Disabling Condition: Musculoskeletal Problems

by Editorial Board on September 6, 2010 · 0 comments

in Bone & Joint Problems

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Disabling Musculoskeletal conditions include muscle and bone impairments causing loss of use, surgical correction of weight bearing joints with loss of use, spinal cord disorders, amputation with loss of use, unhealed fracture of leg/arm bones or loss of use and injury such as burn causing loss of use.

Back problems (neck, and/or low back usually)

  1. Have you had any objective studies (x-rays, MRIs, CT Scan/Myelogram/Discogram, EMG)?
  2. Have you seen specialists such as orthopedic surgeons or neurosurgeons?
  3. Have you had surgeries?
  4. Have you had bladder dysfunction after low back injury/surgery?
  5. After low back surgery have you had pain in the hip/buttocks region affecting your ability to stay in one position for more than 20 minutes (possible arachnoiditis)?
  6. Have you had post surgical objective studies?  If so, do they still show problems, i.e. another herniated disc, scar tissue, etc.?
  7. Do you have spasms or do you fall down?
  8. Have you had epidural steroid injections for pain?  Do they help/last?

Arm/hand problems (carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder impingement)

  1. Do you have trouble with fine motor use (writing, picking up paper clips, opening a liter of coke)?
  2. Do you have trouble with gross motor use (holding a cup of coffee)?
  3. Do you have sensory (numbness, tingling, loss of feeling) or motor loss (less strength, weakness, muscle is smaller)?
  4. Do you have trouble with over head reaching?
  5. Do you wear wrist splints?
  6. Have you had surgeries?
  7. Have you had post surgery EMGs?

Weight bearing Joints (knee, hip ankle)

  1. Have you had objective studies?
  2. Have you had surgical repair?
  3. Have you had post surgical objective studies?
  4. Do you use assistive devices?
  5. If your weight is a factor, have you had any prescribed treatment to reduce your weight?

The musculoskeletal system (also known as the locomotor system) is an organ system that gives humans the ability to move.  It provides form, stability, and movement to the human body.  As such, disorders or diseases will affect functioning and restrict movement.  Weight bearing joints (hips, knees ankles) for instance are critical to walking and standing.  Spinal cord disorders can limit these functions but also can affect bending, stooping, sitting, etc.  And disorders of our upper extremities (shoulder, arm and hand) will affect gross (large) and fine (smaller) movement.

For most of these conditions, functional loss will need to be established in order for Social Security to consider the conditions disabling.  It is always best to have functional loss considered in the medical records but if lacking, seek an opinion statement from a treating source and/or document functional loss with other witness statements.

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