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Does Back Pain Count for SSD Benefits?

Social Security Disability is a federally run program set in place to ensure people who are unable to work due to a physical or mental condition have some type of monthly benefit. Plain and simple disability is an insurance program. You pay the premium for this insurance from your working income through income taxes. You must have paid enough into the system to qualify for this insurance. If you do have disability insurance, then the next step would be to show you are disabled and thus eligible for a monthly monetary benefit.

One of the most common claims for disability benefits is based upon back conditions. This is largely due to the amount of pain individual experiences. If your past work is all heavy labor and you suffer from back pain, you will more than likely be unable to perform your past work as a laborer. The question becomes, is your pain severe enough to not only preclude your past work but also any other type of work in the national economy as well?

Pain is not a medical condition. Thus, you will not be found disabled based on pain. However, if you suffer from pain in your back you likely are suffering from a disorder in your back. Some of the most common back disorders include stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylosis, or degenerative disc disease. All of these conditions include symptoms of pain. If your pain level is severe, and you have a diagnosable condition, SSA may find you meet the definition of disability.

When diagnosing a back condition, diagnostic testing will prove to be vitally important. This testing may include x-ray’s, MRI’s or nerve conduction tests. The benefits of diagnostic testing are they are irrefutable. These images or tests will show quite clearly the extent of your condition. What they will not show is the pain level you have. Pain is subjective and hard to quantify. However, inferences may be drawn as to the severity of your pain based on your medical treatment. If you are receiving medical treatment, your doctor may note functional limitations due to pain such as decreased range of motion or difficulty with ambulating. Another way to substantiate your pain level is through treatment with a pain management provider. This doctor may provide you with narcotics to help manage your pain. You may also benefit from injections. Pain medications and injections tend to be conservative treatment options to help manage your pain. If you continue to suffer from severe pain in spite of conservative treatment, an inference may be drawn that yes you do in fact suffer from debilitating pain.

While pain itself will not be enough to show you are disabled, it is certainly a factor that is considered. If you suffer from pain and want to apply for disability benefits, make sure you are seeking treatment from a medical provider so that your condition may be diagnosed. Also, you should receive treatment for the pain, whether it is through conservative measures or even surgical. Either form of treatment will help document the severity of your pain, thus helping to prove you are disabled.

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