When a Worker in Texas has a neck or back injury that is being handled through the Division of Workers’ Compensation, they will receive a Whole Body Impairment Rating. To determine that Impairment Rating, the medical provider will typically use a DRE Category (Diagnosis Related Estimate) that best suits the claimant’s (injured worker) condition.
To avoid a DRE Category I, which means no impairment at all, there must be clinical findings of injury, observed or documented muscle guarding or documented neurological impairment.
Many cases deal with the observed or documented muscle guarding. The Fourth Ed. of the AMA Guides to Permanent Impairment define Guarding under Table 71 Pg. 3/109 of the Guides as: paravertebral muscle guarding or spasm or nonuniform loss of range of motion, dysmetria, is present or has been documented by a physician. Radicular components that follow anatomic pathways but cannot be verified by neurologic findings belong with this type of differentiator.
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