When Should You Encourage Your Client to Get an MRI?
If you represent a personal injury client who basically has soft tissue injuries, the typical treatment that client will receive is chiropractic care. According to the American Medical Association (AMA) soft tissue injuries (such as cervical, thoracic or lumbar sprain/strains) are correctly treated by so called "conservative care," such as chiropractic, massage therapy acupuncture or osteopathic care. However, if your client reports radicular symptoms -- such as radiating or shooting pain down the arms or legs, or numbness to the toes or fingers -- an MRI is indicated.
What Do MRI's Find?
If your client reports rediculopathies (shooting pain or numbness) an MRI is likely to find a nerve root encroachment, most likely from a bulging or herniated disk. In some instances, this can be a surgical condition adding significant value to a personal injury claim. In other instances, if the disk bulge is merely moderate, pain management is the next step in the client's treatment. The most common method of pain management is a series of epidural injections. However, in some cases facet injections may be called for (to treat facet syndrome). There are numerous other forms of pain management as well, but this article can only mention generalities. Consult medical literature if more depth is desired.
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