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Radiology Coding Alert

Neck Sprain/Strain:

847.0: Follow Typical Course of Whiplash Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Watch for inconsistencies in injection guidance coding requirements. Coding for whiplash diagnosis and treatment is usually pretty straightforward. Watch for times to take extra care, however, especially if the patient's symptoms persist despite conservative therapy and warrant more extensive treatment. Watch for Move From Therapy to Scans When a patient presents with whiplash symptoms, the treating physician will often order neck X-rays, such as 70360 (Radiologic examination; neck, soft tissue). Once the patient has a confirmed diagnosis of whiplash (847.0, Sprains and strains of other and unspecified parts of back; neck sprain), the treating physician typically will prescribe conservative treatment. Common options include physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and muscle relaxants. Some patients also may benefit from wearing a soft cervical collar or by using a portable traction device. If conservative treatment fails, the physician might order additional diagnostic imaging tests. These could include: CT scans, such as 70490 [...]

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