My back hurts a lot, but my doctor can’t find a reason why. Can I get disability benefits for back pain without a known cause?

According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, back pain is the second leading cause of lost workdays.

There are many possible causes of back pain. These include aging, disease, traumatic injury, over-exertion, stress, repetitive motions, and poor posture. Back pain can be a symptom of muscle strain, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or nerve damage. Sometimes, back pain has no obvious cause, but most pain can be traced to a general cause (such as overexertion) or a specific condition (such as osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease).

Risk Factors for Back Pain:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Poor physical fitness
  • Heredity
  • Disease
  • Sedentary work
  • Heavy physical labor
  • Smoking

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) for back pain, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will want medical documentation showing the cause of your symptoms. It is unlikely that you will be approved for benefits without medical evidence of injury, physical damage, or abnormality.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. In order to receive SSDI benefits, your disability must last or be expected to last for at least one year. A doctor cannot provide a prognosis when he doesn’t know the cause of your pain.
  2. Pain levels are subjective. Your pain may seem severe to you, but the Social Security Administration cannot evaluate your disability claim based on your word alone. There must be some type of medical documentation of your condition.

If you have persistent back pain that prevents you from working, it is important that you get a good diagnosis. If your doctor cannot find a cause for your pain, ask him to refer you to a specialist. Once you have a diagnosis, you will be able to seek treatment or apply for SSDI.

For more information about the SSDI application process in Nebraska, request a free copy of our booklet, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case. To speak to a Lincoln SSDI lawyer for  a free case evaluation, contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 or email  lawteam@cuddiganlaw.com  We meet clients by appointment at 3800 Normal Boulevard, Ste 201, Lincoln, NE 68506