Degenerative Disc Disease – Causes and Terminology

Posted by on Jan 30, 2012 in Blog, Medical Conditions/Terminology Blog Series

Have you ever experienced back pain?  Do you have difficulty sitting for long periods of time without repositioning?  Did you ever wonder what might cause this discomfort? Millions of Americans cope with back pain on a daily basis.  Frequently, back pain is only temporary, but sometimes it’s chronic. A Common Cause of Chronic Back Pain Frequently, degenerative Disc Disease, or DDD, causes chronic back pain.  DDD doesn’t actually qualify as a disease; the term represents a natural process associated with aging. Most people over age of 60 have some degree of DDD. Degenerative Disc Disease occurs when your intervertebral discs (located between your vertebrae) lose their flexibility and elasticity.  The discs act as cushions and are filled with a gelatinous fluid called nucleus pulposus.  Your discs contain around 80% percent fluid at birth, but as you age, this fluid dries out causing them to shrink.  In some cases, the tough outer layer of the disc, called the annulus fibrosus, cracks allowing the fluid to seep out. These symptoms can cause mild to severe back pain, most notably in the cervical and lumbar areas of the back. Unfortunately, the discs cannot repair themselves because of minimal blood supply to the area.  This inability to self-heal and regenerate leads to degeneration. Study LoansDirect Lenders Payday Loans For Bad Credit What Causes DDD? Several Factors Play a Role in Causing Degenerative Disc Disease. Aging represents the most common cause of DDD.  Healthy discs can carry and sustain the constant pressure and stress of day-to-day movement.  As you age, the discs lose their shock-absorbing properties through repetitive wear and tear over many years. Genetics also play an important role in a person’s susceptibility to DDD.  If someone in your family has DDD, there’s a strong chance you will develop it as well. Repetitive motion can speed up the process of DDD.  If your work requires that you use unnatural motions, or if you commonly use incorrect body mechanics when bending and lifting, you may experience back pain related to DDD at an earlier age than most people. Accidents, either recent or in the past, involving sustained trauma or injury to your back may have resulted in a herniated disc, which can lead to DDD. Smokers may experience DDD earlier because smoking leads to a decreased amount of fluid in the discs.  Yet another reason to quit smoking now. Obesity causes undue stress on the spine, frequently leading to DDD. Bulge, Protrusion and Herniation: Important Back Injury Terms The terms bulge, protrusion and herniation refer to three different stages of disc degeneration.  But people often use them interchangeably and, thus incorrectly, when speaking about DDD. Bulge Bulging occurs in the first stage of DDD....

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Hiring an NCM – Why Early On Is Better Than Later

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Blog, Case Management, Workers Compensation

Imagine this scenario.  You are assigned case that involves an OJI (on-the-job injury).  You set up a time to meet with this injured worker, but he stands you up.  You make several phone calls and leave a number of messages hoping he’ll call you back.  When he finally returns your call after several weeks, he is irascible, belligerent and altogether uncooperative.  You try to gather as much information to corroborate what you have gleaned from his medical records, but you’re getting nowhere. Does this sound familiar? There is, of course, a simpler and far more effective solution to the above scenario.  Enter the Nurse Case Manager or NCM. The nurse case manager moves within the circle of medical care of the injured worker (IW), employer and employer insurance company.   She helps develop a care plan suited to the patient; balancing the clinical, functional, vocational and often emotional aspects as part of a holistic approach to the workers compensation (WC) driven medical care. Reasons to Hire an NCM There are several reasons why a NCM is critical to a WC case.  And it should not matter if you are an adjuster, defense attorney or plaintiff attorney; EARLY involvement of a nurse case manager in a worker’s comp case and (if done properly by the NCM) can prove highly beneficial. Because the NCM is responsible for presenting the patient’s case and/or medical and vocational issues without bias, you can trust her professionalism and expertise, making it easier to gather information. By hiring an NCM early on, you can rest assured she will monitor the patient’s treatment plan and recovery over time. Nurse case managers spend considerable time with the patient/IW to properly assess their condition.  They delve into the details of their lifestyle and develop a plan to help them get back on their feet, and hopefully back to work. When a NCM is brought on the case, she will analyze and assist with job/work environment issues while assisting with the other aspects of the case. In turn, this will reduce the costs incurred by the insurance company and ensure the patient is ready and able to return to work safely. Injured workers and patients see nurse case managers as caring and compassionate and are more likely to trust them and follow their advice.  Hiring an NCM early on will give the patient/IW an opportunity to build a relationship with them thereby benefitting the patient, employer and the insurance company in the long run. It’s never a mistake to hire a nurse case manager early on – only mistakes in which nurse case manager you...

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No Matter How Complex the Case, Client Sees Only One Face

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in Blog, Legal Nurse Consulting

No matter how complex the case, or how involved the issues, the client ultimately sees only one face associated with the case overall — yours. He (or she) will agree to procedure suggestions.  He’ll understand, and even feel relieved, when you step in and make the choices as the case progresses. Often burdened with anxiety and fear, the client sees you as his champion – a red-cloaked Caesar, battling alongside his troops. But in the end, whether the judge rules in favor of your client, or the opposing counsel, they will place the burden of responsibility on you. Regardless of the details and unique circumstances, the burden or victory of the final case outcome rest squarely on your shoulders. You’re either a hero, or a zero. surgery loans for bad credit You see this every day You know how the system works; it’s your bread and butter. You learn by observing the trends the court hearing your case follows. But to the plaintiff, or the defendant, typically a virtual outsider in the legal and court system, it all comes down to you. You act as the client’s personal task runner and information resource, regarding all matters before the court. You represent the entire system, in your client’s eyes. You may not want the designation, but you are it to the client – for the entire process. They see all witnesses as an extension of you This includes any and all experts, experts and support staff that have even the smallest input into the outcome of the case. All the witnesses All the testimonies All of the facts Agreed to or not Understood or not Personally affecting the client Or not When the client views a single expert as less than favorable to the case, this perception frequently shines an unfair, critical spotlight on your practice. You hired the expert, consulted with him or her, and arranged for this expert to testify. Opposing counsel’s expert witnesses, while completely out of your control, represent a potentially lethal variable that can damage the reputation of your law practice. Worse, expert witnesses, seen by your client and his circle of supporters as opposing counsel’s players—or bulldogs, threaten to discredit your ability to litigate for justice.  You can bet that word of mouth marketing will run in full swing and not in your favor, if the client’s associates, friends and even family lose faith in your performance in court. Who the expert witness really represents A Legal Nurse Consultant is part of the legal / insurance company team charged with digging deep into the medical records. She is charged with helping to dismantle opposing counsel allegations, derailing arguments and help prep/find experts – just...

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The 2012 New Year – Make It Great

Posted by on Jan 5, 2012 in Blog, Golden Nuggets

We’ve begun the first week of a brand new year!  Everything looks fresh, new and hopeful!  How will we handle the changes — the ups and downs of life in general?  Many will make New Year resolutions that involve their careers, finances, relationships and health.  How many of us will actually succeed in meeting our goals? How many will fail? What makes the difference between the two?  Clearly, those that succeed in staying committed to their resolutions and who achieve their goals have created a specific plan with objective measures for monitoring progress and they stick to it.  But what if we applied that same framework and strategy to everything we did?  How much more success would we experience in all areas of life? So in thinking about the New Year and its possibilities, I jotted down a framework that, hopefully, I could use in many different areas.  I thought I would share it with you, my clients, my colleagues – my friends. Clarify the goal. The goal needs to be clear, measurable, and attainable.  Payday Loans – No Credittime home Formulate a plan. The plan will include a goal with appropriate short and long activities geared toward achieving it. There is nothing worse than having a goal without a way to monitor progress along the way to achieving it.  Break it down and keep track. Make a To Do list or keep a calendar. Break down the activities into manageable chunks; Small tasks you complete on a day-by-day, week-by-week, and month-by-month basis.  This is a critical step in the path to goal achievement. Small successes add up — both in achieving your bigger goals, and in allowing you to feel the thrill of success in achieving the smaller milestones along the way.  You’ll become empowered as you begin to see yourself in control of your own destiny. Refocus or adjust the goal. If you get sidetracked, go back to the last point where you had a proper focus and continue to move forward from there. Use the smaller milestones as a metric for measuring your progress toward achieving your bigger goals. Adjust your activity levels (i.e. productivity, marketing, fitness strategy) to realign your efforts with the big picture. And don’t forget – Investigate the many software tools, web-based programs, and books available for advice and support in setting, measuring, and achieving goals. But all the cool stuff in the world won’t help if you are not disciplined and committed. An accountability partner can help you stay on track and reinforce your commitment and discipline when they wane. Find someone you trust and who will stand in the gap when you need it and hold you accountable to your...

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