When you’re in court, the opposing legal team and the judge don’t care about how much you did not sleep last night because of your back pain. They care about what your EMG (electromyography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and specialist say about your bone and nerve damage from the car accident two months ago.
How do you know which is the right specialist to visit to benefit your case? The information below will help you determine the specialist, the tests and the proper course of action.
Orthopedist: An orthopedist diagnoses spine and bone injuries, determines the severity of them and prescribes treatment. Orthopedists correct the injuries with surgery, casting and/or bracing. This specialist will also refer you to physical rehabilitation many times to help with the recovery process.
Neurologist: A neurologist diagnoses and treats spinal, nerve, brain and muscle damage. He or she differentiates between a neurological problem not caused by an injury (multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s, etc.) and traumatic brain injuries and musculoskeletal problems that are caused by external factors like a trauma from an accident. A neurologist does NOT perform surgery, but can prescribe medicine and physical therapy and can refer you to a neurosurgeon.
Neurosurgeon: A neurosurgeon, like a neurologist, can order and interpret spine and nerve testing to concretely determine the damaging effects of your accident. This black and white proof makes it more difficult for the opposing legal team to refute your case. Unlike a neurologist, however, a neurosurgeon can perform surgery. Both specialists will often times also refer you to a physiatrist for further treatment.
Physiatrist: A physiatrist uses physical rehabilitation, also known as physical medicine, to diagnose and treat nerve, muscle and bone damage with non-surgical techniques.
All of these specialists can order an EMG, MRI and other forms of testing. The tests they use will help to assess the location and severity of the injury and determine the short-term and long-term effect of your injury. This is also vital to present in your case in order to show the direct effect the accident has had on your body and your lifestyle.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.