3 common questions about herniated discs caused by accidents

You were in a car crash, and you knew you suffered an injury to your back. You decided to go to the hospital, and there you discovered that you suffered a herniated disc. The injury itself isn't severe presently, but herniated discs can break down over time and put pressure on your nerves. They cause pain, pressure, tingling and other sensations in some people.

Herniated discs are also referred to as bulging discs and slipped discs. Regardless of what they're called, the truth is the same: the disc is not in the correct location and has been damaged in some way, shape or form.

1. What kinds of terms might a medical doctor use to describe a herniation?

There are many different terms to listen for. A torn disc, slipped disc, protrusion, black disc or ruptured disc could all refer to a herniated disc following a car crash. It's most important to know that the injury exists no matter what your medical provider calls it. Once you know the diagnosis, you can begin to decide on a treatment plan. Once you know a treatment plan, you have the information needed to file a claim for proper insurance coverage from the negligent driver who hit you.

2. What kinds of problems can a herniated disc cause?

A herniated disc has the potential to cause two kinds of pain. The first is disc pain. This is pain caused by the disc rubbing on other discs or bone. The space between the discs may no longer exist, causing inflammation and pain. This pain is called axial pain.

The second kind of pain you could suffer is from a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve occurs when the material from inside the disc leaks out and irritates or puts pressure on nearby nerve clusters. This causes radicular pain that can radiate to other parts of the body. For example, if the sciatic nerve is pressed, you may have pain that runs down your leg.

3. What kinds of treatments are there for these injuries?

Treatments vary based on the severity of the herniation. Some require surgery immediately, while others get better with rest and physical therapy. Sometimes, minor surgeries to file down bone and to relieve pressure from the nerve relieve all of a patient's pain, and other times, the pain is lasting and lifelong due to nerve damage.

Each case is different, and it's important to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Your attorney can use this information to help you get the settlement you need while you recover.

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