Disc Injuries Due to Car Accidents

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People involved in auto accidents often incur disc injuries during the force of impact.  A spinal disc is the cartilage that provides the cushion separating vertebra in the spine. It is important to seek medical help immediately after a car accident in which you experience forceful impact to the body because injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Types of Disc Injuries

The spine is made up of a series of bones that have been named vertebrae.  The spine is composed of three sections:

  • Cervical – area of the neck
  • Thoracic – upper middle back area
  • Lumbar – lower back area

In between the bones there are cartilage cushions providing protection and spine flexibility. Though whiplash typically affects the cervical spine, any area of the spine can be injured during the auto accident.  The possible injuries include:

  • Bulging disc – the cartilage bulges out in a even manner
  • Protruding disc – the cartilage bulges out unevenly making it possible for the vertebrae bones to pinch the nerves in the cartilage and cause pain
  • Herniated disc – cartilage is ruptured and extends outward causing pain
  • Disc extrusion – the cartilage is seriously injured and extends beyond the spine into the surrounding area causing extensive pain

This information is not be used as medical advice, but only as general information concerning the types of injuries the spinal discs can incur. All of the injuries require medical evaluation to prevent further damage to the spine.

Spinal Injuries Take Time to Appear

Spinal injuries may not be immediately apparent. When the disc is injured it can take time several days for the cartilage to swell. In the meantime you think you have not been injured.  The onset of symptoms may include:

  • Numbness anywhere in the body
  • Shooting pain radiating from your back down your legs or arms
  • Muscle weakness in your arms all the way to your hands
  • Muscle weakness in your legs

Spinal injuries can be deceiving too because the symptoms may involve your legs or arms but your back feels fine.  After an auto accident where the body is jarred or thrown forward, it is important to seek medical attention even if you are not experiencing pain. Some spinal injuries that are left untreated can lead to permanent damage or paralysis.

Consult an Attorney

When you are involved in a car accident, you should see a doctor first and then consult with an attorney.  Disc injuries can require long-term care and can even lead to chronic pain requiring ongoing treatment.  The attorney will assist you in assuring you get full and fair compensation.