If you can no longer work due to disabling back pain, call a top rated Back Disability Lawyer with the highest A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Call my disability office for a Free Consultation with the best disability lawyer suited to win your particular Social Security SSDI or SSI claim.

Back pain can be very disabling and work preclusive. In fact, most of the disabled workers that we represent suffer from persistent back pain which significantly limits daily activities and interferes with one’s ability to work. To win a back disability claim, you need a Back Disability Lawyer who is knowledgeable regarding back pain and back disorders.


Disabling back pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Back disorders can occur as a result of a congenital defect. Back pain can be caused by trauma, a personal injury accident, an inflammatory condition, tissue degeneration, or even an infections process.  Other disorders that qualify as a disability such as a hip disorder can also contribute to and cause a back disorder.  

Painful back conditions can be caused by and referred to as bulging discs, ruptured discs, herniated discs, protruding discs, extruding discs, fractured vertebrae, arthritis, sciatica, and slipped discs, to name a few. It doesn’t matter what causes the disabling back pain as long as you can prove through medical testing and evidence that you have a medically determinable impairment that prevents you from working. A qualified Back Disability Lawyer can win your disability claims by proving you suffer from a disabling back disability.

The best Back Disability Lawyers use several methods to prove disability due to back disorders. Some methods are very effective but often underutilized by inexperienced lawyers.

One way to win disability benefits due to a back disability is by meeting what is known as a specific “Listing of Impairments.” Another way to win disability with back pain is by winning with the Medical Vocational Guidelines referred to as “The Grids.” Still another way to win is by simply proving a disabling back condition alone or in combination with other impairments that render one incapable of working a job.


The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates disability cases involving back pain by determining whether you meet a “Listing of Impairments” referred to as the “Listings.” You will need a highly qualified Back Disability Lawyer to prove to SSA that you meet a Listing to win.

There are several Listings applicable to various body systems. SSA evaluates Back Disability under “Spinal Disorders” of the “Musculoskeletal System Listings.” You can view various Musculoskeletal System Listings here.

It is very difficult to meet a Listing of Impairments. However, if you meet a Listing, you will win your claim.

You can read the Spinal Disorder Listing 1.04 applicable to back disability claims by visiting the Social Security site here. The best Back Disability Lawyers will ask you all about your back condition to try to determine whether you may meet a Listing. If you do meet a back listing, you will win your disability case in most situations. We have prepared questionnaires for your doctors to help determine whether you should win your Back Disability claim by meeting a Listing.

In a Nutshell, most Back Disability claims that we see of listing level severity involve a medically documented spinal disorder with nerve involvement resulting in symptoms such as pain and numbness radiating down arms or legs, weakness, loss of motion, reflex loss, sensory loss, and positive straight leg testing. Likewise, if you have a neck problem with pain and numbness down an arm or both arms, you may be able to meet the Spinal Disorder Listing on that basis provided other requirements are met.

In cases involving the low back, Listing 1.04A requires positive “Straight Leg Testing” in both the seated and laying positions. You doctor will have you sit and lay with your legs straight. Your doctor will then raise your legs to determine the angle at which you feel pain. Listing 1.04A specifically requires this test. Some doctors do not perform this test, although they should. Some doctors only perform it in one position when the Listing requires the test to be performed in both the sitting position and laying down positions.

The problem with the positive “Straight Leg Testing” requirement in Spinal Disorder Listing 1.04A is that many doctors will not perform the test in both positions, if they perform it at all. This means that although you may otherwise meet the Listing, you will fail to meet it simply because the doctor did not perform adequate tests. This is another reason why it is important to consult with a Back Disability Lawyer so that we can determine whether appropriate tests were performed to win your disability case. If not, we have to request that your doctor perform the proper tests both for proper medical care and to prove your Back Disability claim.

Musculoskeletal Disorder Listing 1.04 pertains to “Disorders of the Spine.” Remember, if you meet a Listing, you win. Listing 1.04 has several requirements and you must meet all of them to meet the Listing.

First, you must have a “Spinal Disorder” to meet Listing 1.04. Listing 1.04 provides examples of “Spinal Disorders” which can include:

  • Herniated nucleus pulposus (herniated disc);
  • Spinal Arachnoiditis;
  • Spinal Stenosis;
  • Osteoarthritis;
  • Degenerative Disc Disease;
  • Facet Arthritis;
  • Vertebral Fracture;

Once you establish that you suffer from a “Spinal Disorder” which is usually not very difficult to do, you must also prove that the Spinal Disorder causes involvement with or compromise of a nerve root or the spinal cord. If you can show this, you can prove you meet the Listing in 1 of 3 ways, 1.04A, 1.04B, or 1.04C.

Listing 1.04A additionally requires:

  • A. Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by:
    • neuroanatomic distribution of pain;
    • limitation of spine motion;
    • motor loss (atrophy of associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness;
  • Accompanied by sensory or reflex loss;
  • If lower back is involved, need positive straight-leg-raising test (sitting and supine);

Notably, you can also meet the the Spinal Disorder Listing by meeting 1.04B by establishing:

  • B. Spinal Arachnoiditis confirmed by appropriate tests with severe burning or dysesthesia requiring changes in body position or posture more than once every two hours;

You can also meet Listing 1.04 by meeting 1.04C by establishing:

  • C. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis confirmed by appropriate medical imaging and manifested by chronic nonradicular pain and weakness and resulting in inability to ambulate effectively;

Most Spinal Disorder claims that we see involve Listing 1.04A above. Some Claimants actually meet the Listing but are denied because certain tests were not performed.

A qualified Back Disability Lawyer can provide your doctor with a copy of the Spinal Disorder Listing and a questionnaire to determine whether your Back Disability meets the requirements of a back disorder Listing. We can also ascertain whether appropriate tests have been performed to prove whether you can win with a Back Disability Listing. The possibility of you meeting a Back Disability Listing should never be overlooked or taken for granted since you will win if you meet a Listing. This is why you should call a highly qualified Back Disability Attorney to discuss your chances of winning with a Spinal Disorder Listing.

Even without a Disability Lawyer, some Claimants will print off a copy of Spinal Disorder Listing 1.04 and take it to their doctor. You can ask your doctor whether you meet all of the requirements of the Listing. If so, the doctor can write a letter indicating how you meet the Listing and you can submit the letter to Social Security.


One very useful tool often overlooked by SSA, Judges, and inexperienced Lawyers is the Medical Vocational Guidelines commonly referred to as “The Grids.” A skilled Back Disability Lawyer knows how to use “The Grids” to your advantage to win your disability case.

Back pain will often result in significant postural and exertional limitations. The Grids take into consideration factors such as the Claimant’s age, education, experience, job skills, and exertional level. The older you get, the easier it is to win with The Grids. The Grids function similar to a chart in which you plug in the above factors which dictate a conclusion of “disabled” or “not disabled.”

When there is a question as to whether you meet The Grids, the dispute usually concerns your exertional level which involves your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift and carry. A Back Disability can significantly reduce your exertional level which increases your chances of Winning Disability With The Grids.

Your exertional level is an important factor when determining whether you can work. The Social Security Administration will often overstate your exertional level. They will often rate your lifting capacity as 20 pounds or more when in fact it is really only 5-10 pounds. Social Security will often rely upon the opinion of a doctor hired by Social Security who saw you once or never saw you at all. Your own doctor’s records are usually silent as to your exertional level but we need your doctor’ assessment in that regard. Consequently, we often need to specifically ask detailed questions to your doctors regarding your postural and exertional limitations in order to meet The Grids to win your disability claim.

If you are almost 50 years old or older, The Grids can be used to win your Back Disability claim. You should call for a Free Consultation with a Back Disability Lawyer to find out.


Many Claimants will not meet a Listing nor will they meet The Grids. This does not mean they are not disabled, however. A qualified Back Disability Attorney can still win your Back Disability claim if we can prove you cannot perform past work or other work that is available in significant numbers within the National Economy.

Back pain can cause significant postural and exertional limitations. Claimants often report the need to lay down for significant periods throughout the day to relieve back pain. Claimants often report inability to stand for more than brief periods or to sit in normal positions that would permit them to work. Many Claimants elevate their legs throughout the day to relieve low back pressure and to reduce leg swelling. Many of the above activities can prevent you from performing your job.

Sometimes your Back Disability will not be considered serious enough by SSA to warrant a finding of disability. SSA, however, will consider other impairments to determine whether a combination of impairments including your back disorder cause you to to unable to work. A skilled Back Disability Lawyer can show SSA why you are disabled from all work as a result of your combined other impairments in addition to you back disorder.


If you are unable to work because of a Back Disability, you should call a top rated Back Disability Lawyer with the highest A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. You will speak only with a real Back Disability Lawyer, not a secretary or assistant, at every step of the way from application to appeal until you win.

Call Back Disability Lawyer Donald Peters for a Free Consultation to help you win your Back Disability claim. (248) 549-3485