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DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR NECK PAIN

WHAT CAUSES NECK PAIN?

Neck pain has many causes, including nerve compression, neck injury, muscle spasms and degenerative disc disease of the neck. Most people, at one time or another, experience neck pain. But, with time and treatment, neck pain usually doesn’t interfere with our ability to work. Obviously, the Social Security Administration doesn’t pay SSDI and SSI benefits for temporary neck pain. However, if your neck pain is so severe that you cannot work for more than 12 months, then you can file an application for Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The SSA does pay SSDI and SSI benefits if you cannot work due to a severe neck problem. For example, under SSA’s blue book listing of disabilities, it lists “neurological disorder, such as cervical spinal cord injury” as a condition that can prevent people from working.

Also, under SSA’s listing 1.15 (C), you can have degenerative disc disease of the neck that compromises the nerve roots of the cervical spine and results in a physical limitation that prevents you from working. Most of the neck problems that our clients receive benefits for are due to degenerative disk disease, herniated discs, cervical arthritis, cervical spondylolisthesis, or cervical retrolisthesis. These neck issues must result in being unable to use your hands to perform find and gross movements and complete work tasks.

Neck Pain. Doctor in smock holds stethoscope. The word Neck Pain

SYMPTOMS OF NECK PAIN

Neck pain can be a symptom of various medical conditions, ranging from muscle strain to serious underlying conditions. It is important to understand the different types of neck pain and their symptoms in order to determine the best course of treatment.

Common symptoms of neck pain include stiffness, tenderness, headaches, migraines, and radiating pain down the shoulders or arms. To learn more information about migraine headaches, read here. Other more serious symptoms can include numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, as well as difficulty swallowing or speaking. By understanding these common neck pain symptoms, your doctor can better identify what treatment you need when you  seek medical attention.

Pain that is in the neck can be a sign of a degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine. Headaches are often an indicator of a problem with the neck. Pain in the arm or hand that is localized to the wrist joint or finger joints is often referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an entrapment of the median nerve at the wrist and the ulnar nerve in the carpal tunnel of your wrist. You know if you have carpal tunnel syndrome because your hand and fingers will be numb and tingle. You will also develop pain in your hands over time that worsens with repetitive use.

But, pain in your arms and hands can also come from nerve compression in your neck, shoulder, or upper back. If you need more information about shoulder pain, read here. These symptoms can make it difficult to work at a desk, drive a car, lift items repetitively, reach overhead, type, or do work with the arms and hands.

TREATMENT FOR NECK PAIN

Neck pain is a common complaint, affecting up to 70% of people at some point in their lives. It can be caused by poor posture, stress, or injury. Fortunately, there are many treatments available to help reduce neck pain and improve mobility. You can treat neck pain with medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. Also, if needed, you can have spinal surgery to help neck pain, arm pain, and compression of your nerves.

MEDICATIONS FOR NECK PAIN

Medication is not the only treatment option for neck pain, but it can be an effective way to reduce pain and inflammation. Medication should always be used in conjunction with other methods of treatment. Some common medications used to treat neck pain include Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Naproxen sodium and Tramadol. These medications work by relieving the inflammation or spasms that may cause neck pain. They can also help protect against future injury and damage if you take the medications as prescribed.If you’re experiencing neck pain, talk to your doctor about the type of medication that will work best for you.

PHYSICAL THERAPY, MASSAGE & ACUPUNTURE 

One of the most effective forms of treatment for neck pain is physical therapy. Physical therapy can help reduce stiffness and improve range of motion in the neck. It can also strengthen the muscles that support your neck, which leads to less pain. In addition to improving mobility and strength, physical therapy can also provide relief from chronic neck pain by reducing inflammation and helping to correct any underlying causes of pain.

Many people also try to manage neck pain with massage. Massage is a great way to relieve muscle tension and bring blood flow to the neck tissues. There are techniques that your massage therapist can use, like cranial sacral therapy, that focus specifically on neck, head, and shoulder pain.

Additionally, if you have neck pain you should try acupuncture to relieve your pain. Acupuncture is a technique where a therapist inserts fine needles into your skin at various areas on your body that relate to your nervous system. The needles are so thin that it does not hurt.. Acupuncture comes from Chinese traditional medicine and has been in use for at least 2,500 years. Research shows that acupuncture may be helpful for several pain conditions, including back or neck pain, knee pain from osteoarthritis, and postoperative pain.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT HELP WITH NECK PAIN

There are lifestyle changes that can help reduce the your neck pain and provide you some relief. These changes include improving posture, exercising regularly, and avoiding activities that put strain on your neck muscles. Additionally, it is important to get enough rest and to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. By making these lifestyle changes, individuals suffering from neck pain can experience an improvement in their condition.

If you have a job that requires you to sit with your head tilted down, you may experience stiffness and tingling sensations in the neck or shoulders. To help with this,  avoid sleeping your stomach or side and avoid bending forward at the waist. Also, stand up at least once an hour during the day. Also, you can use a pillow between your knees when sleeping to relieve spine pain. By making these simple changes, you may be able to get some relief from your neck pain.

CAN YOU GET DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR NECK PAIN?

Yes. You can get disability benefits for neck pain.

However, in order to qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits for neck pain, your symptoms must be severe and meet or equal listing 1.15 (C). Social Security listing 1.15 (C) outlines the criteria for those who suffer from neck pain. Understanding this listing can help those with neck pain get the financial support they need during difficult times.

Social Security listing 1.15(C) states that you must have neck pain from a compromised nerve root. A nerve root is the part of a nerve that exits from the spinal cord through the vertebrae. It must also be accompanied by symptoms such as tingling, numbness, weakness or muscle spasms. The limitations must be in one of four areas: 1) range of motion in the head 2) mobility in the arms, legs or torso 3) ability to perform activities of daily living and work and 4) pain that limits physical activity.

LISTING 1.15 FOR COMPROMISE OF NERVE ROOT IN THE NECK

Below you will find the outline of SSA’s listing for neck pain and neck problems. You need to meet all of the criteria under listing 1.15 (C) to win SSDI and SSI benefits. You can find out more information about listing 1.15 and back pain here.

1.15 Disorders of the skeletal spine resulting in compromise of a nerve root(s), documented by A, B, C, and D:

A. Neuro-anatomic (radicular) distribution of one or more of the following symptoms consistent with compromise of the affected nerve roots:

1. Pain; or

2. Paresthesia; or

3. Muscle fatigue.

AND

B. Radicular distribution of neurological signs present during physical exam or on a diagnostic test and evidenced by 1, 2, and either 3 or 4:

1. Muscle weakness; and

2. Signs of nerve root irritation, tension, or compression, consistent with compromise of the affected nerve root

3. Sensory changes evidenced by:

a. Decreased sensation; or

b. Sensory nerve deficit (abnormal sensory nerve latency) on electrodiagnostic testing; or

4. Decreased deep tendon reflexes.

AND

C. Findings on imaging consistent with compromise of a nerve roots in the cervical or lumbosacral spine.

AND

D. Impairment related physical limitation of musculoskeletal functioning that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, and medical documentation of at least one of the following:

1. A documented medical need for a walker, bilateral canes, or bilateral crutches or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of both hands; or

2. An inability to use one upper extremity to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work related activities involving fine and gross movements, and a documented medical need for a one handed, hand held assistive device that requires the use of the other upper extremity or a wheeled and seated mobility device involving the use of one hand; or

3. An inability to use both upper extremities to the extent that neither can be used to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work related activities involving fine and gross movements.

MEDICAL EVIDENCE YOU NEED TO WIN BENEFITS FOR NECK PAIN

The medical evidence you need to meet the above listing requires you to have a treating doctor. Your doctor will need to do objective medical testing and document your physical limitations in your medical records. As you can see, Part C of the listing requires severe limitations in the ability to use your arms. For example, you must be using one arm to use a cane and the other arm must be unable to perform fine and gross movement. Or, worse, you must be unable to use both of your arms to perform find and gross movements.

If you cannot meet the listing, you can equal the listing by having a combination of medical conditions. For example, you may have the inability to use one arm and also have a severe back impairment. Those two physical conditions could combine to be the equivalent of meeting the listing.

Additionally, your doctor will need to have objective testing that shows you have nerve root compression in your neck. This can be obtained on MRI, X-ray, or CT scan. Those tests may show that you have a herniated disc in your neck and that the material between the disc is pushing out and compressing your nerves. This results in pain, numbness, nerve root irritation, and muscle weakness and sensory loss. It can even result in a loss of strength in your arms. Your doctor can perform certain tests to measure your range of motion and your ability to feel and use your neck and arms.

HOW TO FIND A FREE OR LOW COST DOCTOR FOR YOUR CERVICAL PAIN

It is important to submit your entire medical history from the time you stop working to the SSA. This includes any treatments you have done, such as physical therapy, medication, surgery, or injections. Also, the SSA needs to know how long you have been in treatment and if your treatment is working.

If you do not have a treating doctor who can perform these tests and treat you, then you need to find one.  On our website, we have a list of free health clinics. You can call these resources and many of them will see you for free or for low cost. Below you will find a list of medical resources in your state:

THERE ARE OTHER SSA LISTINGS YOU MAY MEET FOR YOUR NECK IMPAIRMENT

Social Security has another listing for “spinal arachnoiditis.” Arachnoiditis is a painful disorder caused by inflammation in the spine. Someone with cervical arachnoiditis might feel severe stinging and burning pain in their neck. Arachnoiditis is often caused by complications from spinal procedures. But it can also be caused by cervical stenosis or degenerative disc disease. The SSA now reviews spinal arachnoiditis under listing 11.08 of the neurological listings. Other listings that may apply to a cervical case are listing 1.18 for joint dysfunction and listing 14.09 for rheumatoid arthritis.

NECK PAIN CAN LIMIT YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY

If Social Security doesn’t find you disabled under one of their listings, you can still win SSDI benefits using your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your RFC includes both your physical and mental limits. In terms of physical limits, the SSA tries to define your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift, during the course of an 8 hour workday. Likewise, the SSA will include your ability to carry, pull, and push. Find out more about how the SSA defines work here.

If you neck condition and the pain is so severe that you cannot work, then the SSA will assess those limits in your RFC. In order to figure out your physical RFC, the SSA will examine your medical records. They will take into account what your doctor states in your medical records. Also, the SSA will review any statements from your doctors about your  to work.

Additionally, they have their own doctors that review your medical records, but never meet or examine you. These doctors are paid by the SSA and work for DDS, the state agency who reviews all cases. The SSA will take the medical opinion of these doctors into account. If they need more information, then they may send you to a consultative exam. Learn more here about what to expect at SSA’s consultative exam.

The SSA will also consider descriptions about your neck condition from your family, neighbors and friends. Find out more information about what types of evidence the SSA must consider here. For example, your family or friends could write a statement about the effects of your neck symptoms, headaches and arm pain. Find out more here about RFC and how it combines with age to eliminate work. Also, find out more about SSA’s Medical Vocational Guidelines here.

WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WIN SSDI AND SSI BENEFITS 

You do not need to try to figure out your benefits by yourself. Cannon Disability can help you file your disability application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:

  • Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
  • Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
  • Inform the SSA that they should automatically pay your benefits under the Compassionate Allowance Rules
  • Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
  • Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
  • Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  • Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
  • Represent you at your hearing and question the vocational and medical witnesses.
  • Read more about vocational experts here
  • Learn more about medical expert testimony here
  • Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
  • Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court

If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. If you don’t send it back, the SSA will not process your application. Sign it and send it back as soon as possible.

HIRE CANNON DISABILITY FOR OUR YEARS OF LEGAL EXPERIENCE

The SSA appeal process for benefits is long and complicated. You will need an attorney to help you win benefits. In the past 30 years, we have won millions of dollars in ongoing and past due due benefits for our clients. If you want to win benefits, then hire an attorney with the legal experience to win your case. We work on a contingency basis. This means we do not charge you any money up front to help you or for you to become our client. Then, you only pay us an attorney fee when you win benefits. If you don’t win, you don’t pay an attorney fee. For help, contact us today.

If you want to learn more about our lawyers and staff, then read our About Us page. For example, you can learn about Andria Summers, who is an amazing advocate. She can also help you with your Medicare plan. She has also won thousands of SSDI and SSI cases.

Additionally, Dianna Cannon has been helping her clients win benefits for over thirty years. Ms. Cannon teaches disability law and has years of Federal Court experienceBrett Bunkall also has years of legal experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. We are Social Security legal experts. You can trust us to help you win your benefits and make a difficult process as easy as possible for you.

WE OFFER A FREE CONSULTATION ABOUT YOUR SSDI BENEFITS

If you need help filing for benefits, reach out to Cannon Disability Law. Taking the first step, by calling us, is what you need to do to begin your journey to winning benefits for your neck pain. All you need to do is reach out to our legal team.

We offer a free review of your case. What that means is that you can call us and explain your situation. At that point, we will look at the merits of your case for free and let you know if you have a chance to qualify for SSDI benefits. We do not charge you for our review of your case. If you have questions about attorney fees, read here. We work for free until you win benefits.

There are many reasons to hire an attorney to help you win benefits. But the first reason is it pays to hire an attorney with experience. Our legal team has the experience you need to win your case. For example, Ms. Cannon has a license to practice law in Utah, Nevada, and California.

In the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSDI and SSI benefits for our clients. We are experts at what we do and we will put our knowledge to work for you. Hire us to be your Social Security legal team.

Additionally, we help clients in many states, including Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and California. Find out more about Nevada disability benefits here. Learn more about Utah disability benefits and California disability benefits here.  Colorado benefit information can be found here.

No matter where you live, we want to be your legal team. Hire the best Social Security legal team with no money down and no attorney fee unless we win your case. Contact us today. We will do our best to help you win SSDI and SSI benefits for your neck pain.

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