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      How to get your questions answered. A few observations, and requests of all members. All folks who come here are volunteers who do this on their own time and their own dime.To avoid burning out our best contributors please follow these guidelinesf you are reading a post and it reminds you of a question you want to ask, start a new topic, if you place your question in someone thread it will be difficult to distinguish your question from the original poster, you will get better results posting a new topic with your question. 1. Before Posting please do a search and see if your question has already been answered. If you find the answer print it out and put it in a file to use as a reference file, I find this helpful myself. 2. If you can not find the answer and you do post a question, please print out those answers and refer to them to avoid duplicate questions. 3. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions4. Duplicate questions will come up from time to time but the keeping them to the minimum will lighten the load on the regular volunteers.5. Respect folks privacy do not request their personal phone numbers for claims help, it is inappropriate and not why they are here.6. Keep the topics focused on veterans issues, in closing Search first Search ... Ask second.it may save a lot of time or at the very least enlighten you.
    • Listen Live Every Wed 5:30 PM CST to SVR Radio, Veterans Issues are discussed with various guests.

      Listen Live Every Wed 5:30 PM CST to SVR Radio, Veterans Issues are discussed with various guests. Please check the little home I am carving out for our SVR partners. http://www.hadit.com/svr.html
    • A bit about Tbird and HadIt.com for those who've asked...

      The following is on my About page, but some have been asking how this all happened. So here is my little story. Tbird US Navy 1983 – 1990 E-6 HadIt.com the website domain registered Jan 20, 1997 the domain is registered and paid for through Jan 21, 2023 at which time I plan to register it for another 15 years Lord willing and the creek don't rise. I guess the best place to start is Jan 1991; I had gotten out of the navy Dec 1990. At my separation seminar, there was a DAV rep Jim Milton he told us to bring our medical records in and he would look through them for us and let us know if we should file a claim with the VA. Well, bless his heart, he opened my medical file, reads the first insert, looks me straight in the eye, and says you will be 50% for the rest of your life and he would file the claim for me. 50% was for surgery I had in the service. True to his word he met with me and talked with me for a long time filled out my paper work and urged me to file for PTSD. I would not file the PTSD claim, nor even discuss it. By Feb 1991 I had moved to the San Francisco bay area and was staying at a friends apartment and pretty much I was just a puddle. In desperation one night I called suicide hot line, I had no job, no idea about going to the VA. They talked with me for a long time and explained to me that I could go to the local VA hospital even if I did not have insurance. Now, I know what you are thinking if I was 50% why didn't I just go to the VA in the first place, two reasons 1, this was Feb 1991 and the 50% didn't come till May and 2, even if it had come through it is unlikely that I would have had the mental acuity at the time to put the two together. I relate this here because it is where so many of our brothers and sisters are coming from, perhaps where you started. Fuzzy and unsure, in pain and sometimes homeless they come to the VA hospital for help. And that is where I ended up. Up to the pysch ward I went, blah, blah, blah, a few days later I was released with a promise of a call from the out patient program, which I would soon be entering. Blah, blah, blah, after many missed communications, and no call backs I was at the Day Hospital everyday M-F. And this brothers and sisters is where I began to learn and formulate my plan for HadIt.com. Veterans, veterans everywhere…I spent a year in the day hospital and about another year at a sheltered workshop before I got back on my feet. So I just talked to veterans everyday waiting for appointments, waiting for prescriptions, waiting for a vet rep and I started to learn the system. While in the navy I was data analyst and had to learn a 5 volume manual and just about anything you were suppose to do was in that manual. So I figured there must be a manual on how to do a VA claim or at the very least regulations. So I found out about the Code of Federal Regulations, United States Code, Veterans Affairs Manuals and so on and so forth. Of course this was 1991/1992 I was living in a tiny studio apartment in a particularly bad neighborhood, working in a sheltered workshop making a nickel per envelope I stuffed throw in PTSD and you will see that it was a difficult task for me to get somewhere where they had copies of these, let alone that they would let me look at. And there was so much knowledge around me, it was like the gold rush in those days, I could just sit on a bench a veteran would sit down next to me a little conversation later I had another nugget, I made copious notes. Phone numbers to call, ask for this guy or that guy he'll give you the straight scoop and they'd slip me a piece of paper with a number on it. You want to read this regulation or that one and another slip of paper into my hand. I spent a lot of time on those benches watching the squirrels they gathered their nuts and I gathered mine :) So I'm thinking I could put a little handbook together print it out and hand it out at the VA. Or perhaps fliers. Still formulating, time goes by, 1994/1995 I am being treated for PTSD regularly and doing and feeling much better and I go to work for a company as a marketing systems analyst and I discover the internet. Well let me tell you that was perhaps one of the most significant life changing events I have ever experienced. And I might add finally a positive one :) It seemed only natural to me that surely there must be a website that contained all the knowledge I wanted, well as it turned out not so much, lots of stuff but I wanted to get straight to the claims information and there was a lot of stuff to wade through to get to it. So taking my lesson from the squirrels earlier I started to gather, gather, gather…and learn HTML and work as a marketing systems analyst and work my claim. 1996/1997 major PTSD cork blows and unemployed. Working my claim, working the website. 20 Jan 1997 register HadIt.com domain name right after getting off the phone with the VA and saying I've had it with this. As fate would have it the old DAV board goes down just as mine opens up and folks start to wander in. So HadIt.com has two main components the website which supports the discussion board with links, articles, research resources etc. The website starts to grow, I can't tell you how many times I had to switch servers for space and features. I continue on a downward trend and in 1998 ended up back home in St Louis living in my sisters basement in therapy and working it, I swear I would have swung a dead chicken around my head at midnight naked if I thought it would have helped. The website continued to do great during this time, I just stayed in the basement bought new software, new books, and learned how to make things work and I continued to use this knowledge to make HadIt.com better. My 100% finally came through from the VA and I had a friend who is an advocate who helped me thru my SSDI claim, he was literally at my side thru the entire process and that came through for me. My therapist and sister continued to try and get me to leave the basement, but to no avail. At some point in 1998 or 1999 I put a counter on the website and was shocked to discover how many visitors we were getting. Time goes by my sister gets married and I move from the basement to the upstairs, there is much celebration that Aunt T is living in the light again. More time goes by and I settle into my life in St Louis and spend more time on the site trying new things, finding more information. 2003 I buy my own home VA loan. For years now I have just considered HadIt.com my job and I get up every morning go to the office and work for several hours, take an afternoon break and see where the rest of day takes me. I have a place in the office to use the computer and a comfortable to place to read journals and articles and take notes. Blah, blah, blah so that is my story and HadIt.com's intertwined.
    • HadIt.com Pass It On Cards

      Hi I've updated our HadIt.com Pass It On Cards. They are in a PDF format you can print them out cut them there are 12 to a page. If you have found HadIt.com helpful and would like to pass it on to other veterans this is an easy way to do it.I hope you find them helpful, feel free to leave a few anywhere veterans gather, veterans centers, veterans hospitals, public libraries, be creative. Please make sure though, that if you want to leave some at any business you ask permission first.Here you go http://www.hadit.com...it_on_cards.pdf
    • VA Training and Fast Letter Forum Index

      VA Training and Fast Letter Forum Index The following is the index with links to the various Training and Fast Letters plus a few miscellaneous. These letters are not necessarily in the original formatting. I have tried to present them in an easy-to-read form instead of some forms as originally presented. Some of the paragraphs were WAAAAYYY too long. lol - HadIt.com Member fanaticbooks Something to be aware.... Some of these letters may be rescinded, outdated, or otherwise no longer viable. I have still included them because sometimes they provide additional insight or just plain more information than the newest version. Use them wisely. The oldest letters will display at the bottom with the latest letters displayed at the top, all in sequential numbers. Coding of the letters... FL = Fast Letter TL = Training Letter First two numbers = last two digits of year of origin Training Letter http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40694-va-tl-00-07/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40693-va-tl-00-06/ Fast Letter Number Title http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44262-va-fl-11-15/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44260-va-fl-11-13/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44261-va-fl-11-11/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44310-va-fl-11-09/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/42151-va-fl-11-03/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40957-va-fl-10-49/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40958-va-fl-10-46/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40959-va-fl-10-45/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40960-va-fl-10-42/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40961-va-fl-10-39/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40962-va-fl-10-35/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40963-va-fl-10-34/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40964-va-fl-10-32/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40966-va-fl-10-30/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40967-va-fl-10-26/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40968-va-fl-10-25/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40819-va-fl-10-24e1/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40818-va-fl-10-24/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40817-va-fl-10-22/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40814-va-fl-10-04/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40969-va-fl-10-03/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40812-va-fl-10-02/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40808-va-fl-09-52/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40806-va-fl-09-50/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40970-va-fl-09-41/ http://www.hadit.com/forums/index.php?/topic/40971-va-fl-09-38/ 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  • 0

Lower Back Claim

Question

Posted

Hello everyone,

I am new here, so I am asking folks to please review and offer your opinions. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

While I was on active duty from 1990-1995, I was injured numerous times during military training. I originally filed a claim back regarding my back in 1995, but it was denied. I am currently 40% SC, thanks for SC approval for several unrelated problems. While on active duty, the military took x-rays and diagnosed me with lumbar or muscular strain and prescribed medication, exepted me from physical activity, and also sent to physical therapy.

In early 2006, I suffered an injury to my L4-L5 and L5-S1 and was given an MRI, I was diagnosed with lower lumbar spondylosis (moderate narrowing of the disc cavities), degenerative disc disease, herniated vertebrae discs contacting the nerve roots, muscle spasms and strains, reversal of the lordotic curve, and and even advised to seriously consider surgery. I was given more loads strong medication, an epidural pain block, and eventually sought help from physical therapy and even a chiropractor.

In 2008, I filed another claim regarding my back, but it was denied. I spent time gathering copies of my service medical records and civilian medical records and re-filed again in August of 2008, providing counters to each reason the RO claimed was a basis for my denial. I also got a written statement from my ex-wife, who described her observations of my back problems. I just received a letter asking me to fill out medical release forms or provide medical evidence, even thought I sent the medical records already.

It seems very obvious that my back injuries during military service were the root cause for my current problems. I now have a sedentary desk job with an ergonomic chair and a wonderfully supportive girlfriend. Over time have had to re-train myself how to avoid reinjuring my back while performing normal daily duties. Quite often, I can control the pain and problems with medication, but when I simply sneeze or cough, I always worry about having to take another unplanned visit to the emergency room.

Questions

1. Given the nature of my injuries, what type of percentage would I qualify for?

2. With respect to my overall 40% SC rating, could I potentially see this increase or will they just embed it and leave me with the same rating?

3. Since I did not 'keep alive' the back injury portion of my original claim in 1996, if my back claim is approved, what could I expect as an effective date?

4. If I kept records of my out of pocket expenses for doctor and medication co-pays, if my back claim is approved, will the VA allow me to file for some sort of reimbursement?

Thanks,

Vync

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44 answers to this question

Posted

Welcome here.

1. if this gets service connected they will use the Schedule of Ratings available here in the Claims Reference area-they might do funny VA math for the overall percentages- hard to say

2. if these are distinctly separate from what you the 40% for -they will rate the back problems and then possible do funny VA math again-

I am serious about the funny math part-others will chime in-you didnt say what the 40% is for-

3. The date you file the claim would be the EED.

You could have potential basis for a CUE claim- hard to say yet- to recover the date of the original claim.I wouldnt even consider that at this point.Cues usually depend on established evidence of what is now and should have been in prior decision -service connection.

4. You probably could recover any co pays for anything SCed once it is SCed.

"In early 2006, I suffered an injury to my L4-L5 and L5-S1 and was given an MRI, I was diagnosed with lower lumb" etc

They will attempt to use this NSC injury to say it is cause of your present back problems.

I advise that you collect copies of all available medical records and try to get an independent medical opinion- Make sure the IMO doc follows the IMO criteria here at hadit.

Can you prove your condition was continuous and chronic from service to present?

It sounds like you can connect the dots but the VA isn't good at that.

They will not pay comp for a NSC injury unless somehow it can be shown as being "aggravated" by a SC disability.

The inservice nexus is what you need.

Did they list and refer to all evidence yopu sent to them?

What did they say as to your SMRs and this condition?

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Posted

Welcome to Hadit

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Posted

Does the VA know about your 2006 back injury?

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Posted

Hello everyone,

I am new here, so I am asking folks to please review and offer your opinions. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

While I was on active duty from 1990-1995, I was injured numerous times during military training. I originally filed a claim back regarding my back in 1995, but it was denied. I am currently 40% SC, thanks for SC approval for several unrelated problems. While on active duty, the military took x-rays and diagnosed me with lumbar or muscular strain and prescribed medication, exepted me from physical activity, and also sent to physical therapy.

In early 2006, I suffered an injury to my L4-L5 and L5-S1 and was given an MRI, I was diagnosed with lower lumbar spondylosis (moderate narrowing of the disc cavities), degenerative disc disease, herniated vertebrae discs contacting the nerve roots, muscle spasms and strains, reversal of the lordotic curve, and and even advised to seriously consider surgery. I was given more loads strong medication, an epidural pain block, and eventually sought help from physical therapy and even a chiropractor.

In 2008, I filed another claim regarding my back, but it was denied. I spent time gathering copies of my service medical records and civilian medical records and re-filed again in August of 2008, providing counters to each reason the RO claimed was a basis for my denial. I also got a written statement from my ex-wife, who described her observations of my back problems. I just received a letter asking me to fill out medical release forms or provide medical evidence, even thought I sent the medical records already.

It seems very obvious that my back injuries during military service were the root cause for my current problems. I now have a sedentary desk job with an ergonomic chair and a wonderfully supportive girlfriend. Over time have had to re-train myself how to avoid reinjuring my back while performing normal daily duties. Quite often, I can control the pain and problems with medication, but when I simply sneeze or cough, I always worry about having to take another unplanned visit to the emergency room.

Questions

1. Given the nature of my injuries, what type of percentage would I qualify for?

2. With respect to my overall 40% SC rating, could I potentially see this increase or will they just embed it and leave me with the same rating?

3. Since I did not 'keep alive' the back injury portion of my original claim in 1996, if my back claim is approved, what could I expect as an effective date?

4. If I kept records of my out of pocket expenses for doctor and medication co-pays, if my back claim is approved, will the VA allow me to file for some sort of reimbursement?

Thanks,

Vync

Vync, I'm very impressed that the military doctors did all that for you. Do not give up the fight like I did. The VA denied me saying that I never hurt my back in the service. I like a bonehead let it go without a fight. I can now prove my injury and it is documented that the doctor requested no xrays, no PT, no pain meds nada. Oh! I'm sorry the doctor told me to sleep on the floor. I have had back problems ever since. BTW, Welcome. People on Hadit are just great.

Papa

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Posted

Hey Berta,

I'll post the way they calculated my original 40% and text from the denial letter I received recently, but will need to dig out my original SC award letter. I have a couple of questions about the original calculation too. I looked over the calculations used in the fuzzy math and now know why it is referred to as fuzzy.

What is an EED? I looked on the commonly used definitions page, but EED is not there.

When I got out of the military, muscle spasms continued periodically, a couple of times a year until the major episode in 2006, which changed everything for me. The pain is now chronic and I am lucky if I go a couple of days without having some sort of problem.

Here is how I connect the dots:

1. Multiple injuries during military service

2. Injuries continue intermittently between 1995 and 2006.

3. Major episode occurred in 2006

4. Major problems and treatment through end of 2008, but been kinda lucky in 2009.

I have all service medical records and all private medical records from 2006 forward. I tried to gather medical records prior to 2006, but the medical provider claims they lost them.

Hey John999,

Oh yes, the VA definitely knows about my 2006 back injury, because my private records are well documented. I must say that the MRI looks really neat, kind of like someone stepped on a jelly donut and the jelly is oozing all out. The side view is also pretty neat too. You see all of these nice thick solid white discs running down my spine, but L4-L5 and L5-S1 are really dark and almost nonexistent. I didn't realize how bad off I was until I looked at the spine model and realized that the two discs that were supposed to be the largest were toasted.

Hey Papa,

When I was injured in the military, they usually gave me motrin and flexeril. They exempted me from physical activity for a few weeks and sent me to physical therapy just once. I got the records to prove to the VA that it actually happened. If they deny SC by saying I never hurt my back while in the service, I'll definitely look into filing a CUE. Since my problems in 2006, my civilian doctors have rolled out the red carpet of treatment, but it hasn't been cheap.

Hey Pete53,

Thanks! I am glad I found these forums.

It's great to meet everyone! Thank you very much for the feedback.

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Posted

Here is the breakdown of my 40% SC rating:

1. 10% asthma bronchiole (claimed as asthma)

2. 30% allergic rhinitis/sinusitis (reduced by 10% because the VA says I had a 10% pre-service disability)

3. 10% chronic allergic conjunctivitis, bilateral

4. 10% internal derangement of the right temporomandibular joint

I posted on another topic about the pre-service disability rating and asking about getting it 'corrected'.

Here is the meaty text from my back problem SC denial letter. As always, any feedback is greatly appreciated.

We determined that the following condition(s) was/were not related to your military service, so service connection remains denied: back disability 0%.

Decision

The previous denial of service connection for back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) is confirmed and continued.

Evidence (I am paraphrasing)

- Service treatment records

- ER treatment records

- Orthopedic treatment records

- MRI report

- Epidural pain block treatment records

- Neurologist treatment records

Reasons for Decision

The claim for service connection for back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) is considered reopened. However, the evidence continues to show this condition was not incurred in or aggravated by military service.

The service treatment records were considered in deciding your claim. Private medical records show you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and chronic low back pain with lumbar disc displacement. You have received lumbar epidural steroid injections.

Based on this information, can anyone please offer opinions on where I went wrong?

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Posted

Any info, opinion, interpretation on this is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Posted

Any additional feedback on this would be greatly appreciated!

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Posted

Hey everyone,

I sent off my updated claim evidence last week, but while going through my service medical records, I found something interesting that might be helpful to everyone. Some of the papers were double-sided containing separate instances of medical care. During my re-review, I found three additional instances where I was treated for my lower back. Also, I pulled up my entrance and exit medical exams. My entrance exam shows no indication of back problems. My exit exam indicates "hx of lower back pain". I plan to get copies of these into the mail asap.

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Posted

Wow, talk about fast track claim denial. I just got my denial letter in the mail about 20 minutes ago.

What should I do now?

Am I filing for the wrong thing?

What am I doing wrong?

Also, I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Thursday.

Here's what the claim denial letter said:

DECISION

The previous denial of service connection for back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) is confirmed and continued.

EVIDENCE

- Private physician records, {physician name}, from {start date} through {end date}.

- Copies of service medical records were received August 17, 2009.

- Medical records from {various physicians and treatment facilities} received August 17, 2009.

- Statement from {ex-wife} received August 17, 2009.

REASONS FOR DECISION

Service connection for back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition).

The service medical records are a duplicate of medical record previously considered. The private treatment records show that you report you reinjured you back several years after active duty. You are shown to have degenerative disc disease, low back pain, and disc displacement. You were show to have normal range of motion on flexion, extension, and rotation. You have received epidural injection and have been to physical therapy. The prior decision denying service connection for condition for back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) remains denied as your claimed back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) was not caused by or the result of active duty.

The claim for service connection for back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) is considered reopened. However, the evidence continues to show this condition was not incurred in or aggravated by military service.

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Posted

On the way home, I called the VA's toll-free number and they were able to give me the codes used for my claims, both SC and non-SC. I don't know if this makes any difference with what I should claim, but here they are:

40% SC rating:

(6602) 10% asthma bronchiole (claimed as asthma)

(6522) 30% allergic rhinitis/sinusitis (reduced by 10% because the VA says I had a 10% pre-service disability)

(6018) 10% chronic allergic conjunctivitis, bilateral

(9905) 10% internal derangement of the right temporomandibular joint

0% Non-SC rating:

(5024) Joint disorder - hand/feet/knee/shoulder

(5237) Back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition)

(6079) Refractive error

(9900) Multiple-tooth extraction

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Posted

EED-earliest effective date-

This would be the date you filed a claim that is awarded.

"The service medical records are a duplicate of medical record previously considered. The private treatment records show that you report you reinjured you back several years after active duty. You are shown to have degenerative disc disease, low back pain, and disc displacement. You were show to have normal range of motion on flexion, extension, and rotation. You have received epidural injection and have been to physical therapy. The prior decision denying service connection for condition for back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) remains denied as your claimed back disability (also claimed as upper and lower back condition) was not caused by or the result of active duty."

Looks like they are considering the post service back injury to rule out SC injury-BUT- they do say "reinjured"- which does validate a prior injury.

Would your private doctors or the neurosurgeon be willing to write an IMO for you?

The criteria for an IMO (Independent Medical Opinion) is in the IMO forum.

They must give a full medical rationale and be able to tie in your inservice medical records with a direct association to what problems you have now.They should try to detailed the service injury as causing problems that could have aggravated the post service injury and would need some before and after post service injury X rays or MRIs for that.

An IMO can be very expensive-maybe a doctor who has treated you already will prepare one for fee or small fee-I don't know.

They need to see the decision , and a copy of the C & P exam VA did, as well as all available records and the circumstances of the post service injury.

If you cannot obtain an IMO you need to NOD this (file Notice of Disagreement) raising every argument you can make with the decision.

Did they use a goinometer for the ROM?

Is this correct?

"were show to have normal range of motion on flexion, extension, and rotation"

I dont see any substantial VA medical rationale here at all. Is there more to the decision than this?

"The service medical records are a duplicate of medical record previously considered"

Is that a fact? Do you have any older SOC on this claim that refers to the SMRs?

wait a minute- I just caught this------

"Hey everyone,

I sent off my updated claim evidence last week, but while going through my service medical records, I found something interesting that might be helpful to everyone. Some of the papers were double-sided containing separate instances of medical care. During my re-review, I found three additional instances where I was treated for my lower back. Also, I pulled up my entrance and exit medical exams. My entrance exam shows no indication of back problems. My exit exam indicates "hx of lower back pain". I plan to get copies of these into the mail asap."

I am sure they never considered this evidence in your recent decision.They state evidence they got in August 2009-

Maybe (hope others give opinions here) a Request for Reconsideration should be filed with this additional evidence.

This wont stop the NOD one year clock so mark your calendar-

But this type of request could possibly get a better decision faster than a NOD would-

I would still try to get an IMO too if I were you-

I hope others might see basis here for a reconsideration request-

and chime in.

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Posted

Berta,

Wow, I really appreciate your input here. You're awesome! Let me respond to each section...

Re-injured?

Initial injuries occured during active duty. My private medical files between my ETS in 1995 and and first signs of bulging discs and bone spurs in 2004 were lost by my physician. They claims they can only go back a couple of years. A dual disc herniation nightmare in 2006, when I was diagnosed with DDD. From what I hear, DDD onset takes time, usually years.

EED

For my 40% SC, the EED is 1995. If I somehow succeed, would the effective date be 1995 or my reopened claim submitted in 2008?

C&P Exam

Original C&P exam was in the late 1990's. Due to what I experienced between 2004-Present, I requested the claim be reopened in 2008. They have not performed a new C&P.

IMO

My neurosurgeon appointment is tomorrow. No idea if he will write me an IMO. My girlfriend works on a surgical team. Does the IMO have to be issued by a neurosurgeon or would a general surgeon suffice. She's well liked by several of them and they might be willing to do it.

ROM

In my original C&P, I do not remember a goinometer being used. They did when I had physical therapy in 2007. They got me back to 'normal' ROM, but I was loaded up with Lortab and Soma. I relapsed late last year and had more therapy. The VA probably found a couple of specific instances where I had normal ROM to make a blanket statement. I believe my ROM is no longer normal. I cannot afford to live in physical therapy and stay juiced up on pain killers and muscle relaxers all the time. I will ask the doc to use a goinometer tomorrow so I can have accurate numbers.

SOC

I cannot find the original SOC from 1995. My SOC from 2000 indicates 'You were found to have other non-service connected disabilities', but it either did not list them or I lost them. I need to request my C-file. The SOC prior to this one (in my posting below on Sep 18 2009, 6:49 PM) indicated I had chronic low back pain. They seem to have removed 'chronic' in the most recent SOC, which is absolutely incorrect in itself.

Entrance/Exit Exam

The SOC simply indicates 'Copies of service medical records', but it does not specifically indicate the dates of specific instances of treatment. I do not have proof that they actually reviewed every item, but only that blanket statement. Should I first try to submit this as additional evidence or file a NOD? This alone should qualify as the 'incurred or aggravated' requirement.

NOD

What is best? Brief 'disagreements' or a very detailed listing every instance of injury during/post military service? I reviewed the NOD topics and see differing recommendations on this.

Code 5243-XXX (38 CFR 4.71(a)) - Part 1

Under the spine codes for 20%, other than ROM, it indicates 'or, muscle spasm or guarding severe enough to result in an abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour such as scoliosis, reversed lordosis, or abnormal kyphosis'. If we throw ROM out the window, I do have indications in my private medical records regarding reversed lordosis. If all else fails, is this worth pursuing?

Code 5243-XXX (38 CFR 4.71(a)) - Part 2

Also, check this out. This is below the % ratings. 'Note (1): Evaluate any associated objective neurologic abnormalities, including, but not limited to, bowel or bladder impairment, separately, under an appropriate diagnostic code.' I frequently experience back pain and negative side effects at the worst possible times, like when my girlfriend and I are intimate, but I am not going into the specifics about it. I hate to admit it, but it does happen. Should I also file this as 'an associated neurologic abnormality'? I am thinking cause and effect here. If this is a possibility, I don't know how they would go about evaluating it...

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Posted

The effective date would be the date you re-opened this claim.

Only a successful CUE claim could bring potentially more retro- not worth thinking about CUE yet-

but with SC award for back-then the CUE potential would possibly come in .

The new evidence in your SMRs could trigger a C & P exam.

Any doctor who has expertise in the field of your back disability could opine on your claim and the nexus to your service.

Is the neurosurgeon seeing you regarding the back issues?

Even if a VA C & P is negative to your claim, a strong IMO can raise the evidence to Relative Equipoise- meaning if equal evidence for and against the claim-the veteran still gets an award under Benefit of Doubt.

They denied without a C & P because they said you had not sent them new evidence.

It seems you do have evidence they didnt get when they made the denial decision.

This evidence should trigger them to give you a C & P but I think you will still need a strong IMO -in case the C & P goes against the claim.

The ROM you were given was based on an older exam- we have some back experts here -I dont know how much weight the VA puts on the ROM for a percentage.

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Posted

I too have a back injury and have a hard time working. But find it helpful to work at home online to suppliment my 60% disab.

Erich

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Posted

Berta,

The neurosurgeon is seeing me regarding the back issues.

Relative Equipoise? Sounds interesting. Let's hope it doesn't get to that point.

But, I did send them new evidence which was never previously submitted.

Erich,

I'll check out that site. I do have the opportunity to work remotely, but my workplace has put forth the effort to make my office environment/cubicle ergonomically suited for my needs. I don't know if they would do that for my home, plus I have to rely on high bandwidth for my job.

Thanks!

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Posted

Ok Bertha

Just make sure you read the folowing articles before you choose anything. There are a lot of scams and other questionable opportunities to work at home. My google sponsored links and infolinks are constantly updated and I have little control over them. These two guides will help you:

http://www.work-at-home-directory.com/scams.html

http://www.work-at-home-directory.com/self-employment.html

Erich

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Posted

??? Thanks but ..... I am retired. and so busy I dont have time to work.

Maybe you meant this info for anyone here in general and I agree that there are many scams out there.

Some of these work at home outfits have cost people a lot of money. Good info.

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Posted

Hello everyone,

I visited the Neurologist yesterday. I went in hurting and with a moderate back spasm, came out feeling worse. I have a new MRI scheduled for this afternoon. He is leaning toward another epidural pain block, unless surgery is required. Here's the scoop:

Doc is reluctant to provide a written IMO because he did not treat me in 1990-1995.

Forward flexion: 10 degrees

Hyperextension: 0 degrees

Right Lateral Bend: 5 degrees

Left Lateral Bend: 5 degrees

Has some straightening of the lumbar lordosis.

Sitting straight leg raise positive in bilaterally in back only.

Diagnosis: Degenerative disc disease, lumbrosacral spine w/radiculopathy

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Posted

If he won't write you an a medical report get another doctor. There are tons of them out there who are willing to inject you. It is the biggest money making scam in the world. There is no proof at all that these injections work. I had plenty and they did not work for me.

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Posted

I had one injection back in 2006 and must have got lucky. Pain subsided steadily over several weeks, but never really went away. Now it's back. It stinks that I have to take a half a day off work to visit docs like this, but might eventually run out of time off. Don't want to give my boss anything to worry about.

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Posted

I had several injections in the cervical spine. The 1st worked for a day and the 2nd lasted for 2 days. Doc referred my back to primary care and to get a nuerosurgeon, Nuerosurgeon said I was wasting my time with the injections since my neck was so jacked up. My neurosurgeon did not have a problem writing a letter to connect cervical radiculopthy, chronic headaches to the DDD in the neck. I've found that you have to straight up front, don't waste their time when you go in to see them. Let them know what your pains/problems are, that you want to eleviate these problems, and that you want the VA to compensate you for the problems that you are having. I took the rating chart for the conditions and that showed him that I was rightfully seeking compensation. Told him if he didn't find anything wrong to put that in as well. The last statement ensured my credibility with him.

Doctors are so used to patients running them around in circles with symtons that they would like to see someone just be straight forward and make their job easier.

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Posted

MRI is complete. No official radiologist report yet, but I noticed a few things visibly. The herniated discs are no longer blown wide open. I see bits of debris around where the tears were. The lordotic curve is totally gone. My spine is straight as a ruler from the thoracic region to the first segment of the sacrum.

Back to this:

Code 5243-XXX (38 CFR 4.71(a)) - Part 1

Under the spine codes for 20%, other than ROM, it indicates 'or, muscle spasm or guarding severe enough to result in an abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour such as scoliosis, reversed lordosis, or abnormal kyphosis'.

I guess having no lordosis may qualify as "abnormal spinal contour"

I have another appointment on Monday with a different doc. Will ask for their opinion and IMO. Will be up front about it too.

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Posted

I just had an appointment with another doctor, but she was unwilling to write a nexus letter. I am hoping to find someone in my area who would be willing to do this without charging an excessive fee. Anyone have any tips on how to find a doc who will do this?

Note: Still no word regarding my official MRI results or f/u appt to give me some relief of my pain.

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Posted

I just had an appointment with another doctor, but she was unwilling to write a nexus letter. I am hoping to find someone in my area who would be willing to do this without charging an excessive fee. Anyone have any tips on how to find a doc who will do this?

Note: Still no word regarding my official MRI results or f/u appt to give me some relief of my pain.

I would like to know this answer too!

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