A herniated disc can be extremely painful and keep you from doing many of your favorite activities, working and earning a paycheck, and even being able to care for yourself. But if someone else was to blame for your back injury, they should also be responsible for its consequences.
The Durham personal injury attorneys at Kreger Brodish LLP are committed to helping those who have suffered a herniated disc get the compensation and accountability they deserve. We have more than a decade of experience fighting for injured North Carolinians and helping our clients recover maximum compensation. We can investigate even the most complicated accident, identify the parties liable for your injuries, and hold them responsible for their actions.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
Cushioned discs support the spine’s vertebrae to protect them from damage. However, a fall, car accident, or another type of physical trauma can damage these discs if they are put under too much strain. A herniated disc occurs when a disc’s lining tears or ruptures, causing the spongy material inside to protrude from the disc’s casing. Sometimes, fluid inside the disc may leak out after a hernia. This makes the disc less able to cushion the vertebrae.
The three primary forms of herniated disc injuries are:
- Disc extrusion is when part of a disc’s outer wall tears, causing material from the inner disc to project out of the disc’s wall and into the spinal canal.
- Protruded disc– This is when part of a disc’s nucleus breaks through a tear in the disc’s lining. But because the lining does not break entirely, the nucleus does not extend as far out in a protrusion as it would in an extrusion.
- Disc sequestration is when part of a disc’s nucleus breaks through the outer walls and becomes lodged in the spinal canal. From there, the nucleus fragment can move to different parts of the spine, causing pain and other symptoms. These injuries are sometimes known as free fragment injuries.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
While symptoms of a herniated disc injury can vary depending on the site and severity of the injury, common ones include:
- Herniated disc in the cervical spine– The cervical spine is the top portion of the spinal cord and runs from the base of the skull, through the neck, and into the upper back. A herniated disc in the cervical spine can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and a tingling sensation in the neck, arms, shoulders, and hands.
- Herniated disc in the thoracic spine– The thoracic spine runs through the middle part of the back. A herniated disc in the thoracic spine can cause intense pain in the upper or mid back, pain in the chest or stomach, numbness or weakness in the lower extremities, trouble balancing or walking, and bladder or bowel dysfunction.
- A herniated disc in the lumbar spine– The lumbar spine includes the vertebrae in the lower back until the spinal cord terminates above your tailbone. A herniated disc in the lumbar spine can pinch or compress the nerves in the lower part of the spinal cord, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower part of the body.
Common Causes of Herniated Discs
Some of the most common causes of herniated disc injuries in Durham include:
- Motor-vehicle accidents– The force from a car crash, motorcycle crash, or semi-truck collision can put severe pressure on the spine, causing a herniated disc. Motorcyclists have an increased risk of spinal cord injury after an accident because they might be ejected from their vehicle and land hard on their back. Pedestrians and bicyclists hit by motor vehicles also have a high chance of suffering a herniated disc injury or another spinal cord injury.
- Slip and fall accidents– A hard fall onto your back can easily cause a herniated disc, as can twisting and trying to catch yourself while falling. Someone who falls on another person’s property because the property owner did not warn of potential safety hazards on the premises can hold that property owner liable for their injuries.
- Sports injuries– Contact sports can cause herniated discs if an athlete takes a hard fall or sustains a hard blow while playing.
- Accidents at work– Some common workplace accidents that lead to herniated discs include hitting heavy machinery or falling objects, tripping on slippery or uneven surfaces, and repetitive stress.
Treatment for a Herniated Disc Injury
Doctors usually diagnose herniated discs by tests and examinations, including X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or other diagnostic imaging. Once the doctor has confirmed the herniated disc, treatment options include:
- Rest and limit movement to avoid aggravating the injury
- Pain medication and muscle relaxers
- Cortisone injections in the back
- Physical therapy
The specific treatment for a herniated disc injury will depend on the extent of the damage and other factors. Many herniated disc injuries heal with proper treatment within a few days or weeks. However, more severe injuries may require more extensive treatment.
How Much Compensation Do You Get for a Herniated Disc?
If you have suffered a herniated disc injury in Durham, a personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Lower quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Damaged personal property
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers to Seek Compensation for Your Herniated Disc Injury
A herniated disc can be a debilitating injury — one you should not have to pay for if you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence. Contact Kreger Brodish LLP today for a free consultation with a herniated disc injury attorney.