Shoulders, Neck

VA Disability

I have the following disabilities rated by the VA:
lumbosacral strain with degenerative arthritis and vertebral fracture 20% Service Connected
right shoulder strain with glenohumeral joint osteoarthritis 20% Service Connected
left shoulder strain with AC joint osteoarthritis and calcific tendinitis residuals of arthroscopic or other shoulder surgery 20% Service Connected
These stem from a parachute malfunction and later exacerbated by a fall with full diving equipment (dbl 90s). I had chronic shoulder pain my whole career. I continued to have this post retirement and the pain, numbness and some weakness advanced down both arms and hands. After seeking help in 2012, I got an MRI and nerve conduction study. The results were:
Cervical Spondylosis with Radiculopathy C3-C4, C5-C6, C6-C7 and there is evidence of a mild-moderate chronic right C6-C8 root lesions without ongoing denervation
The doctors intimate that this would have been evident if I had an MRI on active duty. My SMR indicates the requirement but one was never ordered. WWP, my VSO, thinks I won’t get this service connected because I never complained about my neck. I disagree because the shoulder pain was also disguised the diagnosis and neck pain isn’t always present and the shoulders, arms, and hands problems are resulting from the nerve damage. I have been on opiates for years and the VA is ordering a new MRI and xrays. Both doctors say this is consistent with the shoulder injury and could be an inadequate diagnosis while on active duty. I don’t know yet, if I can get them to opine. Nevertheless, should I submit a NOD, new claim, Cervical Spondylosis with Radiculopathy secondary to the rated disabilities, vice versa, or some combination? I really am at a loss on how to proceed.
Thanks in advance for your comments.



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