Sometimes accident victims walk away from a crash believing that they are uninjured. That is because the adrenaline surge after a car accident can mask the symptoms of some injuries. Then, later, they end up in the emergency room in serious pain. Back injuries are an example of an injury that can worsen after a car crash.

One of the most common back injuries after a car accident is a herniated disc. Your spine is comprised of 33 bones called vertebrae. These bones are supported by cushions of soft discs. These discs allow your spine to move and bend.

In a car crash, the force of the impact can violently throw your body around, hyper-extending and tearing the tendons and ligaments in your neck or back, which can change the dynamics in your spine and put pressure on your discs. This pressure can cause a spinal disc to bulge, protrude, or herniate. A disc is often described as being like jelly doughnut and a herniation occurs when pressure is applied to the disc, causing the material inside the disc to break through the wall of the disc.  When this happens, the disc material can start pressing against the spinal cord or the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord. This can cause symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in your arms and legs and dramatically reduce your ability to function.

After a car accident, how can you tell if you have a herniated disc or just temporary back pain?

  • Although a herniated disc can occur in any part of your spine, it most commonly occurs in the neck, known as the cervical spine, and in the lower portion of your back, known as the lumbar spine.
  • Herniated discs are often painful. The pain worsens when you are active and often spreads to your buttocks, thighs, and calves. Coughing or sneezing can make the pain worse.
  • Nerve issues. A herniated disc can cause numbness in the feet, toes, and fingers. It can also cause tingling and weakness in your extremities. If the nerve becomes compressed for too long, this can result in permanent nerve damage.
  • Older accident victims are at an increased risk of suffering herniated discs. As you get older, the delicate discs in the spine break down and lose their cushioning.

Diagnosing a Herniated Disc

If you believe that you suffered a herniated disc after a car accident, it is best to see a medical professional immediately. Your doctor will need to take a thorough history and perform a complete physical examination. In addition, your doctor may need to take some diagnostic tests to determine if you have a herniated disc or some other type of back injury. Some of those tests include x-rays and MRIs. If your doctor believes that your nerves are damaged or compressed, your doctor may run an electromyography. These tests can see if your herniated disc has caused nerve damage.

Unfortunately, herniated discs can result in lifelong injury, pain and suffering. They do not always heal easily, and even with physical therapy and medications, you may continue to suffer. Obtaining a quick diagnosis and treatment is the key to recovering from a debilitating herniated disc.

However, sometimes, even with treatment, you may not recover fully. When this occurs, you need a lawyer on your side who has experience handling herniated disc injury cases. Your lawyer can help you obtain the money you need to pay for all your medical expenses after an accident.

Contact Our Virginia Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Today

If you or someone you love suffered a herniated disc injury in an accident, we can help. At Bergeron Law, we know that a herniated disc can result in serious and long-term pain and suffering. These injuries can take months and even years to fully heal. In some cases, the injury results in chronic disability. That’s why we work tirelessly for all our injured clients and their families.

Attorney Steve Bergeron is a strong legal advocate for injured car accident victims and their families. Call Steve today at (703) 813-6460 or fill out the confidential contact form for a free initial consultation and review of your case.