In some cases, an injured victim feels a popping or other sensation when a disc suddenly ruptures in a crash. As the softer inner portion of the disc escapes and presses on nerve roots or the spinal cord itself, pain, possible severe pain, will quickly follow. However, there are many accidents in which disc-related pain doesn’t appear until days or even weeks later.
X-rays, MRIs and Herniated Discs
Emergency room treatment after a crash often includes X-rays that identify broken bones and fractured vertebrae. However, X-rays do not reveal soft tissue damage like herniated discs, torn ligaments and injured back muscles. It is often important to insist on an MRI to allow a physician to properly diagnose a soft tissue back injury which you may have suffered in a crash.
Treatment of Disc Injuries
Medical treatment for herniated discs widely varies. Sometimes, physical therapy will provide relief from minor disc ruptures and/or muscle spasms. In other cases, a laser procedure may remove a small portion of the disc that is impinging on a nerve.
In other cases, a discectomy is required, during which a surgeon removes some or all of the ruptured disc to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and/or nearby nerves. When a disc is significantly damaged, a spinal fusion may be necessary – a bone graft stabilizes the area between two vertebrae, and the spinal column no longer flexes at that spot.
When you or a family member suffers a back injury in a crash, it is often ideal to seek legal representation as soon as possible to ensure that you are properly compensated by the individual at fault and his/her insurer. If you have questions about your legal rights following a crash, or if you are seeking an auto accident attorney, contact us to schedule a free consultation.