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Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

If you have a back problem do you regard yourself as having a disability ( on forms)?

(12 Posts)
Scarletohello Fri 22-Aug-14 09:30:44

I have had chronic back problems since the age of 19 due to a slipped disc which gave me sciatica. I have always ticked the No box on forms when asked if I consider myself to have a disability mainly as I don't want to disadvantage myself. However I would struggle to do a job where I had to stand all day, lift/ carry heavy things and have also had RSI.

I am curious to know what other people with a similar health issue would put..?

Scarletohello Fri 22-Aug-14 21:45:42


< tumbleweed >

PausingFlatly Fri 22-Aug-14 21:52:36

I would tick "disability" as you meet the legal definition (approx: chronic condition that affects capacity), and you might need the legal protection later of having declared it, eg if your job description is changed.

It will also help them make any adjustments to help you do the original job.

But they shouldn't be asking before recruitment, unless on a separate form which I'd hand in after the recruitment process.

PausingFlatly Fri 22-Aug-14 21:56:22

Mm, actually, given the (comparative) mildness of your condition, actually I might tick "No" - and then just mention it to management afterwards.

I'm not belittling your pain! But I can see why you feel it's borderline wrt declaring a disability.

PausingFlatly Fri 22-Aug-14 21:56:34


WaffleWiffle Fri 22-Aug-14 22:00:49

I had spinal surgery in 2006 following a slipped disc and have ongoing nerve damage in the form of Cauda Equina Syndrome (feel free to google).

Given that I have adapted to life and do not consider myself to be hindered in any way from my spinal cord injury, I do not consider myself disabled and would to No is asked about a disability.

GlitterBelle Fri 22-Aug-14 22:15:12

There is a legal definition for disability. The act "defines a person as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities."

So someone could have long-term back pain, but if it doesn't stop you doing your normal day-to-day activities i.e. getting dressed, cooking, going to the shops, whatever.

There is some grey area with certain conditions. Sometimes you can be incapacitated by something for weeks, then not at all.

As part of my condition I have back issues. I can only walk a few seconds, need a wheelchair, take morphine which can knock me out, need a carer, etc - so I do see myself as disabled.

My mum has a slipped disk, needs no help. Sometimes needs to sit down if she's been up to long. Holds a full time job, sometimes takes a paracetamol. She's not disabled.

So, only you can look at the definition and decide.

CrockedPot Fri 22-Aug-14 22:16:34

I have sciatica. I don't consider myself to have a disability in any way.

PausingFlatly Fri 22-Aug-14 22:23:54

It's very much about the level of impact, not the name of the condition.

The OP can't carry out some very common components of many jobs without coming to harm. So overall I'd say she's disabled, by current definitions.

But in the right job, where she's not being asked to do the things she can't do, she may not appear disabled at all.

Scarletohello Fri 22-Aug-14 22:35:41

Thanks all, I know it's a bit of a grey area and why I'm asking is that I may need to sign on and don't want to be forced into a job that I would really struggle with (e.g. Working in a shop where I would have to stand up all day)

It's one of those invisible disabilities, so to loo at me you wouldn't be able to see anything wrong with me but I'm in constant pain/ discomfort and certain things make it much worse. I think I also have a sense of shame about it and don't really want to admit it, just keep it to myself and not do the things I one I will struggle with.

PausingFlatly Fri 22-Aug-14 22:45:34

Definitely declare it to the JobCentre, otherwise as you say you may end up in an impossible condition. You need the protection of the Equalities Act.

Whether you declare it to a prospective employer, and at what stage... case by case?

Sorry about the constant pain.thanks

500smiles Fri 22-Aug-14 23:04:39

Like Waffle I have CES due to complications from an op on a prolapsed disc.

I can't stand for long periods of time, I fall over easily as my stability is affected, so I have adapted my life to suit my own needs.

I agree with Pausing that you need protection in those circumstances.

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