Physical disabilities can affect how someone lives and moves in the world. They can make working more difficult or even impossible. No two people experience a disability in the same way, either. Let’s look at what “disabled” means and some of the most common physical disabilities.
What Is a Physical Disability?
Physical disabilities limit a person’s movement, stamina, or overall functioning. A disability can be temporary, long-term, or permanent. Someone can become disabled because of injury, illness, or genetic disorders.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four Americans has a disability that affects major daily activities. One in seven U.S. adults has a movement-related disability — the most common type. Disabilities also become more common as we age.
Here are three of the most common physical disabilities we see.
1. Arthritis and Other Musculoskeletal Disorders
According to the Mayo Clinic, arthritis is inflammation and tenderness in one or more joints. Symptoms include stiffness, pain, swelling, and a lower range of motion.
The CDC reports that arthritis is the most common cause of disability for U.S. adults. It often worsens as someone gets older. If someone has a disability, they are more likely to have arthritis.
Types of arthritis include:
- Septic arthritis
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Thumb arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
Arthritis often becomes severe enough to prevent someone from working. Daily activities can become painful or impossible with arthritis.
Arthritis is a type of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD). MSDs affect the body’s movement. Work-related MSDs are the leading cause of disability for working-age people. Other common MSDs include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tendon or muscle strains
- A ruptured or herniated disc
- Tension neck syndrome
- Degenerative disc disease
MSDs can make it difficult for someone to move around comfortably. Issues can include back pain, repetitive strain, and joint injuries.
2. Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood disability affecting movement and muscle coordination. CP is a group of disorders that impact the ability to maintain balance and move.
Abnormal development or damage to the brain causes CP. The condition appears when someone is young, and the effects are permanent.
There are four main types of CP:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy
- Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
- Mixed Cerebral Palsy
- Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Each type depends on the kind of movement disorder. A person can experience uncontrollable movements, stiff muscles, or poor coordination or balance.
3. Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) happen because of damage to the spinal cord. The result is a loss of feeling, movement, or other functions. Diseases or trauma (such as from a car accident) are common causes of spinal cord injuries.
There are two main types of SCIs:
- Complete spinal cord injury where someone has no function below the point at which the injury happened.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury where someone has some function below the point at which the injury occurred.
SCIs might lead to no function below the neck or no function below the chest.
Other Common Physical Disabilities
The above are just a few examples of physical disabilities. Here are some other types of disabling conditions.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) can happen when the tissue around the body’s nerves gets damaged. Scars can form that interrupt messages between the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.
MS is a progressive condition. It might progress quickly for some or very slowly for others. Symptoms of MS include:
- Loss of motor control
- Memory loss
- Cognitive issues
An amputation is the loss of a body part. Foot, hand, leg, and arm amputations are common.
Amputations can happen because of car accidents, work-related accidents, or disease. If someone cannot work because of amputation, they could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Muscular dystrophy is a group of disorders that cause loss of muscle mass and weakness. The symptoms are progressive and have no cure.
There are over 30 types of muscular dystrophy. Symptoms can include:
- Problems with swallowing or breathing
- Motion restrictions
- Trouble walking
- Organ problems
Secondary Conditions From Physical Disabilities
Many people with disabilities face secondary health issues. Someone might experience:
- Mental health disorders
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Weight-related health problems
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those with disabilities are more likely to have less access to healthcare and poorer overall health.
Disability Benefits for Physical Disabilities
A physical disability can prevent someone from working and earning income. If you or a loved one has a disability, SSDI might be an option. You qualify for SSDI if:
- You have a disabling medical condition.
- Your condition prevents you from working for a least a year.
- You have earned enough work credits through Social Security.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
Many people struggle to get the SSDI benefits they deserve. At John Foy & Associates, we are here to help. We have assisted countless people in getting benefits over the past 20-plus years.
We can help you file your claim, improve your application, or appeal a denied claim. Contact us today for a FREE consultation to learn more. We do not charge a fee unless we win you benefits.
To schedule your FREE, no-risk consultation, call (404) 400-4000, or contact us online.