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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/ 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  • 0

Lower Back - Degenerative Disc Disease

Question

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Like many, I've suffered lower back problems for years and have received PT, MRI and lots of drugs over the years while active duty. I retired with 27 years active duty (AD) last year. I recently received a copy of my C & P exam from Sept 2010. While AD I was always told that the pain in my LB is caused by "Bulging Disc" at L4/L5 and the sporadic pain and follow-on numbness down my right leg is Sciatica. But the C & P calls it Degenerative Disc Disease instead. <BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">

My question is – does the VA look at long-term chronic pain when judging for award or only range of motion on that one particular day of the C & P? My range of motion is stricly determined by my level of pain . . . on C & P day it was minor, and I had full ROM.

Thanks in advance - Jim

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9 answers to this question

Posted · Report post

ROM on the day of. The usual canard is to approach the C&P as if it was your worst day, or, a bit more drastic, don't medicate for a few days prior.

CAS

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Posted · Report post

I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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Posted · Report post

I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks to everyone for the quick replies and information. I am 50 years old now (retired last year with 27 years AD), and have had LBP since 1992. I was injured in the line of duty as a flight mechanic with the Coast Guard. Luckily mine is no-where near as bad as most of the cases I've read. I had my C & P while still on active duty (Sept 2010). I just wanted to make sure that it was listed in case it gets worse as time goes by; I agree that there is likely a herniated disc pushing on nerves. That's why I was surprised to see it listed as DDD rather than the original diagnosis I received from the flight surgeon. I did have an MRI back in 2006 which merely showed compression and "slight" bulging at L4 L5.

I haven't received my results from the VA as of yet – I was told that I currently have a suspense date of July 18th.

Again thank you all - I really appreciate your time.

God Bless America - Jim

I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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The day of my C & P was a great day, I felt good . . . I didn’t lie or embellish the way I felt – but did explain that it was a good day, and that I had been on terminal leave for a considerable period of time, so I naturally felt better as I hadn’t been doing much. Of course none of that was in the remarks.

Thanks again – Jim

ROM on the day of. The usual canard is to approach the C&P as if it was your worst day, or, a bit more drastic, don't medicate for a few days prior.

CAS

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Posted · Report post

The day of my C & P was a great day, I felt good . . . I didn't lie or embellish the way I felt – but did explain that it was a good day, and that I had been on terminal leave for a considerable period of time, so I naturally felt better as I hadn't been doing much. Of course none of that was in the remarks.

Thanks again – Jim

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I just retired from the Air Force after 26 years on 31 Dec 2010. I've had two back surgeries while on active duty for L-5-S1 decompressive laminectomics & microdiscectomy at Bethesda Medical Center, Bethesda Maryland. (Dec 2001) & L5-S1 redo discectomy Nov 2010. My C&P exams were conducted Aug& Sept 2010.

During physical therapy Feb 2011, I experienced shooting pains from my lower back & buttocks down my left & right legs. 02 Mar 2011, I was treated in the emergency room for chronic back pains & given Percocet's. 19 Mar 2011, Ihad an MRI, & the results were forward to my Neurosurgeon. 21 Mar 2011, treated for lower back pain in the emergency room & given Neurontin.

07 April 2011, I received my MRI results from my Neurosurgeon, recurrent left L5-S1 disc protrusion, central broad-based L5-S1 disc protrusion, L5-S1 lateral recessstenosis, right L5-S1 neural foraminal disc protrusion with questionable involvement of the right L5 nerve root. There is also a right L4-5 neuralforaminal disc protrusion with questionable involvement of the right L4 nerveroot. There is also left L4-5 neural foraminal and proximal far-lateral discprotrusion with involvement of the ventral aspect of the left L4 nerve root.There is also a left L5-S1 neural foraminal disc bulge/protrusion.

07 June2011, I received the brown envelope from the VA 80% disability

50% Sleep Apnea,

20% IVDSdegenerative arthritis changes, thoracolumbar spine, lower back, status postsurgery

10%Patellofemoral syndrome, left knee condition with osteoarthritis

10%Residuals right ankle fracture with brace, inserts, degeneration and torn ligaments

10%Tinnitus

10% Boweldysfunction associated with IVDS with degenerative arthritis changes,thoracolumbar spine

Statement also attached from the VA: We have reviewed your records and they suggest you may be entitled to additional benefits. We first need a claim from you or your representative. Please tell us on the enclosed Statement In Support of Claim (VA Form 21-4138) that you want to file a claim for degenerative changes of the left hip and DJD, right knee and bilateral pes planus, plantar fasciitis and hallux valgus.

09 Jun 2011, I filed a VA Form 21-4138, for reconsideration of rating decision of thoracolumbar IVDS and TMJ, status post surgical repair (claimed as dental surgery x 2/hardware and Individual Unemployability. Per the DAV, I'm also entitled to service connection for DJD left hip, DJD right knee, B/L plantar fasciitis,B/L pes planus and B/L hallux valgus.

21 & 23 June 2011, back in emergency room & treated for Lumbar disc herniation with radiculopathy, stenosis of lumbosacral spine & osteoarthritis of the knees. 12 Jul 2011, myelogram & CT scan revealed 3 herinated disc's with bone spurs. My next appointment with my Neurosurgeon is schedule for 3 Aug 2011& Orthopedic surgeon appointment, 10 Aug 2011. My back isn't getting any better & knees are always buckling. Good luck with your claim.

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Wow a 6 month turn-around time on your claim - Good For You . . . I've heard most take longer. I guess your medical stuff was very well documented.

I retired last Sept, and other than a couple of letters stating that the VA is working my claim I've recieved no correspondance at all.

Hope you can get better with PT and BE CAREFULL!!!!

Jim

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