Cervicalgia: Understanding Its Disability Status
Cervicalgia, commonly known as neck pain, is a common health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle strain, nerve compression, and cervical spondylosis. While neck pain is a common ailment, it can be severe enough to impact an individual’s ability to work and perform daily activities.
Many people with cervicalgia wonder if it qualifies as a disability. The answer to this question depends on the severity of the condition and how it affects an individual’s daily life. For some people, neck pain is a temporary discomfort that can be managed with rest, medication, and physical therapy. However, for others, cervicalgia can be a chronic condition that causes significant pain and discomfort, making it difficult to work and perform daily activities. In such cases, cervicalgia may qualify as a disability.
What is Cervicalgia?
Cervicalgia, commonly known as neck pain, is a condition that affects the cervical spine, the seven vertebrae that make up the neck. It is a common condition that can affect people of all ages and can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, injury, or degenerative changes in the spine.
The symptoms of cervicalgia can vary from mild to severe and can include pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the neck. In some cases, the pain can radiate to other parts of the body, such as the shoulders, arms, and hands.
Causes of Cervicalgia
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of cervicalgia. Some common causes include:
- Poor posture: Sitting or standing in an incorrect posture for long periods of time can strain the muscles and ligaments in the neck, leading to cervicalgia.
- Injury: Trauma to the neck, such as whiplash from a car accident, can cause cervicalgia.
- Degenerative changes: As people age, the discs and joints in the neck can wear down, leading to cervicalgia.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as arthritis or spinal stenosis, can cause cervicalgia.
It’s important to note that cervicalgia is not always a disability. While it can be a painful and debilitating condition, many people are able to manage their symptoms with conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. However, in some cases, cervicalgia can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities and work, and may be considered a disability.
Overall, it’s important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of cervicalgia. A healthcare professional can help determine the underlying cause of your pain and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Cervicalgia and Disability
Cervicalgia, also known as neck pain, is a common condition that affects many people. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, trauma, or degenerative changes in the spine. While many people are able to manage their cervicalgia with conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, or chiropractic care, others may experience chronic pain and disability.
Legal Definition of Disability
The legal definition of disability varies depending on the context. For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, disability is defined as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
For the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, or working. The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.
To qualify medically for cervicalgia disability benefits, you will need to provide medical documentation demonstrating that you meet the criteria for inclusion in the Blue Book, which is the SSA medical guide. To receive benefits for neck pain, you must have a spinal nerve root compression or spinal arachnoiditis. These two conditions can be the result of a variety of incidents. Here are six of the most common causes of severe neck pain that may qualify for benefits.
After you apply for Social Security disability, your case is evaluated in the five-step sequential evaluation process. In Step 3, SSA may evaluate your cervical problems in Schedule 1.015, Skeletal Spine Disorders that Result in Nerve Root Compromise. This list requires pain, paresthesia or muscle fatigue AND neurological signs on physical examination (i.e. muscle weakness, signs of nerve root involvement) AND objective tests demonstrating nerve root involvement (CT, MRI or X-ray) AND the need for bilateral assistive devices OR the inability to use one of the upper limbs while the other limb needs to be used for the assistive device.
The VA qualifies cervicalgia under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Program for Qualifying Disabilities, General Rating Formula for Spinal Illnesses and Injuries, DC 5237, Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain (Neck Pain). The VA recognizes neck pain or cervicalgia as a disability that must be compensated for if it is caused by military service. The classification of VA of cervicalgia will be decided based on the severity of the symptoms and how much they limit a person’s movement or range of motion. A C%26P test for cervicalgia (neck pain) involves a series of questions, including a physical exam, diagnostic tests (x-rays, if none have been done), and a range of motion (ROM) test with a goniometer.
These conditions include cervical cancer, ankylosing spondylitis, cervicalgia, spinal stenosis, and others. The VA rates cervicalgia under Title 38 of the CFR, Part 4, Program for Grading Disabilities, Overall Scoring Formula for the Spine as follows.