I have represented many clients who’ve suffered herniated disc injuries during car wrecks, and many of them did not realize the full extent until days or even weeks after the accident.
In most cases, an MRI is required to diagnose a herniated disc or ruptured disc. X-rays will not show all herniated disc injuries. However, emergency room doctors normally don’t order MRIs after auto accidents. MRIs are very expensive tests, and insurance companies discourage them. Many times, the patient must insist on an MRI to check for a herniated disc.
Auto accident victims may not feel the full extent of pain from a herniated disc immediately after a car wreck. The adrenaline from the accident can mask some of the pain, and most people just want to get out of the hospital and go home as soon as possible. If you’re in a car wreck and think that you might have a herniated disc, go ahead and request an MRI while you’re in the emergency room. If you do indeed have a herniated disc, the MRI will prove that it was caused by the accident. If you wait too long before you get an MRI, the insurance company involved can argue that the accident did not cause the injury.
Herniated Disc Injury Symptoms after Auto Accidents
In most cases, the injured person will feel the actual herniation or rupturing of the disc. It may feel like something has popped or slipped in your back or neck. Pain usually follows immediately, although you may not feel the pain until later.
If the back pain continues for several days after the accident and you have not been diagnosed with a disc injury, see your doctor as soon as possible. A herniated disc or ruptured disc can press on nerves from the spinal cord, and this pressure can cause pain and other uncomfortable sensations in the back, buttocks, legs, or arms, depending on the location of the nerve. The sensations may range from a numb feeling to a sharp pain that may shoot all the way down to the feet. It may feel like a tingling sensation or pins and needles. Sometimes the only symptom is muscle weakness. If the injured disc is not treated quickly, herniated disc pain could transform into chronic pain.
You may also feel muscle spasms and tightness after a herniated disc injury. After an injury, the muscles in the back may tighten up as a protective mechanism to limit movement and prevent further injury. Other muscles in the body may tighten up as well. It’s as if the body is saying, “You’re injured severely. Don’t move.” Indeed, symptoms are the body’s method of communication. Listen to your symptoms and respect your body’s wisdom. See a doctor and request and MRI as soon as possible.
If you have a herniated disc, treatment may be expensive. Treatments often include physical therapy as well as surgery. During a discectomy, a surgeon removes the herniated disc to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord. You should also seek legal representation as soon as possible to ensure the you receive fair compensation from the insurance company and/or the party at fault for the accident. See Auto Accidents and Disc Injuries to learn more. If have any questions about your legal rights following an accident, or if you’re seeking an Atlanta disc injury attorney or Atlanta auto accident attorney, contact MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.