When Can Ilioinguinal Neuralgia Be a Basis for Disability?

Those with debilitating pain from ilioinguinal neuralgia may be able to get disability benefits.

By , Contributing Author
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Ilioinguinal neuralgia is a condition in which there is damage to the ilioinguinal nerve. This nerve runs from your lower back through your hips into your groin and then down into your upper thighs. Damage to this nerve is often caused by surgery, especially hernia surgeries. While often times the nerve pain goes away shortly after the surgery, the damage that is caused can be a permanent impairment. This type of damage can cause high levels of pain that may affect your ability to function properly at home and in the workplace. If you are unable to work, either at your past jobs or a new type of job, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Symptoms and Limitations of Ilioinguinal Neuralgia

Those with ilioinguinal neuralgia can have significant pain in their lower abdomen and into their groan, which can include burning and/or stabbing pain, numbness, and tingling. Another common characteristic of this type of nerve damage is that individuals walk in a bent forward position, similar to that of a beginning skier position, as extension of the back can increase the pain. If the pain is severe enough, it can cause difficulty with sitting, standing, and walking.

Disabling Complications of Ilioinguinal Neuralgia

The complications from untreated ilioinguinal neuralgia can include bulging of the anterior abdominal wall muscles, which can affect the ability to walk.

Complications can also occur from treatment of the condition, depending on the type of treatment received. Injections into the nerve to help the pain can cause bruising and infection if the needle perforates the colon during the procedure. In extreme cases, the nerve can be removed. Complications from this treatment can include semi-permanent or permanent numbness in the area that previously felt pain.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Ilioinguinal Neuralgia

If you are unable to work, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are three ways in which to qualify for benefits: meeting a listing, equaling a listing, or proving you are unable to work.

Meeting a Listing

To meet a listing, you must show that you have an impairment that is in the Social Security Blue Book. This book lists impairments that are deemed by Social Security to be severe enough to automatically qualify you for disability benefits if you are able to meet all of the criteria in the listing. There is no specific listing for ilioinguinal neuralgia, but if the nerve damage was caused by another condition that was not alleviated by surgery, it may be possible to receive benefits based on that condition.

Equaling a Listing

To "equal" a listing, you must show that you have an impairment that is similar to an impairment in the Blue Book and is equal to it in the terms of severity and duration. For those with severe ilioinguinal neuralgia that is caused by compression of the nerve, you may be able to equal Listing 1.04 (Disorders of the Spine).

Listing 1.04 is for nerve root compression that causes pain, limitation of motion in the spine, and muscle weakness that has caused sensory or reflex loss. Additionally, those with effected lower backs must have difficulty lifting their legs when sitting and laying down. For those with ilioinguinal neuralgia caused by compression of that nerve, you may equal Listing 1.04 if you can show that you meet all of the other criteria of the listing besides compression of the nerve root. You'll find more information in our article on equaling a listing.

Proving You Are Unable to Work

If you don't meet or equal a Blue Book listing, you may qualify for benefits by showing that you are unable to work due to postural limitations and chronic pain. Your physical abilities may be greatly affected by ilioinguinal neuralgia, as the pain caused by it can substantially limit the amount of both exertional and non-exertional physical activity that you can do at work.

Exertional activity includes the ability to carry, lift and move things, stand for periods of time, and walk certain distances. Numbness in the legs can also limit where you may be able to work, due to safety concerns. For example, working with certain machinery may be unsafe if you have a lack of feeling or weakness in your legs.

Nonexertional activity includes your ability to work at a desk, including sitting for periods of time, and doing work done from a sitting position. While there may be some accommodations that may be made (such as sitting using special back cushions), often times the pain cannot be prevented.

For those with iloinguinal neuralgia, both exertional and nonexertional activities may be affected, especially if sitting causes pain. When you have too much pain doing both standing jobs and sitting jobs, you have a good chance of getting disability benefits.

Pain can also affect your mental abilities at work. Extreme pain can decrease your ability to concentrate and finish tasks. Also, it may affect your ability to get along properly with coworkers.

Proving the Existence of an Impairment Beyond Pain

Pain is a major symptom of ilioinguinal neuralgia and may be the cause of many of the limitations that occur due to the disease. While Social Security will consider pain as a factor in determining whether or not you are disabled, pain cannot be used as the sole basis for your disability claim. You must prove that there is a medical basis for your pain. Specifically, for iloinguinal neuralgia, you must provide documentation from your doctor of damage to the iloinguinal nerve as the basis for your pain. For more information on how Social Security assesses the pain despite its subjectiveness, please see our article on how Social Security evaluates claims with chronic pain.

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