Sometimes a herniated disc just happens all on its own. But it’s also commonly caused by having been in a car accident.
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc is a spine injury. Our spines are basically long columns of cylinder-shaped (sort of, anyway) bones separated by soft discs. Basically, these discs keep the bones of your spine from rubbing against each other and let you bend and twist your back.
So you can see they’re pretty important.
But sometimes, these discs can slip out of place or even break open. Either way, that can put pressure on the nerves that branch out from your spinal cord and run to the rest of your body – and that can be an incredibly painful thing, sometimes so painful that you can’t even move. (Numbness is another symptom.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc injury, your doctor will probably prescribe rest and physical therapy. Be sure you follow your doctor’s instructions – rest for as long as she tells you to, and commit yourself to following through on physical therapy. If your injury stems from a car accident or some other sudden cause (like, for example, lifting too much weight too quickly), you may also be prescribed painkillers. In extreme cases, surgery is an option as well.
How long will it take me to recover?
That’s a question best answered by your doctor, but generally speaking, it may take months to a year – or more – to resume your regular daily activities after undergoing treatment for a herniated disc.
It should go without saying that this can put a serious crimp in your life. How soon would you be able to go back to work – and if the answer is “not soon,” would you be able to weather the extended loss of income?
First things first: Seek medical care immediately
After any car accident, one of the first things you should do is get checked out by a doctor. For one thing, it’s not always immediately apparent that we’ve suffered an injury at all. A physician can often spot problems that we are not yet aware of, and can take steps to treat you before you even begin to feel significant effects.
But there are also legal reasons to see a doctor quickly. An official diagnosis made in the immediate aftermath of an accident is a very powerful force. Without it, insurance companies and attorneys representing other people involved in the crash can raise doubts about the legitimacy of your injuries, and use those doubts to reduce any award or settlement you have coming to you.
Make sure you’re compensated fairly for your injury
If you suffered your herniated disc in a car accident, you may have a valid claim for damages. The exact value of your claim will depend on a number of factors, including who was at fault, the severity of your injuries and the amount of income you’re expected to lose during recovery, among other things.