By Dr. Jacob Caraotta and Dr. Christen Bowman
Dear Dr. Caraotta and Dr. Bowman:
I had a car accident last October and had right shoulder and arm pain that ran down to my fingers. I went to the emergency room after the accident, and the doctor told me I had a shoulder sprain and gave me pain medication. It felt better when I took the medication initially, but the pain gradually got worse. I went to my general practitioner, who took an X-ray of my shoulder and told me it was fine. He gave me more medication and told me that the pain would go away with rest and time. I had good days and bad days, the pain was bearable. Last month, I had a cold, was coughing hard, and one time I coughed, my shoulder and arm pain increased, and I experienced severe neck and right arm pain. I went to the emergency room and they did an MRI of my neck, which showed that I had a slipped disc, pinching a nerve. Could this disc problem have been there since the motor vehicle accident?
Absolutely. The symptoms you were experiencing after the accident were probably a result of the disc injury. Oftentimes, a person will have an accident such as a whiplash injury and experience a “progressive slipping” of a disc. A patient may initially present with minimal to no neck pain or stiffness or have predominately shoulder and/or arm pain. This is one reason why we recommend patients to have a chiropractic-orthopedic check-up after an accident.
The doctors in our office routinely find compensation in the skeletal system after an accident and document, as well as caution and advise, patients of what to look out for as far as potential problems following an accident.
Certain orthopedic tests should be performed during the examination process after an accident that will confirm or negate the possibility of a disc injury. If these tests are not performed, oftentimes disc injuries are undetected, and the seriousness or extent of the injury is not discovered until a later date, and sometimes even after the claim is settled.
If you have a question you would like Dr. Caraotta or Dr. Bowman to address in their column, send your question to their office at 4921 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61108, or call your question in at Caraotta Chiropractic Orthopedics, (815) 398-4004, and ask to speak with one of the doctors.
From the Dec. 29-Jan. 4, 2011 issue