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Testing and Evaluation of Spinal Cord Injuries

The Law Offices of Robert G. Schock helps victims of spinal cord injury seek the compensation they need to get care, treatment, and support for life. In Oakland, San Francisco, the Bay Area, and throughout California, we represent clients in claims against those who negligently or intentionally caused their injuries. Since 1980, the firm has been obtaining excellent results for injured plaintiffs.

If you think you may have incurred a spinal cord injury (SCI), you may be wondering what to do and what to expect. First, doctors will have to test and evaluate you to see whether in fact you have sustained a SCI.

Much of the initial testing can be done immediately, at the emergency room. Generally, it involves looking at your sensory function and movement and asking you questions about what led to the injury. However, if you have neck pain, you're having trouble staying awake, or you are exhibiting clear signs of weakness or neurological injury, the doctor may order emergency diagnostic tests.

Typically, diagnostic tests include x-rays, CT scans, MRI, and myelography. X-rays show any tumors, fractures, degenerative changes, or other problems in the vertebrae (spinal column). CT scans use computers to form images of bone and disk problems that may be clearer than x-ray images. MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce computer-generated images of the spinal cord and can identify herniated disks, blood clots, and other masses. Myelography involves injecting dye into the spinal canal, which allows the doctor to see spinal nerves (and any potential damage) more clearly than other tests.

If after testing and evaluation it appears that you may have a SCI, your doctor may decide to prescribe traction (relieving pressure on the spine) and immobilize your spine.

Additional examination and diagnosis will happen several days after the initial injury, once the injured area is less swollen. The additional testing generally involves a neurological exam, which tests your muscle strength and your ability to sense light touch and a pinprick. The neurological exam will determine the level and completeness of your injury.

If you have been in a serious accident and you have suffered a SCI, seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney can help you obtain monetary damages so that you can cover your medical expenses and other costs and losses. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact the Law Offices of Robert G. Schock today.

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