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Herniated Disc After Car Accident: Symptoms and Treatment Options

It is common to suffer from a herniated disc after a car accident. Unfortunately, many people do not seek medical treatment for this condition, leading to additional medical problems. The pain from a herniated disc can prevent you from living life the way you want to, but you don’t have to suffer. Herniated discs can be identified and treated by a medical professional. There are numerous treatment options  available for patients to relieve pain, and a doctor can help you find the right one.

What is a Herniated Disc?

The spine consists of a series of bones known as vertebrae, which stretch from the base of the skull to the tailbone. Discs, which function as shock absorbers, are located between the vertebrae. The discs act as a sort of buffer, allowing the body to move and bend easily.

When one of these discs tear, it is referred to as a herniated disc. Herniated discs are a common type of spinal injury and a leading cause of neck, back, arm, and leg pain. They can occur anywhere along the spinal column; however, it is rare for them to happen in the mid-back. Herniated discs most often occur in the neck and the lower back (or lumbar spine) areas.

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

 

The symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on where the injury is located in the spine. In general, symptoms tend to worsen with movement and improve with rest, so patients most often notice symptoms when they are active. 

A herniated disc in the lower back, also referred to as a herniated lumbar disc, is relatively common. With a lumbar disc herniation, patients often see severe leg pain, known as sciatica, and some patients may even suffer from foot pain. Muscle weakness and tingling, or numbness in the legs and feet sometimes occur.

A herniated disc in the neck is known as a herniated cervical disc. Symptoms include pain between the shoulder blades, neck pain (especially when bending or turning the neck), and numbness or tingling in the arms. Pain caused by a herniated cervical disc often travels to the shoulder, arm, and in some cases, the hand and fingers.

Diagnosing Herniated Discs

Your physician will perform a thorough exam to determine if you are suffering from a herniated disc. Your pain level, sensation, muscle reflexes, and muscle strength will also be tested during the exam. It is common for medical providers to order tests such as:

  • X-rays: An x-ray can help your doctor rule out other potential causes of neck or back pain.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): One of the most accurate and standard tests for a herniated disc, an MRI is almost always ordered when a physician suspects a spinal injury.
  • Computed tomography (CT): A CT scan will provide your doctor with a detailed image of your spine. CT scans are helpful because herniated discs can move around the spinal cord and press on spinal nerves.
  • Electromyogram (EMG): An EMG involves inserting tiny needles into various muscles to evaluate the function of the nerves. The test can help the doctor determine which nerves are being impacted by a herniated disc.

The tests listed above can be helpful when learning about the nature of a herniated disc.

When to Seek Professional Help

Often, patients will attempt to treat the symptoms of  herniated discs at home. There are steps you can take on your own to alleviate pain, but most of the time medical help from a physician will be needed. Patients should consider seeking the assistance of a professional if the pain interferes with daily activities, symptoms do not improve on their own, they develop a loss of bowel or bladder control, or they have trouble walking or standing.

Herniated Disc Treatment in New York

As mentioned above, you may need to consider more advanced treatments if your symptoms do not improve on their own. Depending on the nature and severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend various options for treatment, including:

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can craft a unique exercise program to help alleviate nerve pressure. A physical therapy program will also improve circulation and loosen tight muscles.
  • Medication: An anti-inflammatory pain medication or muscle relaxants may be prescribed to a patient.
  • Surgery: In some cases, a large herniated disk will injure bladder or bowel nerves. If this occurs, a patient may need to undergo immediate emergency spine surgery. Spinal decompression surgery, which relieves nerve pressure, may also be recommended for non-emergency cases.
  • Spinal Injections: An epidural steroid injection, or nerve block, is a shot of steroid medication  administered directly into the spinal cord. Such a shot can reduce spinal nerve inflammation and swelling of the nerve, providing pain relief and allowing the body to heal faster and more effectively.

Your physician or spine specialist will work closely with you to determine the right treatment plan for your injury.

Let Metro Healthcare Partners in Brooklyn, NY Help You

Metro Healthcare Partners consists of a professional and highly-trained team of pain management doctors in Brooklyn, NY. We utilize a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to pain management, and we help manage the acute or chronic pain caused by herniated discs. You will receive the best care possible from our award-winning team of orthopedists, chiropractors, neurologists, and physical therapists at our practice. Our treatment programs are tailored to each patient’s specific condition, needs, and preferences.

Car accidents are a common cause of herniated discs, and if you have been involved in an accident, you should seek medical care immediately. Patients who delay treatment often suffer from more significant pain, and many become unable to engage in day-to-day activities.

Contact Us

If you suffer from a herniated disc, we understand your pain, primarily if your condition was caused by a car accident. An accident is traumatic enough, and you don’t want to be stuck dealing with the pain caused by a herniated disc alone. Our team of seasoned medical professionals will be more than happy to help you and provide you with the appropriate recovery options. Contact Metro Healthcare Partners today to learn more about our practice and how we can assist you. We accept most insurance healthcare plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and medical liens. Same-day appointments may be available.