Usually, the disability judge will focus on the degree and the frequency of the pain in a case involving cervical spine disorders. Sometimes, the ability to use the arms will be at issue as well as the inability to turn your head from side to side or up and down. Medical records going back to the start of the neck problem must be presented to the Social Security Administration. The Social Security judge normally likes to see a medical treatment history documenting the treatment of the neck problem and the efforts at trying to relieve the pain.
The cervical spine is the area of the neck and really is the backbone of the first seven vertebrae of the spinal cord. These seven bones, also known as vertebrae, are divided by discs containing a cushioned gel-like substance. The cervical discs support our neck and allow us to turn it from side to side and up and down. Many times the medical problems associated with the cervical spine involve these cervical discs – the discs can wear down, narrow, or the discs can pinch the nerves. The cervical discs can also slip or become herniated (disc bulges can create pressure on the spinal cord or nerves).
Documented Symptoms the Social Security Administration Analyzes:
- Neuro-anatomic distribution of pain (pain is coming from the nerves)
- Limitation of motion of the spine
- Motor loss (muscle weakness or atrophy with associated muscle weakness)
- Sensory or reflex loss
- Inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively, e.g., the inability to prepare a simple meal and feed yourself, the inability to maintain your personal hygiene, the inability to handle and sort papers or files, and the inability to put files in a cabinet at or above waist level.
- Arachnoiditis, including nerve root swelling, hyperemia or atrophy, intradural scarring, or nerve roots adherent to each other or to dural membrane
- Severe burning or painful dysesthesia
- Need to change position more than once every two hours
The Social Security judge will need to know the location, frequency, and severity of pain – whether there is numbness and weakness. Sometimes, the problems with the cervical spine are so severe that there is a serious interference with the use of the hands. If this is the case, then this should form the underlying theme at the hearing in front of the Social Security judge. If you are facing a cervical spine disorder and need a Wilmington area Social Security Disability Attorney, call us – we’re here to fight for your benefits.