Spinal-arachnoiditis and Social Security Benefits

What You Need to Know


Spinal arachnoiditis is a condition when one of the layers of tissue called the arachnoid level which surrounds the spinal cord becomes thicker than normal and presses against nerves or the spinal column. Arachnoiditis can result in period burning pain and numbness. It can also cause bladder or bowel incontinence.

Spinal arachnoiditis can be proven for SSA purposes by a pathology report or operative note diagnosing the condition. A related symptom is severe burning or pain which requires the claimant to change his position more than once every two hours. 

Arachnoiditis is sometimes used as a diagnosis when such a diagnosis is unsupported by clinical or laboratory findings. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that the diagnosis is documented as described in 1.04B. Individuals with arachnoiditis, particularly when it involves the lumbosacral spine, are generally unable to sustain any given position or posture for more than a short period of time.


Back problems cause intense pain that can lead to chronic fatigue, emotional and mental problems, as well as paralysis. These symptoms can prevent you from working. Medications for pain have serious side effects that can cause difficulty in staying awake or in concentration.

Surgeries are expensive, and do not always guarantee that the pain will go away. There are also huge risks involved with back surgery. Make sure you have all the information before making any decisions about medication or surgery. For information about back injuries such as herniated discs, lower back pain or stenosis, see Institute for Spinal Disorders at http://www.csmc.edu/533.cfm.

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