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PIP and sciatica

St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener
edited March 2019 in PIP, DLA, and AA

I suffer from Sciatica, which for the last 25 years I have managed reasonably well with painkillers and the occasionally physio. Last year my condition worsened and I decided to make my first claim for PIP, which is currently an ongoing process.

I have spent considerable time reading articles on PIP, as well as forum posts. Hopefully I can use this knowledge to help others, whilst occasionally asking for help myself.


  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @St3ve and welcome

    Please ask away if there is anything we can help you with
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • pink_princess
    pink_princess Member Posts: 171 Pioneering
     Hi @St3ve

    Welcome to the community ?
  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @St3ve welcome to the community! :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • St3ve
    St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener

    I only have one question at the moment and I may be over thinking this but during my PIP assessment I was asked to perform a series of motions with my arms and legs whilst remaining seated. On my assessment report it says 'The claimant consented to a Physical Examination'. Do Atos/DWP consider the seated movements I made to be a 'Physical Examination'?

    I intend to request a Mandatory Reconsideration on the grounds that my mobility hasn't been correctly assessed. I do not wish to argue, at any point in future, that no physical examination occurred if they can respond by saying that that was the examination.

  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    From the assessment report have you worked out the likely award ?
    If you need to go to MR and maybe appeal, they will not be interested in whether the assessment was carried out correctly. If you have to go down the appeal route then your job is to show that you meet the criteria for the relevant descriptors
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • happy91
    happy91 Member Posts: 101 Pioneering
    @St3ve it sounds like it, yes. A physical examination can take place standing or seated.

    What you need to consider is how you are affected daily by sciatica and how it affects your mobility needs. Going to one appointment and being examined by someone who doesn't have a clue about mobility issues will not help demonstrate that.

    Ask for someone who knows about back pain/specalist, osteo etc
  • St3ve
    St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener

    @CockneyRebel Thanks for your reply.

    I already had my decision letter when I requested the assessment report. I wasn't awarded any PIP payment but this was hardly a surprise as I'd read somewhere that only about 45% of people are initially successful.

    I agree that they are unlikely to care about the whether the assessment was carried out correctly. When I started to read the report I was surprised to find that it had been filled out quite honestly. At least that was the case until I got to the bits that mattered.

  • St3ve
    St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener

    @happy91 Thanks for your input.

    As CokneyRebel said, it's probably a moot point anyway. It just annoyed me a little that the report implies that a thorough physical examination was done.

    Having been previously seen by many GPs and Physiotherapists, I already knew what checks relate to my condition. When I walked into the consultation room I noticed a bed in the corner. Naturally when I was asked to do some simple arm and leg movements, in the chair, I thought we were building up to the important stuff. While the report does have several errors and omissions, there are two that seem quite important. The length of the consultation was exaggerated by over 50% and there's a very lengthy report about a physical that I can only conclude must have been cut and pasted from someone else's report. It literally contains information that would have been imposible to deduce while I was sat in a chair.

    I've got a physio appointment in a few weeks, so I'll ask for a supporting letter to go with my mandatory reconsideration request.

    Thanks again.

  • clare_1
    clare_1 Member Posts: 123 Pioneering
    Hello St3ve welcome

    I have had sciatica since 2011, I get mine in right leg only and lower back and the winter months are the worst for me.

    With PIP I have found out in previous experiences that the assessments always come back different to what you have told them and the physical they make you do.
    I have quite a few other illnesses to go with sciatica and every time I have had to fight to get the dission, even if you have handed in loads of evidance from dr's, specialists ect.

    My advice would be is to not give up and fight all the way. If living with Sciatica is affecting your life to the point it's not a "normal" life, you should be entitled to it.

    I wish you all the best and if you have any more questions, I'm sure someone on here will be able to help.

  • CockneyRebel
    CockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,216 Disability Gamechanger
    Remember, you should apply for MR within 28 days of the date on your decision letter
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    As others have advised, you can challenge the decision and should try to do so within one month of the date of the decision letter. It really isn't worth dwelling too much on what did and did not happen at the assessment, or on errors in the report. It's much more important to identify what points you think you should have scored in the activities relevant to your condition, and show evidence if you can (for example, what it stops you doing, how things take longer, when you are in pain etc).

    Where the assessment report gives you no points or fewer than you think you should have got in any activity, it can be worth saying briefly why you think that's wrong (for example, they didn't ask you sufficient questions or didn't examine you in a relevant way), but really what is important is to talk about your own evidence and how it demonstrates what you can and cannot do.

    If any of the activities cause you pain (or you can't do them to the standard that other people without your condition can do them), or take longer than twice as long as they would without your condition, or you cannot do them as often as you need to, or it is unsafe for you to do them, then you should be regarded as not being able to do them.

    If you haven't yet done it, the PIP self-test can be useful to take.

    I hope you're successful with your challenge and get the right award of PIP eventually.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Antonia_Alumni
    Antonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Welcome to the community @St3ve

    Thank you for sharing this with us, you can find the steps on appealing a DWP benefits decision

    Please keep us updated, best wishes.
  • St3ve
    St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener

    Hi @claire_1, thanks for your reply. You've certainly given me a little more confidence that I could be in with a chance of being successful at some point.

    I can certainly sympathise with you over your condition. I also get pain in my lower back but for me it's my left leg. It's interesting that you find its worst in the winter months. I've heard a few people say that recently but personally I've never been able to identify any one thing that's guaranteed to trigger it and it can flare up at any time of the year. That being said, this time around it started in late November and I remember that it was bitterly cold.

    Having read up quite a bit on PIP, I was expecting a bit of an uphill battle. I feel sorry for anyone who has to go through this process, while suffering from stress or any sort of mental illness!

  • clare_1
    clare_1 Member Posts: 123 Pioneering

    Your welcome
    Never give up hope, the case may have to be taken all the way to the courts but don't give up.

    I think for me it's worse in cold weather beacuse the nerve and you shake more so tense up. I do suffer with it all year round, just more aggressive in cold weather.

    Some people say its beacuse you dont move enough but for me it's not true as i always try to walk, even if it's just around the house. 
    I pay for the walking i do though, when the exploding feeling hits the bottom of your calf and the radiating pain from back to toes.

    I hope you get the result your after.

  • St3ve
    St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener


    That's an interesting point about the physical report being generated from drop down boxes. That would certainly seem like the logical way to generate it quickly.

    One thing that stuck in my mind was that, for the majority of the assessment, the lady was banging away ferociously on the keyboard. Certainly a lot of my report seems to be a very accurate and specific account of the answers I gave. The physical report however, is just too lengthy to have been typed out during the consultation, even at her pace.

    The thing that amazed me about it was the inclusion of details that would seem impossible to derive from the meeting I attended. As a few quick examples, it says that 'spinal curves appear normal' (She's certainly skilled if she can spot that without even standing behind me) and 'Right thumb-finger pinch grip normal' (we didn't even shake hands). :-)

    It's quite lengthy and comprehensively covers a whole range of observations that would seem impossible to make visually.

    As others have said though, it's pointless getting hung up the details of the report, when there will be far more productive ways of getting DWP to reconsider their decision. It's just disappointing that they clearly give more weight to the assessment report than any other evidence, despite all the bad press that surrounds these assessments.

  • St3ve
    St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener


    Thanks for the support. I certainly intend not to give up easily, and I would go to court, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I hadn't been a pushover. Maybe I'm just being cynical but the whole process seems to be designed to minimize the number of successful claimants, and an obvious consequence will be that the most vulnerable claimants will be the ones most likely to suffer.

    It's interesting to hear the symptoms of someone else with sciatica. Myself, I've probably been quite lucky for about two decades. Normally I always have a niggle at the base of my spine but the flare ups can be quite far apart. However, in recent years they have been getting closer together and lasting longer. This particular episode has been far more painful and has lasted long enough to make me think it may never subside.

    I hardly experience any pain in my upper leg but I have pins and needles in my left foot on an almost continuous basis, while my lower leg constantly alternates between the sensation of aching, burning, cramping or a sharp stabbing pain. I am usually at my worst first thing in a morning and it can sometimes take 20 min to get out of bed because of the sharp stabbing pain I get in my lower back (I've literally been too afraid to move!). Once I'm up, I can't stand for too long but moving around the house does actually help ease the pain through the day.

    On the plus side, I've never sat still so much in my life, so I'm finally reading all the books that have been collecting dust. I'm even thinking about the possibility of returning to Uni to study post grad in future, providing I can find a way to manage the pain to a level that isn't too distracting.

  • St3ve
    St3ve Member Posts: 9 Listener

    To everyone who has offered me a warm welcome and support, thank you.

    It is all much appreciated.


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