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How is chiropractic evidence evaluated in North Carolina Social Security disability cases?

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In our August 19, 2010 post to this blog, we discussed how the Social Security Administration evaluates the medical evidence in your North Carolina disability case, and noted the difference between evidence from “acceptable” medical sources and “other” medical sources.

Many of our North Carolina Social Security disability clients find it hard to believe that chiropractors appear on the list of “other” medical sources, along with nurse practitioners and naturopaths, among others. Even more surprising may be the fact that the administrative law judge presiding over your North Carolina Social Security disability hearing may view chiropractic evidence as the least reliable type of “other” medical source evidence. Judges who hold chiropractic evidence in low regard will give less weight to your chiropractor’s records than to records from other non-medical sources and will give little credence to your chiropractor’s opinion regarding the cause of your back pain.

What does this mean for your North Carolina disability claim? It means that you cannot rely solely on chiropractic evidence to prove that you are “disabled” under the Social Security regulations. You will have to get an opinion regarding the existence of your back problem from an “acceptable” medical source – for example, a licensed medical doctor – and rely on evidence from your chiropractor as additional proof of the severity of your impairment and how it affects your ability to work. Thus, if regular chiropractic adjustments provide relief from your disabling back pain, then you should continue to see your chiropractor, and your North Carolina disability lawyer should gather this evidence and document the chiropractor’s opinion. At the very least, this evidence will show the administrative law judge that you were in enough pain, often enough, to seek frequent treatment.

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