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Applying for Disability

I was wondering if you can tell me your experiences with applying for Disability.  Is it better to get an attorney?  What do you feel my chances are?  I am a Registered Nurse and my job required me to drive from home to home.  I had to resign a couple of weeks ago due to my symptoms.  My symptoms are debilitating dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, and spasms, radiculopathy pain in neck and down left shoulder into arm to elbow, trouble concentrating.  I began with symptoms fours years ago of dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, neck pain.  I first received a diagnosis of dystonia, then Mal de debarquement (by two doctors along with migraines), arthritis in neck.  As of now recent test show abnormal vestibular testing of central origin,
 MRI of neck showing: 
C4-05: Degenerate disc disease with disc height loss and desiccation
shallow disc osteophyte complex measures 2 mm. No spinal canal stenosis.
Moderate to severe left neural foraminal stenosis secondary to
uncovertebral hypertrophy.
C5-C6: Moderate DDD. Disc osteophyte complex measures 2 mm. No
significant spinal canal stenosis. Mild bilateral neural foraminal
stenosis secondary to uncovertebral hypertrophy.
C6-C7: Mild DDD. Disc osteophyte complex measures 2 mm. No spinal canal
stenosis. Minimal right neural foraminal stenosis secondary to
uncovertebral hypertrophy.
C7-T1: There is no significant disc protrusion, spinal canal stenosis or
neural foraminal narrowing.
Multilevel degenerate spondylosis of cervical spine without high-grade
spinal canal stenosis. Multilevel bilateral neural foraminal stenosis,
including moderate to severe left C4-05 neural foraminal stenosis. Please
see above for level by level description
08/13/2016 10:45
CT showing C3-4 disc space shows mild central disc bulging.  C4-5disc space shows DDD narrowing as well as hypertrophic spurring along the posterolateral aspects of the vertebral bodies. This results in mild left-sided neural foraminal narrowing.  C5-6 disc space also shows DDD space narrowing and hypertrophic narrowing anteriorly and posteriorly.  The hypertrophic spurs are more pronounced along the left-side of the vertebral body where there is severe associated left-sided neural foraminal stenosis. C6-7 mild DDD narrowing but not significant stenosis or disc herniation..  There is failure of fusion of the posterior arch of T1.
EMG: Muscle membrane instability in a Left C5,6 shoulder muscle as well as left C5,6 paraspinals.  No motor unit loss was noted.  Nerve conduction normal.  Left C5 or C6 radiculopathy.  C5-6 muscle guarding.
DMX Motion X-Ray showed various ligament damage. Report is pretty long  and descriptive.  
Flexion extension xray:
1. Anterior subluxation of C3 on C4 during flexion which reduces upon extension.
2. Posterior subluxation of C4 on C5 during extension which reduces upon flexion.
3. Stable slight retropulsion of C5 on C6 during flexion and extension.
4. No acute abnormality by plain film imaging. Disc space narrowing at C4-5 and C5-6.

I receive botox every three months for migraines/muscle spasms and I am on a migraine medicine.  I have had nerve burns.  I take Norco and muscle relaxants (I managed without these up till about two months ago).  I was in a bad auto accident mid may.  Suffered a concussion and worsened neck pain.  I have been going out of State for Prolotherapy x 3 so far not improving.
I only drive short distances to the grocery store due to decreased motion in my neck.  



  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,519
    Sometime being in the medical field can be a disadvantage.  You started to list the various conditions of your spine and you emphasized some of the potential problem areas.

    I've read countless number of MRI reports and other diagnostic reports.  The best thing to do is to find out what the doctor reading those reports is going to pass on to you.

    You would be surprised at some of the items that are not carried forward.   Basically, because they are considered normal or at least within the ranges.

    What is the formal diagnosis for your situation?
  • rhia5781rhia5781 Tennessee Posts: 11
    I would try to apply for it on your own first. They will pull yoir medical records and depending on how recent they are may send you to one of their doctors they may do that either way. If they deny you which with all that being wrong I can't see why they would but it is possible I would definitely  get a lawyer and appeal it. Fiability is a rather long process to get on can take anywhere to 6 months plus to hear something. 
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  • Mary1234MMary1234 Columbus, OhioPosts: 9
    My situation has been very complicated.  I have had two doctors give me diagnosis of Mal de debarquement and migraines along with cervicalgia. One doctor give me a dystonia diagnosis and another unsure of that diagnosis who is a movement specialist.   I now have the confirmation of the pinched nerve with multilevel DDD and bone spurs at several levels. One doctor diagnosising me with instability.  The surgeon I met with who we spoke of a three level fusion said due to the instability above that level he could leave me with migraines, and could have to go back in and fuse that level later. We are in the process of testing for vertebral insufficiency.  
  • Mary1234MMary1234 Columbus, OhioPosts: 9
    I did get my internist to agree to a consult with a neurologist at our major medical center.  So I am hoping to get clear answers from him.  Thought I would wait to start the process till after I see him and also after I have the MRA of neck to check the vertebral arteries the end of the month.  The MRA probably won't be conclusive testing for my issue we might have to do some testing with head turning thats a bit riskier.  It's difficult to diagnosis with imaging. Since we are not looking for occlusion like a plaque, but a structural occlusion say when head is turned.  My brain MRI in the past did show some perventricular changes and white matter that said it probably was not of significance, but should be correlated with symptoms.  Of course it never was.

  • Mary1234MMary1234 Columbus, OhioPosts: 9
    I have included the impression of each of the MRI etc from the rad.
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  • rhia5781rhia5781 Tennessee Posts: 11
    I would for sure wait to see the neurologist, after a possible for sure diagnosis.  Talk to him/her about disability,  some Dr's will actually help you with the process if they feel it us truly disabling.  Worth a shot some don't though.  Best of luck let us know how everything goes. 
  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,482
    Having gone thru the disability process here's what I learned. You have to have a complete formal diagnosis with a doctor signing off that you are disabled and cannot work. I got an attorney but interviewed several before choosing one. They cannot charge you anything, whether you win or lose. If you win they get a flat fee of 1/4 of your back pay. But I got all my medical records, test, diagnosis, etc. together in a binder and took them to the attorney. If social security request any information from you, time is of the essence. That is very important. And yes, you will get turned down the first time. So immediately refile. Having everything in hand at the beginning keeps the attorney from having to request all the information from doctors and hospitals, which is time consuming and will cost you for all the copies. On my second appeal I was sent before a judge but I was armed again with records, letters from family and friends on my daily living and my husband testified what effects this had on our marriage and how my quality of life had gone down hill. A lot they don't tell you on line, it's just a learning process. I was sent to one of their doctors, an absolute joke. So be prepared they will make you feel so degraded. But I didnt. And one year later I got it. Do your homework and stay on top of it and the attorney.
    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical Story  
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