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Social Security receives more disability applications for back problems than for any other physical illness or injury. Disability examiners see back problems and injuries day after day, and they will not grant disability benefits for the moderate or intermittent back pain almost everyone gets after age 40 or 50. To get disability benefits, you must have a medically determinable back impairment such as spinal stenosis, nerve root compression, herniated disc (if it's chronic and not treatable), or arachnoiditis. And even then, you must meet Social Security's severity requirements for the particular spinal disorder, which isn't easy.