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Neck Injury and SSDI Disability

The structures that give your neck its incredible range of motion including the cervical spine, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, spinal cord and intervertebral discs can all suffer injury from an accident, over use or from genetic abnormalities making it impossible for you to perform the necessary tasks to work.

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Common Causes of Neck Issues

Tumors, disease and infection may also be the cause of severe neck injury and can also lead to problems throughout the necks, arms, back and shoulders of an individual. Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the joints in the bones of the neck causing stiffness and severe pain. Cervical disk degeneration can also erode the disks in the neck causing the natural spacing to narrow, resulting in pain and stress to the spine.

Severe neck injuries are often caused by car accidents. Common car accident injuries include whiplash which causes a hyperflexion of the neck and damage to the soft tissues. Paralysis can be caused by neck fractures or dislocations of the neck.

Treatment for Neck Conditions

Treatments for severe neck injuries can include non-surgical options, surgery, chiropractic care, and other rehabilitative techniques. Minor neck injuries such as sprains or strains will not be considered severe enough to last 12 continuous months and should be treated with medication, massage and physical therapy.

Claimants with a severe neck injury which is expected to last for 12 continuous months and who are not able to work may apply for SSDI or SSI benefits but first they should first contact a trained medical professional and make sure they are following the appropriate treatment options.

Winning SSDI or SSI benefits for Severe Neck Injuries

The Social Security Administration has two methods of awarding SSDI and SSI benefits: proving the claimant’s condition meets or exceeds a medical condition on the SSA listing of impairments (also known as the Blue book) or proving through a medical vocational allowance that the claimant cannot perform substantial gainful activity.

Meeting a Listing in the SSA Blue Book for a Neck Injury

The SSA will evaluate a neck condition by determining if it meets or exceeds the listings found under 1.00 Musculoskeletal System, Section 1.04 Disorders of the Spine. To meet this listing the claimants must prove that they have a disorder such as herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture which results in the compromise of the nerve root or spinal cord and this has caused nerve root compression which is “characterized by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss.

If the claimant’s condition does not meet the above listing they can also prove they have “spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed by an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours.”

The SSA will expect the claimant to have medical documentation detailing the range of motion of neck, the appropriate medical imaging and laboratory findings. The SSA will also expect that the claimant has been seeking medical treatment for some time but has failed to eliminate the problem.

Other conditions which cause severe neck issues can also be evaluated under their own corresponding listing. For example, if you have rheumatoid arthritis this condition will also be evaluated under Listing 14.00 Immune System Disorders, Section 14.09 Inflammatory Arthritis.

Winning SSDI or SSI for a Neck Injury through a medical vocational allowance

Claimants who have a condition which does not meet a listing will have to prove that they do not have the capacity to work. This can be more difficult to do on your own and you may need to contact a disability lawyer for more information about what medical evidence you will need to prove your case.
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