Understanding Ankylosing Spondylitis
If you have Ankylosing Spondylitis, you are suffering from an inflammatory disease that primarily affects the spine, although it can also affect other parts of the body. This disease attacks both men and women, although more men than women develop this condition. People with this disease often face debilitating pain and limited mobility that can worsen as time goes by. If you suffer from this disease, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits, such as SSDI or SSI, depending on the degree of your disability.
What’s Different About Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis differs from other spinal issues in several ways. First, it’s an inflammatory condition that can attack various locations on the spine and potentially fuse vertebrae together. In some cases, your posture will be affected, and you may end up hunched over, with your head pushed toward your chest.
This disease can also cause inflammation in the eyes and heart and usually strikes during early adulthood. It is painful and can greatly restrict mobility and your ability to complete daily tasks.
Doctors have not pinpointed an exact cause for Ankylosing Spondylitis, although there is a hereditary component. People with the HLA-B27 gene have a much higher risk of developing the disease but not everyone with the gene ends up with the condition.
This disease often causes the following symptoms:
- Lower back and hip pain,
- Breathing problems
- Chronic fatigue
- Eye inflammation
- Mobility issues
- Tendon and ligament pain in back and heel
- Rib and breastbone pain
- Shoulder joint pain
The condition can lead to eye inflammation that causes pain, light sensitivity, and blurry vision. You may also experience thinning bones due to the disease, which can cause spinal vertebrae to actually fracture and even crumble. In turn, these fractures can pressure or injure the spinal cord.
People with Ankylosing Spondylitis may also have an inflamed aorta, which can eventually keep your heart from working as it should.
The condition is chronic and requires care throughout your life. Fortunately, timely diagnosis and treatment can help lessen the severity of the disease and slow its progression.
If a doctor suspects Anklosing Spondylitis, they will perform a thorough physical exam which includes testing your range of motion and identifying all the areas causing pain. You may have a blood test to determine if you have inflammation markers and if you have the HLA-B27 gene. The doctor may also send you for x-rays to check for spinal damage. These tests can’t prove that you have the condition, but they can narrow down the causes of your pain. The doctor will consider the test results along with your symptoms before making a firm diagnosis.
Your doctor may prescribe NSAIDS, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, to relieve both inflammation and pain. Of course, too much of this medication can cause problems with your digestive system, in some cases leading to internal bleeding.
In some cases, your physician may choose to prescribe TNF or tumor necrosis factor blocker. Interleukin 17 has also proven helpful in fighting the inflammation that the disease causes.
Physical therapy helps keep patients mobile and also lessens pain while improving flexibility and muscle strength. A physical therapist will also work with you on your posture and breathing difficulties.
In the most severe cases, surgery to repair or replace joints or relieve pain may be necessary. People with the disease grow extra spinal bone as a natural healing response. This bone growth often impairs the patient’s mobility and may, in some cases, require surgery.
The degree of disability patients suffer from varies widely. Some will only develop moderate symptoms and be able to go about their lives as normal. Others will be severely disabled and have their quality of life affected.
Do Ankylosing Spondylitis Sufferers Qualify for SSD?
In some cases, AS will prevent you from working, meaning you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The disease is considered a type of inflammatory arthritis, which appears in the SSA’s Blue Book of disabling conditions.
To be considered disabled with AS, you have to show that your cervical or dorsolumbar spine is 45 degrees or more off from vertical or that the cervical or dorsolumbar spine is between 30 degrees and 45 degrees off from the vertical and that at least two body systems are affected with at least moderate severity.
If you don’t qualify under the above criteria, you may be able to prove your disability through medical records and other documentation from your doctors. If you have other medical conditions as well as AS, the combination of them all may make your eligible for benefits.
Another possibility is the Residual Functional Capacity form, which will be completed by your physician. It might show that you cannot perform your former job or any job since you may not be able to stand or sit for any length of time. Your eye inflammation alone may make paperwork impossible.
AS is a complicated condition with wide-ranging symptoms. As a result, getting approval for disability can be difficult. That’s why you should hire an attorney who is an expert in Social Security disability.
What Are Your Options If You’re Denied SSD Benefits?
The majority of disability applicants are refused when they first apply for Social Security disability benefits. If you are denied, you will need the help of an expert more than ever. You are allowed to file an appeal, and in some cases appear before a board to press your case. Those with legal representation are much more likely to win their appeal than those who represent themselves.
If you lose your appeal, there are additional reviews available to you, although they become more and more difficult to win. The best route to success is to hire an experienced attorney at the beginning of the process. Otherwise, it could be years before you receive benefits if you ever do.
Who Can Help Me with my SSD Case?
The attorneys at The Good Law Firm have decades of experience in Social Security Disability, including success with ankylosing spondylitis patients. Satisfying the SSA can be a difficult undertaking, particularly if you’ve never dealt with them before. The specialists at The Good Law Firm will help you prepare your application correctly, making certain that all of your supporting paperwork is included and presented in the correct form. The experts at The Good Law Group will help you during the entire process, using their knowledge of what the government expects from their applicants.
Receiving a benefits rejection can be devastating, but you shouldn’t lose hope. The Good Law Firm will handle your appeal with the level of expertise that is required. Having expert representation pays off with the SSA. In fact, having a legal representative at your appeal hearing means you are three times more likely to win than those who did not. You need your benefits now. The attorneys at The Good Law Firm can speed up the application and appeals process so that you get your money as quickly as possible.
If you suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis, you already face enough difficulties every day. You don’t have the time or energy to battle the Social Security Administration. Don’t delay. Contact The Good Law Firm today by calling (847) 577-4476 or fill out their online contact form. You will receive a quick response with no obligation. And remember, you never pay a penny until you see a positive result.