They say you don’t notice how critical your back is until you hurt it. Many veterans know this to be true, since back injuries are unfortunately common among veterans. Though most people will encounter a minor back problem at some point in their lifetime, severe back injuries can seriously limit the way a person lives their life.
Severe back injuries are painful and limit the way a person moves. Sprains, strains and herniated disks are just a few of the most common kinds of back injuries. Fractured vertebrae can also permanently change a person’s way of life. Any back injury that jeopardizes someone’s long-term ability to earn a living or spend quality time with their family and loved ones can be considered serious. Understanding the VA disability ratings for back pain can help provide context for a veteran’s injury.
VA Disability Ratings for Back Injuries
Back injuries are often rated based on the range of motion of the veteran’s spine. The range of motion of both the cervical spine and thoracolumbar spine will be measured, and a rating will be assigned based upon the measurements. Of course, things like periods of incapacitation can be factored into the rating as well.
Not every back injury limits a person’s range of motion. Arthritis and intervertebral disc syndrome are rated based on how incapacitating the maladies are on the veteran, while those with paralysis of the sciatic nerve are rated based upon their degree of paralysis.
Every patient is different, so the VA disability rating for degenerative disc disease can differ drastically from the VA disability rating for lower back pain.
Common Causes of Spinal Injuries
When a person joins the military, they volunteer their body and mind for use under extreme circumstances. Loss of limb is perhaps the injury most commonly associated with combat, but many servicemen and women suffer from afflictions that are easier to miss. Some return home with spinal injuries stemming from running around while wearing heavy armor, while others sustain such injuries in motor vehicle incidents while on active duty.
Because these kinds of injuries are not caused directly by an enemy attack, the veterans are not awarded the Purple Heart or included on lists of servicemen and women injured in combat zones. Still, these spinal injuries can have a long term and sometimes permanent impact on the veteran.
Specific Challenges of Back Injuries
When a person injures their foot, they may find themselves out of commission and on bed rest while they recuperate. A pair of crutches or wheelchair can help them get around while their foot heals. For those with back injuries, though, the solution is rarely as simple.
Because doctors cannot see the tendons, ligaments and muscles the way they can bone fractures, back injuries are often incredibly difficult to treat. Instead of a straightforward prescription of bed rest or medication, medical professionals must go the trial and error route, gauging their patient’s reaction to targeted and sometimes painful treatment. Even exercise, commonly recommended to people recovering from accidents, can exacerbate back injuries.
Since the spine is so critically important to the way the human body moves, even activities like sleeping, walking and sitting can become painful for a person with a back injury. Stress, time in front of the computer and even the gentlest of exercise can jeopardize the progress of someone with a back injury. Such injuries affect virtually everything a person does and can be worsened in ways you least expect, making them one of those most challenging afflictions with which a veteran can be diagnosed.
How The Veterans Law Group Can Help
If you are a veteran suffering from a back injury or damage to your spine from your service in the military, the Veterans Law Group can help. No matter what the VA disability rating for your back pain might be, we can offer insight into your claim and offer guidance for your next step. If you are unhappy with the VA’s decision, an attorney can be your best advocate.
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