Piriformis Syndrome and Social Security Disability

Seeking Social Security Disability for Piriformis Syndrome

If you have been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome and your condition makes you unable to work, you may be eligible to get approved for Social Security disability benefits. Piriformis syndrome is a rare neuromuscular disorder that impacts the sciatic nerve and the piriformis muscle. Because the sciatic nerve is compressed, you can suffer multiple symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, or pain that starts in the buttocks then extends down the legs. You may suffer from lower back pain. Its severe pain can be debilitating impacting your ability to perform your daily tasks as well as your ability to work.

While it may be a condition that is difficult to diagnose, there are two clinically validated tests that can determine the condition. These include the FAIR-test, which is electrophysiological and measures the delay of sciatic nerve conductions as the piriformis muscle is stretched against it, and the other is a kind of MRI called magnetic resonance neurography, that highlights the nerves and inflammation. The syndrome can be the result of anatomical variations in the relationship of nerves and muscles or from strain and overuse. It can cause severe pain and discomfort in those who suffer from it.

Piriformis syndrome can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of control of your hip, knee, leg, ankle, or foot on the side in which you have a piriform muscle disrupting your sciatic nerve functioning. Because many nerve groups and muscles are involved, you can be disabled from the debilitating pain and mobility problems resulting from it.

Your Piriformis Syndrome may qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.

The Cost of Treating Piriformis Syndrome

There can be symptomatic relief from the nerve and muscle pain by using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. The more conservative treatment approach starts with stretching exercises, massage, myofascial release, and avoiding activities that can contribute to or worsen the problem, such as running, bicycling, and rowing. Formal physical therapy may be required. Botox injections may be used to inactivate the piriformis muscle for 3 to 6 months while not causing impaired activity or leg weakness. The last resort, for severe cases, is surgical intervention. ‘

The average cost of treating piriformis syndrome was $29,070, which include an average hospital stay of 4 days, according to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, many people who experience the syndrome have flair ups that put them back in the situation time and time again. This adds to the expense and the downtime that is suffered from the syndrome and the problems that it can cause those who suffer from it. It has been diagnosed in patients of various ages from their 20s through their 80s.

Medical Approval for Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a medical guide known as the Blue Book. In order to meet the medical criteria for benefits approval, you have to meet or match a listed in condition in that guide. Piriformis syndrome and sciatica have no dedicated listing in the Blue Book. You would have to meet another condition in terms of severity of symptoms and how they impact your ability to work.

You will have to provide documented physical cause for your symptoms, documentation showing that despite treatment you continue to have debilitating pain, and restrictions dictated by your treating doctor make performing work impossible.

When evaluating your claim for piriformis syndrome, the SSA will consider the impacts of chronic pain. It is difficult to prove your pain because it is subjective and challenging to prove because all evidence is objective, you must supply detailed medical records that provide consistent documentation and descriptions of your pain and any treatment efforts that you have done in attempts to treat the pain. If you can’t meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing, you can still be approved using a residual functioning capacity and the medical-vocational allowance.

Because the condition involves multiple nerve groups and several muscles, you need to show every part that is impacted and to what level of severity your piriformis syndrome can be listed. The more severe the syndrome and the worse your symptoms, the greater are your odds for being granted approval for benefits.

Using a Residual Functioning Capacity for Benefits Approval

A residual functional capacity (RFC) is a detailed form that is completed by your treating doctor that explains your limitations and restrictions in detail. Because you are suffering from chronic pain, it is often treated with rest and physical therapy, which can also interfere with your ability to work. If your nerve and muscle pain makes it impossible for you to stand more than an hour without having to reposition that should be indicated on the form.

If your physician has prescribed neurological pain medication, such as Neurontin, and it makes your drowsy, you shouldn’t operate machinery or heavy equipment and that should be stated.

If the pain, burning, and numbness in your legs make it almost impossible for you to walk considerable distances that should be pointed out as well. Also indicate if you are unable to lift repeatedly, bend, reach above your head, squat, or climb because of the severity of your condition. All of your symptoms and limitations are considered along with your age, work experience, transferrable skills, and education level.

If the RFC shows that you cannot perform your most recent job, the SSA has to determine that you cannot transfer to some other kind of work including light-duty tasks. After it is determined that you cannot work at all, you can be approved for disability benefits because of your condition.

Applying for Benefits

You can apply for disability benefits online at www.SSA.gov or by visiting your nearest SSA office. Because the process is very detailed and complicated, documentation is the key to winning approval of benefits. You need to show that you have undergone the proper testing, including scans, any documentation that shows a shortened muscle, and treatment records that show what you have tried to improve your condition.

You can be denied benefits twice, but you can appeal those rulings. The final step is a hearing before an administrative law judge. c

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