Whether an injured worker with neck or back pain needs an MRI is best determined by the worker’s own treating physician or surgeon. In Wisconsin, if the injured worker’s treating doctor orders an MRI scan for a conceded workers compensation injury as medically necessary, the employer or its insurance company must pay for it. MRI (Magnetic resonance Imaging) scanning has been in use since the the 1980’s and has greatly assisted in the treatment of patients with neck or low back pain. By using magnets to stir up water molecules in the body, an MRI scan measures the contrast between different soft tissues in the body, for example creating images or pictures of the vertebrae and the discs between them, as well as the spinal cord and its nerve roots. MRI scans are generally considered to be the best imaging study of the spine to help plan treatment for back pain.
Physicians usually have a good idea of what they are looking for on the MRI scan before one is performed. The scans are most commonly used for pre-surgical planning, such as for a decompression or a spinal fusion. MRI scans are extremely sensitive to picking up information about the health of the discs, as well as the presence of any disc bulging or herniation that may pinch the nerve roots and cause neck or back pain.
At McCormick Law Office, MRI reports are a very important part of the medical records we use to prove our client’s cases. MRI reports can document or verify the clinical findings of the patient’s doctor and the history of the accident given by the patient or injured worker.