Dr. Jeff Mollins, Brooklyn’s most experienced accident specialist has been diagnosing, treating, and documenting injuries sustained by individuals involved in accidents for thirty years. A common injury that occurs as a result of an accident (work accident, motor vehicle accident, construction accident, slip and fall) is a pinched nerve (especially in the neck or lower back). Pinched nerves can be very painful, are often disabling, and can turn into a dire health problem if not diagnosed and treated as expeditiously as possible.
Your spine is made of many bones called vertebrae. Your spinal cord runs downward through a canal in the center of these bones. Nerve roots branch off the cord and go between each vertebrae. Nerves that branch off the neck travel from the neck down into the arms and into the hands. Nerves that branch off the lower back travel down the legs and into the feet. When problems affect these nerve roots, the condition is called a radiculopathy or more commonly, a pinched nerve. Often, individuals involved in traumatic accidents will put pressure on their discs. The disc is the cushion between vertebrae which will expand when pressure (from an accident) is placed on them. When the disc expands quite often it will put pressure on the nerves exiting the spine. This condition is called a bulging disc or if worse, a herniated disc.
Symptoms of a pinched nerve in the lower back include:
- A sharp pain in the back that may travel all the way to your foot – pain may become worse with certain activities like sitting or coughing
- Numbness of the skin in areas of the leg or foot
- Weakness in the leg
Symptoms of pinched nerve in the neck include:
- A sharp pain in the arm
- Pain in the shoulder
- A feeling of numbness or pins and needles in the arm
- Weakness of the arm
- Worsening pain when you move your neck or turn your head
If you have any of the above symptoms after an accident, see Dr. Mollins as soon as possible. Dr. Mollins will first take a very comprehensive history. Understanding the mechanism of the injury (the accident) is crucial in determining a proper diagnosis as well as documenting exactly how the injury occurred. Dr. Mollins will then proceed to perform a thorough neurological and orthopedic physical examination. Diagnostic testing, such as general radiology and/or MRI study may be needed to provide a visual picture. EMG/NCV testing can provide a functional evaluation (if required).
Once a working diagnosis is established, Dr. Mollins will first attempt to treat the injured region (cervical and/or lumbar spines) conservatively (using physical therapy and/or chiropractic treatment). If this is ineffective, a more aggressive treatment may be necessary (pain management and/or neuro-surgery).
Always remember, Dr. Mollins and all of his referred medical specialists (orthopedists, neurologists, and pain management specialists) are workers compensation certified (in New York State). Any work related injury (even if it is an overuse soft tissue injury) is covered under workers compensation. This means that if the injury sustained is work related – you can receive treatment at no cost and be compensated for lost wages, if you are unable to work. When (and if) you return to work, you can receive treatment at no cost.
The most important thing to remember, if you are injured in any accident is to call Dr. Mollins immediately. The sooner your injury is treated, the quicker you will achieve wellness. The longer you wait, the probability of that injury turning into something much more severe exists and it will usually take much longer to resolve.