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HadIt.com Anniversary 24 years on Jan 20, 2021
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Spinal Stenosis & Agent Orange


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Hello, 

I was recently diagnosed with "Congenital Lumbar Spinal Stenosis" after years of back problems, which have gotten worse with age.  My father has also been diagnosed with the same condition, but no one else in our family has ever had it. My father was in Vietnam, and was (severely) exposed to Agent Orange.  We are just wondering if there are any indications that the condition could be connected to his exposure. 

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Basically, "our opinion" does not matter.  What you need is a medical opinion, from a competent, qualified doc.  As always, you need the Caluza elements for Service connection:  1) Current diagnosis of spinal stenosis 2) in service event or aggravation, 3) Nexus or link between 1 and 2.  

My advice is to check your file.  See if your doctor opined it may be related to AO.  If he does, you are good to go.  But, if he does not offer said opinion, you will need an IMO/IME to get Service connected.  

However, that diagnosis is a deal killer.  "Congenital" means you had it since birth:

Quote

con•gen•i•tal kən-jĕn′ĭ-tl

  • adj.
    Of or relating to a condition that is present at birth, as a result of either heredity or environmental influences.
  • adj.
    Being or having an essential characteristic as if by nature; inherent or inveterate.
  •  
    Produced or existing at birth; innate; native: as, congenital disease; congenital deformity.

You may have to "get rid" of that "congenital" label, by getting another medical opinion.  If you were born with it, then you couldnt have gotten it in service.  "However", if you did not have symptoms of the disorder "prior to service" it could have been aggravated with service.  

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IMHO, I would suggest the same as Bronco, have you or your father had any type of accident or injury to your neck/back/spine while on active duty. I was in several minor car accidents, injured my spine, sprained/strained my spinal muscles and slipped and slammed my neck and spine on the ground and when I filed a claim VA denied my claim. After an appeal I was granted service connection. So, the key for me was the injuries I suffered while on active duty.  

P.S. Yes, the reason why my claim was denied is because a C & P examiner diagnosed me with Congenital Disc disease and then Spinal Stenosis instead of neck injury. 

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