Scoliosis - will i get anything?

Discussion in 'Physical Evaluation Board System Overview' started by Dislocated, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Dislocated

    Dislocated PEB Forum Regular Member

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    (this was also posted in the back/spine section, I guess i'm a little freaked out by todays events and i'm trying to get as much info as possible)

    After a year of crippling back pain, SOMEONE (a really sweet chiropractor at Schofield Barracks) finally decided "Hey lets see if there's a curve!"

    Came back today with a 32% thoracic curve. I got to see the x-ray, it's pretty scary. I've been looking around the internet to see if this would end up getting me kicked out, and apparently the limit for thoracic curve is 30% + symptomatic (can anyone confirm? i'm both...). I've also read that it's pretty rare that this is compensated, especially give my age and time in service (21, 2 years in october). They could just claim congenital and I'm essentially boned.

    Though i guess there is hope for my case. I showed absolutely no signs of this prior to enlistment, and my pain didn't start until 4 months after dislocated my shoulder during a high-risk training exercise at air-crew school.

    Timeline:

    Oct 7th 2007 - Enlisted

    Jan 21st 2008 - I'm at Aircrew school, i dislocated my shoulder during training, and i lose my rating.

    April - I'm rerated to CTN while undergoing physical therapy.

    May - I begin having back issues. Spasms that cause noticable pain and discomfort. I begin having issues PTing.

    July 11th - Corry Station "just so happens" to lose my ****ing medical record. I believe their is at least 1 diagnosis of "lumbago" left over.

    August - The problem has become noticably worse as i report to my command in Hawaii.

    September - My car is rear-ended at a significant speed (at least 25mph).

    October - Pain becomes starts to become significantly worse. I begin having to take medication almost daily.

    OCT-MAY plethora of appointments and physical therapy, and chiropractic at Pearl Harbor. By this time i cannot function (that is to say, sitting in a chair and actually focusing on anything but horrid back pain becomes pretty impossible) on a day-to-day basis without a stupid amount grunt candy.

    May 2009 - CT Scan of my lumbar reveals a Shmorl's node on my L1 vertebrae. Hooyah Tripler! Back specialist at Tripler states "Yeah that's it. That's causes your pain. Bad news? It aint goin away and you aint get dissability"

    July 2009 - Tripler Doctor refers me to Schofield Chiro for another round.

    August 17th 2009 - Chiro has me get a scoliosis x-ray

    August 20th 2009 - Review of x-ray shows 32%


    since october no major medical issues have happened, however the pain has become significantly worse to the point where i cannot function on a day-to-day basis without medication, and i can't PT without being medicated heavily. Infact i haven't been to division PT since early this year (jan/feb)

    The chiropractor has said there is good chance that i'll see great improvement on my pain (which is currently 5-8/10 without medication), and that the curvature most likely won't get worse, but it's not going to get any better either.


    But at this point, i'm worried i may get kicked out. And with most cases of scoliosis being a congenital issue, i'm curious if all the other problems i've had during service (shoulder, shmorl's node, car accident) will provide a case for overturning the "congenital" thing. Everything seemed to start right after I dislocated my shoulder...

    I just want to be prepared. Obviously there's always the catch 22. Try to stay in, get screwed on %. Try to get out, get yelled at for malingering. But when it comes down to it, i might not have the option of staying in, so it's like 2/3rd chance of getting kicked out. I would like to stay in if the pain becomes tolerable, I actually enjoy my job and the future it holds for me, but if I don't have that choice... I feel like i need to be compensated. I have had no prior disposition to scoliosis, I dislocate my shoulder, and 1 year later i can barely walk.

    I have a follow-up with my primary care provider Saturday at 0800, and after that I plan to start talking to JAG, regardless of what he says.

    I also have a family friend, a lawyer who has worked closely with VA cases for years that i'm going to email, and I may have a very good local lawyer that has experience with military proceedings that i might be able to secure (though i think going with a JAG might be wiser. Unsure at this point.)

    Can anyone give me some direction?
     
  2. Dislocated

    Dislocated PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Just got back from my appt with primary care.

    Conversation went like this:

    Him: 32% curve? You're out.
    Me: Yeah that's what i've been told
    Him: What rate are you?
    Me: CTN
    Him: Oh you're a CT. We'll just waive you from PT and let you ride out the rest of your enlistment (4 years). I'm not gonna med board you.

    I'm still gonna talk to legal monday and start preparing. I've read plenty of stories of something similar and then bam med board notice.
     
  3. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Benevolent Leader Site Founder Staff Member PEB Forum Veteran

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    Dislocated,

    Welcome!
    This is the cause for referral to a MEB:
    "(e) Deviation or Curvature of Spine. More than moderate, or interfering with function, or causing unmilitary appearance."
    The most important consideration most likely will be whether it interferes with function.

    Not so fast...if this has gotten worse while in service, it will likely be compensated. Even if it has not, they still have to overcome the presumption of service aggravation. While possible for them to call it EPTS and not service aggravated, the fact that you are having increasing problems would indicate to me aggravation of your condition. The longer you stay in, the higher the likelihood you will be considered service aggravated.

    Bingo! There you go, this clearly indicates service aggravation.


    Okay, I see zero percent chance of you not getting compensated if your condition is unfitting. All these events clearly show service aggravation. So long as there is a treatment note showing your pain worsened after these events, you should be fine on it being compensable. Can't say for sure that the PEB does the right thing, but if you have this documented, I don't see how they can deny service aggravation.



    I don't practice medicine because I am not a doctor. I hate when doctors try to practice law.

    If the JAG has not been previously assigned at the PEB, I don't see that they have any basis for providing advice.

    There are very few lawyers that have any useful experience in this area of the law. The VA practitioner has a leg up on someone without that experience, but I talk all the time with VA practitioners who have no idea about MEB/PEB law (in fact, several refer clients to me because they don't have the background to handle these cases). I would also be aware that even though the local lawyer may be familiar with general military law, this does not mean that he has any experience with the MEB or PEB. I would ask whoever you retain how many cases at the PEB and on appeal have they handled. This goes for military or civilian counsel.

    Hope all goes well...I read your later post, so it sounds like you have sometime before any action comes out of this.
     
  4. Dislocated

    Dislocated PEB Forum Regular Member

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    I'm ridiculously confused.

    First the LCDR from the previous post states he can keep me in without me needing to PT, essentially riding out my enlistment. This sounded ridiculous, so i asked my chief and the medical chief. They both stated that medical waivers from PRT without being limdu, having 2 or 3 of them will get me recommended to either a med board or even recommended for an NMA (non-med admin). If i'm LIMDU for 2 cycles, then i'm automatically recommended for a med-board.

    Either way, there is essentially no way for me to "stay in without PTing". It's just not possible. Which is what I assumed.

    However, because my job consists of sitting in a chair all day, it's going to be hard to justify the "cannot perform assigned rating" portion of getting medically separated.

    Being a CT really causes a stupid amount of issues to arise during the most simple tasks, and twice as many when it's actually important. I'm so confused right now.

    I've been asked at least 3 times what I want, and every time i've said "Well it depends on alot of factors. i just don't know yet". HMC didn't like that answer ("How can you NOT KNOW"). I want the best possible outcome, but no one (except my chief) seems to actually care, it just seems like they want to do as little paperwork as possible. (Not that I blame them)

    The whole "if you go to medical, you don't belong in the military" stigma really sucks. Even worse when you have people who think everything can be solved in the gym.
     
  5. fdmckeever

    fdmckeever PEB Forum Veteran

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    Dislocated,

    I have scoliosis but it was not an issue during my MEB. The condition was noted on my initial military induction records but Army say it was not a consideration of fitness. I also filed with the VA, who denied my claim saying it was noted during induction and not aggrevated during service. However I did develop arthritis in L4-L5 which resulted in a range of motion deficit which was ratable. .

    fdm
     
  6. Dislocated

    Dislocated PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Thanks for the info fdmckeever, good to know.

    Nothing on my scoliosis was noted at time of induction, so there's a good chance it'll be rated if it comes to that.
     
  7. fdmckeever

    fdmckeever PEB Forum Veteran

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    Good luck and keep fighting
     
  8. Dislocated

    Dislocated PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Thank you.

    Chiro doesn't see much hope of reducing the curve, though she did say reducing it 3% is certainly possible. She said it's 50/50 in her opinion, though she couldn't speak from experience as she's never dealt with another case like it.

    Good news though that she did put in writing, in my record, that the dislocation of my shoulder is likely a substantial factor in the severity of my curve.

    Which means: Worsened during service.

    I can count on a 0-20% if my curve cannot be corrected and i end up getting medsep. Likelihood of getting 30 is slim, and to be honest i don't think it's really worth 30. Just 2 sessions of chiro has lessened my pain substantially and the severity of my curve isn't to a point that will cause that many problems.


    I'm still taking anything and everything with a grain of salt of course.
     
  9. fdmckeever

    fdmckeever PEB Forum Veteran

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    It is good that you can get the doctor to place the condition in your medical record, especially for any future VA . The language the VA accepts is that it is "at least as likely as not" that the veterans present disability is a result of the specified disease injury or incident in service. This letter will be the nexus of your VA claim and eliminates use of percentages. Check out this link and good luck.

    fdm
    www.icdri.org/Vets/VA%20Compensation.htm

     

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