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Getting Old

Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease


Could you all please read and give me your opinion on what my next step should be. I did appeal my claim and sent in more information on how much time i had to take off because of my back while i worked for the prison. this is my first post so please bare with me, i know its alot.

Up to date- my back keeps me up at night and still bothers me to this day.

Service connection for lumbar degenerative disc disease claimed as lower back.

Your service treatment records noted an injury to your back in service. X-rays of the spine were taken on October 7, 2002 after you complained of tenderness over the T10 T12 after trauma. The x-ray was normal. Your separation examination noted a “normal” spine and there were not complaints voiced by you at the time concerning your back and/or spine.

At the recent VA examination conducted on February 1, 2011 you complained of pain stiffness, weakness, and fatigability. You stated that you had an injury to back in the service when he went to stand in a tank and the tray where ammunition is loaded hit you in your back. You stated that you had mild problems afterwards, but notice more problems when you worked for the prison system from March 2009 to August 2010. You noted that with prolonged standing for a few hours as well as with sitting while driving for a few hours, you would feel low back pain. Lying down will help this. You saw a private provider and was scheduled to get therapy before trying back injections. You have numbness in the right leg to the foot that would occur with the back pain flare ups but currently you denied any numbness. You also start limping during a flare-up. The pain is located across the lumbosacral area and does not radiate. You are able to walk normally without any assistive device. This condition has no effect on your usual occupation. You are able to perform all activities of daily living. Range of motion of the lumbar spine: forward flexion: 0 to 90 degrees without objective evidence of pain; extension: 0- 30 degrees without evidence of pain; right lateral flexion: 0-30 without objective evidence of pain; left lateral rotation: 0-30 degrees without objective evidence of pain. There was no additional limitation of motion following 3 repetitions. The examiner stated that on exam today, there was no objective evidence of painful motion, spasm, weakness, or tenderness. You denied any incapacitating episodes in the past 12 month period. Strength was 5/5 in all muscle groups of the upper and lower extremities. Straight leg raise negative bilaterally,. Sensation to light touch was intact in the upper and lower extremities. DTR’s: 2+ bilaterally, babinski negative. MRI of the lumbar spine dated June 29, 2010 noted mild bulging of the annulus at L4/L5 may abut but does not displace the exiting right L4 nerve root. The diagnosis provided by the examiner is lumbar degenerative disc disease. The examiner opined that this condition is less likely as not caused by or related to veterans service. There was no evidence found of periodic treatment for low back condition continuing from service. No low back condition was noted on exit exam from the service.

A disability which began in service or was caused by some event in service must be considered “chronic” before service connection can be granted. Although there is a record of treatment in service for pes cavus claimed as right foot condition, no permanent residual or chronic disability subject to service connection is shown by the service medical records or demonstrated by evidence following service. Therefore, service connection for lumbar degenerative disc disease claimed as lower back is denied.

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You need to get an IMO from Dr Bash asap.

He may be the only one who can rebut this one. Be aware that he is real expensive but he is good.


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It can take up to 14 yrs before DDD, DJD of the spine developes after injury. You need a Dr's statement that your diagnosed DDD is caused by your inservice injuries.

You can expect the VA to just get another IMO to shoot down any favorable medical opinion you submit as evidence.

They sent me to a C&P for the same claim and the Dr said it was service connected. The RO claimed they never recieved it, then ordered another IMO and of cource it came back unfavorable. So I went to a Dr I saw for a decade not long after I was discharged. Since he was still in practice, I had him examine me and look at my c-file records and the records he had on file. His opinion was completely favorable. The VARO then ordered an IMO from a Dr in New Jersey, all the way at the opposite end of the country, to give an opinion without an examination. Their contract Dr's opinion wasn't favorable again.

This time I hired a well known Dr that does IMO's. He theroughly went through my records twice. Once when I sent him a copy of my records and again after the BVA sent him a copy of my c-file. They stated the records had to come from them before they would except his opinion. His opinion was still the same and they still denied his favorable opinion.

The claim has now been remanded by the Court. My attorney says I should be hearing something by 2013. We'll see.

If you don't have an attorney? Get one is all I can say before you go through all of this. My reopened claim start date is 1997, taking an average two yrs for any SOC by the VA.

Edited by allan

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Thank you allan for your story I really hope it does take that long. And jbasser and allan, do you think i have a chance at winning this claim from what you have read.See my problem is I dont like going to the doctors so i just deal with the pain but its getting so bad now that i have to go and for the past few years i havent been able to sleep at night because of this. From what i understand is all i need to prove now is that its chronic or am i wrong?

Thanks for all your help, Mark

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