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Posted on 12-04-2013

Disc Herniations resulting from Baltimore Auto Accidents

Before we discuss different types of disc inflammatory processes in my next blog post, I'd like to discuss some popular myths regarding disc herniation in the "asymptomatic population." The asymptomatic population refers to people like you who walk around without neck and back pain. When I treat patients involved in Baltimore auto accidents if they are not improving with therapy quickly I will usually refer them for an MRI of the neck and/or lower back to determine if there is any stenosis or disc herniation resulting from the Baltimore auto accident. Many times once I get the results the patients (and the insurance company responsible for paying for or denying care) want to know if the disc inflammation found on MRI predated the auto accident or if the cause of the disc herniation was the auto accident itself.

There is a popular misconception that as many as 50% of the asymptomatic population have at least one disc herniation in their neck or lower back. According to Dr. Arthur Croft in his book "Whiplash and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Guide for Patients and Practitioners" this myth began with an article published in the journal Spine in 1984. According to Dr. Croft, the original authors have since changed their opinion with the prevalence of asymptomatic disc herniations ranging from 4-28%, with the majority of experts today agreeing that 20% is probably the most appropriate number. Despite the latest research that puts the number closer to 20% the old 50% myth prevails.

The reason this is important is because the insurance company handling the claim (the company representing the driver who caused the Baltimore auto accident) will always attempt to marginalize, or downgrade the severity of the injury following a Baltimore auto accident. If they can effectively accomplish this they can discontinue paying for chiropractic therapy and rehabilitation and limit your recovery, thus improving their bottom line financially.

The bottom line according to Dr. Arthur Croft is that "...disc herniations are not common among asymptomatic persons.  They are generally the result of a gradual breakdown of the disc, usually initiated by a series of microtraumas, and can also result from overt traumatic events such as falls, motor vehicle collisions (auto accidents), etc." (p.159).

In my next blog entry I will discuss the different types of names of disc herniations and what they mean clinically. I will also discuss certain types of therapy that we use to treat patients with acute disc herniations resulting from Baltimore auto accidents.

Until then, if you, or anyone you know has suffered from neck pain or back pain and suspect you may have a herniated disc as a result of a Baltimore auto accident and require Baltimore auto accident treatment, please call Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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