New Research Focuses on Enhanced Outcomes for Shoulder Surgery

April 15, 2014

Rotator cuff injuries are shoulder injuries that can lead to severe pain and chronic disability. Very often, surgery is recommended for persons who have suffered serious rotator cuff tears, but these surgeries also have high failure rates, especially when they involve very large tears, or older patients. Now, researchers are trying to understand exactly how these muscles and tendons attach to each other, in order to possibly develop engineered tissues that could help to improve outcomes for rotator cuff repair surgeries.

The rotator cuff refers to a combination of bones, muscles and tendons in the shoulder, which play a prominent role in helping the person move his or her shoulder freely. However, these muscles and tendons may be at a higher risk of injury due to aging- related wear and tear, repetitive stress in the workplace, a fall, or any other type of shoulder injury. Sometimes, these injuries occur as a result of severe shoulder dislocation.

A person who suffers from a rotator cuff injury often suffers from severe pain, which may range from a deep, dull ache, to constant pain that makes it difficult for him or her to lie down on the affected side. There may be limited range of mobility in the shoulder, and that may make it difficult for the person to raise his arms high. There may be muscle fatigue or weakness. If the pain is consistent or severe, the person may simply find it easier to not move the shoulder at all. Obviously, such pain can severely impact the person's ability to perform routine activities, especially workplace activities.

Shoulder injuries are some of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. Obtaining Social Security disability benefits when you have a shoulder injury depends very heavily on the kind of functional limitations that your injuries involve, or how badly they affect your ability to work.

Reconstructive Knee Surgery Linked to Higher Risk of Arthritis

April 7, 2014

Persons, who have undergone knee reconstruction surgery to repair knee ligaments are much more likely to develop arthritis in the affected knee. According to the results of a new study that was released by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, persons who have undergone knee reconstructive surgery are three times more likely to develop knee arthritis in the repaired knee, compared to the uninjured knee.

Knee arthritis is also referred to as osteoarthritis of the knee, a condition in which the cartilage on the bones begins to wear down. Earlier studies have also found that osteoarthritis is very often linked to knees that have undergone a reconstructive surgery, but the amount of risk was not determined.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that approximately 200,000 anterior cruciate ligament injuries occur in the country every year. Very often, the surgeons treat injured knees by replacing the torn ligament with a replacement graft. Surgeons believe that between 10 and 15 years after the reconstruction is generally when patients begin to suffer symptoms of knee arthritis.

However, reconstruction surgery is not the only factor linked to osteoarthritis. There can be other factors that are linked to this debilitating knee condition, including excessive weight. Persons who have sustained multiple injuries to their knees may also be at a much higher risk of developing knee arthritis.

If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis or knee arthritis, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits depending on the amount of lost functionality as a result of your condition and other factors. If the lack of movement and motion, and pain associated with arthritis prevents you from performing routine tasks and working to earn a living, contact a disability lawyer today to discuss your situation.

Hormones May Provide Relief from Chronic Pain

March 24, 2014

Persons who suffer from chronic pain may find that their symptoms are so extreme that they are unable to perform normal, routine day-to-day activities. According to a small study conducted recently, a combination of two hormones could provide some relief to people who suffer from such chronic pain.

The study was conducted on nine patients, who were given doses of oxytocin and human chorionic gonadotropin. The researchers found that seven out of the 9 patients, reported a decrease in pain of up to 40% after using the hormone combination. In addition, the levels of painkillers that these patients needed in order to deal with the chronic pain also dropped by as much as 40%. The patients also reported that there was a much longer time period between flare-ups of pain, and much lower pain intensity.

This was a very small study of nine patients, and therefore the findings are not conclusive enough to actually confirm whether this combination of hormones could actually have a long-term positive effect in controlling chronic pain. Researchers say that their next step will be to study whether these hormones could act as an alternative treatment for chronic pain.

Often times, persons who qualify for Social Security disability benefits are those whose ailments or medical conditions may not be visible from the outside, or may not include external symptoms. For example, persons who suffer from chronic pain may look perfectly healthy, and may not even be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain. But that doesn't mean they are symptom free.

Chronic pain is not listed as a separate category by the Social Security Administration for benefits, but patients who suffer from chronic pain may be eligible for benefits if their symptoms closely mirror a condition that is included in the listings.

Growing Incidence of Hip Pain Among Young Patients Raises Risk of Disability

February 17, 2014

Chronic hip pain that is so serious that a person is no longer able to stand or walk now affects many young persons. In fact, researchers recently found a growing incidence of hip pain, or hip impingement, among younger people.

The study was conducted by hip experts at The Ohio State University, and they found that they are seeing an increase in the number of young persons with hip impingement. The experts stated that the ages of these patients range all the way from those in their teens through 60s.

This condition is very frequently seen among young persons who are active and play sports. In many cases these injuries tend to be sports-related, and although the incidence of such hip impingement or chronic pain is also evident in non-athletes, the incidence seems to be higher among those persons who were active round and going through puberty.

The reason for this is simple. During puberty, the hip growth plate fuses, and when a person participates in active sports, it causes the hip to be fused abnormally.
Femoral acetabular impingement of the hip is a risky condition, because if not treated adequately and in time, it can lead to the development of arthritis. Eventually, the person may also need a hip joint replacement.

The condition is even more hazardous, because it is often misdiagnosed, and symptoms often mirror symptoms found in other conditions. Typically, symptoms include lower back pain, and pain in the side of the hip and buttocks. The person may suffer from such chronic pain that he or she is no longer able to walk, which of course affects his or her ability to work later in life.

Federal Watchdog Group Calls on SSA to Strengthen Death Information Procedures

January 30, 2014

A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found deficiencies in the manner in which the Social Security Administration (SSA) collects death information and shares it with other government agencies.

Death information is a strong tool that helps keep federal benefit checks from going to the deceased. However, according to GAO, current methods used by the Social Security Administration encourage the production of inaccurate, incomplete, and untimely information. In fact, according to the report, approximately 1.2 million deceased recipients of SSA retirement benefits were not included in the final tally. Inaccurate information like this could result in other agencies that rely on the information making improper payments to the deceased.

The GAO report is also questioning the federal agency's system in place for sharing such information with other federal agencies. For instance, recently, one senator asked that SSA officials change its policy of charging other agencies for accessing data records. Social Security officials insist that the agency must be reimbursed for the cost of furnishing such information to other federal agencies.

The Government Accountability Office is asking the Social Security Administration to furnish death information, and make the reason for the costs of this reimbursement more easily accessible to other agencies. The GAO report recommends that the SSA assess the risks that are associated with its current information-sharing systems, as well as share detailed reimbursement estimates. The SSA has agreed to both of those recommendations.

Exercise Effective Therapy to Treat Back Pain

January 21, 2014

Back pain is one of the most problematic medical conditions in the United States, and is linked to thousands of cases of severe disability. The simple truth is that the back is necessary for almost all work-related activities, and having problems in that area of the body almost always has a negative impact on other areas. However, in spite of the fact that millions of Americans suffer from this debilitating condition, there are very few therapies that have been found to consistently work. While surgeries and painkillers are prescribed in most cases, very often, people continue to suffer from pain in spite of these treatments.

Over the past few years, experts have been more inclined to recommend other less expensive treatments that may actually help treat back pain better than more expensive options, like surgery. To find relief, some patients with back pain are now encouraged to attend "pain boot camps," where they are basically trained to help them deal with their pain. Routine exercise is one method that is focused-on in these training sessions.

However, it is important to understand that there are cases of serious and chronic pain in which people may simply not be able to withstand the pain, or mentally block it out. In cases where people suffer from such debilitating pain, they may barely be able to get out of bed and move about on a bad day, let alone go to work. In these cases, disability benefits may be the only way to provide for the most necessary living expenses. This is why the SSDI and SSI systems exist.

Chronic Pain Often Accompanied by Emotional Challenges

January 16, 2014

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain, which often leaves them in deep discomfort, and often unable to perform even routine daily activities. New research finds that such chronic pain may have other unfortunate consequences. Individuals who live with such chronic pain often suffer from a number of emotional health issues, including reduced self-esteem.

According to the study which was conducted in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Program, patients who suffer from chronic pain very often struggle with feelings about their bodies. They were also very often likely to feel uncertainty about the future, and trapped by the restrictions imposed by their bodies.

The study also found that many of these people were also likely to be disillusioned by the health care system, which they felt had failed them. They were also prone to feelings of helplessness. One of the more serious consequences that these individuals struggled with struggling with inability to explain their pain to others or prove their pain existed. Overall, these individuals had a much lower quality of life, compared to persons who did not suffer from chronic pain.

Experts believe that individuals who suffer from chronic pain benefit emotionally from participating in support groups. These are designed to connect them with other individuals who also suffer from such chronic pain, and have gone on to live happy and fulfilling lives. It is important for people to understand that it is possible to move on with their lives in such a situation, and to take any steps they can to avoid feelings of helplessness.

Experimental Study Finds Reversal of Down Syndrome Learning Deficits

December 31, 2013

In the future, a compound that was discovered recently by researchers could be used to boost learning and memory capacities in children who suffer from Down Syndrome. The compound has been identified as part of research conducted by scientists at Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers found that when the compound is administered to newborn mice who suffer from a Down Syndrome- like condition on the day of birth, it helped improve their learning capacities and memory abilities.

According to researchers, use of the compound, known as sonic hedgehog pathway agonist, was given to mice immediately. What the researchers were hoping the compound would do was increase the size of the cerebellum. In a normal patient who suffers from Down Syndrome, the cerebellum is just about 60% of the normal size.
However, what the researchers were not expecting was that the compound would have a positive effect on learning and memory abilities, because these abilities are generally controlled by the hippocampus area of the brain, not the cerebellum.

So far, the molecule has not been judged safe for use in human beings, but researchers are optimistic about the use of the compound for the treatment of Down Syndrome in the future. They believe that in the future, drugs containing these molecules may be administered to patients who have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome soon after birth to help eliminate many of the negative cognitive effects of the condition.

Individuals who suffer from Down Syndrome are often eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has specific requirements in these cases, including that applicants provide a chromosomal analysis lab report for eligibility.

Stroke Risks Among Younger Persons Increasing

December 9, 2013

According to a new study, younger persons are at an increasingly higher risk of suffering a stroke.

The research was recently conducted by researchers at the Loyola University Medical Center, and the findings have been reported in the American Academy of Neurology. According to the study, approximately 15% of the most common types of strokes in the United States now occur in young adults. Even more worrying is the fact that many young people who were not considered a high-risk category for strokes earlier are now showing risk factors for such strokes.

Approximately 85% of all strokes reported in the United States every year are ischemic strokes, caused by a block of blood flow to the brain. The number of young people who now show risk factors for ischemic strokes has increased, including diabetes, obesity, hypertension or high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. In addition, younger persons often times engage in unhealthy activities such as smoking, which can also increase the risk.

The physical impact of stroke can be devastating. But the financial costs are frequently just as challenging, especially when they affect a younger person. This is partly the result of young workers being in their prime earning years, and also because they are more likely to have dependents who rely on them for necessary living expenses.

Regardless of their age, if you have a loved one that is unable to work due to a medical condition, contact our office today at (404) 255-9838. We can help them take the next best step to receiving social security disability benefits.

Patients Push for Recognition of Trigeminal Neuralgia

November 25, 2013

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 12 out of every 100,000 people suffer from a debilitating pain condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). These victims' frustration is compounded by two additional problems. First, many doctors have a difficult time understanding and diagnosing the condition because of its rarity. Second, TN is not recognized as a condition for which social security disability benefits are available.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition in which a person suffers from a type of shooting or stabbing pain sensation in the face. It's believed that the pain is caused by the Trigeminal Nerve, a nerve responsible for carrying sensation from the brain to the face. Little is known about what causes of the disorder, but it can lead to severely debilitating pain. Even small stimuli, such as a slight breeze, can trigger a flash of pain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition.

Currently, Trigeminal Neuralgia is not mentioned as a condition eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but this could change as awareness grows among the medical profession and government agencies that make disability laws. The most important thing to do when facing a disability that prevents you from working is make certain you receive the best available medical care. Next, talk with an attorney familiar with disability benefits law. This is a field that changes constantly. Just because benefits may not have been available previously doesn't mean they won't be in the future.

Scientists Report Progress in Stem Cell Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

November 7, 2013

Scientists at Cambridge University's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have announced the identification of a compound that they believe can help reverse the toxicity found in central nervous system cells of a person suffering from Parkinson's Disease.

The results of the research were published recently in the journal Science, with scientists cautioning that there is still a lot of work to be done. The results are very preliminary, and the study is still in its early stages. In fact, the scientists are not even using the word "drug" to refer to the molecule that they identified while analyzing more than 200,000 compounds. In other words, it will still be a long while before the molecule is actually converted into an ingredient that human beings who suffer from Parkinson's Disease can take safely.

The molecule was tested on persons who suffer from a form of Parkinson's Disease. The scientists created stem cells from the samples, and from those stem cells, they generated neurons that are affected in a person who suffers from Parkinson's. They found that the special molecule managed to reverse the signs of disease in nerve cells. The researchers say that they will now focus on modifying the compound, so that they can move on to the next stage, which is testing in animals.

Many individuals with Parkinson's are still able to work in the early stages, and may be able to earn an acceptable income. Because of this, social security disability benefits applications are often denied at the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, and more severe symptoms set in, applications are more likely to be successful, especially if the disability has existed for at least 12 months.

It's important to seek the help of a qualified Atlanta disability attorney after you've been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This will ensure you and your family take all the best steps for ensuring your treatment and your finances are in order, and also account for the backlog that exists in the SSD system.

Late Treatment Often Delays Return-to-Work for Heart Attack Patients

October 29, 2013

When persons who suffer a heart attack do not receive treatment immediately, they are much more likely to return to work later, and also frequently must enter into an early retirement. Those findings come from research that was recently presented at the Acute Cardiac Care Congress.

According to the Congress, delays from the time a call has been made to emergency medical services to when treatment is received, can lead to an increase in mortality and heart failure after a myocardial infarction.

Until now, researchers have not been able to tell whether delayed treatment had any real and tangible effect on return to work after treatment. The researchers decided to investigate this particular area because a delayed return to work, or a premature retirement after heart attack, is often financially disastrous for patients.

In the analysis, researchers found that a large proportion of people who did suffer from myocardial infarction managed to return to their job within four years. However, as many as 40% of the patients had their return to work delayed. After eight years, people who suffered from a long system delay, and had delayed treatment for their condition, had a 21% increase in retirement rate.

These data emphasize the need for social security disability benefits after a heart attack or other injury that precludes a person from working. And more importantly, it illustrates that disability benefits should be filed for as soon as possible.

Study Finds Stroke, Disability Risks Increased by Traumatic Brain Injury

October 10, 2013

According to research recently published by the University of Michigan Health System, persons who have suffered a traumatic brain injury are at a much greater risk of suffering a stroke later in life, compared to those who have no history of brain injury.

The research was conducted on people with an average age of 49.2 years. Researchers found that persons who had suffered a traumatic brain injury earlier in life had a much higher risk of suffering an ischemic stroke, which occurs when there is a severe lack of blood flow to the brain. Ischemic strokes can leave a person with devastating and lifelong health issues, and even permanent disability. In fact, stroke is one of the major causes of long-term disability among American adults.

The outlook after a stroke is not entirely bleak, and as many as 70% of survivors of a stroke can expect to regain some degree of functional independence. However, roughly 30% of persons who suffer a stroke remain permanently disabled, and may suffer symptoms such as full or partial paralysis, language problems, cognitive difficulties, and sensory disturbances.

Most importantly, these people may be unable to return to their jobs after the stroke, often resulting in very serious financial problems for these patients as well as their families.

Social security disability benefits for a stroke are often times available to individuals, and can provide regular monthly income to cover living expenses and those for dependents. If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, and are unable to return to work, contact our law office to discuss whether you quality for disability benefits.

People with Disability at Greater Risk of Obesity

October 1, 2013

According to new research, people who suffer from a disability are at a much higher risk of obesity than non-disabled persons. This indicates that obesity may be a much greater physical health challenge for the disabled than earlier believed.

The study found that approximately 42% of American adults who suffer from a disability also suffer from obesity. About 9% also suffer from extreme obesity. In comparison, among adults who did not suffer from any disabilities, nearly 29% were found to be obese, and 3.9% were found to be extremely obese.

The results of the findings were published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This is believed to be the very first time that obesity has been strongly linked to disability.

Earlier research has also tried to link disability to obesity, but there had been deficiencies in those studies, and the findings were based on an obesity prevalence among people with a disability that was at just between 39% and 31%. The new study put that number closer to 42%.

Data for the study came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes data collected from physical examinations of Americans as well as interviews about diet and nutrition. Obesity rates, as well as health information from more than 11,000 American adults who suffer from a disability, were compiled as part of the research, and then compared to data involving more than 20,000 people without disabilities.

Apart from the higher risk of obesity, disabled persons were also found to be much more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, high cholesterol levels as well as hypertension. In addition, many were likely to be on high blood pressure medication, as well as medications to lower lipid levels.

Our law firm helps clients receive disability benefits, as well as work through other health challenges such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Study Finds Steroid Injections to Treat Back Pain May Increase Risk of Spinal Fracture

August 29, 2013

Back pain is one of the most disabling conditions that a person can suffer from, and very often the pain is so debilitating that it no longer allows the person to work. A recent study, however, showed evidence that some back pain sufferers may also be at risk of a spinal fracture if they are taking steroid injections for pain.

The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, and suggests that older patients who suffer from low bone density should be particularly cautious when receiving steroid injections.

At issue are lumbar epidural steroid injections, which are injections into the spine where the nerve is being compressed, usually due to a spinal stenosis or herniated disc. While it has been widely accepted in medical literature for years that the use of steroid injections over a period of time can lead to a decrease in bone mineral density, this new research goes a step further by linking this lowered bone mineral density to the more serious spinal fracture.

As part of the study, more than 3,000 patients who had been given steroid injections for back pain were analyzed. The patient group was then compared to another group of 3,000 patients who received alternative treatment for their back pain. Researchers found that approximately 150 patients from the injection group were later diagnosed with a spinal fracture.

More research will be necessary to determine whether the risks of spinal steroid injections outweigh the benefits. However, the lesson we can all take is to make sure that you are not only receiving treatment for your conditions, but also that you are receiving the right treatment based on your unique circumstances. It's also very important to know the risks associated with any treatment plan, and how you can alter your activities and lifestyle to minimize them.