Glossary of Terms (frequently found in IME reports)

Independent Medical Examination (IME)   An IME is an examination (evaluation) conducted by a medical doctor, therapist, chiropractor, psychologist, or another health professional who has not previously participated in the individual's care.  The usual doctor/patient relationship does not exist.  An IME is usually performed at the request of an attorney, insurance carrier, or an employer to determine the extent of any impairments and disabilities.  


Impairment – Any loss or abnormality of physiological, psychological, or anatomical structure or function (e.g. loss of normal hip movement)


Disability – The consequence of an impairment that limits function in daily living (e.g. leg weakness that prevents a return to housekeeping chores)


Handicap – The impact or consequence of a disability; a disadvantage for a given individual that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal in society (e.g. muscle paralysis that prevents return to employment)


Causation – The relationship between cause and effect (what caused the pain or weakness)


Defendant – The party against whom a complaint or law suit has been brought


Electromyography (EMG) – A technique using electrodes on the skin or thin needles for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles


FAE – Functional Abilities Evaluation


FCE – Functional Capacity Evaluation


Incontinence  – The involuntary excretion of urine or stool (inability to control wetting or soiling one’s undergarments)


Malingering – Fabricating symptoms or faking illness for “secondary gain” (e.g., for motives such as financial gain, avoiding work, or attracting sympathy)


Maximum medical recovery (MMR), also called maximum medical improvement (MMI) – The situation in which an individual’s medical condition has stabilized and further improvement is unlikely, even with ongoing medical treatment


Mechanical back pain – Pain that stems from the spinal structures such as bone, soft tissues, disks, and/or joints


MVA or MVC – Motor vehicle accident/collision


Myofascial – Muscle and fascia (a densely woven covering over the muscle and other inner structures)


Nonorganic illness – Signs, symptoms, or behavior not easily attributed to any known physical disorder, and instead thought to be sometimes due to psychological dysfunction


Occupational therapist – A health professional who uses assessment and treatment to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental, or cognitive disorder


Paresthesia – An abnormal sensation, typically tingling or pricking (“pins and needles”), usually caused by irritation or damage to nerve(s)


Physiatrist, also called rehabilitation medicine specialist – A medical doctor with training in the medical specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R); a nerve, muscle, and bone expert who will diagnose and treat pain, restore maximum function lost through injury, illness or disabling conditions, and treat the whole person (not just the problem area)


Physical therapist – A health professional who works to fix impairments and promote mobility, function, and quality of life with physical intervention  


Plaintiff -  A person (pursuer) who believes she or he has been harmed and brings a case or complaint against another party


Prognosis – Prediction of the likely course and outcome of a disease, disorder, or ailment


Prone – Lying flat, face downward


Radiculopathy – A disease or disorder of a nerve root, such as from a pinched nerve, inflammation, or a tumor (for example, lumbar radiculopathy)


Straight leg raise test – A test, usually done to help find the reason for leg pain, that involves the patient lying supine while a health professional raises one of the patient’s legs upward, keeping the knee straight


Supine – Lying flat, face upward


Vocation – A person’s employment (job) or main occupation

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8 Secrets to a Better Independent Medical Examination

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