Severe is now moderate, losing support

In July, I had a CT scan and the Final Report said I had severe disc space narrowing, severe broad based disc bulging etc., and an MRI was recommended. The doc at Pain Clinic said he’d write the CPP Medical Report if I brought it in but I thought I’d ask my family doctor, and this group first and you said yes. I should have done it!
I then had the MRI 2 weeks ago and its report says moderate disc height loss, moderate spinal stenosis etc. The MRI shows more wrong than the CT such as facet arthropathy and Modic 2 changes but nowhere does it say ‘severe.’
My Pain Clinic doc now says I should see my family doctor to do the Med Report. Family doc says to start the process and when CPP sends her the forms (?!) she’ll fill them in with the info she has on me.
Not feeling a lot of enthusiasm right now. Is it because one report says severe while the other says moderate? I want a second reading of the MRI, a second opinion, and took it to my l local hospital where the CT clinic is. I hope they allow it without a doctor’s request. Am I entitled to a second opinion?
I am still messed up and cannot work. I’m about half way through the Blue Print application and wonder if I should stop. This is scaring me.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I have no idea if your entitled to a second reading but I think you are.
Is the CT “disc space narrowing” the same as the MRI “disc height”?
I don’t think it matters that the MRI says moderate loss, both reports will be included in the CPP-D application.
Does the pain doctor think the symptoms are severe and expected to be prolonged?
The exact wording is not important.
Why won’t your pain clinic doc fill out the CPP-D forms?
Definitely don’t stop but you need a doctor’s support.
My opinion is a specialist (pain doc) is better than a family doc.

I always ask my doctor to send a referral to a different place if I am not happy with the results. Imaging like MRI, CT scan, ultra sound is better done in hospitals vs private clinics. Do you have any hospitals nearby that your doctor can refer you to? You definitely ask your doctor for a second MRI or any other imaging that will show that you have a severe impairment.

Thanks Jammer, Elaine, your words mean a lot. My next appointment with the pain doctor is Oct. 6th and I will take the blank Medical Report with me, plus my supporting letters and evidence, and insist he represent me for my claim. If he knows I’m not getting good support from the family doctor, I think/hope he will agree to help. Truly, I think I have seen him more times (my real doctor retired and she took over 5 years ago) and he knows better what is wrong with me.
I have elicited letters from my chiro, physiotherapist and my physical therapist (at the gym). There are 3 more to get, another physio and a correctologist, and a sports injury guy.
If the hospital won’t do a second MRI report from the CD, I will ask the doc to order one. The reading of an MRI seems so subjective, like it depends who did it and what their mood was like.
Again, thank you both.

No problem. Good luck with your claim!

For sure.
Maybe they don’t have hard ranges of what widths are moderate and severe and maybe the images are not clear enough to measure disc-spaces accurately any maybe your disc-spaces borderline between the moderate-severe categories.
Could the difference depend on time of day or the temperature outside (like gas at the pump is “adjusted” for temperature).
Lots of reasons the images could be read differently. :frowning:
I think it matters more what the pain doc says.
Can he explain why the difference?

When I broke my toe and went to the hospital, the radiologist said the xray didn’t show any break.
They phoned a few days later and said it was broken.
Maybe they were training a new radiologist.
Maybe you can get the MRI read again. :slight_smile:
Around here the wait for an MRI is 6+ months.

That is significant.
More “moderate” problems is probably better than one “severe” problem.
0 problems and no pain is even better. :slight_smile:

Funny to get your note when I got home, Jammer. I was reading it and agreeing with all you said when the phone rang. It was a call from the hospital and an image reading team is coming down from London tomorrow and will provide a second reading of the MRI scan. I’m going to get my second opinion! I submitted the CD with my MRI scan on it myself on Friday with little hope, and they called my pain doctor today to confirm and he said yes, he wanted a second opinion too!

And I had a really good physio appt. too. I better go to bed before my luck changes. Will keep you guys posted. Thanks.

1 Like

That is awesome,
Good luck tomorrow.

These cases don’t turn on what is on the CT or MRI scans. “severe” things on scans can produce no impairment or problems and so-called “mild” things can produce very severe impairment and symptoms. Sometimes these scans show nothing and there is still pain and impairment. What is most important are the symptoms and impairments a person has with ability to function in a “real world” work environment. The results form diagnostic imaging at best act to corroborate what the person is reporting in terms of symptoms or problems, but are not that important (in terms of winning a disability claim) in the scheme of things.

David Brannen

Disability Lawyer with Resolute Legal

The response posted above is based on the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliabile manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with a lawyer, fully explain your situation, and allow the lawyer enough time to research the applicable law and facts required to give an adequate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full one-on-one discussion with a lawyer should be done before taking any any action. The information posted on this forum is available to the viewing public and is not intended to create a lawyer client relationship with any person. If you want one-on-one advice, please click here to request a free consultation or call toll free 1-877-282-5188 to speak with a member with our disability claim support team.

Thanks Dave, that helps a lot. I guess my principle concern is proving beyond my words, with hard evidence, that I’m impaired and cannot function in the real world work environment. I guess I’ve been relying on the CT and MRI too much to back me up. I’ll go back to the Blueprint for guidance …

If pain is a cause of the disability there can never be hard evidence, it will always be based on your reports of pain levels and reports of levels of fatigue etc. This does not mean you don’t want to get medical tests / diagnostic imaging, but these only serve to corroborate what you are reporting as your pain/fatigue levels. They will never be seen as proof in and of themselves.

This is why your #1 focus needs to be on controlling the narrative of your situation to showcase your credibility and to work against all the negative stereotypes and bias that exist against someone with chronic pain or who is applying for disability payments. This is the hardest thing to get right and is the greatest value an experienced disability lawyer can help with – creating the right narrative so you put your best foot forward. I discuss this in the Blueprint Report.

1 Like

Thank you David, that helps a lot. I will incorporate a pain/fatigue scale based on the daily reports I made on my calendar. Your Blueprint is an invaluable aid. There are so many negative stereotypes, I don’t tell anyone that I’m applying for CPP. I live in a culture of suck-it-up and get-back-to-work, even you’re a quivering mass lying on the floor.