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What Is A MRI?

Posted on - Friday, June 17, 2016 under FAQ, Medical Malpractice What Is A MRI?

People with professional degrees often stink. Wait, I mean they stink at communicating. Doctors are some of the guiltiest professionals. (Look, I admit that many lawyers are terrible communicators too!) With the complete overhaul in health insurance, doctors are under enormous time pressures. These time pressures cause communication to frequently be lost.

I am an attorney that helps accident victims. Questions come at me all the time about the medical care my clients receive following a crash. One of the most difficult things to explain to my clients is what “positive results” or “abnormal findings” of back and neck MRI’s means. Many times my clients are told they have disc protrusions, bulges, or bulges with little explanation from the doctor as to the meaning of those terms.

My goal in this blog post is to help those of you going in for MRI’s to understand the possible results you may receive. Now, please, don’t go in to your doctor saying “This lawyer said……” The resulting eye roll you will get from your doctor will be epic. Doctors and lawyers don’t usually get along!

Your Car Crash & Emergency Room Visit
You were involved in a car crash or truck crash that was not your fault. You may have been transported to the emergency room from the scene. ER personnel check you out usually by performing initial x-rays. Often times, a MRI (or Magnetic Reasonance Imaging) is the next test ordered by your doctor if you are complaining of neck or back pain. The MRI uses magnetic fields, radio waves, and field gradients to form images of organs, tissues, and spinal discs in your body. How does that happen? You need to research that on your own. Describing how an MRI works is WAY above my pay grade. Plus, I really stunk at science in school.

How is an MRI Done?
Most MRI machines are the size of a small car. Think of the machine as a huge box with a large tube going straight through the middle. Your body will be slid in to the tube where magnetic fields will create cross-sectional MRI images that see things conventional x-rays miss. While a regular x-ray can see bone breaks, MRI’s are able to see spinal disc protrusions which are a common injury in car accidents.

The MRI process is not fun for claustrophobic people like me. However, it is painless. You do not feel the magnets cutting through your skin. You will hear some of the most god awful noises that a machine can make. I can only describe it as Godzilla humming loudly in your ear. The entire process usually takes around half an hour.

What is a Herniated Disc?
Spinal disc herniations, or slipped discs, are by far the most common diagnosis. Your spine is made up of many vertebrae (bones). Between each of those bone vertebrae is a gel-like substance encased by a tough exterior. When the tough exterior is torn, the softer gel-like material leaks out of the cracks. The tear and soft leaking material can irritate of cut off nerves coming from your spinal cord.

I have suffered from spinal disc herniations for many years. There is no real nice way to describe the pain. Imagine sitting in the electric chair. It is that bad. Spinal disc herniations can be some of the most draining injuries in a car accident.

Here’s more information about a herniated disc in the neck or spinal cord.

What is a Bulging Disc?
A bulging disc is another common diagnosis. This happens when that small gel-like spinal disc is compressed and occupies more space than a healthy one. Ever eating a hamburger that was bigger than its bun? Well, all of that hamburger meat spilling out over the bun would cause significant pain if it was your spinal disc.

A lot of insurance companies hire their own doctors to say that a bulging spinal disc is painless. That is complete BS. Different people have different results.

Just like in law, medicine often has no black and white answers. In order to determine whether your bulging disc is causing pain, your doctor needs to review your complete medical history. Only then can the doctor make the proper determination as to the cause of your pain.

The Parian Law Firm represents people nationwide who are injured in car accidents, trucking accidents, and other accidents. Chat with a representative now or call us at (770) 727-5550.