Question: Can I get Social Security disability for sciatica?
Answer: Yes, if it is bad enough.
Sciatica is pain radiating from the low back to one or both legs caused by pressure on a nerve root in the low back. It is not the same thing as low back pain because the pain from sciatica is experienced in the buttocks, groin or legs, not the low back. People with sciatica often, perhaps usually, have low back pain in addition to their sciatica and the cause may be similar but it’s still a different thing.
Sciatica is most commonly caused by a herniated or ruptured disk in the low back. The disks are a little like pillows. They lie between the vertebrae, the bones in your back. They cushion the vertebrae. For various reasons, the side of one of the disks can develop a weak spot and the disk starts bulging at that point. If the bulge gets particularly big, it is a hernia or rupture. It can press on one of the nerves branching out of your spinal cord. This causes pain which is experienced not where the pinching is happening but in the area that the nerve serves.
Social Security does approve disability claims based upon sciatica but it is not automatic or certain. You should expect to have to go to a hearing before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to have much hope of being approved on the basis of sciatica.
We represent Social Security claimants with sciatica and many other disabling conditions. We represent claimants over a wide area in North Carolina, from Warrenton to Wilson, from Thomasville to Tarboro.