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Lumbar Strain, Bulging Disc, Herniated Disc


yelloownumber5

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Hi,

Can a lumbar strain be a connection to a herniated lumbar disc?

Edited by yelloownumber5
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It is funny but, trying getting the VA to grant SC for back conditions, it is sometimes cumbersome and up the hill, yet, it can be achieve, specially if You can demostrate with evidence was  sustained hile in service. I for the time been, still fighting the VA sito this. I suffer a fall while stationed in Korea in 1978-79... There were no MRI, CT Scan machines or anything of that nature at Thats time. Today, I have herniases, bulging and canal stenosis, including sciatig nerve dammage, stated By VA Hospital Xrays, MRI's and CT Scan machines yet, the VA continous denying SC for low back. Itsn't Thats funny? Still, I'm continuing to fight untill someone withing the VA is able to se beyond just playing outdates rules. We'l see ...

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3 hours ago, girojai said:

It is funny but, trying getting the VA to grant SC for back conditions, it is sometimes cumbersome and up the hill, yet, it can be achieve, specially if You can demostrate with evidence was  sustained hile in service. I for the time been, still fighting the VA sito this. I suffer a fall while stationed in Korea in 1978-79... There were no MRI, CT Scan machines or anything of that nature at Thats time. Today, I have herniases, bulging and canal stenosis, including sciatig nerve dammage, stated By VA Hospital Xrays, MRI's and CT Scan machines yet, the VA continous denying SC for low back. Itsn't Thats funny? Still, I'm continuing to fight untill someone withing the VA is able to se beyond just playing outdates rules. We'l see ...

Welcome to Hadit!

Although this is a rather old topic, I agree with you completely. It sounds like the typical VA red tape. They know you were injured in service, have a current diagnosis, but fail to connect the two.

I had the same battle with the VA to get my spine issues SC. The VA tried to deny stating that there were lengthy gaps where I had no treatment records, thus they assumed it was not related. I countered this by producing copies of intermittent medical treatment for my back, including more recent, more frequent, and more serious treatment visits. I also submitted buddy letters attesting to the fact that I had continuing symptomatology over these years. I think what helped me over the hurdle was to get an IMO/nexus from a non-VA orthopedic specialist stating he reviewed my service treatment records showing multiple injuries, buddy letters, treatment records, provided a current diagnosis, and topped it all off with an opinion stating that my current spine issues were "as likely as not" caused by my in-service injuries. The process took years, but I could have not done it without educating myself here on Hadit.

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10 hours ago, girojai said:

It is funny but, trying getting the VA to grant SC for back conditions, it is sometimes cumbersome and up the hill, yet, it can be achieve, specially if You can demostrate with evidence was  sustained hile in service. I for the time been, still fighting the VA sito this. I suffer a fall while stationed in Korea in 1978-79... There were no MRI, CT Scan machines or anything of that nature at Thats time. Today, I have herniases, bulging and canal stenosis, including sciatig nerve dammage, stated By VA Hospital Xrays, MRI's and CT Scan machines yet, the VA continous denying SC for low back. Itsn't Thats funny? Still, I'm continuing to fight untill someone withing the VA is able to se beyond just playing outdates rules. We'l see ...

I was out since 84 and got SC for lumbar strain/scoliosis/DDD/IVDS in 2015.  The Key is to get an IMO from a spine specialists that will say that your injury, as shown on the current MRI's and Xrays, more likely than not began when you were in the service. The evidence of sick call incidents and complaints in my medical records was well documented, but they had no old xrays, and like you confirmed, no MRI or CT scans existed back then.  You wont get a VA specialists to provide this information for you, as you probably already know.

I had 4 level fusion for this, with partial paralysis of the sciatic nerve (left leg) after they granted my SC at 60%.

Edited by pwrslm
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11 hours ago, pwrslm said:

 The Key is to get an IMO from a spine specialists that will say that your injury, as shown on the current MRI's and Xrays, more likely than not began when you were in the service. The evidence of sick call incidents and complaints in my medical records was well documented, but they had no old xrays, and like you confirmed, no MRI or CT scans existed back then.  You wont get a VA specialists to provide this information for you, as you probably already know.

 

That was my experience and recommendation as well, i.e. independent medical opinion indicating more likely than not.. That will take some work to find a neurologist willing to do a work-up but some will. It was very difficult at least at the time I was involved with this. I found one in 2008 for 365.00 but I brought all the MRI(discs)/Radiology reports/medical records... It ultimately got down to presenting the examiner with this: what would a reasonable person conclude this disability originated from? After a moment of consideration she was onboard.

 

PS: may i add that the va in my experience will fight a back injury harder than any other disability. They will push back with every trick in their book rest assured.

Edited by cannoncocker
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Yes, I think it can be the result of a severe strain. If you have good evidence of treatment and DX for a back strain in service and have any evidence of on-going treatment or symptoms then I think you can get SC. Back problems usually get worse with time, so if you hurt your back in service and now it has degenerated into herniation you should be able to get that SC'ed. What you need is a medical statement from a back doctor saying the strain led to the herniations.

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Actually a Lumbar strain is a precurser to herniated disks. That would be the event that caused a herniation.

J

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The VA doesn't like to change classifications....at least not for me. I am rated Lumbar Strain and have 5 or 6 herniated discs and they have been leaving me rated on the strain.

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Yes, I think it can be the result of a severe strain. If you have good evidence of treatment and DX for a back strain in service and have any evidence of on-going treatment or symptoms then I think you can get SC. Back problems usually get worse with time, so if you hurt your back in service and now it has degenerated into herniation you should be able to get that SC'ed. What you need is a medical statement from a back doctor saying the strain led to the herniations.

Exactly what happened to me, I hurt my back in service in 88. Went to sick call diagnosed with Lumbar strain and now about 20 years later I have 3 herniated disc nerve damage and left leg is growing smaller due to not able to use it. Chiorpractor self meds back surgery and stimulator implant the back is a funny animal. I had not thought one event could lead to the hell I have experinced but hang in there. I am living proof that you can get the back tied in to SC. I would add that the VA used everything they could to deny me but I only offer is do nto give up. I would also add letters of support from people family friends helped me also. The surgery I cannot tell you to do but I am going to try it as I am burnt out hurting and falling all of the time. Good luck...

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The VA doesn't like to change classifications....at least not for me. I am rated Lumbar Strain and have 5 or 6 herniated discs and they have been leaving me rated on the strain.

Get a second and a third medical opinion I am not an expert but it took me a while to nail down the exact cuase of what went down with my back. Apply for an increase if you have not did so and use the civillian Docs if you can because so far I had no luck with the VA. Have a good weekend and hang in there us people with bad backs understand. Adios...

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Thanks.

That is pretty much what happened to me.

Rated for lumbar strain in 2004 and my first MRI was 2007 showing many bulging disc and in 2010 MRI showing herniated disc.

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Is there anyone here I can emails some specific questions I have about this topic. I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks.

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How should I request an increase and for what? I have numbness, burning, tingling in legs, and lower back pain.

Thanks.

That is pretty much what happened to me.

Rated for lumbar strain in 2004 and my first MRI was 2007 showing many bulging disc and in 2010 MRI showing herniated disc.

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Is there anyone here I can emails some specific questions I have about this topic. I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks.

If you have a medical question you can PM me and I'll help you.

Bergie

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How should I request an increase and for what? I have numbness, burning, tingling in legs, and lower back pain.

Get a doc to check you for sciatia or nerapathy, they when you have proof open a new claim for those secondary to your back. I just got done with that.....I also have the same symptoms as you.

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Get a doc to check you for sciatia or nerapathy, they when you have proof open a new claim for those secondary to your back. I just got done with that.....I also have the same symptoms as you.

I have degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the entire spine and chronic cervical, thoracic, and lumbar muscle strain...all service connected.

Over the years I have now developed 3 herniated discs with nerve impingement that causes, for a lack of better terms, sciatica (though the symptoms are not 100% exactly the same). The worse condition that developed is a bladder control problem called detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia (DSD).

So in January of this year I filed for the DSD secondary to the DDD as a result of the herniated discs. In March I got a response approving the DSD at 20% but they deferred the herniated disc claim as an actual increase in the DDD.

The herniated discs are a part of the DDD and muscle strain, and due to the rules of pyramiding, they cannot rate the herniated discs separately, so they are currently determining where on the rating % I can be rated at, if there is a higher rating, to increase the current rating I already have for DDD and lumbar muscle strain.

If the OP has sciatica, as you indicated, that is a separate condition that can be claimed secondary to the lumbar condition (if there is a sc rating for it already, otherwise he'd have to pick the primary condition - i.e. DDD or herniated discs - then claim the sciatica as secondary to it).

Though I got a rating for the DSD it matters not as I am already 100% P&T. I filed the claim to get the service connection because for over a year dealing with this increased back problem, and now the DSD, the VA Medical Center I go to have done NOTHING and REFUSES (neurology) to do anything to help me. They (the neurologist) has even gone so far as to deny the objective medical evidence I provided (urodynamic study done outside the VA, for which the VA chief urologist even agreed with) proving the herniated discs are causing a nerve impingement; but that was denied too just because they couldn't see that impingement on the MRI. So, if the VA won't do anything about it, then I plan on getting my Primary VA Dr to give me a referral to an outside facility that specializes in treating the DDD and DSD at the VA's expense (e.g. spinal decompression therapy).

Anyhow, point being is if a new condition develops from a primary rated service connected disability, a veteran, with proper objective medical evidence substantiating the claim, can claim that condition secondary to the primary rated s/c condition.

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I got SC'ed for Lumbar Strain with radiating pain down legs. The radiating pain is a result of a herniated, well protruding disc pushing on and pinching on the S1. The only way I was able to get that done was go to the best Spinal Neurologist in our area for an IME which cost $320.00. Her CV trumped anybody they would bother with and she did a nexus for the degenerated, buldged,.....back.

So my suggestion is to compile all your MRI's, Service Records, and etc and find a good specialist, show your evidence and make your case how that your current difficulties are a result of your service.

I think a basic point in law is a good argument being the "Reasonable Person" belief concept in which you say would a reasonable person believe these injuries came from me setting at a desk or heavy repetitive lifting over years. I don't know all your details but hope this might help. This does not mean the VA will just say oh well, why didn't you say so! But stick to it.

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We argued this very issue to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (lumbar strain vs. intervertebral disc syndrome, i.e., slipped disc, bulging disc, ruptured disc, etc.) regarding the lumbar condition being rated under the wrong diagnostic code, the correct one being for IVDS. The VA agreed there was an error, and the Court issued a joint remand back to the Board. We used the VA's own Fast Letter on IVDS from a few years ago as evidence, along with the medical evidence that was available from the date of initial claim 17 years ago and throughout time to the present day.

So, you can appeal it as a CUE, and ask for the correct rating, assuming you have the medical evidence to back it up.

If I remember correctly, I believe the maximum rating for lumbar strain is 40%, whereas the maximum rating for IVDS is higher. This appears to be the reason the VA favors rating lumbar back conditions, regardless of the condition of the discs, under the diagnostic code for strain.

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Good Luck on your claim. Isn't it nice to have people support you by answering your questions, In my opinion this thread is Hadit when it is at it's best

Tip of the Hat to all who contributed on this thread.

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