After experiencing a car wreck, many people don’t experience immediate pain that sends them to the emergency room. However, an injury such as a herniated disc from a car accident can cause problems at a later time. You may experience subtle pain that increases and radiates as you move.
You should make an appointment with pain management specialists immediately following a car accident to identify and manage injuries.
At No-Fault Doctors of NY and NJ, healthcare professionals in our directory can diagnose you before putting you on the road to recovery. Learn more about disc herniation below to see if you need a treatment plan.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc occurs when one of your spinal discs becomes injured. Located throughout the length of your spine, each disc cushions the vertebrae above and below it. The discs contain soft, jelly-like tissue that absorbs shock or quick movements. For example, in an auto accident, the initial speed of the vehicles and impact force can contribute to a disc slipping out of place.
Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc can occur in the following areas:
- The cervical spine at the neck
- The thoracic spine in the middle of your back
- The lumbar spine in your lower back
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons states while a herniated disc can develop in any part of the spine, most disc injuries occur in the lumbar spine.
Why do herniated discs cause pain? A herniated disc bulges from its original position between the vertebrae. A complex network of nerves surrounds your entire spine. So when you shift your body to accommodate a task or different posture, the bulged disc puts pressure on nearby nerves.
This pressure pinches the nerves, resulting in painful movements. Car accidents often generate rapid force and movement, causing the disc to slip out of place. As a result, you could suffer from painful slipped discs from car accidents.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disc
How can you tell if you have a herniated disc from a car accident? You may not notice some common symptoms immediately following the wreck. However, the pain and disturbances become obvious after some time.
According to an analysis published in ScienceDirect, 63% of all continuous lower back pain originates from an auto accident injury. This pain may cause sharp, burning sensations throughout the injured area. As the disc presses against surrounding nerves, the pain radiates outward from the injury’s source.
You may experience difficulty with standing up straight, bending, or picking objects up due to muscle weakness. Sometimes, this weakness might manifest as spasms. Many people struggle with balance or holding an object on one side of the body.
Tingling and Numbness
As the disc applies pressure to connected nerves, you might feel numbness or tingling sensations throughout one side of your body. These sensations often occur in the legs and feet. However, you might detect them in your arms and hands.
Pain in the Extremities
Depending on the herniated disc’s location, you might feel burning pain that radiates throughout your extremities. If you sustained a slipped neck disc, this pain may occur in your neck, shoulder, and arm. Herniated discs in the thoracic spine cause pain in the arms and thighs.
Disc injuries in the lower back may manifest as shooting pains in the buttocks, thighs, and calves. Sudden movements from coughing, sneezing, or moving too quickly cause the disc to apply pressure to the nerves. As a result, you could feel the pain rapidly and without warning.
When to Seek a Herniated Disc Doctor
Seek treatment from No-Fault Doctors immediately following a car accident. You can more quickly receive a diagnosis and begin a personalized treatment plan. Prompt treatment may decrease your recovery time.
However, many people avoid seeking medical attention when they don’t feel immediate pain after a car accident. An injury might take time to cause pain. If you haven’t sought treatment yet, you should set up an appointment with a herniated disc doctor as soon as possible to evaluate your condition and prevent it from worsening.
What is the Treatment for a Herniated Disc From a Car Accident?
If you want to avoid invasive procedures, a qualified doctor may help you avoid surgery. The North American Spine Society asserts that up to 90% of people who suffer from acute disc herniation don’t need surgery for their condition to improve. So, what is the treatment for a herniated disc from a car accident?
Treatment methods vary depending on each patient’s needs. However, a general overview of treatment procedure includes:
- An examination to determine any other injuries, the disc’s location, and injury severity
- MRIs and X-rays
- Proper documentation to provide your insurance company
- A plan for ongoing physical therapy and chiropractic care
- Prescriptions for pain relievers or muscle relaxers if needed
Severe injuries that don’t respond to noninvasive treatments may require surgery.
Facts & Statistics About Herniated Discs
Herniated discs are a common cause of back pain and disability in the United States.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), herniated discs affect an estimated 1 to 3% of the population. Here are some additional statistics on herniated discs in the United States:
The AANS reports that herniated discs are most common in people between the ages of 35 and 55.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), herniated discs are more prevalent in men than women.
The NIH reports that up to 80% of people will have back pain at some point in their lives, and herniated discs are one of the potential causes of this pain.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) reports that herniated discs are a leading cause of disability worldwide, and they are estimated to be responsible for up to 40% of all spinal surgeries.
FAQs About Herniated Discs From Car Accidents
Can car accidents cause herniated discs?
Yes, car accidents can cause herniated discs. When a car collides with another object or vehicle, the force of the impact can cause the spine to twist or bend unnaturally. This can put pressure on the discs in the spine, causing them to bulge or rupture and resulting in a herniated disc.
Is a herniated disc considered a serious injury?
Yes, a herniated disc is considered a serious injury. While some disc injuries do not cause serious disruption in daily life, they can still lead to back problems or reinjury later on.
Can a rear-end collision cause a herniated disc?
Yes, a rear-end collision can cause a herniated disc. When one car hits a vehicle in front of it with enough force, the impact can cause either driver to suddenly move. In turn, they may experience resulting disc injuries.
Find Exceptional Herniated Disc Treatment with No-Fault Doctors in NY, NJ and CT
If you sustained a herniated disc from a car accident, remember who to call after a back injury car accident in NY, NJ, and CT. At No-Fault Doctors, doctors listed in our free directory specialize in all varieties of injuries caused by car accidents. Book an appointment by calling (888) 970-5065 today.
Doctors in our directory accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.