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Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

  • Writer's pictureAndrea Ryan

A Simple Guide to ICD-10 Codes for Spinal Disorders

Spine disorders are a common group of conditions that are frequently encountered in clinical physical therapy practice. There are many different types of spine disorders, including degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis, among others.

ICD-10 codes for spine disorders typically fall under the M-series codes, which refer to diseases and disorders of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. We have compiled a list of many of the most commonly seen spine disorders as well as a quick reference guide to the ICD-10 codes utilized for these conditions.


Scoliosis is a condition that causes an abnormal curvature of the spine, which can lead to pain, difficulty breathing, and other health problems. Diagnosis of scoliosis typically involves a physical exam and imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI.

Treatment for scoliosis depends on the severity of the curvature, the age of the patient, and other factors. Mild cases may require only monitoring and regular check-ups with a doctor, while more severe cases may require bracing or surgery.

Physical therapy can also play an important role in the treatment of scoliosis. A physical therapist can develop an exercise program that is tailored to the individual patient's needs and can help improve posture, strengthen the muscles in the back and abdomen, and increase flexibility.

The specific exercises prescribed by a physical therapist may vary depending on the severity and location of the curvature. For example, patients with a thoracic (upper back) curve may benefit from exercises that focus on expanding the chest and strengthening the muscles around the shoulders, while patients with a lumbar (lower back) curve may need exercises that focus on strengthening the lower back muscles and improving flexibility in the hips.

ICD-10 Codes related to scoliosis:

  • M41.00 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.02 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, cervical region

  • M41.03 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M41.04 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.05 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.06 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, lumbar region

  • M41.07 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, lumbosacral region

  • M41.08 Infantile idiopathic scoliosis, sacral and sacrococcygeal region

  • M41.112 Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, cervical region

  • M41.113 Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M41.114 Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.115 Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.116 Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, lumbar region

  • M41.117 Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, lumbosacral region

  • M41.119 Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.122 Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, cervical region

  • M41.123 Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M41.124 Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.125 Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.126 Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, lumbar region

  • M41.127 Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, lumbosacral region

  • M41.129 Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.20 Other idiopathic scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.22 Other idiopathic scoliosis, cervical region

  • M41.23 Other idiopathic scoliosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M41.24 Other idiopathic scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.25 Other idiopathic scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.26 Other idiopathic scoliosis, lumbar region

  • M41.27 Other idiopathic scoliosis, lumbosacral region

  • M41.30 Thoracogenic scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.34 Thoracogenic scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.35 Thoracogenic scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.40 Neuromuscular scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.41 Neuromuscular scoliosis, occipito-atlanto-axial region

  • M41.42 Neuromuscular scoliosis, cervical region

  • M41.43 Neuromuscular scoliosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M41.44 Neuromuscular scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.45 Neuromuscular scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.46 Neuromuscular scoliosis, lumbar region

  • M41.47 Neuromuscular scoliosis, lumbosacral region

  • M41.50 Other secondary scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.52 Other secondary scoliosis, cervical region

  • M41.53 Other secondary scoliosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M41.54 Other secondary scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.55 Other secondary scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.56 Other secondary scoliosis, lumbar region

  • M41.57 Other secondary scoliosis, lumbosacral region

  • M41.80 Other forms of scoliosis, site unspecified

  • M41.82 Other forms of scoliosis, cervical region

  • M41.83 Other forms of scoliosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M41.84 Other forms of scoliosis, thoracic region

  • M41.85 Other forms of scoliosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M41.86 Other forms of scoliosis, lumbar region

  • M41.87 Other forms of scoliosis, lumbosacral region

  • M41.9 Scoliosis, unspecified


Whiplash is a type of neck injury that occurs when the neck is suddenly jerked back and forth, causing damage to the soft tissues of the neck. It commonly occurs in car accidents, but it can also happen during sports activities, falls, and other types of trauma.

Symptoms of whiplash may include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and sometimes, numbness or tingling in the arms. The severity of whiplash can vary from mild to severe, and recovery time can range from a few weeks to several months.

Physical therapy is one of the most effective treatments for whiplash. It can help to reduce pain, restore range of motion, and improve strength and flexibility in the neck muscles. A physical therapist can create a customized treatment plan based on the severity of your injury and your specific needs.

Physical therapy for whiplash may include:

  • Range of motion exercises: These exercises involve gentle stretching to help restore normal neck movement.

  • Strengthening exercises: These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles in the neck to improve stability and prevent future injuries.

  • Posture training: Proper posture can help to reduce strain on the neck and prevent further injury.

  • Manual therapy: This may include massage, mobilization, or manipulation techniques to help reduce pain and stiffness in the neck.

  • Heat or ice therapy: These therapies can help to reduce pain and inflammation in the neck

Some ICD-10 Codes pertaining to Whiplash are:

  • S13.4XXA Sprain of ligaments of cervical spine, initial encounter

  • S13.4XXD Sprain of ligaments of cervical spine, subsequent encounter

  • S13.4XXS Sprain of ligaments of cervical spine, sequela

  • S14.2XXA Injury of nerve root of cervical spine, initial encounter

  • S14.2XXD Injury of nerve root of cervical spine, subsequent encounter

  • S14.2XXS Injury of nerve root of cervical spine, sequela

  • S14.3XXA Injury of brachial plexus, initial encounter

  • S14.3XXD Injury of brachial plexus, subsequent encounter

  • S14.3XXS Injury of brachial plexus, sequela

  • S16.1XXA Strain of muscle, fascia and tendon at neck level, initial encounter

  • S16.1XXA Strain of muscle, fascia and tendon at neck level, subsequent encounter

  • S16.1XXA Strain of muscle, fascia and tendon at neck level, sequela


Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra in the spine slips forward or backward in relation to the vertebrae below or above it. This can occur anywhere in the spine, but most commonly affects the lower back or lumbar region. Spondylolisthesis can be caused by a variety of factors, including a congenital defect, a traumatic injury, or degenerative changes in the spine due to aging.

Physical therapy is often used to treat spondylolisthesis, particularly in cases where the condition is mild to moderate. The goals of physical therapy for spondylolisthesis are to improve spinal stability, alleviate pain, and improve mobility and function. Treatment may include:

  • Strengthening exercises: Physical therapy exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles of the core, lower back, and hips can help to stabilize the spine and reduce the risk of further slippage. Examples of exercises that may be prescribed include pelvic tilts, bridges, and single-leg squats.

  • Flexibility exercises: Tight muscles in the hips, hamstrings, and lower back can contribute to spondylolisthesis. Physical therapy exercises that stretch these muscles can help to reduce pain and improve mobility. Examples of exercises that may be prescribed include hamstring stretches, hip flexor stretches, and spinal twists.

  • Postural training: Poor posture can contribute to spondylolisthesis by placing additional stress on the spine. Physical therapists can provide guidance on proper posture and body mechanics during daily activities to reduce strain on the spine.

  • Manual therapy: Physical therapists may use hands-on techniques such as massage or spinal mobilization to relieve pain and improve mobility in the affected area.

  • Education: Physical therapists can provide education on lifestyle modifications and ergonomic adjustments to reduce pain and prevent further slippage of the affected vertebra.

It's important to note that the type and extent of physical therapy for spondylolisthesis will vary depending on the individual case and severity of the condition. A qualified physical therapist can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals.

ICD-10 codes for Spondylolisthesis:

  • M43.10 Spondylolisthesis, site unspecified

  • M43.11 Spondylolisthesis, occipito-atlanto-axial region

  • M43.12 Spondylolisthesis, cervical region

  • M43.13 Spondylolisthesis, cervicothoracic region

  • M43.14 Spondylolisthesis, thoracic region

  • M43.15 Spondylolisthesis, thoracolumbar region

  • M43.16 Spondylolisthesis, lumbar region

  • M43.17 Spondylolisthesis, lumbosacral region

  • M43.18 Spondylolisthesis, sacral and sacrococcygeal region

  • M43.19 Spondylolisthesis, multiple sites in spine

Disc herniations

Disc herniation is a condition that occurs when the gel-like center of a spinal disc ruptures through a weak area in the outer layer, or annulus fibrosus, and puts pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord. This can lead to symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected area.

Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for disc herniations. Here are some common techniques that a physical therapist may use:

  • McKenzie Method: This approach involves assessing the location and direction of the disc herniation and using specific exercises to centralize or move the pain away from the extremities towards the spine. This can help reduce pressure on the affected nerve root.

  • Core strengthening exercises: These exercises target the muscles of the trunk and pelvis, including the abdominals, lower back muscles, and glutes, which can help provide stability and support for the spine.

  • Manual therapy: Techniques such as mobilization and manipulation can be used to improve mobility in the spine and reduce pain.

  • Modalities: Heat or ice, electrical stimulation, ultrasound or other modalities can be used to reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Education: A physical therapist may also provide education about proper posture, body mechanics, and ergonomics, to help prevent further injury and maintain good spinal health.

Disc herniation ICD-10 codes:

  • M50.30: Other cervical disc degeneration, unspecified cervical region

  • M50.31: Other cervical disc degeneration, high cervical region

  • M50.32: Other cervical disc degeneration, mid-cervical region

  • M50.33: Other cervical disc degeneration, cervicothoracic region

  • M50.20: Other cervical disc replacement, unspecified cervical region

  • M50.21: Other cervical disc replacement, high cervical region

  • M50.22: Other cervical disc replacement, mid-cervical region

  • M50.23: Other cervical disc replacement, cervicothoracic region

  • M50.00: Cervical disc disorder with myelopathy, unspecified cervical region

  • M50.01: Cervical disc disorder with myelopathy, high cervical region

  • M50.02: Cervical disc disorder with myelopathy, mid-cervical region

  • M50.03: Cervical disc disorder with myelopathy, cervicothoracic region

  • M50.10: Cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy, unspecified cervical region

  • M50.11: Cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy, high cervical region

  • M50.12: Cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy, mid-cervical region

  • M50.13: Cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy, cervicothoracic region

  • M50.80: Other cervical disc disorders, unspecified cervical region

  • M50.81: Other cervical disc disorders, high cervical region

  • M50.82: Other cervical disc disorders, mid-cervical region

  • M50.83: Other cervical disc disorders, cervicothoracic region

  • M50.90: Cervical disc disorder, unspecified cervical region

  • M50.91: Cervical disc disorder, high cervical region

  • M50.92: Cervical disc disorder, mid-cervical region

  • M50.93: Cervical disc disorder, cervicothoracic region


Spinal stenosis is a medical condition in which the spaces within your spine narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This can lead to symptoms such as back pain, numbness or weakness in the legs, difficulty walking, and problems with bowel or bladder function.

Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for spinal stenosis, although the specific approach will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual's symptoms. In general, physical therapy can help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance, which can help to reduce pain and improve overall function. Some common techniques used in physical therapy for spinal stenosis may include stretching exercises, low-impact aerobic exercises, and specific strengthening exercises.

However, in more severe cases of spinal stenosis, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. Therefore, it's important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

ICD-10 Coding for Spinal Stenosis:

  • M48.0 Spinal stenosis

  • M48.00 Spinal stenosis, site unspecified

  • M48.01 Spinal stenosis, occipito-atlanto-axial region

  • M48.02 Spinal stenosis, cervical region

  • M48.03 Spinal stenosis, cervicothoracic region

  • M48.04 Spinal stenosis, thoracic region

  • M48.05 Spinal stenosis, thoracolumbar region

  • M48.06 Spinal stenosis, lumbar region

  • M48.07 Spinal stenosis, lumbosacral region

  • M48.08 Spinal stenosis, sacral and sacrococcygeal region


The diagnosis of a spinal fracture usually involves a combination of physical examination, imaging tests, and medical history review. Here are the steps involved in the diagnosis of a spinal fracture:

  • Medical history review: The doctor will review the patient's medical history to check for any past injuries, surgeries, or underlying medical conditions that may increase the risk of spinal fractures.

  • Physical examination: The doctor will perform a physical examination to check for any signs of spinal injury or damage. This may involve checking for tenderness, swelling, or deformities in the spine.

  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans may be ordered to provide a detailed view of the spine and identify any fractures or other abnormalities.