You also need to be really careful when it comes to following your doctors advice. Social Security wants to feel like you've done everything you can to get better. If you don't agree with your treatment plan, you shouldn't just decide not to take the prescribed medication or not do physical therapy. That could be seen as trying not to get better so you can get disability. Instead, you need to talk to your doctor about why you don't agree with the treatment.
Even more than complying with your treatment, you need to be extra careful about your pain medications. Take your medications when prescribed and no more. Tell your doctor about side effects and make sure your doctor writes them down. Be really careful about going to the emergency room or urgent care for pain medicines. Often, a pain management physician will stop seeing you if you get pain medications from anyone else. It's difficult because you need to show that you need the pain medications, but you can't want them too much.
The doctor's staff can be just as important as the doctor himself. Social Security and your attorney will be asking for medical records and the medical records need to be sent promptly. If we don't get records, you might as well not have seen the doctor. The records also need to be legible. I can't count the number of times I've gotten records and they're handwritten and impossible to read. That does no good. We know you saw the doctor, but not what for. Fortunately, more and more physicians are changing to electronic records so they are all typewritten.
As much as I hate it, Social Security does not pay as much attention to nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants, social workers and counselors. Social Security absolutely should pay attention to these people since often they are the people who see the patients the most and know the most about what is going on with the patient's health. I know some absolutely fantastic NPs, PA, social workers and counselors so this rule is absolutely ridiculous. But until Social Security loosens the rules, try to see an M.D. or have an M.D. sign off on the reports if you can.
Remember, if you don't tell a doctor about your medical condition, it doesn't exist. You can't tell me about your hearing loss and expect Social Security to find you disabled. You need treatment.