Back discomfort is one of the most common reasons people seek long-term disability insurance benefits. Disability insurance firms have a reputation for refusing requests for disability payments based on back complaints. However, if your inability to work is due to another medical condition, such as surgery or an auto accident, then your insurer has the right to pay you benefits.
Disability insurers use the "own occupation" standard when determining whether you are eligible for benefits. This means they will only pay you if you cannot perform the material duties of your own occupation. If you can perform the duties of some other job, you aren't eligible for benefits. Your disability insurer may also ask you about seeking work available in the national economy. If you can make a successful transition to another job, then you shouldn't need disability benefits.
If you believe you are disabled and want to verify your eligibility, contact your employer's employee assistance program (EAP). Many employers offer programs that provide free counseling and other services to their employees.
If your employer does not have an EAP, contact your local social security office. They can help you identify possible sources of income that may not be apparent from just reading your policy documents.
Back discomfort is frequently associated with the following conditions:
Back pain is one of the most common complaints that individuals have to their doctors. Nearly 65 million Americans report having recently suffered back discomfort. Some 16 million individuals, or 8% of all adults, suffer from persistent or chronic back pain, limiting their ability to engage in various daily activities. Back problems are the number one reason for missed work days.
The vertebral column consists of the bones of the spine (including the skull) and their supporting structures. It is made up of seven cervical (neck) segments, twelve dorsal (back) segments, five lumbar (low back) segments, and four sacral (base of the spine) segments. Each segment has a characteristic curve called a lordosis or kyphosis. The curves of the different segments help to support the body's weight as well as provide flexibility for day-to-day movement.
There are many factors that can lead to back problems including being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, smoking, alcohol abuse, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, stress, depression, and use of drugs and/or medications that can cause back pain. Older individuals are more likely to experience back problems due to natural changes in the bone structure that can lead to increased risk of injury or instability. Women are more likely than men to experience back problems during pregnancy because of hormonal changes that can increase the risk of injury to the spine.
To earn Social Security Disability payments, your back condition must match one of Social Security's disability listings for back issues, or you must convince the claims examiner that your back problems impair your functioning to the point where there are no employment available to you. The listing describes 1 million Americans who are disabled because of their backs. They can receive payment without filing a claim if they meet the duration requirement (20 CMI in three years). Otherwise, they need to file a claim.
Social Security considers your impairment to be severe if it limits you to performing a limited range of light work. "Light" work involves lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds. Even though your job may not require you to lift these amounts regularly, if on average you do so over the course of an eight-hour workday, you're doing light work. If your employer requires you to perform tasks other than light work, such as standing or walking for much of the day, then you're not eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Social Security also considers your impairment to be severe if it is listed in appendix 1 of its regulations. These are the most common impairments people apply for when trying to prove that they're disabled. If your impairment is not on this list, it cannot be used as a basis for receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Many common, daily causes of back pain, such as herniated discs, may be evaluated in an urgent care facility. If you are unable to visit your main physician or simply want a rapid diagnosis, you can go to a walk-in clinic for back pain. These facilities tend to be less crowded than emergency rooms and often have more capable staff who can give you appropriate referrals for further evaluation or treatment.
The best option for back pain depends on the cause of the problem. For example, if you have a serious injury such as a broken bone, you will need to see a doctor. However, if your back pain is due to something more common or insignificant, like muscle strain, then an urgent care center can help.
Urgent care centers are convenient options for evaluating and treating back pain. They offer quick visits that don't require an appointment, which helps people who may not otherwise be able to see a primary care provider. Back problems are one of the most common reasons patients seek care at these facilities. The staff typically has more training and experience dealing with these issues than those found in traditional family medicine practices, and they can give you appropriate referrals to other providers if necessary.
You should always check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers visits to urgent care centers.
Back discomfort can be caused by psychological stress. Though it may seem difficult to accept, mental or emotional anguish might be the cause of your back pain. Indeed, there is a broad range of physical symptoms that have been linked to stress and worry, including exhaustion. Headache, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and muscular tension are all common results of stress, and these problems can also manifest in your back.
Stress can also trigger back pain through poor posture. If you sit for long periods of time at a desk without getting up every hour or so, over time this can lead to serious health concerns. Back pain is just one of those issues; you should also seek treatment for diabetes or heart disease, which can also result from sitting too much. Standing up occasionally and stretching will help alleviate some of the negative effects of stress on your body.
Finally, stress can bring on back pain through repetitive motion. If you work at a computer job that requires you to spend most of your day seated, then you're likely using your muscles in ways they were not intended to be used. Over time, this can lead to serious health issues like carpal tunnel syndrome or lower back pain. Try to change your job duties or ask your boss for a modification to your current setup. This might be possible if you tell them what's causing the problem and why you need a fix.