A car accident can cause victims to suffer many serious injuries, and back injuries are some of the most common. These injuries can be debilitating, causing chronic pain that makes working or taking care of daily needs difficult or impossible. One especially painful injury is called a bulging disc.
What Is a Bulging Disc?
The spine is made up of vertebrae—small bones that are interlocked to form a column that protects the spinal cord. In a healthy spine, cushioning discs lie between the vertebrae to act as shock absorbers. These discs are made up of a hard outer surface, referred to as the capsule, and a jelly-like substance called the nucleus on the inside.
Trauma, especially from rear-end and side-impact vehicle accidents, can cause the disc’s nucleus to compress and the outer layer to bulge, which in turn, presses against spinal nerves. Often impacting the neck or lower back, the bulging disc can cause pain and limit movement.
How Is a Bulging Disc Different From a Herniated Disc?
Many people think bulging and herniated discs are the same medical condition. But while they are related, they are distinct injuries. A bulging disc is an injury to the disc’s capsule. A herniated disc also damages the nucleus, and it can seep out through the outer surface of the disc.
Symptoms of a Bulging Disc
Symptoms of a bulging disc appear once the disc presses on the spinal nerves, but these symptoms may not emerge for days or even weeks after a car accident and will depend on whether the injury is to your neck or lower back. Symptoms of a bulging disc in the neck, also known as the cervical spine, include:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder, arm, and/or hand pain
- Numbness or tingling in the affected arm, hand, or fingers
- Muscle spasms or cramping
Symptoms of a bulging disc in the lower back, also known as the lumbar area, include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the buttocks, legs, and/or feet
- Numbness or tingling of the leg, feet, or toes
- Muscle spasms or cramping
Common Treatments for Bulging Discs
Typically, bulging discs are treated conservatively.—at least in the beginning. Some of the initial treatments can include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Oral steroids
- Epidural injections
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
When these treatments don’t eliminate the chronic pain and other symptoms, a doctor may prescribe surgery, which can include:
- Decompression surgery to remove tissue and bone and reduce pressure on the spine
- Fusion surgery to remove damaged tissue and fuse the bones together
- Artificial disc replacement to replace the damaged disc
- Discectomy to remove the damaged portion of the bulging disc
Call Us for a Referral to a Doctor and Lawyer
In order to protect both your health and your legal rights after a traffic accident, it is important to see a doctor who regularly treats bulging discs and to consult with an experienced lawyer soon after your crash.
What are you waiting for? Call 763-251-PAIN today. One of our local accident experts will provide you with referrals to doctors and lawyers who can help you recover from your injuries and get back on your feet financially. You will owe no fees until your claim is settled. To find out more about how we can assist you, call us right away.