MEB Experience for DDD/L5-S1 Bulging Disc Radiculopothy

Soto

Registered Member
I'm in the process of having a 365 day physical fitness profile which exempts me from the run/walk and sit ups for (Spinal Arthritis) DDD/L5-S1 Disc bulge and radiculopothy. I heard this might trigger an MEB. I'm looking for advice from people with similar conditions and whether or not they were returned to duty.

I'm Air Force, 14 year E-7 and wondering if I should let this profile go through or try to avoid an MEB. I want to continue to serve and feel I can still perform all the duties required and meet the requirements to deploy. But after reading a couple of these threads it seems all individuals are being found "unfit" for this condition. If this is the case, I'm leaning towards letting my case go to MEB now vs possibly getting MEB'd at 18 or 19 years. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

fred801

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I am awaiting my retirement orders right now for DDD/L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 bulging disks. The thing to remember with this condition is that the percentage you get is based of from range of motion. I've seen just as many cases for this people only get 20% and get separated instead of the 40% or above and retirement.

I'm not sure how bad yours is but I know I couldn't have gone another 6 years with mine. It would be a shame to spend another 3-4 years trying to hold out and get boarded anyway. I'm not sure how the AF works but in the Navy only the medical provider can initiate the board. Missing 2 physical readiness tests in a row is supposed to trigger one.

It's a difficult situation no matter what but if you're broken, you're broken. Hopefully things work out for you.
 

Nibsirb

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
"Fit/Unfit" rating is going to depend on your AFSC and rank and what "duties" you are to perform at that level. I'm a Crew Chief E-5 so my duties include all the grunt work out on the flight line. I could probably do the duties, but it would be more strain on my back and just screw it up even worse than it is. If your job is mostly admin you could probably fight to stay in.
 

Soto

Registered Member
I am awaiting my retirement orders right now for DDD/L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 bulging disks. The thing to remember with this condition is that the percentage you get is based of from range of motion. I've seen just as many cases for this people only get 20% and get separated instead of the 40% or above and retirement.

I'm not sure how bad yours is but I know I couldn't have gone another 6 years with mine. It would be a shame to spend another 3-4 years trying to hold out and get boarded anyway. I'm not sure how the AF works but in the Navy only the medical provider can initiate the board. Missing 2 physical readiness tests in a row is supposed to trigger one.

It's a difficult situation no matter what but if you're broken, you're broken. Hopefully things work out for you.
Thanks for the info! I don't believe the range of motion is fair. For me, it all depends how I feel on a particular day. The main factors that affect me are running, sitting to long and standing in one position for to long. I can perform all my required duties as long as I don't sit for to long. I'm leaning towards trying to prolong the MEB process if I can.
 

Noobzor

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Mine was triggered by extended period of profile / non-WW for treatment. I had over 400 days profile when all said and counted up for my dawg review.

Like others have said 20% is the most common (which i got), but i also rebuttal at every chance and got radicular pain added +10% for perm retirement. Its a hell of a process that takes forever (mine was almost 400 days when i signed my findings)
 

magoo853

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I just got 20% for L5-S1 Bulging Disc from the AF if that helps any...It was not my referred condition though either.
 

chaplaincharlie

Staff Member
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Thanks for the info! I don't believe the range of motion is fair. For me, it all depends how I feel on a particular day. The main factors that affect me are running, sitting to long and standing in one position for to long. I can perform all my required duties as long as I don't sit for to long. I'm leaning towards trying to prolong the MEB process if I can.
Not saying it happens all the time, buy the Examiner is suppose to consider all those things you mentioned when doing a ROM test. You have control over what you do or don't do before you go in for the exam.
 

Soto

Registered Member
I just got 20% for L5-S1 Bulging Disc from the AF if that helps any...It was not my referred condition though either.
Magoo853 - Did you want to stay in? I feel I can still perform all my required duties. I'm still WWQ just exempt from cardio and sit ups on PT test.
 

Noobzor

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Take a good look at what your up against. I was told by pretty much everyone at my clinic that if it goes to full MEB for spine issues, your looking at like a 99% chance getting out. I originally wanted to fight it, but after a "coming to jesus" talk with a pcm that i actually respect, i soon realized i needed to change my tune to fight for what seemed right to me. I did rebutte the original RILO and commanders letter for the irilo. Of course it came back full MEB and i added rebuttlal letters every step of the way and held the MDG staff accountable for not knowing the process outlined within AFI / DODI regulations (you would be surprised who doesnt know).

What i found is, the only way to know how a MEB works is to go through one all the way. People will give you input like crazy or say they know a guy who got one, but at the end of the day its you against the C&P doc and you against your service PEB.
 

LawnDart_78

Registered Member
Not saying it happens all the time, buy the Examiner is suppose to consider all those things you mentioned when doing a ROM test. You have control over what you do or don't do before you go in for the exam.
Agreed. I stopped bending when I felt pain during my exam. I thought my forward mobility was very limited and somehow I fell within the 31-60 degrees ROM (which qualifies for 20%). WIth my personal experience being a baseline, Ione would have to be severely limited (like almost wheelchair bound) to have less than a 30 degree ROM. I think its kind of messed up. My back is jacked up forever after over 20 years in service and I qualify for 20%. However, sleep apnea is 50%?? I think there are serious flaws in the rating system but that is another discussion for another day I guess.It is what it is I guess. I was honest and forthcoming with examiner with my pain and ability to undergo the exam. I would recommend doing the best you can do and being honest. These examiners are assessing you from the time you check in to the time you leave. I was a little upset at first about only getting 20 percent for my back, especially considering I had four vertebrae fused and will probably never be able to run again (something I actually enjoyed doing) and I will not be able to wear body armor (something that limits my civilian employment options).
 

chaplaincharlie

Staff Member
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I understand you comparison between ROM and sleep apnea, but don't concur. Poor sleep has huge implications for both mental and physical well being, including longevity. It greatly affects employment.

But I agree that back pain, spinal fusion... have significant effect on employment. Unfortunately the pain and symptoms associated are often very subjective. If ROM is not the standard, what would you suggest? My guess is that ROM is often improper applied during C&P exams.
 

magoo853

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I did not want to stay in and it was just another claim on my case so it was not a big part of it. You do have to consider the impact of your back when deployed though if you go somewhere that makes you wear gear all the time like my last deployments.
 

pappabear_usaf

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Along with the questions above, when do you stop "bending"? When it hurts or you feel resistance or when you push past that and bend until you just can't possibly bend anymore? I also notice that I bend at my hips...how do you need forward without using your hips?
 
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