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What is a Herniated Disk and How Does it Happen?

March 22, 2023Articles

According to the Mayo Clinic, a herniated or ruptured disk refers to an injury to the rubbery cushion that sits between the spinal bones. The rubbery cushion is called a disk and it helps to align and stack the vertebrae or spinal bones. 

Herniated disks typically occur in the lower back or neck and may or may not produce symptoms. 

Signs and Symptoms of a Herniated Disk

Signs and Symptoms of a Herniated Disk

Where a herniated disk is located and whether that disk is pinching or pressing on a nerve determines a person’s signs and symptoms. A herniated disk can present in the body as any of the following:

  • Arm or leg pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf
  • Shoulder and arm pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of balance and coordination

These symptoms generally improve with time and do not require surgery. It is vital to seek immediate medical attention if numbness, tingling, or weakness is present with neck or back pain that travels down the arm or leg.

Causes of a Herniated Disk

People may have difficulty identifying what caused their herniated disk as most disks rupture over time. Age and repeated use reduces disk flexibility and increases the risk of disk tearing or rupturing.

Besides age, a disk may herniate due to:

  • Repetitive motions like lifting, pulling, pushing, and twisting at work
  • Sedentary lifestyles or occupations like truck driving
  • Obesity
  • Straining to lift heavy objects
  • Smoking
  • A blow to the back
  • A genetic disposition
  • A fall

A medical provider can diagnose a herniated disk and recommend a treatment program specific to a person’s symptoms.

Can a Car Accident Cause a Herniated Disk?

Any significant trauma can cause a herniated disk. This includes the trauma experienced in a car accident. The force of the accident can not only cause a disk to herniate, but it can also cause issues like pinched nerves.

A car accident may also aggravate or worsen an already herniated disk. 

Diagnosing a Herniated Disk

Doctors may diagnose a herniated disk by thorough physical examination alone. They may also use an advanced scanning technique to solidify a diagnosis such as:

The extent and severity of the injury will determine the treatment regime.

Treatment for a Herniated Disk

Treatment for a herniated disk varies. However, doctors may recommend the following:

  • Medication such as anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy
  • Spinal injections or nerve blocks

Surgery is performed in emergencies or rare cases when other treatments fail.

Contact an Experienced Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you suffered a herniated disk after a car accident, work injury, or due to someone else’s negligence, call the personal injury attorneys at Weber & Rubano. We will review your claim at no risk to you and advise you of any available legal options. 

Weber & Rubano understands the challenges you face after a personal injury accident, and we know how important compensation is to start rebuilding your life. Reach out to our legal team in New Haven or Wallingford to learn more about a Connecticut personal injury claim today.