Spinal cord injuries are perhaps the most feared back injuries that people may acquire during car crashes. Compared to spinal cord injuries, which typically have lifelong consequences, herniated discs may not seem like such a severe medical issue.
People can and usually do recover from herniated discs. Doing so sometimes requires intense medical intervention, like surgery. With the right support, many people can overcome the limitations and discomfort generated by a herniated disc. Still, herniated discs are serious medical issues that cause massive expenses. Someone who develops a herniated disc because of a car crash could have life-altering expenses to cover and lingering medical issues. What do people generally need to know about herniated discs caused by car crashes?
How an injury occurs
The discs in someone’s spine serve as a cushion that protects the bones in the spine when someone moves. The trauma of a car crash can lead to a herniated disc, especially if someone lived an active lifestyle that may have caused more wear on their spine. Sometimes, the outer covering of the disc, called the annulus, can develop a tear. The gel-like substance inside, called the nucleus, may leak out. Herniated discs no longer provide proper cushioning to the bones of the spine. Therefore, even small movements can become incredibly painful. A herniated disc may also cause numbness or weakness, especially if the herniated disc puts pressure on nerves.
How physicians treat herniated discs
Often, the simplest way to treat a herniated disc involves rest, careful physical exercise and possibly the use of a heating pad. Doctors may prescribe drugs to fight off inflammation and deal with pain. Sometimes, people undergo physical therapy. Other times, steroid injections and surgery are necessary to repair herniated discs.
Depending on the severity of the injury and someone’s profession, a herniated disc might mean weeks away from work or more. It might also lead to major medical challenges, as recovery can be much more difficult for those with other secondary medical conditions, like obesity. In these ways, herniated disc from a car crash can impact someone’s quality of life and their finances. They may struggle to absorb those costs without outside support. Filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary for someone who suffers a herniated disc in a car crash caused by another’s negligence.