These disorders are among the most frequently encountered in any disability law practice. They include injuries to and degenerative disorders of the joints, spine and bones, as well as problems involving the muscles, tendons and cartilage.
There are a variety of disorders within this category, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative arthritis, anatomical deformities, fractured bones, amputations and soft tissue disorders, among others. Typically, the existence and severity of these conditions are documented by x-rays, MRIs and other diagnostic findings, and by the presence or absence of characteristic findings on physical examination.
Pain is the common denominator in musculoskeletal cases. These disorders can and do cause pain that is commonly aggravated by postural and exertional factors, and that can impair the ability to concentrate and focus on work-related tasks. Disability carriers generally credit complaints of pain once the underlying disorder has been established by appropriate diagnostic and examination findings. However, they are skeptical of complaints that exceed what would normally be expected given the nature of the disorder in question and the reported examination findings.
Carriers often find that individuals with back and leg disorders have limitations on standing, walking, bending over, lifting and carrying; but not necessarily on the ability to sit. This despite the fact that many patients report that prolonged sitting aggravates their pain. It’s not uncommon to receive a determination that someone with a lower back disorder retains the ability to do sedentary work. Sometimes a limitation to sedentary work is enough to establish disability, but often it’s not. Experienced disability lawyers understand this and know they must be particularly diligent when putting together a musculoskeletal claim if sedentary work is an issue.