Cervical Radiculopathy refers to the disturbance or damage of nerves in the neck, resulting from compression of the cervical vertebrae. Damage to the nerve roots in this region can cause pain, weakness and loss of sensation in the neck shoulders or limbs. The most common symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain that spreads into the arm, neck, chest and shoulders. Persons with radiculopathy may also experience tingling in the limbs. The location of this weakness and loss of sensation depends heavily on which nerves are damages. As a neck injury lawyer in Clearwater, I can state that complaints and presentation of upper extremity radiculopathy is very common in auto accident cases.
Cervical radiculopathy damage can result from pressure due to a ruptured disc, degenerative conditions in the bones, arthritis (an inflammation of the joints), or other injuries that cause swelling that places pressure on the nerve. Cervical radiculopathy in younger people most commonly results of a ruptured disc, since degenerative and arthritic conditions, generally tied to older age, can typically be ruled out.
A doctor needs to know a number of things before diagnosing cervical radiculopathy. First, they have to assess the chief symptoms. Generally, one will be asked to determine their pain level on a scale from 0-10, with 10 being the highest level of pain. Anatomic drawing may also be used to help patients communicate precisely where the pain in coming from. You doctor will also inquire as to what activities and head positions increase or decrease pain or other symptoms. This information helps not only with diagnosis, but also in determining the proper treatment. Knowing how the injury occurred also helps determine what mechanism caused the injury or what parts were injured.
The typical conservative treatment for cervical radiculopathy is a combination of over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal medication such as ibuprofen, and physical therapy. Physical therapy can include everything from cervical traction to mobilization, exercises, and other methods to reduce pain or swelling around the damaged nerve. However, in the event of significant compression, such that motor weakness results, surgery might be necessary to relieve pressure on the nerve. That’s why it’s important to consult a professional to determine the extent of your damage.
We often see cervical radiculopathy resulting from ruptured discs in car accidents and motorcycle crashes. The problem with cervical radiculopathy is that it may not present immediately after an accident. That’s why it’s important to report it as soon as possible and get it diagnosed. In older persons, it’s sometimes a struggle in proving that the radiculopathy is a result of the accident rather than degeneration due to age. Often, these issues of proof can sometimes affect the value of a case. That’s why it’s important to give a full accounting of your medical history at your free case evaluation.
Another important issue to take note of is recommendations of laser spine surgery. Please review the following article http://www.princetonbrainandspine.com/subject.php?pn=laser-spine , as the author (a highly regarded Neurosurgeon) discusses the issues associated with laser spine surgery. We often see laser spine surgery offered or recommended as a cookie cutter solution to a number of discogenic issues affecting the cervical and lumbar spine. I previously published an article concerning laser spine surgery http://www.dolmanlaw.com/is-laser-spine-surgery-bogus/.
Further, we have noted many instances of attorneys who are well aware of just how limited and dangerous laser spine surgery can be, yet highly recommend such to their clients. These attorneys are aware of the science behind laser surgery and the criticism of such offered by numerous respected Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic Spine Surgeons.
Many attorneys promote laser spine surgery and refer their clients to laser spine surgeons in cases where there is $100,000.00 to $150,000.00 in combined insurance coverage (between bodily injury and uninsured/underinsured limits) and know full well there may not be enough insurance to pay for an invasive surgery. These lawyers will push their clients to physicians who perform only laser spine procedures. In fact many of these physicians are not surgeons. Rather, they are Anesthesiologists and/or Physiatrists performing outpatient laser spine procedures. The following article highlights a number of horror stories associated with laser spine procedures and namely the Accurascope http://hubtub.hubpages.com/hub/Accurascope-Laser-Spine-Surgery-Risks. Please note Dr. Watson (Anesthesiologist) is referenced in the article above and was previously partners with Dr. Lawrence Rothstein, who at one time had nineteen (19) active medical malpractice claims against him in Ohio. Another interesting link is: http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/laser-spine-surgery-dnd-hilliard-ohio-c580923.html. For more information, please review http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/local/doctor-accused-of-lying-to-patients-hiding-assets/nNFBq/
If you have been pressured into seeing a physician that only offers laser spine procedures it is vital to seek a second opinion with a reputable Spine Surgeon. As the old analogy states, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Many laser spine surgeons market their procedures in seminars held at hotels. In fact, Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, has utilized an aggressive marketing approach for years and have touted their services as a solution to all spine pain. In fact, Business Week and Bloomberg publishes an expose on Laser Spine Institute and their marketing tactics. http://www.bloomberg.com/video/69306182-laser-spine-centers-thrive-as-malpractice-suits-mount.html and http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_21/b4229021108723.htm. The most alarming issue, is the rate of malpractice and complaints of unsatisfactory results illustrated in both articles.
If your attorney has pressured you into seeing a physician who only offers laser spine surgery, it may be time to seek a second opinion on your legal representation. Attorneys should not dictate medical treatment. Further, if your attorney is not aware of the significant criticism pertaining to laser spine procedures from the medical community, then you should question the knowledge and motives of such lawyer.
For more information on laser spine procedures or for a free consultation and case evaluation concerning a spine injury, call the injury law attorneys of the Dolman Law Group at: (727) 451-6900.
North American Spine Society Handout on the Diagnosis & Treatment of Cervical Radiculopathy: http://www.spine.org/Documents/Cervical_Radiculopathy.pdf