Spinal arteriovenous malformation, or spinal AVM, is a rare medical condition in which abnormally interwoven blood vessels can permanently damage the spinal cord if left untreated. Under normal conditions, oxygen-rich blood passes from your arteries and capillaries through the spinal cord where the oxygen is used. The oxygen-depleted blood then enters veins so it can be returned to the heart and lungs. With spinal AVM, the blood flows from the arteries directly into the veins, bypassing the capillaries and spinal cord. This disruption in the normal flow of blood denies cells and spinal tissue the oxygen and nutrients that they need to survive. As a result, the cells and tissue deteriorate or die. The tangle of arteries and veins can press against the spinal cord or rupture, which causes bleeding inside the spinal cord. The condition accounts for approximately 4 percent of abnormal masses found within the spinal region. They can be located inside or outside the spinal cord as well as in its lining.

Some people suffering from spinal AVM experience few, if any, serious symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the severity depends upon the size and location of the AVM. Over 80 percent of individuals with spinal AVM experience progressive neurological symptoms that occur over months or years. The remaining 20 percent experience an acute onset of symptoms. These typically include difficulty walking and numbness or tingling in the legs as well as weakness on one or both sides of the body.

Obtaining Disability for Spinal AVM

Untreated spinal AVM can also lead to progressive disability, including spinal column deformity, an aneurysm and bleeding in the spinal cord. If the AVM ruptures, other serious symptoms and complications can result. As the condition progresses, individuals may lose sensation in their legs, experience chronic lower back pain and have difficulty urinating or moving their bowels. It can also cause paralysis. The complications that occur as the condition worsens may make it impossible to work.

Although the Social Security Administration Blue Book does not specifically list AVM, you can still qualify for benefits based on the severity and number of complications associated with the condition. AVM-induced paralysis can prevent individuals from completing work-related tasks. It is also considered a condition from which patients do not recover. If you can prove that the symptoms and complications associated with your spinal AVM are severe enough to make working impossible, you can still qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Getting Help from an Attorney

Applying for SSDI benefits can be a long, confusing and frustrating process. Denials are very common. Many people who truly need and qualify for benefits are denied because of an error on the application or a failure to provide sufficient medical evidence of the disability. The best way to improve your chances of being approved for the benefits for which you qualify is to work with an attorney experienced in the unique process of handling disability claims. You need a lawyer who regularly submits SSDI benefit claims and is familiar with the rules and regulations, especially any recent changes, needed to support your case. Our team can help make the process easier and less burdensome during this stressful time in your life. Whether you are filing an initial claim or have already been denied, call to schedule a consultation. We will discuss your case and determine the best course of action to get you the benefits that you or your loved one deserves.

To discuss SSD and SSI claims or appeals, please call us at (215) 464-7200 or email the attorneys of Chermol & Fishman, LLC. The initial consultation is free, and we never charge a fee until we win your case.