Can A Car Accidents Cause A Herniated Disc?

After car accidents, it’s not uncommon for someone to experience pain and stiffness.  What if it’s more than just a little post-accident discomfort?  After all, you weren’t going that fast, so how bad could it be?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how fast you were going when you were hit.  Serious injury is possible at any speed, with herniated discs a common complaint for accident victims. 

What does disc herniation mean?  What treatment options are available, and will insurance pay for them?  You are in pain, up to your stiffened neck in paperwork, and afraid that you may be more badly hurt than your thought.  On top of that, you have a lot of questions about your back pain.  Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about car-accident related disc herniation.

What is a Herniated Disc?

The vertebrae in your spine are separated by small gel filled pillows that act as shock absorbers for your spine.  When these are healthy and working as they should, they will protect your vertebrae and allow smooth, pain free movement.   When a trauma affects these discs, they can rupture, allowing the gel to leak out of them.  As if that doesn’t sound uncomfortable enough already, the injured disc can shift out of place and hit the nerves of the spine.  This is what we refer to as a herniated disc.  As you can imagine, this is a very painful situation to find yourself in and it won’t just go away on its own.

To make matters worse, the pain of the herniated disc isn’t necessarily felt at the site of the injury.  Pain and numbness can be felt in the extremities, such as across the buttocks, down the thigh and through the foot, depending on where the injured disc is located in the spine.  When pain is travelling, it is “radiating.”  Radiated pain is caused by the pinching of the delicate nerves in the spine caused when the disc is flattening or shifted out of place.

Car Accidents and Herniated Discs

Remember that a herniated disc is usually caused by trauma, and a car accident can cause huge amounts of spinal injury.

After car accidents, the emergency room will probably take a series of X-rays to rule out injuries, but while they can see the vertebrae of the spine, they cannot see the discs.  Only an MRI or CT Scan will show these discs.  Doctors who don’t perform additional tests can’t diagnose a herniated disc and can’t understand the amounts of pain their patient may be in following a car accident.

The degree of injury can’t be based on how much pain the patient is in, because each person processes pain differently.  Just because you are up and walking around at the accident scene doesn’t mean that you aren’t injured; you just may be more stoic when dealing with pain.

Are Herniated Discs Compensable by Auto Insurance Companies? 

The high cost of healthcare illustration with money, calculator, stethoscope and charts

When victims of car accidents are faced with pain, disability, and loss of income from a herniated disc, they may start to wonder how much the car insurance company will compensate them for all of the pain, suffering and inconvenience.

Herniated discs will be covered by auto insurance, but like any other accident related injury it may depend on a wide variety of factors.

Is the other driver at fault?

Does the other driver have good insurance?

Do you have a pre-existing condition that is causing your discomfort?

How much is the injury negatively impacting your life?

The answers to these questions will dictate your compensation. Sometimes the injury will involve chronic pain that is not eased by therapy or surgery. If this is the case, the patient is entitled to very large settlements of six or even seven figures.

What is the Best Treatment Option for a Herniated Disc? 

Spinal injuries like herniated discs will not just go away on their own.  They require treatment, and when it comes to your back, the less invasive treatment option is always the best choice. 

Because the discs in the spine are constantly under tremendous amounts of pressure, treating them with a procedure known as non-surgical spinal decompression is a great choice in treating a herniate disc.  This is a gentle treatment plan that involves no incisions, no scarring, no screws or other hardware, and no visits or stays in a hospital.  This is the treatment plan of choice for many back, neck, and disc related injuries and conditions.

The FDA has recognized spinal decompression as a valid treatment option as a replacement for back or neck surgery and the procedure has been proven over and over as an effective treatment, not only for herniated discs, but for many other spine and neck conditions.  With a proven success rate of over 80 percent, spinal decompression therapy is far less expensive and completely noninvasive when compared to surgical procedures.

During your spinal decompression treatment session, you are put on a computer-controlled traction table with harnesses fitted around your waist and hips.  Gentle traction is placed on these harnesses to stretch the spine, allowing the disc to slide back into its original placement and regain its shape.  Traction therapy will form negative pressure in the spine, which in effect “sucks” the gel back into the disc.  Once things are repositioned, water and nutrients can return to the disc and spine because of the increased blood flow to the injured area.

Often, the spinal decompression treatment session will involve gentle physical therapy either before or after the therapy.  The therapy sessions, as a rule, will last between a half hour to 45 minutes over a course of 20 to 30 treatments. 

No matter the source of your neck pain, back discomfort, or disc herniation, non-surgical spinal decompression may be the answer you’re looking for.  Call and schedule your consultation and evaluation so you can start living your best life, pain free.

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