Herniated Disc Injuries: A Definitive Guide

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Legally reviewed by Alex Uriarte on November 9, 2022 Alex Uriarte is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

Spinal Cord Xray

Herniated disc injuries are common issues that can cause severe pain and disability, and many suffer these issues for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, most disc herniations can be managed without surgery, as long as the patient adheres to their recovery guidelines to maximize their success. In this guide, we will discuss the causes of a herniated disc, symptoms to look out for, treatments available, rehabilitation exercises, and how to prevent future injury.

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service that connects personal injury victims with legal representation in their area. Herniated discs and other back injuries are some of the most common types of injuries in a variety of personal injury cases, such as car accidents, slip and falls, and other impact accidents or various work-related injuries. 

Suppose you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, or you are suffering injuries due to your line of work. In that case, we can connect you with a proven lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering — or guide you through the worker’s compensation process to maximize your benefits.

For more information about how herniated discs can impact a personal injury case or insurance claim, contact us at 1-800-INJURED, and our team will schedule a free consultation on your behalf.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc is a condition in which the outer layer of a spinal disc, known as the annulus fibrosis, becomes damaged or ruptured. This can cause portions of the inner material, called nucleus pulposus, to leak out and press on surrounding nerves. This nerve pressure can result in pain and other symptoms depending on the location of the herniated disc.

What Causes a Herniated Disc?

Herniated discs can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, physical activities that involve heavy lifting, overstretching, and repetitive motion. In some cases, traumatic injuries such as car accidents or falls can cause a herniated disc.

Not all herniated discs are due to an impact or trauma. Some herniated discs are a result of degenerative disc disease, which is a natural part of the aging process that can lead to weakened or cracked discs. Often, insurance companies will try to suggest that a herniated disc is the result of degenerative disc disease to downplay the severity of a claimant’s injuries and avoid paying the full amount of their rightful compensation.

What Are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?

The symptoms of a herniated disc depend on the location along the spine and the severity of the injury itself, but some common signs include the following:

  • Pain in the neck or lower back that radiates into the arms and legs.
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms and legs.
  • Reduced range of motion, especially when attempting to twist or bend the spine.
  • Changes in bladder or bowel control due to nerve damage.

Keep in mind that everyone experiences pain differently, and these symptoms may not represent your experience. This is another reason why it is so important to have an attorney representing your case who can clearly communicate the nature of your injuries and the extent of your suffering as they work to secure the maximum compensation for your claim.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you consult a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

Treating a Herniated Disc

In some cases, a herniated disc can heal on its own, and the symptoms will gradually subside over time. However, the amount of time it takes for a herniated disc to heal depends on several factors such as age, the severity of the injury, and lifestyle habits. Since the actual pain of a herniated disc stems from pressure on the nerves, two different people with seemingly-identical herniations may have entirely different experiences in terms of pain, mobility, and recovery time.

It is important to get treatment to speed up this process and reduce the pain or discomfort associated with the injury. Working with a back injury specialist or physical therapist can help you learn how to manage pain and improve flexibility. Initial treatment options may include physical therapy, heat/ice therapy, exercise routines for back strengthening, and stabilization exercises tailored to your specific condition.

Pain management techniques including medications, muscle relaxers, chiropractic care, or injections like an epidural or nerve block may each be considered depending on the severity of the injury. Especially if the victim is not responding well to conservative methods like physical therapy and heat or ice treatments.

In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to reduce pain and improve the function of your spine. Surgery is typically a last resort option after all other treatments have been exhausted, as it comes with a number of risks and a lengthy recovery period. As you can imagine, the recovery process following a back surgery will impact a victim’s income and contribute to significant medical bills that they must seek for compensation to make ends meet.

Legal Issues Relating to Herniated Discs

In cases where a herniated disc is the result of an injury caused by another person’s negligence, victims may be entitled to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages related to the injury, including pain and suffering. Legal representation helps ensure that victims get the full amount they are owed to cover their medical bills and other costs associated with the injury.

At the same time, insurance companies may attempt to downplay the severity of a herniated disc to avoid paying out a larger settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you fight for the maximum compensation available by gathering evidence from your medical records and expert testimony from doctors and other medical professionals.

By having a legal professional on your side, you can rest assured that your rights are being protected every step of the way. Contact 1-800-Injured to connect with an experienced personal injury lawyer today to discuss the specifics of your case and learn more about how they can help you get the compensation you deserve.