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Stenosis and Disability



  • Getting disability is not as easy as my think. When you first apply for disability you will be turned down unless you have a terminal illness like stage 4 cancer. After you are turned down you then appeal the findings. Again most are turned down for the second time. This is when most who apply quit especially when they find out that the next step is to go in front of a judge to decide if you should get the disability or not. A this point it is very important you get a lawyer. The lawyer will look at all your records before deciding to take you on. Since the lawyer only gets paid if you win he will only take you on if you have a good change of winning. The lawyer has the inside information that can help you do well. In my case when went to see the lawyer the first time I was told to wear the exact clothes I had on when I see the judge. What I was wearing was a nice pair of pants and a button down short sleeve shirt and loafers (no heals) and light makeup. My lawyer then told me about one of his clients who showed up wearing a very short and tight fitting dress and high heals. The judge denied her getting disability. My lawyer went on to tell me that the judge I would see I liked to tell jokes. I was then told to be polite and smile but don't laugh to much because I was in pain. I received my disability but many do not because they just do not know how to play the game.
  • If you read my "bio" you will see I have severe congenital stenosis with a collapsing spinal column from t11 down. I have 5 ruptured/herniated disks in my neck, and my entire lumbar spine is Calais destroyed, gone (ruptured/herniated does not apply). I had only seen the 2 ruptured in the thoracic from an MRI of the lumbar. I have serious spinal cord compressions, one tried to kill me in Jan of 2014. Also had a decompression in 4 levels of my lumbar, as walking was an issue. I am seriously disabled with 12 known ruptured disks and some of my vertebrae are half the size they should he. What makes my condition so serious is that pain sensors have ground away, so I don't had that much pain, I just start having dizzy spells and passing out due to the spinal fluid not reaching my brain sufficiently. I am dreading finding out how bad my thoracic is, but sometimes it hurts to breathe. I am on disability, but I have to say they tried to kick me off with 3 spinal cord compressions, 12 ruptured disks and all kinds of issues from my. 4 page MRI of my cervical and lumbar spine. I have severe congenital stenosis that has been life threatening, and could be again.
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  • I did all my own disability and appeal. There is no reason to exaggerate or fake anything if you have current MRIs and a real medical issue that cannot be cured and/or has failed normal/treatments. Make sure all info is less that 6 months old, especially your MRI. Any info over a year old is not usually pertinent.
  • Great thread, thanks for good info.
    I wonder about how my MRI apparently shows "no impairment" and yet I can be in so much pain and I wonder how to describe that to a neurologist I am scheduled to see for a disability application..??

    I am 57, had bad car wreck at 39, was not expected to survive, then sent home after 16 days in ICU with vertical shear of pelvis repaired with a large pin through my pelvis and sacroiliac (and others elsewhere) with the prognosis of paralysis. I managed to recover much more than expected, walk and work and manage pain for years but the last ten years have been increasingly difficult: my back "goes out" - I have severe excruciating pain in my far lower back after sitting or standing or twisting in some way that I feel a snap - sort of- , and I literally can not move for about two to three days.
    Then with pain meds, massage, stretching, etc., I have less and less pain until it is almost "normal" with just some slight stiffness and pain - until it happens again.
    That was manageable when it was once a year, but over the past years has progressed to where it is now once every 2-3 weeks.

    Last October, I fell at work and that caused my back to "go out" for almost 6 months - I was literally in bed for 6 months. I began to get a little better, and as soon as I could walk, the doctor discharged me form worker's comp and put 0% impairment on the form.
    When I asked him how it could be 0% impairment when I can barely walk (I walk with a cane and it takes time to get in and out of the car, turn, etc., I have to do everything very slowly and stop and stretch, etc, and can't sit or stand for more than 10 minutes or so without pain setting in so strongly I have to try to stretch it out or just go to bed for a few hours...).

    He said there is nothing on the MRI but some stenosis.

    Ok, I understand that there is nothing on the MRI from the fall at work, and I see the stenosis on the MRI, but what causes the "attacks" of pain and long periods to recover range of motion, stop having severe pain, etc. when it "goes out"?

    I applied for disability. I have always worked one or two jobs (teacher, administrator), and tutored, and went to school until I finished my doctorate, I am not trying to avoid work, I just know I am unemployable and can't work, my back is ok today but my history tells me it won't last long, and I will be back in bed crying and wondering how I am going to has happened over and over again for the past years.

    I wonder why "something" that causes my back to "go out" so severely so often does not show up on an MRI and how I could be 0% impairment when for more days than not, each month, I am in bed unable to move without excruciating pain. (do they just mean 0% impairment directly from the fall, or does that statement mean I have 0% impairment, period...because I agree that now my problem is not necessarily from the fall at work, I am now getting the same "back goes out" I used to get before the fall, BUT get them a lot more often now.)

    I wonder what the disability doctor will say and how I can tell him that even if something is not on the MRI and the work's comp doctor said I am 0% impairment, I can not move, that majority of the days of each month?

    I also am very depressed, profoundly depressed, but I think anyone would be that spends this much time in bed in pain, unable to move without severe pain, in my lower back. I take tramadol and 12 to 24 Ibuprofen, every day; I take oxycodone only on the first or second day when my back goes out- as little as possible, because I think it makes me more depressed.

    Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

  • synsesssynses Posts: 2
    edited 05/17/2014 - 1:57 PM
    thanks for the welcome and info.

    unfortunately, i have no medical insurance, no savings, and no job, so seeing a doctor is impossible for me right now. i live in florida, so no medicaid, either.

    i already applied and the disability office scheduled me to see a neurologist next week. we shall see what he says from there.

    thanks for the info and links, i agree/hope that seeing someone else is the answer, of course i hope i get disability and medicaid or medicare or whatever might come with it to be able to get healthcare, but at the very least, i hope that i can find out why i get the pain spasms or attacks or whatever they are called, and the debilitation that follows them.

    it is such horrible pain there has to be a reason for it, a physical reason for it, not just "my mind". (-:
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  • I'm 56 years old and have worked since 18, 25 of which have been in the retail fine jewelry business. This past December, I went to shower for work and bent to retrieve my clothes when I was struck by excruciating pain in my back and right leg.
    To make a long story short, my femoral head has degenerated to the shape of an egg and I have mild to moderate stenosis in L3-4 and L4-5. They've also discovered COPD.
    I haven't had an operation since age 4 for tonsils and have had 2 stays in the hospital for a total of 3 days. My brother had discectomy and fusion in the mid 1990's on L4-5 which left him horribly screwed up.
    My physiologist is arranging for an epidural to my spine. The hip injection lasted less than a week but it was a great diagnostic tool to help sort out the pain. He's very unsure if the epidural will have a prolonged effect.
    I've contacted an attorney and am filing for disability since I can't stand more than a max of 15 minutes and lifting is excruciating. I have all the tests ( MRI, CAT scans, EMG.. no nerve damage thankfully, range of motion tests etc.
    Here's the kicker..I am terrified of surgery. The osteopathic surgeon told me I'd need a new hip "sooner or later" and I know as with knees, when one goes the other will follow suit down the road. I want to delay both for as long as possible. I am already using a cane. I'm in fear that the SSA will order me into surgery sooner than later.
    Thanks for listening and letting me get this off my chest.
  • donrichard55ddonrichard55 Posts: 1
    edited 08/13/2015 - 7:53 PM
    i am 50 years old and have lumbar stenosis with neurogenic claudication, also i have cervical sponylosis, high blood pressure and diabetes. i can walk less than a block, but after that need a walker.i have had cortazone shots but am now scheduled for surgery because they are no longer affective. i can sit comfortably but when typing the right hand gets painful after about 5 minutes. i have a social security hearing next tuesday to determine if i will be approved for disability. my primary care physician has provided a statement saying that my limitations preclude any substantial employment. my lawyer says i have a fairly strong case but he is concerned that i can sit for long periods and am fairly dexterous with my hands, although typing is difficult with the right hand due to pain. he said to mention that to the alj. i know for sure that i can not do the work i once did and i know and also that i can not do any thing with my right hand (my smart one) for more than 5 min. i trust my lawyer but i am nervous of what the outcome will be. does anyone think i have a good shot at this?

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  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,813
    The approval process differs so much from state to state.

    I know a family, that moved from Connecticut to South Carolina just to get an easier shot a permanent disability. That same person could never get it up north. She bikes every day 10 miles, runs 3 miles, swims laps, etc but her claim is that her physical limitations are too crippling. Shortly after moving to South Carolina, she was approved for permanent disability.

    So, that being said, its so hard to identify what are the formal guidelines that will be accepted to get approved for disability. But I do know that you should not try to do this on your own. It is worth hiring a lawyer he is qualified in this area and knows how to work around things to get the approvals.

    Unfortunately, it is not always pure black and white.
  • Jeanie69JJeanie69 Posts: 1
    edited 08/16/2015 - 8:12 PM
    i am a 64 yrs old female diag. with spinal stenosis and ms in 1999. my symptoms are excessive burning in pelvic and buttock area as well as total numbness in my lower body. my neurologist left kaiser in mar. of 2014 and now i only see my primary dr for my symptoms. i am scared to see a new neurologist as the new diag. might be too devastating for me right now. i have been housebound for about 3 weeks and severely depressed because of pain 24/7. i'm taking norco and baclofen.
    the baclofen makes me extremely drowsy during the day. my question is which symptoms are from ms and which are from the spin. stenosis? does anybody else out there have both like me? please help me... i'm really scared... thanks

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  • I have extreme pain in my middle back when I do anything that requires support for my spine. I have had x-rays showing that I have lumbar stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthrosis and neural foraminal stenosis. I've been trying to fight this pain for 4-5 years now. Tried gabapentin, 800 mg ibuprofen, Cymbalta, Tramadol. Been seeing a new pain specialist for about a month. And I also see a physical therapist three times a week. When I first starting seeing the pain specialist he said he would like to start me on Vicodin, but they don't prescribe on the first visit. No problem. So, every appointment after that they have brushed me off and not given me anything. Finally, at my last appointment he said he wanted to give me Tramadol. I said I already tried that with my previous dr. and it didn't work. He said he still wanted to give it to me for a month. I asked if he would like to call my other dr. for proof that I already tried it, and he said he just wants me to start with Tramadol. I cannot stand this pain anymore. Every day I wish I would just die and get it over with. I don't understand why they won't listen to me. I need to stop this pain NOW! Anyone else been going through this? I'm from Washington state if that matters.
    amy davis
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