Anatomy of a Spinal Disc Herniation after an Accident

When an accident occurs, it is common for victims to suffer from injuries to their back and/or neck. A slip-and-fall, a car crash, or even an incident at work can all cause strain, pressure, or an impact to a victim’s spinal column which can cause numerous problems and conditions. One of the most problematic and painful can be a herniated disc, a type of injury where the interior portion of a spinal disc protrudes beyond the exterior portion.

The spinal column is comprised of 33 separate bones, or vertebrae, that stack on top of one another. They are categorized by their location with seven cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and five lumbar vertebrae. Below the lumbar vertebrae are the sacrum and the coccyx which are made up of five and four fused vertebrae, respectively. These vertebral bones serve to hold up the body as well as providing protection for the delicate spinal cord that passes through their hollow center.

Between each set of vertebrae is a vertebral disc, a circular structure designed primarily to function as a shock absorber in the spine. Spinal discs have two main portions: a tough, fibrous outer ring and a softer interior portion. Some physicians use the idea of a jelly doughnut as a way to explain the duality of the outer and inner portions of a disc.

When trauma happens in the event of an accident, damage can occur to these discs and can cause a number of medical conditions to result. When a portion of the disc extends beyond its normal bounds between the vertebrae, the disc is called protruding or bulging. Protruding discs usually cause pain and discomfort but they can cause additional symptoms including numbness, loss of sensation, and loss of muscle control.

If an injury causes the softer, interior portion of a spinal disc to protrude outside of the exterior portion, it is a herniated disc and generally a more severe condition than a disc protrusion. Sometimes incorrectly called a slipped disc, a disc herniation can occur at any level of the spine but is most common among the cervical and lumbar vertebrae.

The symptoms of a herniated disc can mirror those of a protruding disc but often of an exaggerated nature, leading to more severe pain, discomfort, and limitation to a victim’s daily functionality.

Treatment for a herniated disc can vary from conservative physical therapy and manipulation to steroid injections or even surgery. In some instances, the entire disc must be removed and may need to be replaced with an artificial material Regardless of the treatment approach, herniated discs lead to the need for some form of medical intervention that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or even more. Victims who were hurt due to the actions of another person may be left wondering why they have to endure pain, suffering, and the cost of treatment when they did nothing wrong in causing a crash or other type of incident.

Fortunately, if you were hurt in the Chicago area, you may not have to bear the financial toll of your injuries. Victims may be entitled to seek relief against an insurance company, at-fault individual, corporation, or even a municipality that will let them recovery monetarily for the harm they endured.

If you have questions about your legal rights, please feel free to call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation to those who call us and we have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call.

Prior Blog Entry:

Uninsured Drivers are on Chicago’s Streets: What You Can Do to Make Sure You’re Safe, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 23, 2105.

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