What is Radiculopathy?
Radiculopathy is commonly known as a pinched nerve. It can cause sharp pain, weakness, loss of reflexes, or numbness throughout your spine and extremities. If you have both a service-connected back condition and radiculopathy you may be entitled disability benefits for your radiculopathy.
What is a Secondary Condition?
A secondary condition occurs when a service-connected condition, or treatment for that condition, causes or aggravates another condition. That other condition would be “secondarily” service-connected.
Why is radiculopathy often a secondary condition to back conditions?
Radiculopathy is often caused or aggravated by other back conditions. For example, all of the conditions below can cause radiculopathy.
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bulging Disk
- Herniated Disks
- Bone Spurs
- Ossification of spinal ligaments
- Spinal Infections
- Spinal Growths
If you have any of the above conditions service-connected, it is likely that you can prove that your radiculopathy is secondarily service-connected.
How to prove your radiculopathy is secondary to your back condition?
- Did you have any pre-existing radiculopathy? If so, then you’re going to argue that your service-connected back condition aggravated your radiculopathy making it worse. If that is the scenario, gather medical records that show the extent of your radiculopathy pre-service so that you can compare to the severity of your current radiculopathy.
- If you didn’t have radiculopathy before your service-connected back condition it is likely that your condition caused your radiculopathy. Gather your medical records to prove that you had no previous injury and specify when your symptoms started.
2. Personal Statement
- You know your body better than anyone else. The VA needs to hear from you when your symptoms started or worsened. Write a statement explaining the turn of events from when one condition started to when the other began and why you think they’re connected.
3. Medical Opinion
- To prove that your radiculopathy stems from your back condition or from medication that you are prescribed for your back condition. The most persuasive way you can show this is through an independent medical opinion (IMO). In an IMO, a physician can explain to the VA why he or she believes that your radiculopathy was at least as likely as not caused or aggravated by your service-connected back condition. IMO’s can provide the VA with the information they need to grant your radiculopathy secondary service-connection.
Veterans Help Group has been supporting veterans get the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one has a service-connected back condition and radiculopathy, Veterans Help Group would like to help you get the disability benefits you deserve, call or chat with us online for a free consultation.