Philadelphia Back Injury Attorney for Your Disability Insurance Benefits 

Seltzer & Associates has assisted many clients suffering from back pain with disability insurance claims. Many Americans experience back pain throughout their life. According to the National Institutes of Health, “about 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes” and it is a leading contributor to missed workdays. While most low back pain is short-term and only lasts a few days to a few weeks, about twenty percent of people who are affected by short-term low back pain develop chronic low back pain within one year. Seltzer & Associates has nationwide experience helping medical professionals with their disability insurance claims, and a Philadelphia back injury attorney can help you too. 

Back pain is most often the result of mechanical injuries and conditions, such as sprains and strains, intervertebral disc degeneration, herniated or ruptured discs, radiculopathy, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, traumatic injury, spinal stenosis, or skeletal irregularities. Sometimes, back pain can also result from infections, tumors, cauda equine syndrome, abdominal aortic aneurysms, kidney stones, inflammatory diseases of the joints, osteoporosis, endometriosis, or fibromyalgia. If you are suffering from back injury, back pain or have any of these conditions, contact a Philadelphia back injury attorney at Seltzer & Associates today to review your disability insurance claim.

Explaining Common Back Injuries

Understanding the source of your back injuries and pain can help your medical treatment team develop a comprehensive plan to treat your injury and address ongoing back pain. Traumatic injuries to the back can result from a variety of causes, including sporting accidents, vehicle collisions, slip and fall accidents, and other impact injuries. Ligaments and tendons can tear during these injuries and limit your mobility. An ongoing effect of a back injury can be back spasms or muscle contractions. Spasms can be limited to a single muscle or a group of muscles. Spasms can create a lack of control in physical motion due to the muscle contractions disrupting movement and oftentimes causing severe pain, preventing the ability to perform the essential duties of your medical specialty. 

Be thorough in describing your back pain. Include details about your back injury, medical conditions affecting your back injury and pain, your physical limitations including difficulty performing types of motions such as bending and rotating, and the type and severity of pain you experience from your back injury. Your Philadelphia Back Injury Attorney will assess all this information in presenting and supporting your claim for disability insurance benefits. 

Painful Conditions That Can Lead to Disability Claims

There are several conditions that can cause back pain resulting in disability. If you suffer from any of the following conditions, you need to contact a Philadelphia back disability attorney to discuss a claim for disability insurance benefits.

  • Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the cartilage between vertebrae deteriorates, causing back pain as well as pain throughout other parts of the body. 
  • A herniated disc, ruptured disc, or slipped disc occurs when the cartilage of the back disc breaks through the disc exterior and invades the spinal canal. This can be extremely painful as it can impact nerves and often results in pain, numbness, and tingling throughout the arms and legs. 
  • Osteoporosis can result in damage to the spine and cause severe back pain. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density and results in brittle and easier-to-break bones. This is particularly dangerous when this happens to vertebrae as it puts the spine at risk for damage due to vertebrae fracture. Surgery is often required to correct a break. Osteoporosis can also contribute to other conditions affecting the back and causing disabling back pain.

Inflammatory or autoimmune diseases affecting the vertebrae, such as ankylosing spondylitis, can cause vertebrae to fuse together resulting in decreased mobility and pain, and although it sounds counterintuitive, spinal fractures.

How is Lower Back Pain Diagnosed?

As back pain can result from so many different factors, analyzing whether or not your low back pain qualifies you for disability insurance benefits requires a thorough review of your medical records. Your treatment provider should perform a thorough back examination when you are in pain. Additionally, neurologic testing and imagining can be used to diagnose and treat your pain. Helpful tests include X-rays, computerized tomography (CT), myelograms, discography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrodiagnostic, bone scans, ultrasound imaging, and blood tests. If your doctor has examined your back and/or you have undergone testing and imaging, contact Seltzer & Associates today to review your disability insurance claim with a Philadelphia Back Injury Lawyer.

How is low back pain treated?

Your treatment provider may recommend hot or cold packs, activity, strengthening exercises, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, spinal mobilization, traction, acupuncture, nerve block therapies, epidural steroid injections, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), medications, or surgery. While your pain itself may be disabling, the side effects and time necessary for treatment and recovery are also evaluated and presented in your disability insurance claim. Side effects of medication such as drowsiness, constipation, decreased reaction time, impaired judgment, stomach irritation, ulcers, heartburn, diarrhea, fluid retention, and in rare cases kidney dysfunction and cardiovascular disease can all contribute to your disability insurance claim.

Surgical procedures such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, spinal laminectomy, discectomy or microdiscectomy, foraminotomy, intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET), nucleoplasty or plasma disc decompression (PDD), radiofrequency denervation, spinal fusion, and artificial disc replacement are often last resort options to relieve your back pain. However, when surgery is necessary, recovery can often take months and still lead to permanent loss of flexibility or a myriad of other possibly permanent conditions. If you must undergo surgery for your low back pain, this will further impact your disability insurance claim.

Back Injuries Require Extensive Treatment 

Back pain is considered chronic when it lasts for at least 12 weeks or 3 months. The chronic nature of pain necessitates ongoing treatment for resolving the back injury. If back pain progresses into a chronic condition, it can be devastating to a medical professional’s performance of their specialized area of practice. You do not have to suffer through this situation alone.

Patients can be in physical or occupational therapy for months, with numerous limitations on the activities the patient can perform. It can take months to recover from surgery and associated rehabilitation treating back injuries and pain. These long-term limitations can keep medical professionals from being able to perform their essential work duties for months, even years, or quite possibly permanently.

In addition, certain medications used to treat back pain have side effects that prevent doctors from working in their medical field. Fatigue, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating can prevent doctors from consulting on medical matters, conducting medical research, fully evaluating patients, developing treatment plans, and effectively rendering that treatment. If your own treatment protocol for your back pain prevents you from performing your essential duties as a medical professional, you need to contact a Philadelphia Back Injury Lawyer with nationwide experience to discuss your disability insurance benefits.

Does Disability Insurance Cover Back Injuries? 

A doctor explaining lumbar anatomy to back pain patientDisability insurance is protection that professionals should consider to safeguard their financial futures. No one plans or expects to become ill or incapacitated, though health can be a fragile thing. If an illness or injury is severe enough, it can prevent the afflicted from working in the same capacity. Absence from work due to disability can cause significant losses in income leaving medical professionals in difficult financial situations. Disability insurance benefits help bridge the financial gap caused by the loss of income. Financial concerns should not overwhelm you or your loved ones while you focus on treatment and recovery. Disability insurance benefits can alleviate some of your financial stress by securing an income stream while you cannot work.

Recovering from a back injury and dealing with ongoing pain can keep physicians from being able to work. Back injuries can result in physical limitations that impede the ability to practice your specialized area of medicine. Not being able to lift and maneuver patients limit a physician’s ability to examine and treat patients. Managing ongoing pain may involve taking serious medication that can impair the cognitive function necessary to assess and effectively treat patients.

Your back pain may prevent you from working in any capacity. Depending on the terms of your disability insurance policy, your insurer may scrutinize your ability to work in another occupation or capacity. When selecting your disability insurance plan, it is important to consider the applicable definitions that will affect your disability insurance benefits should you need them. An experienced Philadelphia back injury lawyer can guide you through the claims process, including explaining the differences in definitions such as any and own occupation or total and residual disability and working with you toward a favorable outcome of your claim.

Our Philadelphia Back Disability Attorney Explains Why Claims are Denied 

Disability insurance companies have obvious motives for denying claims for disability insurance benefits. Back pain is such a common complaint today that insurance adjusters are likely to scrutinize disability insurance claims based on back problems heavily. Some common reasons that back pain claims are denied include:

  • A lack of objective medical evidence supporting your limitations due to back pain. Unfortunately, not all sources of back pain can be identified through objective imaging.
  • Your back pain is subjective. Even those with similar objective evidence of their condition may have differing subjective pain levels that cannot be measured adequately via the typical evaluation. An individual’s pain should not be discounted.
  • The insurance company may order an assessment from a third party to evaluate pain levels, mobility, and other limitations due to back pain and then compare it to the assessments done by treating physicians. If the insurance company’s assessment is less restrictive than the treating physician’s, the insurance company may deny or terminate long-term disability insurance benefits.
  • The insurance company may also hire someone to conduct surveillance on an insured. Even brief moments of activity may give the insurance company a basis to deny or terminate disability insurance benefits. 

A Philadelphia long-term disability appeal lawyer can help you appeal an insurance company’s denial or termination of your disability claim.

Evidence Your Philadelphia Back Injury Attorney Will Present to Assist with Your Claim 

Your disability insurance company will evaluate your claim for benefits due to back pain with its own interests in mind. The insurer may suggest that you can still work despite the pains you continue to experience. With the help of a Philadelphia back injury attorney, you can build a strong case to prove your eligibility for disability benefits.

Examples of medical evidence that can support your case for disability insurance benefits due to back pain include:

  • Objective test results demonstrating the deteriorated condition of your back, including x-ray, MRI, and other imaging tests.
  • Evaluation reports that detail the limitations your back pain places on your ability to work.
  • Treatment notes and physician-ordered restrictions that prevent you from returning to work or other activities of daily living.
  • Records of ongoing treatment for your condition. Continued and appropriate care is a key piece of your disability insurance benefits claim.

Credibility is also an important component of any disability insurance claim. Neither you nor your treating physicians want to jeopardize your claim, so being thorough and accurate in describing your symptoms and limitations is key to bolstering your credibility with your disability insurance company. If your disability insurance company questions the veracity of your statements and evidence of disability, it will be difficult to secure disability benefits. An attorney can help present the evidence of your disability so that all parties have a complete and accurate understanding of your claim for benefits.

Contact a Philadelphia Back Disability Attorney to Maximize Your Disability Insurance Claim

Suffering from back injuries and chronic back pain can disrupt a medical career. Do not hesitate to seek help in claiming your disability insurance benefits. If you suffer from disabling low back pain, contact Seltzer & Associates today for a free initial consultation with a top Philadelphia Back Injury Lawyer to review your disability insurance benefits claim.