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Old 08-20-2009, 11:55 AM   #1
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Question Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

I suffer terribly with spinal stenosis in my neck, and it's one of my reasons for filing for SSI. My MRIs indicate severe cervical spinal stenosis, as well as a host of other bad things in my neck. I know that "disorders of the spine" is listed, and that the neck is part of the spine. Still, I can't seem to fnd much, if anything, about the cervical spine listed on SS's impairment listing. I see a lot about the lumbar spine, which is not one of my issues. Any help is appreciated.

 
Old 08-20-2009, 02:31 PM   #2
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

I am no expert, but I think the neck is part of the spine. This is what I read about it:


Listing 1.04 is actually titled Disorders of the Spine and this listing (for those who are unaware, a disability claimant who meets the requirements of a listed impairment will be determined medically eligible for benefits) includes--but is not limited to--the following spine disorders: spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal arachnoidititis, herniated nucleus pulposus, facet arthritis, and vertebral fracture.

But, it still seems to boil down to if the judge thinks you can do some kind of job.

 
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Old 08-20-2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gayle4102 View Post
I am no expert, but I think the neck is part of the spine. This is what I read about it:


Listing 1.04 is actually titled Disorders of the Spine and this listing (for those who are unaware, a disability claimant who meets the requirements of a listed impairment will be determined medically eligible for benefits) includes--but is not limited to--the following spine disorders: spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal arachnoidititis, herniated nucleus pulposus, facet arthritis, and vertebral fracture.

But, it still seems to boil down to if the judge thinks you can do some kind of job.
Thanks Gayle. I know the neck is part of the spine and stated so in my first post. I have four of those seven examples that are listed. Still, I'd love to see the word cervical or neck somewhere. I see lumbar all over that page. I'm probably just being paranoid, lol.

 
Old 08-20-2009, 05:44 PM   #4
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

You also need to be aware they will ask you why you haven't had it surgically corrected. There are several different surgeries that can completely fix cervical stenosis and even one that does it without fusion. They do take that into account. If you refuse surgery, it lowers your chance of being approved. Make sure you have a specialist supporting you not only in your diagnosis but in not having it fixed. Catch 22!

good luck...Jenny

 
Old 08-20-2009, 11:35 PM   #5
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

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Originally Posted by jennybyc View Post
You also need to be aware they will ask you why you haven't had it surgically corrected. There are several different surgeries that can completely fix cervical stenosis and even one that does it without fusion. They do take that into account. If you refuse surgery, it lowers your chance of being approved. Make sure you have a specialist supporting you not only in your diagnosis but in not having it fixed. Catch 22!

good luck...Jenny
Thanks Jenny. I'd have that surgery in a minute. I was seen by a neurosurgeon at a renowned othopedics hospital in Boston, and I wasn't a candidate for surgery. I didn't understand it, but he told me that surgery wouldn't take my pain away.

 
Old 08-29-2009, 09:41 AM   #6
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

have you sought out at least a second opinion? did he explain what WAS at least fixable that would help in lowering your pain in certain ways? there are just sooo many different types of surgeries and procedures that can be done to help minimize pain and suffering that do not always take everything away, but they can give you better quality of life.
and could help you in giving back abilities too. and this is kind of exactly what ssd would be looking at as well.

what any given surgeon gives you as their opinion on your level of issues is just that, their 'opinion' only and not always what your true options are when it comes to spinal problems. i really would find it hard to believe that surgery would not help with stenosis. it helped with mine, and many many others.

what this unfortuently comes down to is what jenny mentioned up there. how does this effect you and your abilitys to just work, in any area not just what you used to do? and if certain spinal issues just are indeed fixable and you have not actually even attempted any types of surgical interventions to try and help with the overall situation either, i can almost guarentee you a denial. thats just the way the system kind of is. even with my two surgeies done on my c spine to fix what you have, along with a herniation and another surgery done on my spinal cord that actually left major impairments/loss of abilities and major pain to have to deal with, i was STILL denied that first go round. so that kind of shows just what you are up against here.

when a surgeon tells you that a surgery wont take away ALL of your pain, it does not always mean that it wont at least help reduce it, plus you may also be able to get rid of the radiculopathic types of symptoms too, ya know what i mean? then there are certain medications that can also be used to help manage the pain so you can just work in spite of it being there too ya know?

what is the actual extent of the c spine problems per the summary at the end of your MRI report? that would help to just know what exactly it is you are dealing with here. for ssd, it is not so much what it is you CANT do anymore, but what you still CAN do with your disabilities you have. just becasue you have "something" that is listed in the ssd disabilities does not mean its a done deal. its the overall severity of those particular findings that matter more, and what you have done to try and make this better. i do wish you luck with this. Marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 08-29-2009, 07:44 PM   #7
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Hi Jem58...was it the neurosurgeon at the renowned orthopedic hospital in Boston....like New England Baptist????? Or was it the ortho docs(Boston Spine Group)??? I had mine with the head of neurosurgery....not part of the group anymore.

BUT....and I do mean BUT.....he also told me that statistically, surgery will relieve pain only 30% of the time but it relieves numbness 70% of the time. If you want pain relief, no one can give that to you. Even if you have it fixed, the pain will still be there to some extent. I have pain every day...but it beats paralysis. My surgery was to stop paralysis, not pain.

Will you get SSD because of pain? Maybe, maybe not. I know my neurosurgeon refused to do the paperwork for SSD. Have you checked to see if the doc you saw will do the paperwork to back you up that surgery won't help?

This is a tough area as a lot of spine surgeons have differing opinions on what will work and what should be tried before you go for disability. The good news is that it will most likely be granted if someone will say surgery can't help. But then again, my brother-in-law had a stroke in his spinal cord and was incontinent(bladder and bowel)and couldn't walk and still had to appeal for his benefits. So who knows.

Let me know who you saw and if it's the same place I went. It can have an effect if the best says it won't work.

gentle hugs..........Jenny

 
Old 08-31-2009, 02:06 AM   #8
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Thanks for the replies. It's late, and I'm in pain, so I'll just shoot out some info. Yes, it was the New England Baptist. I know that that simply because I have a listed impairment, it's not a done deal. I also have severe, and I mean SEVERE Fibromyalgia. The kind where I hold onto the walls sometimes because I can't walk. This judge is a believer in fibro. My lawyer told me that beforehand. Some judges are iffy on fibro, but my lawyer has presented fibro cases to this judge before, and he believes it's real. I've been diagnosed with Fibro by two Physiatrists (one at Mass General Hospital), and two Rheumatologists. One doctor had in his notes that, "Not only does patient have pain in all 18 tender points, her entire body is sore."

I went to the Baptist 15 month's ago, and was told that I wasn't a candidate for surgery. The doctor talked way over my head with his medspeak. I wasn't prepared for that since my pain was so bad, and my husband and I were so sure that I'd need surgery. Even my primary care physician couldn't believe I didn't need surgery. He did back me up though. I had new MRIs done two months ago, and everything jumped from moderate to severe, and according to the report, my stenois had progressed and is progressing. I'm going back to the Baptist next month. At the end of my most recent report, it stated that I had high-grade stenoses at both levels (C5/6, C6/7). I expect that this time, I'll need surgery. I have one scary looking MRI. I have no unreasonable expections regarding what surgery will or won't do. I've read so much that I could write a book myself.

This isn't a case where if I was denied, that I'd have to find a job anyway. I couldn't work if they paid me a million dollars. Even with all the meds, my pain level is through the roof with these flares, from the neck and the fibro. I can barely walk and expect to be in a wheelchair one day. It feels like I'm walking on razor blades for the first hour of my day. I also suffer from depression (who wouldn't), and my psychologist backed me up. This neck though, my cervical MRI...everything, spurs, cord impingement, things pushing into cord, causing deformity, severe stenosis was all over my MRI. I'll probably need a triple fusion.

From my years of research, I think it often (but not always) comes down to the judge. Some people are approved for depression, while others are denied, even though they meet all the criteria. My lawyer does feel confident. We shall see.

Last edited by Jem58; 08-31-2009 at 02:07 AM.

 
Old 08-31-2009, 04:51 AM   #9
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Jem, even though I met the requirements of two impairments I got denied twice before I got a hearing and approved. Sure you have to have some illness or injury to even apply, but then it comes done to what can and can't you do in that 8 hour work period. My lawyer told me to stick to that time period, how long do you need to rest, how often you need to change positions, how much time do you spend in bed. Does your Dr. agree with you not being able to work? That is almost a must have because if your Dr. doesn't agree it is that much harder to make SS approve your case.

 
Old 08-31-2009, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

things make a bit more sense now jem. its not 'just" stenosis at all by a long shot. the thing i would seriously try and get if this has not been offered by ssd as a mandated thing you have to do, is see about getting their own mental health eval for your depression? this really is what i think helped the most after i was denied the first go round? i was already dxed with depression that did get ten times worse after that denial letter came and everything just felt like it was falling apart around my ears. their doc actually dxed me with severe recurrent depression after our "talk". and i KNOW that truely helped tons with my case getting approved the second time around. that Dx was really truely accurate then and still is today. its exactly how my depression is. i also wrote an actual letter to ssd along with all the paperwork that has to be done for the second go round that did in depth just explain how bad i was feeling and how getting that denial just pushed me over that edge. it was really a devistation since i was so sure with all i had going on and had lost that it was not going to happen to me, but it did. i am just wondering since you are talking about the judge here at all if this is an appeals or are you trying for the very first time? its just confusing since the judge part of things does not come into play until you are at that appeals stage?

but i would see about getting one of "their' mental health evals. it truely made the difference for me i think. just a suggestion for you if this has not yet been offered from them. i would ask your lawyer about it. it just can really help with everything else you also have going on to. good luck, marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 09-01-2009, 11:39 AM   #11
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Gem.....if you go back to the Baptist, try to see Dr. Eric Woodard...the chief of neurosurgery. He does surgeries that no one else does at the Baptist or anywhere else for that matter. Had him checked out by a malpractice lawyer and he is world class. Does a surgery none of the Boston Spine Group docs do...a laminoplasty. He removes the bone over the back of the spine and reshapes it to make more room. Then it is re-attached. So you get the advantages of a laminectomy with the safety of a covered spinal cord. But the extra room allows the cord to move away from the disks and bone of stenosis without fusion. I had it done on 5 vertebrae. Great surgery. Woke up with no pain and no numbness and was back to work in 2 1/2 weeks part time.

Unfortunately, I broke my neck only 3 months later but again, Woodard put it back together(broke 3 vertebrae and dislocated 5....nothing to do with surgery) so I am now fused from C3 to T1 with minimal pain and maximum movement. Even recovered from left sided paralysis. He does remarkable work.

I got SSDI as I ended up with brain damage due to the broken neck but that is slowly healing. It was the brain damage that clinched it...not the neck.

Even if he does operate, try on the fibro and the depression. Judges hate people who won't try to help themselves and you are more likely to get it with disorders that are hard to treat and likely chronic.

gentle hugs.............Jenny

 
Old 09-01-2009, 03:47 PM   #12
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Jem58,
I am confused as to what level you are on with your Social Security Claim? If your at the Judges level, then I believe your claim has been denied a couple of times?
On your last post you also described other disabling conditions that you are suffering from. Very sorry for your pain.
What I do know about Social Security , is that the SSA's List Of impairments do not always gaurentee a person is going to with their claim based on those impairments . Because , S.S looks at other issues pertaining to the individuals overall functioning. Specifically , the impairments need to be severe enough for Social Security to approve the claim.
It is truely up to the claimant to show just how severe their impairments are. Medical Dr's support is vital , and can have an impact on winning a claim, they are the ones who write the evidence down to S.S. We also can write down , by filling out the functioinal reports as accurately as possible.
Having a variety of illnessess , and the severity of illness is what S.S looks at when deciding a claim. Since S.S. is not a short term disability program , they are looking at long term disability, and if the person is going to recover within 12 months. If so the claim would be denied.
Anther issue is that so many people have medical problems , however still work , but some have severe medical, psychologial , problems that they are not aboe to work at all.
This is why it Social Security has a tough job. They can't approve everybody, and have to figure out who really is on the severly disabled claims. and who can work.
I wish all the best for you.

 
Old 09-01-2009, 07:36 PM   #13
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mscat40 View Post
Jem58,
I am confused as to what level you are on with your Social Security Claim? If your at the Judges level, then I believe your claim has been denied a couple of times?
On your last post you also described other disabling conditions that you are suffering from. Very sorry for your pain. :(
What I do know about Social Security , is that the SSA's List Of impairments do not always gaurentee a person is going to with their claim based on those impairments . Because , S.S looks at other issues pertaining to the individuals overall functioning. Specifically , the impairments need to be severe enough for Social Security to approve the claim.
It is truely up to the claimant to show just how severe their impairments are. Medical Dr's support is vital , and can have an impact on winning a claim, they are the ones who write the evidence down to S.S. We also can write down , by filling out the functioinal reports as accurately as possible.
Having a variety of illnessess , and the severity of illness is what S.S looks at when deciding a claim. Since S.S. is not a short term disability program , they are looking at long term disability, and if the person is going to recover within 12 months. If so the claim would be denied.
Anther issue is that so many people have medical problems , however still work , but some have severe medical, psychologial , problems that they are not aboe to work at all.
This is why it Social Security has a tough job. They can't approve everybody, and have to figure out who really is on the severly disabled claims. and who can work.
I wish all the best for you.
I appreciate everyone's replies, but please note that there is not a single thing posted here that I didn't already know. I didn't ask all these questions, but if people want to post their knowledge, be my guest. :)
I had my hearing four weeks ago. My lawyer feels I have a very strong case. I got the support of all of my doctors. I started getting sick three years ago, and it's been downhill ever since. Yes, I was denied a couple of times, as most people are. My condition has also deterioriated. I also didn't have a lawyer at the time, and I did a poor job submitting my applications (that were denied). The lawyer I have now works for a firm that handles only disability cases. They win over 85% of their cases, and only take cases they think are winnable. I know people who have won who are not that sick, while others who are really very sick, are denied.
There's really no way of knowing. If I'm approved, it will be a proper decision as I am genuinely a very sick woman, and I'm truly incapable of working.

 
Old 09-02-2009, 07:52 AM   #14
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Good luck Jem and I hope you'll be able to get that neck fixed after the SSDI claim is finished. I'm in CT and it sounds as if you're in the Boston area or nearby. If you ever want to talk, I'm here and I spend a lot of time on the Spinal Disorders board with all the other neck people. And if you want a further consultation, I can give the names of docs in NYC at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

gentle hugs............Jenny

 
Old 09-02-2009, 03:32 PM   #15
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Re: Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis on the SSA's List of Impairments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennybyc View Post
Gem.....if you go back to the Baptist, try to see Dr. Eric Woodard...the chief of neurosurgery. He does surgeries that no one else does at the Baptist or anywhere else for that matter. Had him checked out by a malpractice lawyer and he is world class. Does a surgery none of the Boston Spine Group docs do...a laminoplasty. He removes the bone over the back of the spine and reshapes it to make more room. Then it is re-attached. So you get the advantages of a laminectomy with the safety of a covered spinal cord. But the extra room allows the cord to move away from the disks and bone of stenosis without fusion. I had it done on 5 vertebrae. Great surgery. Woke up with no pain and no numbness and was back to work in 2 1/2 weeks part time.

Unfortunately, I broke my neck only 3 months later but again, Woodard put it back together(broke 3 vertebrae and dislocated 5....nothing to do with surgery) so I am now fused from C3 to T1 with minimal pain and maximum movement. Even recovered from left sided paralysis. He does remarkable work.

I got SSDI as I ended up with brain damage due to the broken neck but that is slowly healing. It was the brain damage that clinched it...not the neck.

Even if he does operate, try on the fibro and the depression. Judges hate people who won't try to help themselves and you are more likely to get it with disorders that are hard to treat and likely chronic.

gentle hugs.............Jenny
Small world Jenny. It was Dr. Woodard I saw 15 months ago, and who I'm seeing next week. He's a nice man, and as you imply, extremely talented. I believe he heads the department. My husband had a lumbar fusion four years ago. Dr. Kim was his surgeon, and he did a great job. You can't beat the Baptist for spinal problems.
The good news is that I was approved today! I got a phone call from the SS office. I'll probably get my letter. When I saw, US GOVMT on my caller ID, I thought, Oh boy what did I do now?, lol.
The woman was so casual about it, the way she said it. At first she said that she wanted to update my file. Then she said, You had a hearing recently. I said, I did, and then she said that, "You were approved."
I almost dropped the phone.

 
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