What is a Herniated Disc Injury?
There are thirty-three vertebrae that circle and protect the spinal cord, the conduit for the transmission of neural messages between the brain and the body. Between each vertebra are discs made of cartilage consisting of a soft center and a tougher outer fibrous layer which act as cushions and shock absorbers as we move. Even though these discs are very durable, they can be injured in an accident such as a car accident.
When the outer covering (annulus) of a disc suffers a tear, the inner material (nucleus) can be forced through the outer barriers, causing severe pain as the disc material press on the spinal cord or nerve roots. The disc is then referred to as “herniated.” The nerve root can become inflamed, or in some cases, damaged by the pressure of the herniated disc. That’s why you need to contact an experienced attorney to help you.
Most herniated disc injuries occur in the neck or low back, often caused by a sudden traumatic injury such as a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall. Herniated discs can cause little or no pain (i.e., be asymptomatic) or result in debilitating pain or numbness.
The location of the pain or numbness depends on where the herniation occurs and which nerve roots or level of the spinal cord are being compressed, pinched or impinged. Pain or numbness in the arms following a disc injury in the neck can usually be traced to a specific nerve root or level of the spinal cord in the neck which is being compressed, pinched or impinged. It is important to determine which discs are injured and what impingement, if any, they are causing to the nerve roots and/or spinal cord.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
The symptoms may range from temporary discomfort coupled with impaired function of the arms to severe paralysis requiring surgery. The severity of the impingement, resulting symptoms and how the symptoms interferes with daily living and work often determine what treatment is necessary.
An untreated injury can lead to permanent paralysis. If you have been in an accident and are experiencing these or other serious symptoms, don’t “tough it out” and think they will eventually go away. Nerve damage is very serious and irreversible.
If you have suffered a herniated disc injury due to the negligent or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you suffer and the damages you sustain.
Attorneys that specialize in cases that involve herniated discs will work vigorously and aggressively prepare, package and present your case as though it were headed for trial, relying on fact witnesses, medical and economic experts to prove the extent of the disc injuries and damages involved.