IME: Disc Protrusions Common
By: Steven Babitsky, Esq.


The Arizona Court, Sartin v. Industrial Commission of Arizona, Ariz: Court of Appeals, 2nd Div., Dept. A 2012, dealt with a claimant who alleged a displaced disc as a result of stocking groceries at work. The court affirmed the denial of benefits based on the IME which found disc protrusions common.

The court stated:

Dr. Edward Dohring, an orthopedic surgeon who had conducted an independent medical examination (“IME”) of Sartin on June 15, 2011, testified that herniated discs exist in about fifty percent of people Sartin’s age who have no symptoms and that “this is an extremely common finding.” He further testified that “the vast majority of disc protrusions . . . occur as a result of degenerative change over time without a specific incident being part of their eventual occurrence.” Dohring explained that, when herniated discs cause neck pain, the pain “would almost always be same sided neck pain predominantly in a specific distribution.” According to Dohring, Sartin’s reports of “diffuse tenderness” were inconsistent with this. Dohring then testified that Sartin exhibited “absolutely no spinal cord compression” or myelopathy and no abnormal reflexes, contradicting Dr. Fedoriw’s report that Sartin’s complaints could be explained by his diagnosis of cord compression injury. Dohring noted Sartin’s symptoms were consistent with fibromyalgia, not a herniated disc, and he did not believe there was a relationship between the work Sartin had performed on March 23 and her symptoms or conditions.