Another Nerve/Back Injury Rating Question

7869jake

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Here is the short and sweet:
Reservist. Rated for lower back injury as well as mild incomplete paralysis of the sciatic nerve per VA claim before I started my MEB.
MEB started, and I redid a lower back injury C&P, however, a repeat DBQ for my sciatic nerve was NOT done.

The questions:
My current 10% rating for
mild incomplete paralysis of the sciatic nerve, is extremely low, and does not reflect the nature of my injury. On the new DBQ
that was done for my lower back, in the 'Radiculopathy' section, the doc marked all symptoms as severe. I feel that this should be rated as either incomplete moderately severe, or incomplete moderate paralysis of the sciatic nerve. With that said, what exactly is the purpose of the 'Radiculopathy' section on the lower back DBQ for? Will I be able to use these severe markings as a basis for increasing my current rating for my sciatic nerve, or does another nerve DBQ have to be done?

What is the point of this 'Radiculopathy' section on the lower back DBQ if the nerves have their own DBQ?
 

7869jake

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To determine your range in motion percentage, I believe. What form is this on?
Radiculopathy is a reference to nerve damage, and is not a factor in determining percentage based on range of motion.
 

js820

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When did you get your ratings?

I'd say the rater might have missed all that when rating your conditions. It's plausible that they didn't reference that doc when assigning ratings for the sciatic stuff. So maybe request another rating, I doubt that you'd need another DBQ. Have you talked to the VA lawyers?
 

MoparFin

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I am SCed for lower back issues and radiculopathy. 2 separate DBQs were done, one for the lower back and one for peripheral nerves. Have the other DBQ completed. 10% sounds about right unless you have significant weakness, atrophy, foot drop. Then it will go up.

Have you had an EMG done?
 

7869jake

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Ratings just came in. got 20% for radiculopathy (an increase from my previous 10%).

For posterity, the radiculopathy section on the Spine DBQs CAN IN FACT be used to provide a rating for your radiculopathy condition.
 

USAFDawg

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Radiculopathy is a reference to nerve damage, and is not a factor in determining percentage based on range of motion.
Doesn't sound right, as I've read on Military Disability Ratings for Nerves of the Low Back and Legs that the VA should be measuring range of motion as well as nerve condition and assign the higher percent. The website gives a good example:

"Example. A service member has damage to the sciatic nerve in his right leg. The leg can move forward from the hip, but only to 20°. There is constant, mild pain and tingling down his leg and into his foot. Tests show that the sciatic nerve is completely paralyzed and unable to function at all. (Disclaimer: It’s rare for a nerve to be completely paralyzed with such mild symptoms, but let’s go with it for the sake of demonstrating the principles involved.) How is his condition rated?
First, we need to determine in which of the three categories the condition fits: paralysis, neuritis, or neuralgia. The tests say that the nerve is paralyzed, so that one’s easy.
Next, we need to determine the severity of the paralysis. We know that it cannot be rated as completely paralyzed even though the nerve is completely paralyzed, since the leg can still move. This means that the other nerves that affect the same muscles as the sciatic nerve are compensating for the damage. The definition of severe for paralysis requires severe symptoms like muscle atrophy which are clearly not seen in this case. Similarly, the definition of mild paralysis is too mild for this case since the range of motion is fairly limited. So, the best category for our condition would be moderate paralysis: “the nerve is not completely paralyzed, and there is tingling, numbness, moderate pain, or other symptoms that definitely and significantly interfere with the ability of the body part to fully function.” Yep.
Now that we have determined the severity of paralysis, we can find the proper rating under the sciatic nerve section below. The code for this condition is 8520, and the rating under moderate paralysis is 20%.
Alright, so we know that the nerve rating for this condition under code 8520 is 20%. Now we need to determine what his condition would rate for limited motion of the hip. Underneath each of the ratings for the individual nerves is a section that gives the codes of the various limited motions for that nerve. We know that the hip cannot bend forward (flexion) more than 20°, so code 5252 would be the correct code. Under that code, if the hip cannot move the leg forward more than 20°, it is rated 30%.
Since 30% under limited motion is more than the 20% given under the nerve code, this condition would be rated on limited motion. The final code would look like this: 8520-5252. The first four-digit code defines the condition as a paralyzed sciatic nerve. The second four-digit code tells us that the condition was rated under limited motion of the hip."
 
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