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Incapacitating Episodes



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Can anyone define what the VA considers an "

incapacitating episodes"

Hey Hutch and welcome to Hadit!

"For the purposes of evaluations under dagnostic code 5243 (Intervertebral Disc Syndrome), an incapacitating episode is a period of acute signs and symptoms due to intervertebral disc syndrome that requires bed rest prescribed by a physician."

Hope this helps,


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i like your question, reminds of the word the va uses when you are trying to get increases for migraines. the word is prostrating. wow, that really helped me. i think your word and mine are synonymous. :huh:

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Can anyone define what the VA considers an "

incapacitating episodes"


Welcome to Hadit.

Hope this helps a veteran.


This is from a BVA decision that granted a higher rating.



Entitlement to an increased evaluation for low back

disability, currently rated at 40 percent.

The regulations regarding intervertebral disc syndrome were

revised effective September 23, 2002. Under the revised

regulations, intervertebral disc syndrome (preoperatively or

postoperatively) is evaluated either on the total duration of

incapacitating episodes over the past 12 months or by

combining under 38 C.F.R. § 4.25 (the combined rating table)

separate evaluations of its chronic orthopedic and neurologic

manifestations along with evaluations for all other

disabilities, whichever method results in the higher


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. "Chronic orthopedic and neurologic

manifestations" means orthopedic and neurologic signs and

symptoms resulting from intervertebral disc syndrome that are

present constantly, or nearly so. When evaluating based on

chronic manifestations, evaluate orthopedic disabilities

using evaluation criteria for the most appropriate orthopedic

diagnostic code or codes. Evaluate neurologic disabilities

separately using evaluation criteria for the most appropriate

neurologic diagnostic code or codes. 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 based on chronic orthopedic and

neurologic manifestations or incapacitating episodes,

whichever method results in a higher evaluation for that

segment. 38 C.F.R. § 4.71a, Diagnostic Code 5293 (in effect

from September 23, 2002 until September 26, 2003).

Edited by carlie
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