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Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
BobbyB #147487 07/01/09 07:25 AM
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Every little bit helps Bobby. Thanks---Dwight

Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
Free10 #148045 07/08/09 02:36 AM
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Hey everyone!! I'm new to the board. As I read through these stories it is really sickening to believe veterans have to put up with all of this BS.

Here is my story; I just retired from the Army (20 years and currently on terminal leave). I have been at Ft Stewart for the past 8 years dealing with chronic back pain, neck pain (sustained while in a car accident going to a PLDC graduation). I went through 5 years of Motrin and prednisone/suck it up therapy, when my mother emailed the frigging President (yep GB and I didn't know anything about it). I could have killed her at the time. However, it really helped me. Dpt of the Army was requesting tests from the pentagon!!!!!! Where I ran into a problem was ortho said I needed to see rheum and visa versa. Finally, a doctor called the rheum. (only one rheum in Savannah that Tricare will pay for) and they agreed to see me. Rheum. would not diagnose me with AS because I was HLA-B27 Neg (which is really a false positive). I went to Walter Reed to be a liaison for 3ID and got in with an excellent Navy Rheum. (Dr. Holmes (I owe him a lot)). He finally got me on Remicade and it is working wonders. I know that I have been running on and on. But my concern is; after 5 years of no therapy really, I have 3 vertabrae fused in my neck, r/ wrist fused, SI joints fused etc... I am dreading what my disability rating is going to be and my struggles to appeal it. I wish you all of the best in dealing with the VA (Organized Crime)

Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
RBaum #148127 07/09/09 01:24 AM
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If you have fusion your disability rating will 'probably' go a lot easier for you. but you never know with the VA!


~ Trudi
35 yo mum to 5 kids!
dx with 'probable AS' in the middle of 1995 in the Navy. positive inflammatory spondyloarthritis dx by the end of that year. no meds really work yet. am trying sulfasalazine plus a lot of alternative therapies.
www.madebytrudi.blogspot.com
Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
RBaum #148146 07/09/09 02:42 AM
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Well your "accident" may not have been an accident but possibly AS. Most AS starts at least in males in the late teens to early 20s. At 19 I started having hip pain or buttock pain which was being caused mostly likely the damage being done in the sacrum area but by 22-23 I have an "accident" fracturing my back. My theory is now the spaces between the joints were narrowing enough that in the accident the joints no longer had full motion to bend before fracturing. This narrowing theory was not being picked up on the x-rays then, but neither was the other damage being done by the AS even years later. Of course medical assumed it was just the force of the wreck, since they and I were clueless I had AS then, the wreck caused the back problems and later the "arthritis" I told them I thought was developing in my back a few years later as stiffness started setting in.

I have found medical generally worthless on many counts over many decades in or out of the service. You may want to research this disease more and to look at all the possible conditions it can cause as it might have been the cause of many things long before the diagnosis and diagnosed wrong back then and you may have many more to come.

Fused in VA jargon means nothing if the spine is straight and with no complications, such as swallowing, breathing, walking ect as I understand it. There is even a Catch22 where the VA examiner can state (Note (3): In exceptional cases, an examiner may state that because of age, body habitus, neurologic disease, or other factors not the result of disease or injury of the spine, the range of motion of the spine in a particular individual should be considered normal for that individual, even though it does not conform to the normal range of motion stated in Note (2). Provided that the examiner supplies an explanation, the examinerís assessment that the range of motion is normal for that individual will be accepted.)

Catch22

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(logic)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLNnWw1YHGg

More interesting catch22s are if you have COPD they deny you outpatient oxygen if you are a smoker saying it saves them money and won't help smokers. It saves them a lot because if you are on oxygen the COPD is a 100% rating. The way around this is to get a private doctor to prescribe it and send it in or have a doctor apply of say housebound or AA and send the info in you are on oxygen. They seem to totally ignore anything the vet himself sends in normally. Also cataract surgery is a 30% rating and the VA eye doc told me I had to be totally blind, to get the cataracts removed by them. You see at that point blindness itself is rateable.

The VA also would like to find if there is anything then can find on the entrance exam or in your medical history prior to service to where they can then claim the AS existed prior to service and use one of their own doctors/examiners to make that claim to deny it. Of course under law pre existing is "assumed" to be aggravated so you should still win, but there is always Catch22 with them to where the VA then claims no aggravation was seen in service because things like medical visits and flareups "don't count" and the ultimate Catch22 is VA can claim all aggravation or physical decline was simply the result of the "normal disease progression". Here are some BVA rulings on others with AS and aggravation.

http://www.index.va.gov/search/va/va_sea...=&UA=Search

One way I would think to argue aggravation is if they admit you had it while in or when being seen at the VA and they failed to treat it which would have led to a worsen outcome for the patient than normal. You would need a rheumy to back it up in writing this would be the case.

Worrying does nothing but makes you feel bad and doesn't make things better and in fact makes things worse. Expect nothing but learn and prepare for the unexpected to the extreme. Never worry. I do not expect to win still even though they seem to be saying it is headed that way and if I do then I will believe it and will be grinning. I will also know over the next 10 years they can change it, if I live that long which I seriously doubt LOL Just have fun.


If you have any questions just ask--Dwight


Last edited by Free10; 07/09/09 02:47 AM.
Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
Free10 #176505 06/07/10 05:45 PM
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Just found out more. They are refusing me any special ratings for pension above housebound, and claim my compensation case was closed and they refuse to reopen it stating my AS was not service connected, even with 2 doctors stating it was seen in service in my service medical records, and they waited a year to tell me all this with no explanation as to why. Yes, I can appeal but in my shape and being 62 years of age I won't live that long.

Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
Free10 #177515 06/20/10 04:38 AM
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I'm new to this site and I'm looking for advice.

I just went through 18 months of VA c&p evals because of my hips, back and neck. I received:
40% for my back DDD (degenerating disc disease) limited range of motion.
30% Headaches from neck pain
20% for neck pain with limited motion
10% for each hip sacroiliitis, limited motion and pain

So after all that Iím at 70% total from the VA.

About a month later I went to a civilian Rheumatologist who diagnosed my with AS. I went through the health care side of VA to get my medication for free and the VA rheumy said I should have the VA reprocess my claim as AS he said I might get a higher rating but I donít want to lose the rating I have, after reading a lot of the post on this site it seems they donít rate AS very high.

Please help!

Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
stoltzie #177626 06/21/10 04:54 PM
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Just get copies of the latest medical reports since your last ratings and turn them in with a request ASAP (think back pay if they raise them from the time you file them). You are not likely to go down on ratings and may go up on them or not. Nothing seems to get high ratings with the VA as they will not pay what they owe to us, but that is another subject. At least now you know it is AS that is causing all these problems you have.

Re: Found out newer VA ratings for my case
BobbyB #231854 04/22/12 02:16 PM
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Ok, here it goes, I just had a c&p done. My case started in 2003 when I was ADSEP'd from the Navy, been fighting the VA since. Here is the modified copy of my latest C&P.

I got copies of my complete C-file from the VA. The c&p exam I had in 2004, the doctor stated that my back pain was more likely than not related to my service in the Navy. But I was denied service connection because there was not an official diagnosis, just stated back pain.

I also had a C&P exam on 16 Mar 2012, where the Dr. states that my Ankylosing Spondylitis is more likely than not related to my service. The following is a breakdown of the dr notes from the recent C&P:

Bilateral Hip Condition:

R hip flexion : 20
R hip extension: 5
L hip flexion : 20
L hip extension : 5

Painful motion begins at 5 on both
Abduction lost beyond 10 degrees yes (Both)
Adduction limited - can not cross legs yes (Both)

Rotation limited - Veteran cant toe-out more than 15 degrees yes (Both)

Patient in severe pain, repetitive use ROM not completed

Functional loss of hip and thigh - yes (Both)

Less movement than normal, Weakened movement, Excess fatigability, pain on movement, instability of station, disturbance of locomotion, interference with sitting, standing, and or weight-bearing these are all marked for both Hips.

localized tenderness or pain to palpitation for joints/soft tissue of either hip (yes - Both)

Muscle strength test -
Hip Flexion 4/5 on both
Hip abduction and hip extension 3/5 on both

Images were taken, degenerative arthritis is documented in both hips, and Ankylosing Spondylitis seen on x-ray results.

Cervical spine condition:

ROM:
forward flexion ends: 20
painful motion: 15

extension ends : 5
painful : 5

right and left lateral flexion ends : 5
painful motion : 5

right and left lateral rotation ends: 10
painful : 10

did not do repetitive ROM test, too much pain

Functional loss:

less movement than normal, weakened movement, excess fatigability, pain on movement, interference with sitting, standing, weight bearing

localized tenderness - yes



reflex exams:
biceps : 1+ (both)
triceps : 0 (both)
brachioradials : 1+ (both)

sensory all normal

x-rays show Ankylosing Spondylitis


Thoracolumbar spine condition:

forward flexion : 10 - ends with pain
extension - 10 - ends with pain

right lateral / left lateral flexion : 5 - ends with pain

right / left lateral rotation : 10 - with pain

did not complete repetitions

Functional loss: yes
less movement than normal, excess fatigability, instability of station, disturbance of locomotion, interference with sitting, standing, and/or weight bearing

Localized tenderness ; yes

guarding / muscle spasm of thoraculumbar spine (
yes, abnormal gait

Muscle strength : Hip flexion; knee extension;ankle plantar flexion; ankle dorsiflexion ; great toe extension - all 4/5 on both

reflexes : knee and ankle ; 0 - both sides

all sensory normal

Radiculopathy yes: l/r lower extremity ; moderate (both) paresthesias and or dysesthesias ; moderate (both)

nerve roots involved: L2/L3/L4 (both)(femoral nerve) ; L4/L5/S1/S2/S3 (sciatic nerve) (both)

severity of radiculopathy and side affected : Moderate - Both

Intervertebral disc syndrome and incapacitating episodes, yes to both

Images: Ankylosing Spondylitis and Scoliosis noted on thoracic and lumbar spine x-ray results

Pain and decreased ROM affect the veterans ability to work

Medical opinion of VA Examiner:

patient was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in April 2011, However, symptoms began in 2001, during his enlistment. This is clearly supported when reviewing his medical records. The veteran was seen on multiple occasions for his ongoing back pain, but never officially diagnosed until recently.

The veteran's condition (back, bilateral hip) is at least as likely as not incurred in or caused by his military service.



Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to get an accurate opinion, and to do so, I have to give the full picture.

Do you have an opinion on what I may get as far as service connection goes? A best case scenario will be fine.


Losing is NOT an OPTION! Never give up hope, because A.S. never gives up! Always remember, stand as tall and proud as you can, no matter who you are, you are SOMEONE!
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