The Significance of MRIs

 After X-rays, MRIs are the most common diagnostic tests ordered by doctors to address ongoing back and neck pain. An MRI is a noninvasive test that is the most sensitive spinal diagnostic tool commonly used in clinical practice. An MRI will not only show the vertebra, but it will also show the disks, the spinal cord and the spaces between vertebras that nerve roots pass through. This information can be very beneficial both medically and legally.

Your spinal cord is surrounded by vertebrae which are made of bone. Between each of these vertebrae are disks which act as a cushion between each of the bones. The disks themselves are made of a fibrous outer material (called an annulus fibrosus) that surrounds a jellylike center (called the nucleus pulposus). In some ways the disks are like jelly doughnuts.

Trauma to a person's back or neck can cause this disk to:

  • Shift
  • Slip
  • Bulge
  • Become herniated
  • Rupture

When these injuries occur, the disks or the material extruded from the disks can come into contact with a person's nerve roots as they exit the spinal canal. This can cause, among other things, pain, tingling and numbness either locally or that shoots down the length of the nerve.

From a legal perspective having an MRI can be extremely helpful to offer objective evidence of our injuries. Like a photograph, an MRI shows damage. If a person has a bulging, slipped or herniated disk, an MRI will usually detect it. The results, which are completely independent of verbal reports of pain, can be used as important evidence at trial.
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