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MVA Whiplash Diagnosis

MVA whiplash diagnosis usually comes within days or weeks following an automobile collision causing neck pain. Auto collisions cause MVA whiplash or cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) injury. This injury can involve crushing damage to the vertebrae, such as fracture or chips, however it usually refers to injuries to the intervertebral discs and the soft tissues of the neck.  The soft tissues are the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the head up. Whiplash or cervical acceleration-deceleration injury causes damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.

It may be helpful to understand some of the methods to diagnose. The diagnosis of neck problems begins with a thorough history of the condition and the involved car accident. The patient might be asked to fill out a questionnaire describing your neck problems. The doctor will ask questions to find out when the patient first started having problems, what makes the symptoms better or worse, and how the symptoms affect daily activities. The answers will help guide the physical examination.

The doctor will then physically examine the muscles and joints of the neck. It is important that the doctor see how the neck is aligned, how it moves, and exactly where it hurts.

The doctor may do some simple tests to check the function of the nerves. These tests measure arm and hand strength, check reflexes, and help determine whether there is numbness in the arms, hands, or fingers.

The information from the medical history and physical examination will help the doctor decide which tests to order. The tests give different types of information.

Radiological Imaging

Radiological imaging tests help the doctor see the anatomy of the spine. There are many kinds of imaging tests including:

    X-rays

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

    Computed tomography (CT)

    Digital motion x-ray (DMX)

    Myelogram

    Bone Scan

    Electromyogram

X-rays

X-rays show problems with bones, such as infection, bone tumors, or fractures. X-rays of the spine also can give the doctor information about how much degeneration has occurred in the spine, such as the amount of space in the neural foramina and between the discs.

X-rays are usually the first test ordered before any of the more specialized tests. Special x-rays called flexion/extension x-rays may help to determine if there is instability between vertebrae. These x-rays are taken from the side as one bends forward and then backwards. Comparing the two x-rays allows the doctor to see how much motion occurs between each spinal segment. It is important to note that x-rays do not directly show damage to the soft tissues in whiplash injury.

McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best results in MVA whiplash cases when the condition is accurately diagnosed consistent with the mechanism of injury.

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