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Spine Specialist

SPINE SPECIALIST INFORMATION

Nearly 18,000 spinal injuries occur in the U.S. each year. Like most injuries, they range in severity. Minor spinal injuries may result in pain that goes away on its own, without medical intervention. Very serious injuries can leave victims with life-long disabilities and pain. Spinal cord injuries can even prove fatal.

If you’ve suffered from a spine or spinal cord injury, you may be referred to — or choose to see on your own — a spine specialist.

These doctors specialize in treating our spines through surgeries, therapy, and other treatment options. They’re experts at diagnosing spinal injuries caused by a wide variety of accidents. This includes everything from falls to car accidents to those caused by other medical conditions.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of an accident or are suffering from pain in your back and spine, you likely have some questions. Keep reading to learn when you might opt to see a spine specialist, signs and symptoms to watch for, and how to choose the right spine specialist in your area.

What Causes Spinal Injuries?

Of the tens of thousands of spine injuries that occur each year, a few specific types of accidents account for the majority.

Over half of all spinal cord injuries are the result of automobile and motorcycle accidents. However, in individuals over the age of 65, the majority of spinal injuries are caused by falls. Overall, falls account for just over 30 percent of all spinal cord injuries.

Falls and car accidents account for the vast majority of spine injuries. But there are other causes as well. About 13 percent of injuries are the result of violence. This includes gunshot and knife wounds. Around 10 percent are the result of sport-related injuries. Impact sports like football and diving into shallow water are often to blame.

In around 1 in every 4 spinal cord injuries, alcohol is a factor. This includes drunk driving accidents or diving into shallow water as a result of alcohol intoxication. Finally, a small number of spinal cord injuries occur as a direct result of cancer, arthritis, and other medical conditions.

Spinal cord injuries aren’t the only reason why a person may choose to see a spine specialist. Unexplained and persistent back pain may also prompt a visit to get a diagnosis and effective treatment for your pain.

Signs That You Need to See a Spine Specialist

In some cases, your regular doctor — or in the case of an accident, an emergency room doctor — will refer you to a spine specialist because they either know that you have or suspect that you have a serious spine injury.

Just because you haven’t been referred to a specialist doesn’t mean that you don’t need to see one. There are a variety of signs and symptoms you may experience that could prompt you to ask for a referral to a local specialist. If you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, you should visit a spine specialist. Or, visit your primary care physician to get a referral. These signs and symptoms include:

  • You suffered a minor back injury and the pain isn’t going away
  • You’re suffering from chronic back pain, either resulting from a back injury or not
  • Bowel and bladder issues have arisen that other doctors have struggled to treat
  • You’re suffering from pain or numbness in your feet or legs

If you’ve been the victim of an accident or attack and are suffering from back pain, it’s even more important to see a spine specialist. A specialist will help you to get the treatment that you need. But they will also be able to provide a professional opinion and testimony about whether or not your injuries were the result of that accident or attack.

If your accident attorney is forced to take your case to court in order to help you get compensation for your injuries, having the report from a spine specialist in your medical records could be key to winning your case.

How to Find the Best Spine Specialist in Your Area

Whether you’re suffering from persistent back pain or your doctor has already recommended that you see a spine specialist, the next step is finding the top specialist in your area.

Start by talking to your primary doctor for recommendations. Keep in mind that just because you are referred to a specific spine specialist doesn’t make that your only option. You should also do your own research on a doctor’s years of experience and success in treating spinal injuries.

Some spine specialists require that patients obtain a referral from a primary care physician before seeing a specialist. Some specialists may also have lengthy waiting lists for appointments. If you’re suffering from pain or have a serious injury, you’ll want to make sure that you’re able to get an appointment in a timely manner. Otherwise, you’ll want to search for other spine specialists in your area.

Getting Compensation and Covering Medical Expenses

Seeing a spine specialist and seeking treatment for your spinal cord injury can be expensive. Even with health insurance, deductibles or treatments and medications not covered by your insurance provider, coupled with lost wages and other expenses, can add up fast. One study found that patients suffering from chronic spinal cord injuries saw average annual medical costs of $21,450 per patient.

If you’ve suffered a spinal injury as a result of an accident that you were the victim of, a personal injury lawyer can help. In addition to getting your medical expenses and lost wages paid for, they can also help to seek compensation for your ongoing pain and suffering.

It’s important to seek the help of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following an accident. This is especially important if you do suffer a serious spinal cord injury. An experienced attorney will help you at every step of the process. They are there to help gather your medical records and calculate your costs. Your attorney will take over communicating with insurance companies to get your medical bills paid. This not only gives you peace of mind but also allows you to focus on healing while your case is handled for you.

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