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I am already service connected for Thoracolumbar DJD & DDD, at 20% for ROM (range of motion). I have since been diagnosed with, Lumbar Segmental Dysfunction SCT 229042001 and also Paravertebral Muscle Spasm SCT 22209005. I am currently reading the regulations and VA achieves to see what I can find. If anyone has any experience regards VA and these ailments, please opine.
I was in physical therapy for 5 weeks after an incident (unknown, i.e., stepped off a curb?) brought severe pain to my lower back. I believe the Segmental Dysfunction to be a permanent thing and the Spasm to be a, be-careful, type thing. LOL, I'm not doctor.
I believe I will be claiming these two new conditions, "secondary" to my already service connected Thoracolumbar DJD & DDD, but am interested in if they are in the same rating scheme or are separate rated conditions.
I know, I will find out when I claim, just looking for personal experiences.
By Conrad G
This is my first post, so hopefully, I'm posting it correctly!
I have a service-connected disability in my lower back for 'Lumbar Strain' at 10% in 2012. (L4/L5) - I'm also currently 34 years old.
Since then, I received ~4 or 5 epidurals through the VA and then 1 nerve blocker procedure through the VA as well in 2013/2014. Also, here it showed the beginning sign of DDD on L4 only.
I moved abroad in 2015, and from 2015-2017 I would take hydrocodone either 5 or 10mg very often for the lower back pain.
Through the Foreign Medical Program abroad in 2018, I was seen twice for my lower back and recommended for more back injections, but then moved to another country and had to start the process over again.
In November 2018, I went to the ER room because I was unable to get out of bed by myself. I was in the hospital for 6 days on a pain medicine drip and finally ended with another nerve block injections on both sides of the spine. Here the doctor also stated that the DDD is now on L4/L5/S1.
1) I'll want to get seen for the 'Range of Motion' as I think I fit the criteria for an increase to 20%. If I live abroad how can I get this evaluated by the VA? I assume having a doctor where I'm at currently do the exam and provide notes to file with my claim?
2) Epidurals - Because I've received these injections and nerve block procedures, what should I be claiming for these? I don't know how to properly claim this and what disability I believe should be associated with the information I've provided.
3) DDD - Same as #2. What should I be claiming for this?
Also, if there's any other information you need, please let me know and I'll answer to the best of my knowledge. Thank you in advance for your help.
Ok, first let me say, I am sorry for the long winded post, and also if this is not in the proper place.
I served on active duty USAF for 7 years from 2003 to 2010. Prior to joining, there were no instances of ever having back problems or even a day of back pain. During my service, I had several documented lower back pain clinic visits. Most of the time, I was given a exemption from physical training and some Ibuprofen. On three occasions, I was sent to physical therapy and to chiropractic services. Never were there any advanced imaging tests performed. After I separated in 2010, I did not file any claims for disability. I continued to have back problems that I would go see my primary care physician for and would be treated with muscle relaxers and/or steroids. In 2012, a friend that I kept in touch with from service told me I should go and file a claim, so I did. I filed for three issues (knee pain, back pain, and shoulder pain) on the advice of my VSO. The knee pain I had before I went in and it was documented before I went in, so I figured that to be a waste of time. The shoulder pain was just a click in my shoulder that was not really painful and caused no difference in my daily life so I did not see that as relevant. However, the back pain did not start until I joined service, and had become an issue that was more often painful that it was not painful. So I filed, and went to my C&P and they did an X-ray and ROM test for all three claims. Several months later I got a letter in the mail (to the wrong name) but with my information, that all three of the claims had been deemed not service connected.
I was fresh out of college and just starting a new job, with newborn son, and basically running in every direction just to get day to day things accomplished and at the time the back pain while a pain in the butt, was more of a nuisance than anything else. So from that time until last 2015, I have been treated by my PCP approximately 2 or 3 times a year with steroids and muscle relaxers for lower back pain, and have seen a chiropractor on occasion. In 2015, I had a flare up of back pain, that sent me to my doctor, this was different, it was the same pain but much more intense. The PCP said it sounded like a herniated disc, but that they would treat it with physical therapy. I asked "can we please do an MRI to confirm"? His response was that the MRI is an expensive test and that it is better to do the physical therapy and see if it gets better. Well over a 3 month period of physical therapy it did gradually get better but did not return to the same. Then, 1 month ago, while picking up a pair of shoes, I could not stand back up, every attempt to straighten my lower back was met with excruciating pain. I was home alone with 3 children, my wife was at work. My youngest (7 months old at the time) was in his crib crying, and I was stuck on my hands and knees. I called my wife who came home to help. But when she attempted to help me stand, my legs were numb (like not there numb), the pain in my lower back when attempting to stand sent me into screams of pain. We had no choice but to call for an ambulance to take me to the ER. When they placed me on the stretcher and straightened my lower back, for the first time in my life, I blacked out. At the ER they finally ordered an MRI, and it was confirmed I had a herniated disc, with several fragments pressing against the nerve root. They referred me to a neurologist and he recommended I let it wait 4 weeks to self heal and then determine if I wanted surgery. Two weeks in, I called him and said schedule the surgery. I had paid radiating down my right leg. I was unable to sit, drive, stand, walk. The only thing I could do was lay on my side with my knees bent 30 degrees. He performed the surgery and said that things were worse than the initial MRI, he said he did remove several bone fragments from my nerve root, and that I had sever disc degeneration to the point that there is almost no disc left. He said I am likely looking at fusion in the next 5 to 10 years.
So, now that brings us to present day. I have called a different VSO and scheduled an appt. I am going to re-file my claim. Is there any chance of this turning out favorably for me?
Okay, so this is going to be hard to believe for anyone reading this, and it's fine if you don't because it happened to me and I'm still having hard time believing it.
Back in 2014 I got into an argument with a VA dermatology doctor about putting me on Accutaine/ Isotretinoin for Cystic Acne. I showed her that I hadn't finished the treatment as a civilian due to entering the service and the same thing happened upon getting out, but she wouldn't put me on it and claimed no sane doctor would. I went to a civilian dermatologist and she recommended I be put on the treatment on the first visit. Furthermore, the civilian doctor said I would be a "perfect candidate" for the treatment. I brought this back to the VA dermatologist and she was furious. She stuck to her decision, and brought in a fellow dermatologist to back her up, and man she brought in identified himself as a dermatologist and backed her up and that was about it for that situation...
Almost two years later, this past March 7th, I had an appointment for a GERD disability claim, and a lower back pain disability claim. The examiner was none other then the dermatologist my psycho dermatologist doctor brought in to back her up. It took me a while to remember where I had seen him before, but halfway through the exam it hit me. However, he didn't recognize me. He also didn't seem to know anything about the human body because when I tried to explain to him that a bad knee day equals a bad lower back day he tried to tell me this did not matter. This was quite shocking and disturbing to hear because my chiropractor has told me that the two issues are connected, and so did my knee surgeon. Then last week I went to pick-up a buddy of mine at the ER due to a really bad sinus infection, and when I went to the front desk to get my friend I see the same guy who was my C&P examiner and who supposedly was a dermatologist treating patients in the ER!! What the hell is going on here? Is this dude even a doctor at all? Has anyone experienced such a thing?
rebabevets posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,I already get compensation for bladder cancer for Camp Lejeune Water issue, now that it is added to Agent Orange does it mean that the VA should pay me the difference between Camp Lejeune and 1992 when I retired from the Marine Corps or do I have to re-apply for it for Agent Orange, or will the VA look at at current cases already receiving bladder cancer compensation. I’m considered 100% Disabled Permanently
Ddsr posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,The 5, 10, 20 year rules...
Five Year Rule) If you have had the same rating for five or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis. All the medical evidence, not just the reexamination report, must support the conclusion that your improvement is more than temporary.
Ten Year Rule) The 10 year rule is after 10 years, the service connection is protected from being dropped.
Twenty Year Rule) If your disability has been continuously rated at or above a certain rating level for 20 or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless it finds the rating was based on fraud. This is a very high standard and it's unlikely the rating would get reduced.
If you are 100% for 20 years (Either 100% schedular or 100% TDIU - Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or IU), you are automatically Permanent & Total (P&T). And, that after 20 years the total disability (100% or IU) is protected from reduction for the remainder of the person's life. "M-21-1-IX.ii.2.1.j. When a P&T Disability Exists"
At 55, P&T (Permanent & Total) or a few other reasons the VBA will not initiate a review. Here is the graphic below for that. However if the Veteran files a new compensation claim or files for an increase, then it is YOU that initiated to possible review.
NOTE: Until a percentage is in place for 10 years, the service connection can be removed. After that, the service connection is protected.
Example for 2020 using the same disability rating
1998 - Initially Service Connected @ 10%
RESULT: Service Connection Protected in 2008
RESULT: 10% Protected from reduction in 2018 (20 years)
2020 - Service Connection Increased @ 30%
RESULT: 30% is Protected from reduction in 2040 (20 years)
broncovet posted an answer to a question,While the BVA has some discretion here, often they "chop up claims". For example, BVA will order SERVICE CONNECTION, and leave it up to the VARO the disability percent and effective date.
I hate that its that way. The board should "render a decision", to include service connection, disability percentage AND effective date, so we dont have to appeal "each" of those issues over then next 15 years on a hamster wheel.
Ztmiller8 posted a question in Appealing Your Veterans Compensation Disability Claims NOD, DRO, BVA, USCAVC,Finally heard back that I received my 100% Overall rating and a 100% PTSD rating Following my long appeal process!
My question is this, given the fact that my appeal was on the advanced docket and is an “Expedited” appeal, what happens now and how long(ish) is the process from here on out with retro and so forth? I’ve read a million things but nothing with an expedited appeal status.
Anyone deal with this situation before? My jump is from 50 to 100 over the course of 2 years if that helps some. I only am asking because as happy as I am, I would be much happier to pay some of these bills off!
Joey Ross posted an answer to a question,I told reviewer that I had a bad C&P, and that all I wanted was a fair shake, and she even said, that was what she was all ready viewed for herself. The first C&P don't even reflect my Treatment in the VA PTSD clinic. In my new C&P I was only asked about symptoms, seeing shit, rituals, nightmares, paying bills and about childhood, but didn't ask about details of it. Just about twenty question, and nothing about stressor,
Picked ByJoey Ross,