MEB failed spinal fusion

james.e.neuenschwander

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Well, I'm brand new here and mostly just looking for advice.
My story up to now;
Original injury in 2011 4-wheeling accident, herniated disc with right leg numbness, healed and went back to FFFD even with remaining numbness.

2014 August, new pain started. Began conservative treatment till someone had the bright idea that maybe I should get an MRI done to see if I had re-injured it. Lo and behold my L4-5 disc is ruptured and protruding into my spinal canal.

Jan 21 2015, ALIF spinal fusion with spacer conducted and it was miserable. Progressed well with healing and bone growth. Numbness almost completely gone. Around the start of July (6 months) my pain started getting worse instead of better. Went to physical therapy, got a second opinion from a neurologist and a new MRI done. They all said there was nothing they could fix surgically and everything looked in place.

06NOV15, My MEB was completed and signed. Supposedly routing up within the next week or so. Current symptoms are radiculopathy in right leg, loss of motion, muscle atrophy in stomach where the incision was made due to keloid bonding to muscle, low back pain, anxiety, and muscle spasms. They have only included the low back pain, post laminectomy syndrome, DDD, and spinal fusion as the official symptoms on the package. I am due to have a Spinal Cord Stimulator installed on the 20th of this month as a hopeful alternative to opiate use. I'm battling with my weight and have completely changed my diet as I have been ordered no PT or lifting more than 10lbs, also dealing with the anxiety through counseling and psych, as it is all affecting my marriage and social life as well.

So my questions are should the radiculopathy, anxiety and atrophy be included in the package as well since they are all stemming from the same cause? The doctor who is routing the packet has said they were not including it on the basis that it was only my back pain that was the disqualifying condition and not any of the other things.

if it is ignored during my first board is it worth it trying to get the percentage from the military if I am already over 30% or would it be time better spent in trying to argue it to the VA?

Starting next month I will be apart from the wife until the medical is completed. So I am trying to gauge if it is worth it to try and argue the percentage with the military or if it is just wasted time since the VA seems to be more accomodating.

I have a copy of the NARSUM and it mentions the radiculopathy breifly but it isn't specifically listed as a condition on the summary pages.

Given the information that is listed in the examination he did for the MEB I should be getting at least 40% for my back based on ROM. I am unsure if they could say I have incapacitating episodes as my surgery was just done in January or if they could argue that it is frozen since i have an altered gait because of it.

This is what causes me to debate about arguing for the radiculopathy, anxiety and atrophy. I don't know if it is worth arguing about it so long as I am over 30% or if it is just better to deal with the VA.

I created almost an identical thread under the spine specific forum but figured this section might be able to help with some more specific answers.
 

scoutCC

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
So my questions are should the radiculopathy, anxiety and atrophy be included in the package as well since they are all stemming from the same cause?
No. It is not a question of cause, it is a question of effect. Each condition needs to answer the fundamental question that is basically: if not for this problem, could I still serve? What does the radiculopathy prevent you from accomplishing? What limitations does the anxiety cause? What is unsafe for me to do because of the atrophy. Etc.

if it is ignored during my first board is it worth it trying to get the percentage from the military if I am already over 30% or would it be time better spent in trying to argue it to the VA?
In the most basic sense, there is a value in a higher rating. The most fundamental value is it preserves the issue. Maybe they give you TDRL and having more conditions that are unfit makes that less scary. Maybe the VA comes back with the wrong rating, but the overall effect is ok since the other conditions are unfit. Maybe they change the laws someday and chapter 61 retirees get dual receipt. Maybe you just want things to be done correctly.

Most people care about the $ that hits the bank account every month. It is likely that this will not be the effect you see, but that can't be answered with the information provided. Rank, years of service, overall VA %, CRSC eligibility can play a role in knowing that.

It's very difficult for someone on the outside to judge the cost of time. An extra 6 months for an appeal is a short time period when measured against your life span. That said, a single day towards a goal you don't care about is probably wasted. You definitely care about being with the wife, I have no idea how much you care about the other things..
 
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