Many question how a certain injury occurs in a car accident: herniated disc injuries. Actually a common form of trauma sustained in a car crash, a herniated disc is a spinal injury that can cause excruciating pain.
A herniated disc injury requires medical treatment that can range from physical therapy methods to surgery, or lifetime pain management.
What are Herniated Discs?
Spinal discs act as small pillows that pad and support the bones in the spine, and can be found between each vertebra. The function of these discs is essential to absorbing shock during everyday activities such as sitting or walking.
Each disc is composed of a shell-like barrier that contains fluid; when the disc ruptures because of some form of trauma, the fluid will leak out, and in most cases, the disc will ‘slip’ and impact a spinal nerve. This is a herniated disc. The more pressure a herniated disc places on the nerves in the spinal column, the more pain a patient will endure.
Some causes of herniated discs include:
- Auto accidents
- Heavy lifting
- Slips, trips and falls
- Blunt trauma to the back
In a car accident herniated disc injuries are common, but aren’t usually immediately diagnosed. If you are unsure whether you have a case for personal injury, the attorneys at The Eichholz Law Firm can help.
How Does a Car Accident Cause a Herniated Disc?
As any blunt trauma can cause a herniated disc, there is much potential for a car crash to cause a herniation in a spinal disc. Whiplash can cause the spine to thrash in unnatural ways, and depending on the nature of the collision, the spine can twist and turn during an accident and potentially lead to a herniation. Impact from other objects or defects in auto equipment can also cause the kind of spinal trauma that creates herniated discs.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
A herniation in a spinal disc can cause painful sensations in many areas throughout the body. Although the disc may be located in the spine, the pain a patient feels may not be in the back, because the nerves in the spine control different areas of the body. Pain from a herniated disc can “radiate” and may be accompanied by numbness.
Depending on the location of the herniation within the spine, symptoms can include:
- Pain in legs, hips or buttocks
- Numbness in calves or soles of feet
- Weakness in legs
- Pain in shoulders, arms or fingers
- Pain when coughing or sneezing
- Numbness in shoulders, forearms, elbows or fingers
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention to properly diagnose and treat your injury.
Treatment for a Herniated Disc Injury
If you visited an emergency room after your car accident, a herniated disc may not have been diagnosed. Spinal discs can’t be seen by X-rays, so a CT scan or MRI is required to diagnose this injury.
Some common ways that herniated discs are treated include:
- Bed rest
- Chiropractic & massage
- Heating pads
- Pharmaceutical medications
- Traction / weight therapy
The type and extent of treatment varies depending on the severity of the herniation. In some unfortunate cases, a patient will experience chronic pain that will persist for life. Such pain can be crippling and affect a person’s ability to work and perform daily activities.