Sciatica is a nerve condition that is common among Veterans. It occurs when the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, becomes irritated and sends pain down the nerve. Sciatic pain can be due to numerous reasons, such as a herniated disc, bone spur, injury to the back, or any type of injury that results in direct pressure on the sciatic nerve. Many Veterans who had a back injury may experience problems such as difficulty walking or paralysis due to sciatica. If you are applying for disability benefits and need help understanding how the condition is rated and what you need to know to get your claim approved, contact a disability attorney to find out more.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica can occur on one or both sides of the body. It can cause symptoms such as:
- Severe pain
- Difficulty walking
For Veterans, sciatica can be the result of an injury sustained during their time in service or from a back injury that was due to the strain of daily activities. In order to qualify for benefits and to support your claim, you will need to provide documented medical records showing that your back pain did not happen until after your time in service. For some Veterans, sciatica may be considered and secondary service-connection and still qualify for benefits.
How the VA Rates Sciatica
The VA rates sciatica based on the severity of symptoms. The ratings are based on the following:
- Paralysis. Paralysis is rated at 80% if you have complete paralysis in the muscles of your legs below the knee or if you can not bend your knee. A 60% rating is given for incomplete paralysis, and for those with moderate paralysis, the rating can range from 20% to 40%. For mild cases, a 10% rating is given.
- Neuritis. Neuritis is rated at 60% if it includes a loss of sensation or reflexes, muscle atrophy, and a severe limitation of movement. For mild to moderate neuritis, ratings can range from 40%, 20%, and 10%.
- Neuralgia. Neuralgia is given a 10% to 20% rating depending on the severity and if the affected limb is still functioning.
Contact an Experienced Veterans Benefits Attorney
If you have questions about your disability benefits and ratings, contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. We work with Veterans to ensure that they get the full amount of compensation that they deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.