Social Security Attorneys Nampa Idaho

Musculoskeletal Examinations

Musculoskeletal Examinations

Your chances for receiving your disability for neck, back or joint condition depends on the quality of the medical evidence you can present to Social Security.  Not every doctor visit is the same.  You should request a full physical examination at each visit that includes important observations that will support your complaints of pain and limitation.  Contact one a Social Security Attorney in our Nampa Idaho office for an evaluation of your situation and what steps you can take to get your disability claim on track.

If you suffer from spinal symptoms, your examination should include observations from your doctor regarding the following:

  • gait
  • range of motion of the spine given quantitatively in degrees from the vertical position (zero degrees)
  • straight-leg raising from the sitting and supine position (zero degrees),
  • appropriate tension signs
  • motor and sensory abnormalities
  • muscle spasm
  • deep tendon reflexes

Be aware that your doctor will also include observations during the examination such as how you get on and off the examination table, your Inability to walk on the heels or toes, to squat, or to arise from a squatting position. Your doctor should note atrophy by taking  circumferential measurements of both thighs and lower legs, or both upper and lower arms, as appropriate.  Atrophy also requires a measurement of the strength of the affected muscles based on a grading system of 0 to 5, with 0 being complete loss of strength and 5 being maximum strength. A specific description of atrophy of hand muscles should include measurements of grip and pinch strength.

Your condition will change over time and may respond to treatments.  It is not enough to have a single evaluation, no matter how extensive, or to have several evaluations over a period of time, and then stop seeing your doctor.  Social Security will want to see over the period of time you are claiming disability that your condition persists.

Major Joints

Major joints refers to the major peripheral joints, which are the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist-hand, and ankle-foot.  It dos not include peripheral joints such as fingers or forefoot or axial joints such as the spine.  The wrist and hand are considered together as one major joint, as are the ankle and foot.  If your condition involves a major joint, you will want to have regular examinations as for these joints covering the aspects described above.


If you have a severe musculoskeletal condition that will qualify you for disability, you will almost certainly have tried several unsuccessful treatments.  Your record should include, medical treatment (including surgical treatment) with documentation of its effectiveness in terms of the signs, symptoms, and laboratory abnormalities of the disorder, and in terms of any side effects from the treatment that create their own limitations.

Treatment and adverse consequences of treatment will vary widely. For example, a pain medication may reduce your pain to some degree, but will have side effects such as  drowsiness, dizziness, or disorientation, that may make it impossible to work. Each case is different and must be document with objective observations from your doctor.

Hopefully your doctor’s note will contain a specific description of the drugs or treatment given (including surgery), dosage, frequency of administration, and a description of the complications or response to treatment.  Because some effects of treatment may be temporary, review of your condition over a long period of time will be critical in establishing the nature of your condition.

If for whatever reason you have not received ongoing treatment, whether because of financial concerns or because you simply failed to see the need to continue seeing your doctor because you were not seeing improvement from your recommended treatment, etc, you need to begin seeing a doctor regularly while you await your hearing.

You need to do everything in your power to find a low-cost or no-cost clinic so that you can continue to documents your condition.  In such cases, evaluation will be made on the basis of the current objective medical evidence and other available evidence. Even though may not receive treatment your doctor’s objective observations form a significant basis for showing an impairment that meets the criteria of one of the musculoskeletal listings.

Contact one of our Social Security Attorneys Nampa Idaho to discuss the specifics of your case.  You will receive a consultation with an actual local Social Security Attorney.



Originally posted 2014-01-05 04:24:19.