Herniated Disc

The more serious consequence that evolves from a "whiplash" injury is damage to the intervertebral discs and the rupture/herniation of the interior of the disc. When a disc ruptures the center of it, called the nucleus pulposus, breaks through the outer layer of the disc and compresses the spinal cord nerve roots that exit the adjacent vertebra.

A ruptured disc is extremely painful and results in radicular pain down the nerve distribution that nerve root provides. In other words, a person that has a rupture of the disc between the 5th cervical vertebra and the 6th cervical vertebra will have burning pain down his arm and into his thumb and forefinger. There will also be weakness in the bicep muscle and numbness and tingling in the fingers.

Ruptured discs are generally diagnosed by MRI examination (magnetic resonance imaging) and confirmed through EMG testing (electromyography testing) of the muscles in the arm.

In cases where there is a frank disc herniation and an extruded fragment of disc material compressing the nerve root, surgery is likely to be the only treatment to satisfactorily relieve the pain and prevent further muscle wasting. In some cases where the discs are injured to a lesser degree resulting in the bulging or protrusion of the disc, conservative care is indicated. This is also a painful condition, but generally not amenable to surgical treatment.

People who have neck injuries have a great deal of difficulty in their day to day lives. If they are required to work in a stationary position, such as in front of a computer screen, they may not be able to carry out their duties. It is not unusual for a person to remain symptomatic for six months to a year following a cervical strain. Younger people normally fair better than older persons as their necks are more flexible and stronger and have not been subjected to the wear and tear that occurs over one's normal life span. People who are in their 50s and already have the onset of degenerative changes in their discs are the most likely victims of a disc herniation in a rear-end accident.

With the help of The Farber Law Group, a Washington law firm experienced and knowledgeable in handling auto accident cases, you may be able to recover the full amount of your damages including pain and suffering. Please contact us for more information and to schedule a free consultation.