People involved in car, truck or motorcycle accidents in Maryland may suffer from bulging discs or herniated discs. These painful conditions can require surgery. You should talk to an injury lawyer after a bulging disc accident.
Car accidents, in particular rear-enders, place extreme pressure on the neck and spine. The human body was not built to stand these powerful forces. Discs are the spine’s shock absorbers. However, they aren’t as resilient as the ones in your car and can end up deformed and ruptured.
Our Maryland car accident injury lawyers handle both bulging disc and herniated disc cases. People who suffer from these conditions may require surgery and a long course of medical treatment.
You should talk to an attorney after a bulging disc accident in Maryland. You may need to recover substantial compensation given the ongoing pain and suffering you experience.
Understanding a Bulging Disc Accident – What Are Vertebral Discs?
The spinal column contains 23 vertebral or spinal discs. Six of them are cervical discs in the neck. There are 12 discs in the middle back (thoracic region), and five in the lower back (lumbar region).
The discs in your neck and back have three primary functions, namely:
- They are shock absorbers that help handle stress and the loads associated with carrying. They are positioned between each bony vertebra and absorb impacts.
- They are ligaments that hold the vertebrae of the neck and spine together.
- They are joints that allow mobility in the neck and spine.
People who suffer damage to discs often experience shooting pains from the disc itself or the pressure a damaged disc exerts on a nearby nerve.
However, you can suffer from a bulging or a ruptured disc and feel little or no pain. You should still seek treatment to prevent future complications.
These injuries can cause considerable pain and lead to ongoing treatment, surgery, and time off work.
What is the Difference Between a Bulging Disc Accident and a Herniated Disc Accident?
The body’s discs are made of a tough layer of cartilage with a softer center. They are often compared to small jelly doughnuts that fit between the small bones that make up the backbone.
Discs suffer wear and tear with age. They dehydrate and the cartilage stiffens. These changes alone can cause discs to bulge out. The Mayo Clinic describes a bulging disc as looking like a hamburger that’s too large for its bun.
The whole disc does not usually end up bulging out. Usually, at least a quarter of it is affected. The injury is contained to the tough outer layer of cartilage.
While a bulging disc accident causes the disc to become misshapen, it does not burst through the hard outer layer. In a herniated disc accident, a crack in the outer layer of the disc’s cartilage allows some of the softer ‘jelly’ to leak out.
Herniated discs are also described as slipped discs or ruptured discs. The force of a car accident or another accident like a slip and fall only causes a small part of the disc to rupture.
The Mayo Clinic states the pain associated with a herniated disc accident is typically more severe than the pain associated with a bulging disc accident.
A herniated disk usually protrudes more and can press on and irritate nerves. The disc injury can cause compression of the nerve. More often, a herniated disc causes a painful inflammation of the root of the nerve.
How are Bulging Disc and Herniated Disc Injuries Discovered?
People involved in a car accident, an industrial accident, or a slip and fall, should see a doctor if they have any concerns or neck and back pain. The doctor will check your back for tenderness during your visit.
He or she will ask you to lie flat and put your legs in various positions. The doctor will check how you walk, your reflexes, the strength of your muscles and your ability to feel different sensations in your back.
The doctor will order other tests if he or she suspects a disc injury. An X-ray won’t reveal if a disc is damaged but will help rule out other causes.
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) test creates an image of the spine that can confirm the location of a bulging or a herniated disc and show what nerves the injury is affecting. A doctor may also order a CT scan – a series of X-rays that create a detailed image of your spinal column and the area around it.
Serious car crashes can damage multiple discs. The doctor may order a myelogram. Under this procedure, medical staff inject dye into the spinal fluid before taking X-rays. A myelogram reveals the extent of pressure on your spinal cord or your nerves due to multiple herniated disks or other back and neck conditions.
What Happens When a Bulging Disc is a Preexisting Condition?
It’s important to talk to a lawyer after a bulging disc accident. You may not be aware of the condition until a medical professional discovers it. Bulging discs don’t always cause pain.
We are often asked what happens if the bulging disc injury is a preexisting condition. Discs deteriorate with age. The insurer sometimes argues you had this problem before the accident as an excuse to reduce your payout.
Although this may be the case, a bulging disc accident will often make your condition worse. The disc will bulge further, leading to more medical problems in the future. The situation often gets worse without further medical treatment.
Medical Treatment after a Bulging Disc Accident
A specialist will recommend a wide range of treatments after a bulging disc accident. They include physical therapy, medications, physical therapy, injections, manipulation by a chiropractor, and occasionally surgery or other longer and more invasive procedures.
As many as half of all people who are diagnosed with bulging discs feel no pain. More people who suffer herniated discs experience pain and surgery is more likely when you have ruptured a disc.
People involved in bulging disc accidents may take months and years to recover from their injuries. It’s not uncommon for accident victims to undergo multiple pain shots and long-term, physical therapy after this injury.
Doctors usually initially manage bulging discs by prescribing pain medication, rest, and physical therapy. They may suggest surgery if the symptoms persist.
When an operation is required, a surgeon often performs a combination of spinal fusion and discectomy to treat the issue. A discectomy involves the removal of the bulging disc or a portion of it.
During spinal fusion, the surgeon joins together the vertebrae through a bone graft. These are complicated procedures that require months of recovery time.
Bulging disc injuries may lead to ongoing problems such as spondylosis or spondylolisthesis. This is a degenerative condition in the spine. When the discs lose their ability to act as cushions, the spinal bones can slip out of place. When they press on nerves, the patient feels considerable pain.
How Much is a Bulging or a Herniated Disc Accident Injury Worth?
All accidents are different. However, neck and back injuries are complicated. Surgery in these areas is often a difficult, costly and time-consuming process.
Disc injury claims often result in payouts above $400,000. Typically, insurers offer less money after bulging disc accidents than herniated disc accidents. Ironically, some bulging discs may protrude more deeply into nerve roots than herniated discs.
However, all cases are unique. You should talk to a Maryland disc injury attorney about your case.
Hire a Maryland Bulging Disc Accident Lawyer
Bulging disc accidents are more serious than soft tissue accidents. Any damage to a spinal disc is serious and can have long-lasting consequences. Don’t let the insurance company tell you a bulging disc accident is not serious or your pain and discomfort are caused by a preexisting condition.
A car wreck often makes conditions worse. You should also be aware many people do not feel the symptoms of a bulging disc. The condition may nevertheless have long-term consequences for your health.
Our Baltimore bulging disc accident attorneys help people who hurt their necks and backs in wrecks every month. It’s important to get advice from a legal professional in these cases. Please call us as soon as possible at (410) 694-7291 for a free injury consultation.