Nonspecific spinal pain and intervertebral disc herniations are common. In evaluating spinal impairment, it is important to carefully assess the significance of imaging findings, physical examination findings, and reports of limb pain.

The following case example illustrates key principles in assessing cervical pain with questionable arm complaints:

This case example may be used to discuss: (1) the significance of the finding of degenerative disc disease;, (2) determining whether to rate for “soft issue and nonspecific conditions” or “motion segment lesions”; and (3) assessing “non-verifiable radicular complaints.”

Evaluation of impairment due to cervical pain is based on the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition, Chapter 17, Spine, Section 17.2, Diagnosis-Based Impairment (6th ed, 560), and Section 17.2a, Cervical Spine (6th ed, 563). Modifications are made per Section 17.3, Adjustment Grids and Grade Modifiers: Non-Key Factors...

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