Can Herniated Disks Lead to Spinal Injuries?

The spinal cord consists of a column of bones known as vertebrae and round, cushion-like disks between them that hold the bones together and provide shock absorption. In an incident such as a slip and fall or car crash, the disks of the spine (along with other areas of the spinal cord) can sustain serious injury. One such injury is a herniated disk, which can lead to more serious spinal injuries if not properly treated.

What Is a Herniated Disk?

A spinal disk has a tough, rubbery exterior and soft center, like a jelly donut. A herniated disk is when the soft center of a spinal disk pushes through a crack that has formed in its exterior shell (herniates). This injury is also referred to as a slipped, bulging or ruptured disk. Some people do not notice any pain or symptoms associated with a herniated disk. Others, however, experience pain, numbness or weakness in the back, arms and/or legs due to the protruding disk irritating nearby nerves.

A herniated disk is an injury that can occur in many kinds of accidents. Lifting something that is too heavy, for example, can cause a disk to rupture and herniate. A blow or impact to the spinal cord can also damage one or more disks, as can the spine being twisted or torqued. These injuries can happen in vehicle collisions, workplace accidents, due to repetitive motion, in a fall and many other incidents. Herniated disks occur most often in the lower back but can happen in any part of the spine. 

Can Herniated Disks Cause Spine Injuries?

A herniated disk does not always require medical treatment. If the condition is minor and does not cause any symptoms, the patient may not even notice the presence of a disk problem. However, if the patient experiences back pain, chronic pain, arm or leg pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling, he or she should see a doctor. Herniated disks may require muscle relaxers, therapy or even surgery to repair.  

If someone fails to notice that he or she has a herniated disk and does nothing to remedy it, the individual may be at a higher risk of suffering a more serious spinal cord injury later. The disk may rupture completely and cause pain and other symptoms. The out-of-place disk may also place pressure against the spinal cord that worsens over time, potentially resulting in numbness or even paralysis.

In the most severe cases, a herniated disk can press on the nerve roots or spinal cord in a way that results in neurological dysfunction, such as myelopathy in the neck. This is a spinal cord injury from compression that can cause pain, numbness and tingling. Disk rupture can also lead to radiculopathy, or a pinched nerve, which can require surgery to treat in serious cases. 

Can I Recover Damages for a Herniated Disk in Missouri?

Damages, or financial compensation, may be available for a herniated disk in Missouri if someone reasonably could have prevented the injury but failed to do so. Negligence, or the failure to use reasonable care, is the basis for most personal injury cases in Missouri. Negligence can cause spine injuries and herniated disks in many ways, such as a careless driver causing a car accident or a doctor committing medical malpractice

If you suspect negligence in connection to your herniated disk or spine injury, consult with an attorney at Dickerson Oxton, LLC for a free case review. We can help you seek fair financial damages for your related medical costs, pain and suffering, distress, inconvenience, lost wages, temporary or permanent disability, and more. Our lawyers have gone up against many powerful defendants in Kansas City and won. Start your back injury case with a free consultation at our local law office.