Case Management, Cost Projection, File Review, Life Care Plan, Medical Consultation

An MRI Makes All The Difference

 August 24, 2016

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

Getting an MRI is a pretty big deal. They are very expensive, can cause you to feel claustrophobic, and the loud noises created by the machine can be extremely unnerving.  If you have suffered injuries in an automobile accident, all of the stress and pain plus the thought of an MRI can be pretty challenging.  You would hope that at the conclusion of the MRI, your doctor will have a clear picture of your path to rehabilitation. There is a lot of vital information to be gleaned from the results and that information needs to be passed on to you.  Often times, this information can be particularly overwhelming.  The potentially harmful knowledge gap that can arise is why we do what we do here at AdvancedRM. We advocate for auto accident victims because while attorneys and doctors have received years of training to procure, interpret and analyze data, the average citizen has not. This article provides basic information regarding MRI’s to help alleviate some of the worry and stress this diagnostic test may bring. 

What is an MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The machine itself is a magnet in the shape of a tube. You will notice the tube. It can be a tight squeeze. The claustrophobia reference wasn’t just a joke. Once you are inside, there is no escaping the loud hum of the magnet. You will be offered headphones and a choice of music but it is questionable whether or not that will suffice as a distraction. An x-ray might do the trick for bones and fractures. It takes a single image. An MRI makes a cross-section of your entire body and creates multiple images that can reveal much more detail. If you have been in a vehicular accident, your primary concern will be your spinal discs. Any damage to these is easily revealed by an MRI scan.

What does an MRI tell us?

One of the most common injuries detected by an MRI scan is the herniated disc. Also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc, this debilitating spinal injury causes numbness or weakness. More than likely; however, a herniated disc may result in sharp pain. The intense jolt occurs when the jelly-like substance inside spinal discs leaks through a tear in the hard, outer shell and makes contact with nerves or the spinal cord itself.

Other common spinal trauma detected in accident victims is the bulging disc. A healthy spinal disc occupies a certain amount of space. When it bulges, it ends up taking more space than it is supposed to. The trouble area of the bulging disc tends to be large and is where the pain and discomfort emanates from. All too frequently, an insurance company will hire a doctor to perform an MRI on a victim and that doctor will then proclaim that a bulging disc does not cause pain, based on the one set of results. This is certainly irresponsible. Bulging discs can cause crippling pain. It all depends on the history of the injury and gathering evidence of that history is part of what AdvancedRM does for its clients. In a personal injury case, to prove pain caused by a bulging disc requires the following:

  • The history of the actual trauma, i.e. an automobile accident.
  • The amount of time elapsed between trauma and emergence of symptoms (pain).
  • The final verdict from the doctor, linking the two.

The key to success with an MRI scan is the level of detail it reveals. The aforementioned spinal disc is what is known as soft tissue area. Soft tissue also describes your nerves, muscle and even your brain. Most importantly, soft tissue refers to those hard to reach places such as the ACL of the knee, the rotator cliff or the medial meniscus, which is the tissue between bones.  All an x-ray shows us is bone. Distinctions such as these are still crucial when it comes to acting on all accident traumas in a timely fashion.

A Care Manager or Case Manager from AdvancedRM can assist with booking appointments for crucial diagnostic testing.  This can help to alleviate some of the stress an accident victim feels when facing a challenging diagnosis.  The Care/Case Manager will also ensure that all treating providers are provided with a copy of the results so a comprehensive treatment plan can be established.  It is easy to see how AdvancedRM can help lighten your burden. 

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