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How is a spine injury diagnosed?

A person in Tennessee who has suffered damage to his or her spine or neck often needs to be evaluated by a medical professional with the utmost caution and care. It is important that proper treatment is promptly obtained, so that the patient does not suffer additional and unnecessary damage or other physical impairments.

Doctors often test a person's sensory function and movement in their limbs to determine if a person has suffered a spine or neck injury. Sometimes it may be immediately obvious that a Tennessee resident has suffered from spinal cord damage. Certain cases, however, may present less obvious symptoms, such as neck pain or other weakness, that require additional diagnostic testing to determine the cause of these symptoms.

Commonly, doctors will use x-rays to reveal spinal cord injuries. Additionally, a doctor may order a computerized tomography, or CT, scan to determine whether a person has suffered from a spine injury. Using cross-sectional images, a CT scan can help illuminate whether a patient has suffered from bone or disk damage. Alternatively, a doctor may order magnetic resonance imaging, also known as an MRI, which, through radio waves and use of a magnetic field, can help determine whether a person has a mass or other blood clot that is compressing the spinal cord. After swelling has decreased a few days following a person's initial injury, a doctor may also perform a neurological test to assess a patient's muscle strength and sensory abilities.

A person who has suffered from a spine or other neurological injury may meet certain federal requirements to seek Social Security disability benefits depending on the nature of his or her condition. A Tennessee resident with such an injury may wish to seek out legal counsel to discuss benefits' requirements and to learn more about the process of applying for benefits.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Diseases and Conditions: Spinal cord injury," accessed Nov. 27, 2015

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