Back and neck pain is one of the leading orthopedic issues that veterans deal with after returning home from active duty service. While millions of adults across the United States experience this condition, secondary conditions or complications occur at a higher rate in former servicemembers, given the strenuous nature of the tasks that they performed while in uniform.
Twisting, lifting, bending, standing, and walking while under pressure can all exacerbate pain in the back and neck. Because of the greater propensity for bodily damage in the military versus civilian life, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) sees a large number of disability claims for service-related back and neck pain, as well as secondary claims for radiculopathy of the back and neck.
There are a variety of secondary conditions that can develop from back and neck pain which may grow into serious medical complications that require ongoing treatment. One example of these secondary conditions is the radiculopathy of the bilateral upper and lower extremity.
Radiculopathy is defined as a pinched nerve in the spine and can lead to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms including pain, weakness, and numbness. The spine itself is made up of 33 bones and vertebrae to protect it from injury or trauma.
When injuries occur, the vertebrae can become damaged, causing compression or a “pinch” in a nearby nerve root. Depending on the disc that is compressed, a person may experience pain in many areas of the body.
Radiculopathy can be the result of heavy lifting or repetitive motions – both of which are tasks performed by members of the armed forces – or as a result of aging or genetics. The sharp-shooting, electric pain is most common in adults aged 30 to 50.
Since back and neck pain can interfere with everyday functionality, it is no surprise that so many former servicemembers file disability claims for this pain. However, because radiculopathy of the back and neck is a secondary condition that develops as a result another condition caused by active duty military service, veterans are able to file a secondary disability claim for a disability that is already service-connected.
A former servicemember is required to show evidence linking their back and neck pain to a service-connected condition for which they are already receiving benefits. Once a clear connection has been made between the primary condition and the secondary condition, the veteran may fill out and submit VA Form 21-526EZ, similarly to how they would file any other disability claim.
Our firm has experience in helping disabled vets get the benefits to which they are entitled. We understand your feelings and recognize the complexities that surround secondary claims for radiculopathy of the back and neck. Back and neck pain can be painful, which is why we are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the compensation you are owed. Call our team to get started on your VA disability claim.