my problems into consideration and lived a much better life than I did and/or am living today. I have a lot of if's in my life, but the big one was, If I had been more pro-active in my claim when I had the physical and mental ability and the funds to do so, those issues that were not SC'd would most certainly have been so before today and I wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail to get them SC now.

So get out there and do what you can do for your claim and seek the help you need when your efferts are not enough.

Rockhound Rider :rolleyes:

p.s. Sorry for the rant, but I hope some of the information, however I put it, is of some value to you and your claim and your attempts to get additional help for your back. Good luck and keep us posted how things progress, even if it is more questions.

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