Did you know that car accident are one of the leading causes of herniated discs? In the United States, Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),41,000 people died on the roads in 2020, equivalent to 110 deaths daily due to motor vehicle crashes. The statistics don’t stop with deaths; millions of people are injured yearly from car accidents. Herniated discs are one of the injuries that occur from those injuries.
If you’ve been in a car accident, even if you don’t feel any pain immediately afterward, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Many people don’t realize they have a herniated disc until it starts causing them problems.
What is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc is a condition in which a part of the inner wall of one of your discs pushes out into your spinal canal. It causes pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord. A common symptom of this condition is neck pain. This is also known as “pinched nerve” or “facet joint syndrome.”
Herniated discs are usually caused by trauma, like a fall or a car accident. A person with this condition may experience back pain and be unable to bend, lift or move the way he or she used to. In severe cases, the herniation could even cause paralysis in the extremities. It’s important to seek medical attention if you think you have a herniated disc, especially if it is due to a car accident, even if you don’t feel any pain.
What are the Symptoms of a herniated disc?
The symptoms of a herniated disc may not always be obvious. The following are often considered the most common symptoms and warning signs that indicate you may be suffering from this condition:
- Burning sensation: A burning sensation in your back or neck may be caused by a herniated disc. Pain from this condition may be localized to the back of the spine, radiate down the arms, or even cause radiating pain in the legs.
- Numbness or tingling: In severe cases, the muscles in your shoulder, arm, and neck may feel numb or tingly. The area of numbness or tingling may move and change from session to session.
- Sensitivity: Your back may feel very sensitive to touch, or it may seem that your back is squeezing itself. A herniated disc will also affect the nerves controlling feeling, so you might take a long time before you notice pain when touching your skin.
- Muscle weakness: A herniated disc can also cause weakness in your limbs. It may become difficult to pick up, hold, or move around.
- Back pain: Back pain is the most common symptom of a herniated disc. It may just be a dull ache, or it may be sharp and intense. Your back pain may radiate down your arms or feel like someone is continuously pressing on them.
How Do I Know if I Have a Herniated Disc?
If you experience any of the above symptoms, especially pain accompanied by weakness or numbness, it is important to seek medical attention. The doctors can tell you if your symptoms are due to a herniated disc after a car accident by ordering many different tests to see if you have a herniated disc, such as:
- Myelogram: Also known as a computed tomographic myelogram (CTM), this procedure is rarely used. However, it is an ideal test for disc herniations because it shows the spinal canal and not just the spine. A CTM will show a herniated disc that might have been missed on x-rays.
- X-rays: An X-ray of your back will allow your doctor to see if there is any damage to the vertebrae and supporting discs in your back.
- The CT scan: A Computed Tomography (CT) scan is an imaging procedure that uses x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, which can be viewed on a computer screen. It can be an effective diagnostic tool for detecting herniated discs.
- MRI scans: The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) procedure produces a series of detailed pictures of the anatomy and can show a herniated disc that might be missed on x-rays. MRIs diagnose herniated discs and other soft tissue problems like muscle or ligament tears or ruptures. MRI scans are often used in conjunction with CT scans because they can be expensive, use high levels of radiation, and require the use of contrast dyes which could have negative side effects for those with other health issues.
Is a Herniated Disc Dangerous?
Herniated discs aren’t life-threatening, but they can cause severe enough pain to make it impossible to work or lead a normal life. Don’t just accept your diagnosis and treatment plan when seeking medical attention for a herniated disc. Your treatment options should be fully explained to you by your doctor before you consent to any specific treatment plans.
Should I Seek Legal Assistance?
Yes, it is possible to obtain compensation for injuries from car accidents. Most states have laws that provide financial compensation to people who are injured in car accidents. This is because Herniated Disc can be costly if you undergo expensive treatments.
Lawsuits over car accidents are more complex than those involving other injuries. Engaging a personal injury attorney can help you realize the value of compensation and make it easier to negotiate with your insurance company. Attorneys can negotiate with the medical provider, get better treatment in the hospital, coordinate rehabilitation, and assist with post-injury job training programs.
If you are involved in a car accident, it is important that you do not sign anything with the insurance company until speaking to an accident attorney. You may also want to ask a lawyer about the possibility of being compensated for pain and suffering if your injury has caused you emotional distress.
What should I do after I have been in a car accident?
Immediately after an accident, it is important that you seek medical attention and call the police(911), even if you do not think you were seriously injured.
You should also call your insurance company and attorney to explain your injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident or know someone who was involved in a car accident, you could call us at Doral Medical Center, Inc. at 786-464-1397, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you get the right treatment.