Empower Your VA Claim – Insider Tips for Raising Your Back Pain Rating

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Back pain is a common disability for veterans. It can occur for a variety of reasons.

But it can be not easy to get the right VA rating. That’s where a VA lawyer comes in. We’ll cover some of the best tips for helping you get a higher back pain rating.

Get a Second Opinion

The physical demands of military service can put your body under enormous stress, and back pain is one of the most common conditions that affect veterans. Heavy lifting, repetitive motions, and frequent running can take their toll on the spine.

When getting a disability rating for back pain, the key to success is having as much medical evidence as possible to support your claim. The more you have to back up your condition, the more likely you will get a higher VA rating.

Understanding the process of VA disability for back issues involves undergoing evaluations that assess the severity and impact of the condition on a veteran’s ability to perform daily activities, determining the level of compensation they may receive based on the service-connected nature and effects of their back-related disability.

When evaluating back conditions, the VA uses a set of criteria known as the “rules of thumb.” These rules are meant to guide examiners in assessing disabilities related to the spine and back. The most important criteria are Painful Movement, Limitation of Range of Motion, and Functional Loss or Impairment. In addition, examiners should also consider whether a veteran experiences flare-ups that are more severe than their baseline level of disabling impairment.

Get a Physical

Back pain is one of the most common ailments experienced by veterans. Unfortunately, it can also be incredibly debilitating and lead to severe problems with daily life.

For some, the condition will become chronic and incapacitating enough to make it difficult or impossible to hold a job and live independently. For others, symptoms may be triggered by specific activities, such as sitting or bending. For these and other reasons, the VA offers disability benefits to help compensate for this loss of independence and quality of life.

For back and spine conditions, the VA uses a set of criteria to determine disability ratings, including range of motion and functional loss or impairment. The examiner will often use a tool called a goniometer to measure how far a veteran can bend forward and backward in their neck (cervical spine), mid-back (thoracolumbar spine), and lower back (lumbar spine). These measurements are what determine a veteran’s rating. The higher the rating, the more compensation they will receive.

Get a C&P Exam

After you have submitted all of your medical records to the VA and a chart review has been conducted, you may need to undergo a C&P exam. The C&P examiner is responsible for completing a report that will then be used to determine your disability rating, which affects how much compensation you’ll receive from the VA for things like monthly payments and enrollment in the healthcare program.

The key to getting a favorable C&P exam is to be open, honest, and truthful with the examiner. The examiner is not there to be your friend; they’re just there to do their job: conduct an adequate examination of your disability and document it for the VA raters.

Be sure to explain how your symptoms are worse on your worst days so that the C&P examiner can get a complete picture of your condition and how it impacts your life. This will be especially helpful if your symptoms fluctuate, as many do.

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Get Treatment

Back and spine conditions rank among the most common service-related disabilities claimed each year. Unfortunately, obtaining a high disability rating for these conditions can be difficult. To establish a permanent and disabling back or spine condition, veterans need medical records and opinions showing that the injury will remain unchanged or worsen throughout their lifetime.

Service members put their bodies through intense training and conditioning, often leading to injuries such as back pain. Regardless of the cause, back problems can drastically impact a veteran’s quality of life.

Fortunately, you can take steps to increase your rating when the VA examiner assesses your condition during your Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam. First, make sure to get treatment from a doctor who specializes in treating back and neck issues. Your doctor should test your range of motion and perform a physical to see how the pain impacts you. This will help the examiner determine your rated severity level.

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