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VA Code 5237 DJD of the Spine

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Sam N.

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Hello folks!

I need your expertise! I am rated 10% for DJD of the spine under code 5237. However, I had some xrays done and it said that I have mild to moderate degenerative cervical disease. My question is since code 5237 covers spine or cervical disease, could I just submit a claim for an increase or would I need to submit a claim as secondary to DJD of the spine?

Also I am having shoulder pain, and think this is somehow connected to the cervical disease, so would I submit this as secondary to cervical or secondary to DJD of the spine?

Thanks in Advance!

Sam N.

 

 

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53 minutes ago, Sam N. said:

would I need to submit a claim as secondary to DJD of the spine?

You could submit a claim. Do you have a doctor that will say this is likely caused by the DJD?

 

56 minutes ago, Sam N. said:

I am having shoulder pain, and think this is somehow connected to the cervical disease

If your doctor says it is connected you could submit a claim. If your doctor doesn't say it is so then your opinion won't matter much.

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11 minutes ago, kanewnut said:

You could submit a claim. Do you have a doctor that will say this is likely caused by the DJD?

 

If your doctor says it is connected you could submit a claim. If your doctor doesn't say it is so then your opinion won't matter much.

Thanks for your input, and I do understand that my opinion does not matter much. I guess I could have made my question a little clearer, because I do realize some things are tougher to connect as secondary than others, but is there any precedent in connecting my condition as secondary with the assumption that an IMO or nexus letter will be required. I guess I am thinking that if there is clear medical evidence that that two are related, perhaps just an IMO would do, or if not then I would have to get a nexus letter or maybe even both. Either way I do appreciate your response.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Agree with Kanewnut. Your opinion isn't going to count; you need a medical opinion saying your injuries are connected to the service. If your research points that these new conditions can be related to your original spine injury, and if your doc can't or won't give you a nexus letter, you can get one from another doc who specializes in those write-ups. It would cost you, but often docs just won't give you the written documentation you need.

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Apply for an increase. You dont need to make medical decisions.  Dont worry about whether its primary, secondary, or presumptive.  You dont need to pass a test as a rating specialist to get benefits.  Let the VA rating specialist do their job.  Yours is not to decide if its primary or secondary, so your application should state something like:

"I would like to apply for an increase in my back.  Both primary and secondary to exisiting conditions.  The pain has spread to other areas of my back."

After submitting this, ask a doc's opinion if he thinks its part of your old condition or a new one.  

OR you can just send in 2 Kellogs box tops and get your own medical degree or certificate from VA raters training.   You choose.  These should suffice to get you a job at VA.  

Edited by broncovet
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On 8/26/2019 at 8:56 PM, Sam N. said:

is there any precedent in connecting my condition as secondary

I have neck issues and also have right shoulder and arm issues that are secondary to it. You just need the doctor to say as much.

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My best advice would be for you to talk to a doctor,  get his opinion and then if he agrees put your claim in .  Sure , you can put a claim in without an Independent Medical opinion but that means you trust the VA  hired examiner to conduct a fair C/P examination and render his opinion concerning service connection.  It would be better to get an opinion first because it makes it easier to  fight a denial if the va examiner opines that your condition is not service connected. This is because when there is a tie, the tie  is suppose to go to the veteran.  Keep in mind, if you do get a medical opinion, the doctor must indicate he reviewed your medical records and he must be able to justify his opinion based on clear medical evidence, and accepted medical practice.

As to your shoulder pain it is not likely connect to your back , but it is possible to be connect to your neck. In order to prove such connection you would need a nerve conductive study done on your cervical spine and then some how get it service connected secondary to spine condition.   Only a doctor can make this call.... 

Best of luck to you

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