40% rating for DDD and L5-S1 herniation


Registered Member
Hi everyone. I am currently in the IDES process at Fort Campbell, have received my unfit memo, and currently awaiting VA ratings. I have two unfitting conditions... Lumbar degenerative disc disease at L5-S1 and Lumbar spine intervertebral disc extrusion at L5-S1. My C&P exams went well, with the doctor not forcing me to move, stretch, bend, or twist beyond where I felt pain. My ROM testing came back as follows:

- Forward Flexion: 0 to 20 degrees
- Extension: 0 to 5 degrees
- Right Lateral Flexion: 0 to 10 degrees
- Left Lateral Flexion: 0 to 10 degrees
- Right Lateral Rotation: 0 to 15 degrees
- Left Lateral Rotation: 0 to 15 degrees

Based on the above ROM and the VASRD for Thoracolumbar Spine, I should be receiving a 40% rating. My concern is that the VA will downplay these results and give me a rating less than 40%. I've had spinal injections, physical therapy, inversion therapy, TENS, and am currently prescribed Effexor for nerve/back pain, but I have not had surgery. Will the VA examiner look at the lack of fusion surgery and question the ROM from the C&P exam?

I also have left lower extremity radiculopathy, but the MEB provider did not include that on the 3947 as an unfitting condition because I have not had an EMG done to prove the radicular pain. The MEB Attorney recommended moving forward to the PEB and not request an IMR or MEB appeal, which I did. I've since found out from my PCM and my back specialist at the pain clinic that an EMG is not required to prove radicular pain. The MRI results and straight leg tests are enough .Was it a mistake to not appeal to get the radiculopathy added in? Is the attorney correct in saying that we can submit a VARR or appeal once the ratings come back, if necessary?

Thanks for reading and thank you for your time.


Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
The attorney is correct but you can't jump ahead here until you get the proposed VA ratings back so just be patient.


Registered Member
I appreciate the response, but the heart of my questions is this....can the VA disregard the VASRD and question the results of the exams and propose a rating less than someone would expect?
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