Disability Benefits for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS)

About Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS)

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a spinal disorder that describes the narrowing of the spinal canal resulting in the compression of the spinal cord and nerves in the lower back. Similar to other spinal conditions, LSS can occur due the natural degeneration of the spine that is associated with aging. However, LSS may also stem from other spinal conditions such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Treatment of the disorder is not the same for everyone and usually includes medications, injections, surgery and therapy.

Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

As people age, it is natural for the spinal canal to narrow a little bit. LSS and its symptoms don’t surface until the narrowing results in nerve root compression. The majority of the symptoms tend to affect the lower half of the body near the lumbar such as the legs, feet and buttocks. Once the nerves become compressed, common symptoms that may develop include the following:

  • Pseudoclaudication – inflammation of the nerves in and around the spinal cord
  • Severe pain (especially within the legs)
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle cramping
  • Feelings of numbness and/or weakness
  • Loss of bowel control

Pseudoclaudication is a symptom that the SSA requires an applicant to possess in order to become approved for Social Security Disability benefits based on a lumbar spinal stenosis claim. This is a common symptom of LSS and typically results in the manifestation of other severe symptoms such as chronic pain and weakness.

Qualifying with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

The requirements to become approved for lumber spinal stenosis are listed in section 1.00 Musculoskeletal System under 1.04 Disorders of the Spine. All of the requirements must be fulfilled with the proper medical evidence and documentation.

1.04 Disorders of the Spine

An applicant with lumbar spinal stenosis must have a compromise of the spinal cord and/or nerve root (this includes the cauda equina) with all of the following:

  • Pseudoclaudication with the proper medical imaging for verification
  • Chronic non-radicular pain as well as weakness and fatigue
  • The inability to effectively ambulate

If all the requirements above are satisfied, an applicant will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits as long as they meet the financial requirements for the given program (SSI or SSDI).


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Board Certified in Social Security Disability by the NBTA. Licensed in both Florida and Michigan. NOSSCR Board of Directors Member.


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