If there is a neurological component to your neck or back injury, time becomes your worst enemy, says neurosurgeon Thomas Morrison of Peachtree Neurosurgery, P.C. in an article published on the georgia1st.com web site.
Neurosurgeons like Dr. Morrison recognize nerve involvement in an injury when a patient experiences numbness, tingling, burning or muscle weakness. When the nerve becomes inflamed, pain may radiate down from the nerve root into your extremities.
Neurological injury to the cervical (neck area) spine, may cause radiating pain into the shoulders and arms
Neurological injury to the lumbar spine may cause radiating pain into the buttocks, thighs, legs or even the feet
Numbness in the genital region can be an indicator of a very serious neurological condition that can result in bladder or urinary incontinence or sexual dysfunction
Nerve involvement in a spinal injury must be treated quickly because nerves do not regenerate like muscles, and the pain can be intense. If you have ever experienced sciatica (nerve pain running down you legs), you know how debilitating nerve pain can be. In the workers’ compensation world, insurance companies are notorious for turning a treatable neurological injury into a permanent, lifelong impairment by delaying treatment.
In my view, delaying treatment for a neurological injury is counterproductive because it will result in a longer recovery and decreases the odds that a injured claimant will return to work. However, many insurance adjusters open their claims files with the assumption that the injured worker is faking or malingering, so delayed treatment is quite common.
Perhaps my most heated battles with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys arise from disputes about the need for prompt care of a client’s neurological injury. Often I am successful in convincing the insurance company to approve appropriate treatment for neurological injuries. Sometimes, unfortunately, the insurance company will not relent and we have to request a hearing, resulting in months long delays in treatment.
I can say with certainty that the sooner we recognize that your injury may involve neurological complications, the sooner I can advocate on your behalf for appropriate treatment with a qualified physician.
If you are experiencing pain or numbness in your arms or legs, and your posted panel doctor does not seem to be addressing the problem or listening to you, please pick up the phone and call me for advice about how to proceed. My number is 770-351-0801.