General back pain

Navcustom

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I have 3 herniated disk, 2 small fractures, DDD and spinodesthis(not sure on spelling) I've had shots in my back and physical therapy for the last year and I'm not really getting any better. I'm on shore duty that allows me to stay off LIMDU for now, but feel the time is coming. In general, is back pain rated at under 30%? From reading through here it seems most back pain people get 20%, which is not good for the family. I still want the medical benefits for the family. I have 13 years in and I'm trying to make it to 20. Is there hope or does it lean more towards and medical separation? Thanks for your advice.

Drew
 

Jason Perry

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Navcustom,

Welcome aboard! Back pain is not the criteria (except as it impacts your range of motion). Here is the rating criteria: http://www.pebforum.com/linked-veterans-affairs-schedule-rating-disabilities-vasrd/1024-vasrd-schedule-ratings-musculoskeletal-system-spine.html#post1601
I can tell you that historically they have not been rating backs correctly, nor at the proper level in my opinion. But at the same time, I have seen ratings well above 30%. It depends on the level of your limitation.

Also, remember, you can get rated both for thoracolumbar and cervical limitations.

Before we get to rating, though, you have to be found unfit. It sounds like you may have a case for a fit finding, if your condition does not significantly impact your duty performance. Finally, with the 2008 NDAA, there appears to be language supporting more findings for continuation on active duty.

Best of luck and let us know any questions.
 

robs42

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nav,
i'm just going through the DES for back issues. just had my MEB initiated in november 2007, w/an UNFIT finding.
i herniated my l5-s1 in august 2006. had a micro-discetomy in sept 2006. got worse then had a spinal fusion in may 2007. i'm pretty much worse now then i was in 2006. i have a ton of residual pain and neuro. issues now. my left leg, from my buttocks to my foot is shot, from nerve damage.
i will keep you updated as my case progresses. if u can keep us informed as well, i'm sure we will be able 2 help out all the others here going through a similar situation. good luck!
 

Navcustom

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Tucci, I hope things work out for you.

Jason, thank you, I know I can get by with fit for now because of shore duty, but what about when I go back to sea duty? The doc has already stated I will prob. not get a fit finding. I think that is when the LIMDU starts, hopefully, the pain just goes away.
 

Jason Perry

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You may eventually be boarded and found unfit. I would keep that in mind and be prepared for it. But, there are changes going on to the system now that may benefit you down the road. Also, there are changes that appear to allow more Servicemembers to stay on active duty even after an unfit finding.

How was your condition incurred? Was it combat related or incurred in a combat zone?
 

Navcustom

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It was not in a combat zone. They say it's from years of running and flying the hover craft, there is a lot of bouncing.
 

Jason Perry

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I would consider arging that the hovercraft caused this and thus it may be considered a result of combat-related activities. This is from an Army site on Combat-Related Special Compensation, but the law pertains to all services. IF you can get a finding on this, you benefits will be tax free and you may qualify for CRSC.

Definitions of combat-related:

In the performance of duty under conditions Simulating War (exercises, field training)
In general, this covers disabilities resulting from military training, such as war games, practice alerts, tactical exercises, airborne operations, leadership reaction courses, grenade and live fire weapons practice, bayonet training, hand-to-hand combat training, rapelling and negotiation of combat confidence and obstacle courses. It does not include physical training activities such as calisthenics and jogging or formation running and supervised sport activities.
While engaged in Hazardous Service(e.g., flight, diving, parachute duty)
Such service includes, but is not limited to, aerial flight, parachute duty, demolition duty, experimental stress duty, and diving duty. A finding that a disability is the result of such hazardous service requires that the injury or disease be the direct result of actions taken in the performance of such service. Travel to and from such service, or actions incidental to a normal duty status not considered hazardous are not included.
Through an Instrumentality of War (combat vehicles, weapons, Agent Orange, etc.)
Incurrence during actual period of war is not required. However, there must be a direct causal relationship between instrumentality of war and disability. The disability must be incurred incident to a hazard or risk of the service.
An instrumentality of war is a vehicle, vessel, or device designated primarily for Military Service and intended for use in such Service at the time of the occurrence or injury. It may include such instrumentalities not designated primarily for Military Service if use of, or occurrence involving, such instrumentality subjects the individual to a hazard peculiar to Military Service. Such use or occurrence differs from the use or occurrence under similar circumstances in civilian pursuits.

A determination that a disability is the result of an instrumentality of war may be made if the disability was incurred in any period of service as a result of such diverse causes as wounds caused by a military weapon, accidents involving military combat vehicle, injury or sickness caused by fumes, gases, or explosion or military ordinance, vehicles, or material.

As direct result of Armed Conflict
The disability is a disease or injury incurred in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict. The fact that a member incurred the disability during a period of war or an area of armed conflict or while participating in combat operations is not sufficient to support a combat-related determination. There must be a definite causal relationship between the armed conflict and the resulting disability.

Armed Conflict includes war, expedition, occupation of an area or territory, battle, skirmish, raid, invasion, rebellion, insurrection, guerilla action, riot or any other action in which service members are engaged with a hostile or belligerent nation, faction, force, or terrorists.

Armed Conflict may also include such situations as incidents involving a member while interned as a prisoner of war, or while detained against his or her will in custody of a hostile or belligerent force, or while escaping or attempting to escape from such confinement, prisoner of war, or detained status.
 

robs42

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Jason,
since my back injury happened at a live fire, tactical carbine course do you think i would be eligible under conditions simulating war?
 

Jason Perry

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Yes, that would clearly apply. However, you may have to document/provide evidence if the circumstances in order to get them to make that finding.
 

robs42

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PEB Forum Veteran
i have the LOD that clearly states it, so i'll keep my finger crossed. just what i need, one more thing to work on now, great:D
thanks jason!
 
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