Spondylolisthesis and Social Security Disability Benefits
If you suffer from spondylolisthesis, especially if it is advanced and the symptoms are very severe, you know how that changes your life. If your specific case does not qualify you for surgery, you may still be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. However, the disability claims process can be complex if you have no experience, and little understanding of how impairments are evaluated in making disability determinations.
Spondylolisthesis is an anatomical abnormality that does not, by its mere appearance on imaging studies, imply symptoms or functional limitation. It is a spinal condition in which one of the vertebra slips forward from the verterbra below. There are various degrees of slippage, labeled as grades 1 through 5, depending on the severity of the symptoms. A complete slip, beyond that of a Grade 5, where the vertebra no longer sits on the respective vertebra below, is called spondyloptosis.
There are five major types of lumbar spondylolisthesis.
Dysplastic spondylolisthesis: Dysplastic spondylolisthesis is caused by a defect in the formation of part of the vertebra called the facet that allows it to slip forward. This is a condition that a patient is born with (congenital).
Isthmic spondylolisthesis: In Isthmic spondylolisthesis, there is a defect in a portion of the vertebra called the pars interarticularis. If there is a defect without a slip, the patient has spondylolysis. Isthmic spondylolisthesis can be caused by repetitive trauma and is more common in athletes exposed to hyperextension motions including gymnasts, and football linemen.
Degenerative spondylolisthesis: Degenerative spondylolisthesis occurs due to arthritic changes in the joints of the vertebrae due to cartlidge degeneration. Degenerative spondylolisthesis is more common in older patients.
Traumatic spondylolisthesis: Traumatic spondylolisthesis is due to direct trauma or injury to the vertebrae. This can be caused by a fracture of the pedicle, lamina or facet joints that allows the front portion of the vertebra to slip forward with respect to the back portion of the vertebra.
Pathologic spondylolisthesis: Pathologic spondylolisthesis is caused by a defect in the bone caused by abnormal bone, such as from a tumor.
Treatment for severe spondylolisthesis is spinal fusion surgery. This surgery brings the vertebrae back into proper alignment and a metal plate is attached with screws to hold them in place. However, not every individual is a candidate for this surgery; it all depends on the specific case and whether there was too much damage prior to surgery.
If you have severe spondylolisthesis for which you cannot get surgery or for which surgery was not successful, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Without the assistance of a well qualified and experienced Social Security disability representative, your chances of a successful outcome may be compromised. Call the experienced Social Security disability representatives at GENEX today for a free initial consultation.
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