What is a herniated disc?
There is a disc between each of the vertebrae, or bones, of your spine. The disc acts like a cushion and, when they are working properly, absorb shock as you bend, twist, and go about your day. The disc has a soft center called a nucleus and a tough outer layer called an annulus.
A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus of the disc slips and pushes through the annulus. Herniated discs can occur because of trauma, such as blunt force. They can also occur with age-related wear and tear. Sometimes you may not even know you have a herniated disc. But others will cause significant symptoms. Symptoms can range from dull pain to numbness and tingling that radiates into your limbs. Radiculopathy occurs when the herniated disc is pressing on a nerve.
As personal injury attorneys, we see many cases where someone has age-related herniated discs that were pain-free before the person got hurt in an accident. The inflammation and trauma to the spine from things like car crashes or falls can cause these “silent” disc herniations to become painful.
Treatment for herniated discs depends on their severity, and can range from physical therapy to pain relievers, steroidal injections, and, in extreme cases, surgery.
Insurance adjusters will often try to argue that disc herniations are due to wear and tear and unrelated to an accident. But if your pain started after an accident occurred, it’s important that you have an attorney who can master the medical evidence and make your case.