Every vertebra in your spine is separated by a disc. This disc has a hard exterior and a soft gel interior in order to absorb forces exerted on the body and protect the spine. However, sometimes, often as a result of an injury, the soft gel of the disk gets squeezed out from between the vertebrae, which is known as a herniated disc.
Herniated discs often are the result of car crashes/collisions, bad falls or lifting heavy objects. A normal human spine, when looked at from the side, is shaped like the letter S. It is this natural curve that helps humans to absorb daily shocks from walking, jumping and running. Spines are also very flexible, although this does decrease as we grow older. Within the spine, discs act as shock absorbers and are its most flexible element. Because of this, when someone is involved in an extreme situation, such as a car crash, the discs can move in relation to the bony segments, resulting in a herniated disc. When a shift such as this occurs, the disc may also impinge on nerves that exit the spine, which can affect the legs, or sometimes the bowel or bladder. After a car crash, particularly those involving a frontal collision, one’s lower spine is often flexed quite severely causing the disc to protrude backward. This causes severe back pain, and can also cause injury to nerves, which manifests itself through numbness and tingling felt in the legs. Within the leg, the areas most commonly felt are the outer thighs, back of calf and, in some cases, the big toe. In addition, ankle weakness may be experienced and reflexes can decrease.
Common signs of a herniated disc:
- Shooting pain in the neck, between shoulder blades, and down the arm.
- Numbness or tingling
- Muscle weakness
In diagnosing a herniated disc, a doctor will test your reflexes, pain level, and range of motion, as well as use X-ray, MRI, or CT scans to figure out if you have a herniated disc and if surgical intervention is required. Your treatment will depend on the severity of the injury and could include taking pain relievers, muscle relaxers, short or long-term physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.
If you or a loved one have experienced a herniated disk because of another party’s negligent or reckless conduct, let us help. Our goal is to secure the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Contact us today.