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Back Injury Va Disability Rating

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Organic Diseases Of The Central Nervous System

VA Disability Rating for Lower Back Pain

8000 Encephalitis, epidemic, chronic.

8210 Tenth , paralysis.

8211 Eleventh , paralysis.

8212 Twelfth , paralysis.

8305 Neuritis, fifth cranial nerve.

8307 Neuritis, seventh cranial nerve.

8309 Neuritis, ninth cranial nerve.

8310 Neuritis, tenth cranial nerve.

8311 Neuritis, eleventh cranial nerve.

8312 Neuritis, twelfth cranial nerve.

8405 Neuralgia, fifth cranial nerve.

8407 Neuralgia, seventh cranial nerve.

8409 Neuralgia, ninth cranial nerve.

8410 Neuralgia, tenth cranial nerve.

8411 Neuralgia, eleventh cranial nerve.

8412 Neuralgia, twelfth cranial nerve.

Filing A Claim For Va Benefits

If you have back pain as a result of your military service, you can file a claim for VA disability benefits. You will need to provide evidence linking the cause to your time in service.

If you would like help with your claim, contact the team at Woods and Woods for guidance. We never charge veterans for help filing the initial application. Our team works diligently to submit your application correctly, allowing you to avoid the lengthy VA disability appeals process.

How Does Va Rate My Back Disability

VA ratings come from VAs regulations which are published in the Code of Federal Regulations . Different medical conditions have different diagnostic codes.

For disabilities of the spine, VA uses diagnostic codes between 5235 and 5243. These diagnostic codes fall within the spine section of VAs diagnostic codes.

Among other things, these codes cover diagnoses for:

  • Vertebral fracture and dislocation
  • Degenerative arthritis of the spine
  • Intervertebral disc syndrome
  • Spinal stenosis

The formula that VA uses to rate back disabilities with a diagnosis code between 5235 and 5242is the same. That formula actually covers both the cervical and thoracolumbar parts of the spine. This article will only focus on the portion of that formula that relates to the thoracolumbar spine.

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What Conditions Are Secondary To Back Pain

Some veterans who are service connected for a back injury are later diagnosed with radiculopathy, a condition that causes tingling, pain, or numbness. This is an example of a situation in which a veteran can receive benefits for a secondary service connection. When a condition that was caused or aggravated by activity during military service leads to another condition, that condition is eligible for benefits.

When assigning a rating for radiculopathy, the VA will take into account which nerve is affected, as well as whether the radiculopathy affects the dominant hand or leg and the severity of the symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, sensory changes, and functional impact.

Lumbar spine radiculopathy can also result in a condition known as foot drop, which is rated from 10 to 40%.

Chronic Pain Va Benefits Summary

VA Disability Ratings for Back Pain and Spinal Arthritis
  • The VA has opened a way to give VA Disability Ratings based on pain without a clear cause of the pain.
  • The VA will give some veterans disability benefits based on the area and impact of the pain on their daily life if they can prove it is service-connected.
  • Since the Gulf War, more Veterans are applying for benefits for chronic pain, and other medically unexplained conditions and the VA is listening!

Undiagnosed pain, including undiagnosed chronic pain, was treated as an unratable disability until 2018. Even if doctors and VA claims adjudicators believed that the veteran suffered from pain, the VAs policy was to reject all claims for VA disability benefits for pain alone, without a diagnosed or identifiable underlying malady or condition.

This all changed in 2018 when a court of appeals held that pain, by itself, is a functional impairment of a veterans earning capacity regardless of the condition or the disease-causing the pain. Under this court case, the VA must allow claims for VA disability benefits for chronic pain even when the veteran is unable to specify the cause of the pain.

This shift in policy is significant. The VA cannot reject claims for VA disability benefits for chronic pain merely because the pain cannot be explained. This opens the VAs disability benefits system to claims for VA disability benefits for chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other medical conditions that center around pain as a primary symptom of the condition.

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Radiculopathy And Back Pain

Spinal conditions are also known to sometimes cause nerve problems. One of the most common conditions secondary to spinal conditions is radiculopathy.

Radiculopathy is caused by compressed nerves in the spine and results in pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness along the nerve. If radiculopathy is caused by a low back condition, the individuals will feel the symptoms in the lower extremities . If radiculopathy is caused by a neck condition, the symptoms will be felt in the shoulder and can travel down the arm and into the hand.

If your spinal condition results in the development of a new disability or makes an existing disability worse, remember that you may be entitled to secondary service-connection for the new or aggravated disability. These conditions under the secondary rating disabilities would be rated separately from the primary spinal condition.

Va C& p Exams For Back Pain

After you file your claim, the VA may decide to conduct a compensation and pension compensation exam on your back or spine if they need more information or medical evidence to support your claim.

C& P exams help VA evaluators determine the severity of your condition and assign a rating for it. Your rating will determine your eligibility for monthly payments and other VA health care benefits, according to the VA.

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What Should I Tell My Va For Back Pain

If you are suffering from back pain and want to get compensation from the VA, there are several things you should know before you begin the claim process. First, you must have a specific diagnosis. The diagnosis should indicate that the back pain you are suffering was related to your service. Common diagnoses include spinal stenosis, cervical strain, segmental instability, vertebral fracture, and ankylosing spondylitis.

When evaluating the severity of your back pain, the VA will assign you a rating based on the severity of your pain and your range of motion. If your back pain is caused by a lumbar spinal radiculopathy, the VA will rate you accordingly. Your rating will range from 10 to 40. You should also know that the severity of your pain depends on which nerve is involved. If youre suffering from chronic back pain, you should work with your treating physician to determine the exact cause of your pain and the best treatment for your condition. You should also discuss your service history with your VA examiner. By discussing your symptoms and your service history, you will increase your chances of receiving the right diagnosis.

Back Pain Va Rating Chart:

WINNING a VA Disability Rating for Back Pain
  • 100% VA Disability for Back Pain: Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire spine
  • 50% VA Disability Rating for Back Pain: Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine
  • 40% VA Rating for Back Pain: Unfavorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine or, forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine 30 degrees or less or, favorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine
  • 30% VA Rating for Back Pain: Forward flexion of the cervical spine 15 degrees or less or, favorable ankylosis of the entire cervical spine
  • 20% VA Disability Rating for Back: Forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine greater than 30 degrees but not greater than 60 degrees or, forward flexion of the cervical spine greater than 15 degrees but not greater than 30 degrees or, the combined range of motion of the thoracolumbar spine not greater than 120 degrees or, the combined range of motion of the cervical spine not greater than 170 degrees or, muscle spasm or guarding severe enough to result in an abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour such as scoliosis, reversed lordosis, or abnormal kyphosis

*If no limitation of range of motion is observed, but the claimant has painful motion, the minimum rating or 10% should be applied.

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What Is The Average Va Disability Rating For Back Pain

The average VA disability rating for back pain is 10%.

Remember, even if you have full range of motion, if theres painful motion, you should be awarded the minimum compensable rating for back pain, which is 10%.

If youve had surgery, and still have limitation of range of motion and painful movement, you can expect a rating of 20% or higher.

Establishing A Service Connection For Back Pain

A veteran must be able to trace their back pain to a specific injury which took place on active duty and establish a connection between their condition and their military service to obtain disability benefits. The link between a veterans disability and an in-service event is known as the nexus.

There are a number of ways to establish an in-service connection for back pain. Tracing back pain to an injury or event that occurred during a persons active duty service is the simplest way to establish a nexus. This can be done by referencing military service records.

For many former servicemembers, injuries during strenuous training exercising are the cause of their chronic back pain. A veteran who can successfully provide an in-service connection for their back pain will automatically receive a 10 percent disability rating based on pain alone. Regardless of the specific event or series of events that caused a veteran to suffer back pain, testimony from a medical expert that the pain resulted from active duty military service is crucial to receiving the most accurate disability rating.

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Pain And Underlying Conditions

Previously, the VA only awarded former servicemembers with benefits for a chronic back condition and pain did not factor in with the rating. Today, veterans back pain injury claims are compensable with a current diagnosis that is linked to their time in service. This change has dramatically improved the odds of a veteran obtaining the disability benefits they are entitled to.

How Will The Va Calculate My Disability Rating For Back Pain

What Is The Va Disability Rating For Herniated Discs

Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions that veterans experience after their military service. It could result from a single incident, or from weeks of patrolling with heavy gear. Whatever the reason, it can severely affect your quality of life and earning ability after your discharge. The VA has a complex mechanism for determining your disability rating if you have back pain, based on your range of movement and the amount of pain you report. The more these factors affect your earning ability, the higher your disability rating will be.

AtJackson & MacNichol, weve helped many injured veterans get thecompensation they deserve from the VA. In many of these cases, the VA wasunwilling to give an adequate rating percentage, or even to admit that the backpain was caused by military service at all. By gathering additional medicalevidence and leading your case through the appeals process, we can usuallyreverse a bad VA ratings decision and get you the monthly compensation youdeserve. Call us today at 1-800-524-3339 for a free case consultation.

The VA Factors Range of Motion, Pain, and OtherInjuries in Determining Your Rating

How a Disability Compensation Lawyer Can Help

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Proving Va Service Connection For Your Back Condition

According to the VA, to prove a service-related back injury you must:

  • Provide VA, military or private medical records related to your back pain injury claim that support when your condition began and how it has worsened over time.
  • Provide military separation documents, including your DD-214
  • Provide supporting statements from family members, friends, clergy members, law enforcement personnel or those you served with that can tell the VA more about your claimed condition and how and when it happened or how it got worse.

Functional Loss Full Definition

Disability of the musculoskeletal system is primarily the inability, due to damage or infection in parts of the system, to perform the normal working movements of the body with normal excursion, strength, speed, coordination and endurance.

It is essential that the examination on which ratings are based adequately portray the anatomical damage, and the functional loss, with respect to all these elements.

The functional loss may be due to absence of part, or all, of the necessary bones, joints and muscles, or associated structures, or to deformity, adhesions, defective innervation, or other pathology, or it may be due to pain, supported by adequate pathology and evidenced by the visible behavior of the claimant undertaking the motion.

Weakness is as important as limitation of motion, and a part which becomes painful on use must be regarded as seriously disabled.

A little used part of the musculoskeletal system may be expected to show evidence of disuse, either through atrophy, the condition of the skin, absence of normal callosity or the like.

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How Hard Is It To Get Va Disability For Back Problems

There is no data available on the approval rate of VA back pain claims. Anecdotally, in online forums some veterans said they breezed through the self-directed claims process while others complained of denials and lengthy appeals.

A veteran service organization such as AMVETS, the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars can assist you with your claim or appeal. These organizations are experienced in navigating the VA claims process and can work on your behalf.

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Here is a list of VA-accredited Veteran Service Organizations that can help with your claim.

Additionally, you can reach out to an attorney that specializes in VA disability claims. But, keep in mind that this option may be costly. In addition to legal fees for a retainer, you may need to cover additional associated medical costs, like an appointment for a second opinion.

How The Veterans Law Group Can Help

The Experts Guide to VA Disability Ratings for Back Pain [NEW TIPS!]

If you are a veteran suffering from a back injury or damage to your spine from your service in the military, the Veterans Law Group can help. No matter what the VA disability rating for your back injury might be, we can offer insight into your claim and offer guidance for your next step. If you are unhappy with the decision from the VA, an attorney can be your best advocate. Contact an attorney at the Veterans Law Group at 888-811-0523.

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How Is Hip Pain Rated Secondary To Back Injury

Hip pain can be related to back injury due to several pre-existing injuries, like degenerative disc disease . However, any major back injury may lead to hip injury over time. Thats because the spine and hips are intrinsically connected in the body.

Your spine affects how you walk, how you carry your weight, and how much pressure is placed on your hip joints. If your spine is negatively affected due to your military service for example, you have to place more weight on your hips than your spine that could lead to a secondary condition.

That said, spine injuries or conditions do not always lead to hip pain. If you seek disability benefits for your secondary hip pain, youll need to prove that the hip pain comes from your back injury or condition.

What Is Limitation Of Range Of Motion For Va Disability For Back Pain

The limitation of range of motion principle is arguably the most important principle that applies to VA disability ratings for back pain.


Because the general rating formula for diseases and injuries of the spine talk about flexion, which is the act of flexing or bending.

Any limitation of Range of Motion should be measured with a Goniometer by the medical professional at your VA C& P Exam for Back Pain.

You must be open, honest, and truthful at your C& P exam for back pain, and make sure to STOP the C& P examiner as soon as you feel any pain.

If you cant move at all without pain, make sure to let the examiner know that.

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How To Get Disability Benefits For Depression Secondary To Back Pain

It can be difficult to receive disability benefits for depression secondary to back pain. Depression is a mental health condition with fewer outward symptoms than physical ailments or injuries. Furthermore, proving a nexus element for a secondary condition can be tougher than establishing it for a primary injury or illness.

To apply for disability benefits for depression secondary to back pain, youll need to gather and submit private medical records, establish a nexus opinion, and contact legal professionals. Well break down each of these steps in more detail below.

Va Disability Benefits For Back Pain And Conditions

Va Disability Percentage Per Injury

You can receive VA benefits for back pain, even if your doctor hasnt diagnosed you with a specific condition.

Back pain can be a debilitating and chronic condition for a veteran, making it extremely difficult to be gainfully employed. The good news is that VA benefits are available for those suffering from long-lasting back pain, even its not attributed to a known back condition.

If you can link your back pain to your military service or prove that your active duty time worsened a preexisting condition, compensation is available to you.

To receive these benefits, youll have to provide medical records confirming that youve visited a doctor because of your back pain and link your disability to your service.

Heres how youll go about receiving VA benefits for your back pain.

VA claims for a back condition

The most straightforward way to win your VA claim is to have a specific diagnosis of a back condition related to your service. If your doctor documents a back injury that you can trace to your time in the military, the process is pretty simple.

Common back conditions include spinal stenosis, a cervical strain, segmental instability, a vertebral fracture, or ankylosing spondylitis. Some of these disabilities are injuries, while others are degenerative conditions, but they can all receive a medical diagnosis from your doctor.

A VA claim for back pain

How the VA assigns disability ratings

For intervertebral disc syndrome, youre eligible for:

Your employability matters

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