Perhaps you’ll relate to this scenario. You’re working in Southern California, and you experience a fall on the job—perhaps landing on your back. At first, you think you’re okay, no real harm done. But after a couple of weeks, you start to notice tingling or numbness down your arm or in your fingers. Worse, maybe you’re having trouble holding things, or maybe you’re even experiencing some nerve pain. You go to the doctor, who tells you you’re suffering from cervical radiculopathy. What happens next? Is it treatable? More importantly, is it covered workers’ compensation? Let’s discuss this condition—how it’s treated, what to expect, and when to call a work injury attorney near Los Angeles to help you.
What Is Cervical Radiculopathy?
Cervical radiculopathy is a scary medical term that simply means a pinched nerve in the neck area of the spine. These nerves, called nerve roots, travel from the spinal cord through your vertebrae and out to the rest of your body. When the nerve roots in the neck area become compressed or irritated (usually through a ruptured disc or bone spur), it can cause tingling, numbness, or pain in your extremities, particularly down the arms and fingers. It can also cause muscle weakness or a lack of coordination in some cases. Cervical radiculopathy often happens as we age due to spinal degeneration, but it can also happen due to a traumatic injury (like a fall) causing a ruptured disc.
Cervical radiculopathy is usually diagnosed by a physical examination (checking for numbness and reflex issues) and confirmed by imaging (e.g., X-ray, MRI, or CT scan).
How Is Cervical Radiculopathy Treated?
The good news is that cervical radiculopathy is typically treatable, and in many cases, mild symptoms will eventually go away on their own. However, in more severe cases, the symptoms can sometimes be quite debilitating, and the condition may require treatment to repair. Treatment options include:
- Rest and avoiding activities that aggravate the symptoms (including, possibly, work)
- Pain medication
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Surgery (in severe cases)
Is Cervical Radiculopathy Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
If your cervical radiculopathy was brought on by a workplace mishap, it is considered a workplace injury, and the cost of treatment and lost income should be covered by workers’ compensation, provided that you file your claim within the designated time window. Because this condition doesn’t always show up right away, however, it’s important to get checked by a doctor with any workplace fall (even if you experience no symptoms). Also, be sure to see the doctor if you experience numbness, tingling, or nerve pain after the fact to be sure you get your diagnosis in time to file your claim.
Although a work-related diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy should be covered by workers’ comp, there are times when complications could delay your benefits or cause your claim to be rejected. In such cases, a skilled Tarzana workers’ comp attorney can help you get the benefits you deserve while protecting your work injury rights. Call Accident Defenders today at 323-818-HURT or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.