MEB Back pain/misc

Zapper

Registered Member
#1
I've read a lot of information on this board and found it helpful. I wanted to ask my own question however and get some advice. I am in the active duty USAF with 2.7 years in. I'm in my mid twenties now; very nearly 26. Prior to the military I was a fire fighter and a EMT for some years so I know a lot of my issues probably stem or started from that sort of work. Either way I have a number of other issues that just do not seem to be getting any better (some worse) and I've failed 2 PT tests now due to these issues. I just consulted my supervisor today about asking my command for a MEB.

I have the following issues and I am being seen for them:
  • Lower back pain. (I have had an X-Ray and I'm supposed to get an MRI soon).
  • Anxiety/Depression/Panic Attacks (I am being medicated)
  • Some sort of chronic strain in my left pectoral muscle that physical therapy is very interested in.
  • High Blood Pressure, not diagnosed yet but suspected. It usually runs high around 150/100 something.
I am on a variety of medications including Naproxen, Voltaren, Cyclobenzaprine, and Citalopram. I seem to gain more with each doctor visit.

Unlike many on this forum fighting a MEB I am requesting one. I know these issues are not getting better and I'm not interested in getting discharged because I cannot pass my PT test anymore. I have pain right now just sitting in this chair in my back, it's constant, it does not go away, and it gets worse with physical activity and standing (and ironically in surgical services 90% of my job is repetitive standing). My back pain has been in the system and my PCM has been treating it for almost 2 years now. Everything else has been half a year into treatment. on the High Blood Pressure my PCM just doesn't seem willing to make a call on it yet but I wish he would - I am tired of the med techs gasping when they take my pressure and I'd rather avoid a stroke.

I am currently on a profile that says I cannot do anything. They measure my waist and that's it. I thought I had read something about being eligible for MEB if you are exempt from 4 tests on one profile. Any thoughts on that?

Is this enough for a MEB? Would it be successful??
 
Last edited:

TSgt Twitch

PEB Forum Veteran
#2
Define "successful", will you be found unfit? if your command and the doctors agree you cannot perform in your AFSC then yes you will be found unfit. Will you receive retirement vs severance is the big question.
I will give you a rough breakdown

blood pressure in and of itself is a condition not a disability unless it gets way out of control. at the 150/100 numbers you should be on meds, with the meds you would receive a 10% rating-BUT it is unlikely that 10% would be in your DoD percentage, and instead just your VA numbers.

Anxiety/depression etc. depends on your GAF score and a host of over things. again it is not the condition that gets the rating it is how it affects you.

pec muscle strain/low back- ANY orthopedic condition is rated based upon range of motion end of story. if you can rotate your arm regardless if it changes when you lift weight then no rating. LOW BACK- based upon range of motion regardless if buldging/blown disks, arthritis or anything- purerly range of motion. The lower your range of motion the higher the percentage assigned.

if your PCM referrers you to the MEB for the low back and anxiety, you stand a chance of getting greater than 30% and retirement. if just your low back then it is solely based on ROM.

You mention your prior to service careers and the impact they may/,ay not of had and you are short on years of service (less than 8) so it may be-especially if you have discussed with your PCM and/or your entry exam noted the conditions that you are found EPTS (existed prior to service) this is a slippery slope that would lead to a zero percent rating and put a burden on you to prove that the service aggravated your conditions.

Everyone on here in the MEB category is fighting in the system, some are fighting for a fair outcome, others are fighting for their career, some are fighting for their life, and some are just fighting to get through the bureaucracy and make it to the end. you have to determine what you want your outcome to be and be proactive in ensuring that outcome becomes a reality. Discuss openly with your commander before/during the initial stages when they are tasked with writing your commanders letter (NMA-non-medical assessment) on how your disabilities affect your AFSC/general military duties. Do not be centric to the PT test only, place emphasis on the ability to deploy, to stand, to wear military gear, to drive while medicated etc. point out your mental condition could lead to problems in the performance of your duties that could affect patient health etc. .

I am not suggesting you lie, in fact that is the worse thing you can do, but to man up when questioned because thats what we do, can/will affect your desired outcome. Educate dyourself early on the AFI's and DoDI's in regards to the IDES system. be ready for it, be politice, be courteous and above all else be patient. best of luck and welcome to the PEBFORUM.
 
Last edited:

Zapper

Registered Member
#3
Thank you so much for the information. I really appreciate it! I'll just elaborate on some of the points you've made so you guys can better understand where I'm coming from on this.

Define "successful", will you be found unfit? if your command and the doctors agree you cannot perform in your AFSC then yes you will be found unfit. Will you receive retirement vs severance is the big question.
This is tricky because our job has 2 different offices. One that does the actual surgeries and stands very often and one that does not stand much and cleans the instruments. It's pretty much a glorified dish washer job but you get to sit a lot. The biggest issue is with PT really. That and the fact that with either office I cannot get stronger medications than Naproxen because anything we do wrong can/will effect a patient directly (say I'm on a drug that makes me loopy, I forget to pack an instrument, surgeons need instrument, causes a surgical delay...hypothetical there but just an example).

blood pressure in and of itself is a condition not a disability unless it gets way out of control. at the 150/100 numbers you should be on meds, with the meds you would receive a 10% rating-BUT it is unlikely that 10% would be in your DoD percentage, and instead just your VA numbers.
I'm probably going to push for him to give me the medications. I was going to need them at some point anyways. Every single member of my family, from both sides, have high blood pressure problems.

Anxiety/depression etc. depends on your GAF score and a host of over things. again it is not the condition that gets the rating it is how it affects you.
I don't know what a GAF score is but it effects me pretty bad. I have social anxiety and I wont have the motivation to leave my residence other than to go to work. I have panic attacks so bad sometimes that I cannot even be around people. I have had panic attacks randomly come up when speaking to co-workers I have known for years. The depression in and of itself is just dandy. I hate myself, my style of life, and just about everything else. So of course I haven't even had a relationship for years now. I am not able to lead because I am too afraid of what people will say, I constantly think they are talking behind my back, and I just come off weird to people at times. It's been a real roller coaster with this one and my PCM says likely I'll be on the meds for the rest of my life because the symptoms are not going to regress. The last PT test I was speaking of I had this morning and I did not pass it - I managed to call my supervisor on her cell before going into a panic attack that ended with me vomiting.

pec muscle strain/low back- ANY orthopedic condition is rated based upon range of motion end of story. if you can rotate your arm regardless if it changes when you lift weight then no rating. LOW BACK- based upon range of motion regardless if buldging/blown disks, arthritis or anything- purerly range of motion. The lower your range of motion the higher the percentage assigned.
My pec is getting better. They did some acupuncture thing the other day where they stuck a needle a few times into the muscle and agitated the muscle to get it to heal. I've seen progress with that one and I think Physical Therapy is pleased with it as well.

As for my back, it's my most pressing and long standing issue, I've never had them take measurements. I've never been referred to Physical Therapy for it. They've just tried to medicate it away for 2 years straight and failed dismally at that lol. I just had an X-Ray about a month ago and I need to go back to my PCM for a referral for a MRI he wanted done. So I'm not sure what's wrong with my back at all. However it does keep me from doming aspects of my job like I said above.

if your PCM referrers you to the MEB for the low back and anxiety, you stand a chance of getting greater than 30% and retirement. if just your low back then it is solely based on ROM.
I haven't asked him about a MEB yet. Is it appropriate to bring it up to him?

You mention your prior to service careers and the impact they may/,ay not of had and you are short on years of service (less than 8) so it may be-especially if you have discussed with your PCM and/or your entry exam noted the conditions that you are found EPTS (existed prior to service) this is a slippery slope that would lead to a zero percent rating and put a burden on you to prove that the service aggravated your conditions.
I've never told them this. This is an unofficial suspicion. It's not on record. I just wanted to put some background info into this post.

Everyone on here in the MEB category is fighting in the system, some are fighting for a fair outcome, others are fighting for their career, some are fighting for their life, and some are just fighting to get through the bureaucracy and make it to the end. you have to determine what you want your outcome to be and be proactive in ensuring that outcome becomes a reality. Discuss openly with your commander before/during the initial stages when they are tasked with writing your commanders letter (NMA-non-medical assessment) on how your disabilities affect your AFSC/general military duties. Do not be centric to the PT test only, place emphasis on the ability to deploy, to stand, to wear military gear, to drive while medicated etc. point out your mental condition could lead to problems in the performance of your duties that could affect patient health etc. .
Ok I will do this. I just initiated the question to my supervisor today and I'll have to see what comes of it. She said she would consult the flight chief. I'll try to push it because the fact is I am not deployable and I haven't been for sometime now, the mental health issues are making it insanely difficult to do anything even when controlled, I can't do the PT test and I am about chronically ashamed of that, and I really cannot stand for long periods of time or lift.

I am hoping my outcome will be a successful MEB and with the GI Bill a chance to higher my education by going to Nursing School.

I am not suggesting you lie, in fact that is the worse thing you can do, but to man up when questioned because thats what we do, can/will affect your desired outcome. Educate dyourself early on the AFI's and DoDI's in regards to the IDES system. be ready for it, be politice, be courteous and above all else be patient. best of luck and welcome to the PEBFORUM.
Hope I added a lot more information that was useful! Thank you for the welcome and thank you for the advice again :)
 

TSgt Twitch

PEB Forum Veteran
#4
it is not a "legal request" per sei to request your PCM start an MEB on you, but you can openly discuss it with them. only your PCM or CC can initiate a request for MEB.

You mention your PCM in regards to the social anxiety, have you sought/do you have mental health treatment records rather civilian or military mental health?

In regards to the measurements/gaf scores etc. as part of the IDES process, you will attend medical appointments known as C&P (compensation and pension) exams for all claimed conditions including referred conditions, BUT anything in your military/civilian records during your enlistment period are applicable evidence and should be submitted.

I gather you opinion of "successful" meb at this point is just to get out honorably with at least continuing care for you conditions. with the inability to deploy/complete the PT test or to perform ALL aspects of your AFSC and rank/grade then it would not be outside the realm of possibility you would easily receive an "unfit" determination. ( i word it like that because it is always possible you receive a fit determination).

Now to some NCO stuff I feel compelled to include- What number of failur eis this for your PT test? this is important because if you meet a review board and you do not have evidence supporting medical unfitness at that exact time, you could very easily be fast tracked out, yes by regulation if you have a condition meeting the criteria for an MEB you are supposed to receive one, but that does not always happen and not many folks realize that they get screwed until its too late. HOWEVER keep in mind, that should this happen as long as all your medical conditions are annotated you still can file for VA compensation which will cover your conditions at time of discharge. but in the case of PT failures I have seen this be for lack of a better term "pencil whipped" without an actual in depth review of your records in order to expedite discharge.
 

Zapper

Registered Member
#5
You mention your PCM in regards to the social anxiety, have you sought/do you have mental health treatment records rather civilian or military mental health?
It should all be military and he's seen me pretty much from the start of all this. So it should be all in the system. I don't know if it matters but we're talking about the regular clinic here - he has not referred me to psych of any sort of evaluation or anything. He's just trying to medicate it away which is pretty consistent with all his other treatments lol.


Now to some NCO stuff I feel compelled to include- What number of failur eis this for your PT test? this is important because if you meet a review board and you do not have evidence supporting medical unfitness at that exact time, you could very easily be fast tracked out, yes by regulation if you have a condition meeting the criteria for an MEB you are supposed to receive one, but that does not always happen and not many folks realize that they get screwed until its too late. HOWEVER keep in mind, that should this happen as long as all your medical conditions are annotated you still can file for VA compensation which will cover your conditions at time of discharge. but in the case of PT failures I have seen this be for lack of a better term "pencil whipped" without an actual in depth review of your records in order to expedite discharge.
This is #2 in a 24 month period.

The first time I failed highlighted my back problem as I got back spasms in the middle of the sit up portion and was unable to finish them. It was my first PT test there so I had a SrA with me (I was A1C at the time) and he suggested I try to walk it off and do the run. Did the run and did great but because I did not get the min sit up score I failed. Neither of us knew I could sign out and report to the ER in the middle of the whole thing and make it null and void. So when I finished and THEN reported to the ER after the event it was already a done deal. I got an LOC by the commander who also noted that during it that she had to do it and she didn't want to do it mostly because I would have scored over a 90 if the back spasms would not have happened.

That was the start. My back pain increased from there. I think the long standing of the job definitely added to it and made it worse. Some of these surgeries you can end up standing for 5-8+ hours consecutively. You are sterile so you can't take a break or anything and a lot of times you have to twist so that you can retract for the doctor right when he needs it.

Second one was this morning. I've had a profile that says I cannot do anything. So I had stopped my PT routines a few months ago. I eat fairly healthy, I track my calorie intake with a android app, and I try to drink a gallon of water a day but it didn't matter. Guy taped my waist and said it was 39.5 (which I'm still trying to figure out because I wear a 36 pant size with room to spare). So this morning was a major shocker. Like I said. Massive panic attack caused me to get physically sick.

Hasn't gotten better. I am now getting a referral 3 EPR and I haven't even gone into the office yet because I was off today but I'm sure I'm in for an LOR tomorrow.

Also the flight chief denied any knowledge of MEB and said I *HAD* to do it through my provider. I'm not sure that's true from what I've read here. People said the commander could recommend it.

----------------------------------

Alternatively to the MEB I've also looked at the FY14 Force Reduction programs today. I may be eligible for the ENLISTED FY14 LIMITED ACTIVE DUTY SERVICE COMMITMENT (LADSC) PROGRAM but I need to check eligibility in MYPERS tomorrow. My only hiccup is knowing whether my AFSC is a control AFSC. I wouldn't get disability this way I don't think but at the same time it wouldn't be up to a board and take months upon months upon months. I see a lot of people here where it's taken a very long time and they've suffered during it.

It's outlined in PSDM 13-64 (I'll attach it...maybe others can use it)
 

Attachments