Many types of serious accidents can lead to back injuries, and herniated discs are one of the most common. Herniated discs occur when there is an issue with the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spine. Recovering from herniated disc from a car accident often requires ongoing medical treatment and pain management, and may cause you to miss work.

Causes and Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Herniated discs, when one of the discs that cushion the spine bulge out or tear, stem from a variety of serious accidents. Almost any accident that causes impact trauma to your back can cause this type of injury. Some of the most common ways herniated discs occur include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction site accidents

The symptoms of a herniated disc are typically hard to ignore. They include:

  • Difficulty bending
  • Pain when stretching
  • Numbness or tingling in your extremities
  • Paralysis

If you were in a car accident and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor about your injuries. Doctors usually use imaging scans to diagnose or rule out a herniated disc.

What is the treatment for a herniated disc?

The treatment required for a herniated disc can vary widely depending on your specific injury. Even when injuries are only minor, it often takes several months to recover from a herniated disc. Treatment usually includes non-invasive options such as:

  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy

While these treatments are not invasive, they can be expensive and time consuming. Moreover, both the pain you feel and the doctor’s appointments and physical therapy may require you to time off work. Depending on the severity of the pain and the frequency of your appointments, you could lose thousands of dollars. With doctor’s appointments, therapy, and prescription medications, the costs can add up quickly.

When injuries do not respond to repeated courses of non-invasive treatment or are more severe, surgery may be necessary. Because there is a risk of leaving patients with chronic back pain and other complications, most doctors only recommend herniated disc repair when there is numbness or paralysis in the legs and the injury is seriously infringing on the patient’s lifestyle.

This surgery usually requires removal of part of the herniated disc. Some people bounce back from this surgery within a few weeks, but others miss as many as eight weeks of work. Doctors often prescribe physical therapy during this time.

While these surgeries -- known as discectomies -- are usually effective at relieving symptoms such as pain and tingling in the legs, many people still suffer from ongoing back pain that may require pain medication.

Are there ongoing effects of a herniated disc?

Unfortunately, even a minor herniated disc injury can lead to a lifetime of complications and pain. While it is rare, some people require ongoing pain management after their accident, and for the rest of their lives.

While most people can overcome the immediate effects of a herniated disc with non-invasive treatment, these injuries are often re-aggravated with stress, minor injury, or overexertion. The initial injury leaves the area more susceptible to damage, and it will require much less force to cause the disc to herniate again in the future.

There are also other ways a herniated disc from a serious accident can have devastating effects on your life. With the chance of ongoing pain and the risk of re-injury, a herniated disc can put a great financial burden on you and your family. Even with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment add up quickly, especially if your injury prevents you from working.

Should I consider a lawyer?

Atlanta car accident attorney Jason R. Schultz can help you get the compensation you deserve if you suffered a herniated disc or other injury because of the negligence of another. As the victim of a serious accident, you have the right to file a Georgia personal injury claim to seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today at 404-474-0804 to learn more.

Jason R. Schultz
Helping Georgia area residents with car accident, medical malpractice, and personal injury claims since 1991.