The discs are the pads between the vertebral bodies that act as “cushions” and minimize the impact of movement on the spinal column. They resemble the shape of a jelly donut, with a soft center called a nucleus pulposus. If the nucleus is abnormally ruptured, it results in a disc herniation.
Disc herniation often occurs between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae and results in the disc tissue being pressed out of the disc and exiting the spine. This causes pain in the lower back and legs and often requires an operation if severe problems persist.
How Do I Know If I Have It?
Spinal discs can deteriorate with age as well as with an injury, so it is important to recognize the symptoms of disc herniation. Initially, the condition may not cause any kind of symptoms, and it is possible that the patient would not realize he or she had a herniation depending the size of the hernia. If it is a relatively minor injury, the victim may experience local pain at the area of the herniation. If the disk is large enough, it can press on the adjacent spinal nerve that exits the spine at the level of the disc herniation, causing extreme pain and even partial paralysis.
It is also important to know the symptoms of sciatica, which is a pain on one side of the body. For example, if the herniation happens in the lower back, a shooting pain can often be felt in the buttock and leg and may even cause numbness of the extremity. If the herniation is extremely large, then pain may be felt on both sides of the body as the disc presses on both spinal nerves. This type of injury can lead to weakness of the lower extremities and even incontinence of the bladder and bowel.
A doctor may suspect a herniated disc when the patient suffers from these symptoms. If your doctor suspects a herniated disc, he or she may order a neurologic examination to reveal abnormal reflexes. Blood tests can also be used to determine inflammation or infection of the blood caused by a spinal injury, and an X-ray can show wear and tear on the spine that can point towards a ruptured disc.
If you or a loved one has ever suffered from one of these symptoms after an accident, it is important you call the personal injury lawyers at Barber and Associates, LLC. We will fight for your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve.