Can a Herniated Disc be caused by Whiplash?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 3 million people in the United States are non-fatally injured in car accidents each year. Whiplash resulting from an automobile accident is one of the most common injuries in a rear-end collision. Whiplash can cause damage to discs in the spinal column – including a herniated disc, bulging disc, or pinched nerve.
Whiplash occurs when an abrupt motion distorts or extends the back or neck muscles beyond their normal range of motion. Whiplash is often a result of the head moving back and forth in a whip-like motion.
If you have received whiplash and are receiving treatment for herniated discs after a car crash, you may be eligible for compensation. Our experienced automobile accident attorneys at The Terry Law Firm can help explain what options are available to you. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc can result when whiplash affects the spine. A herniated disc may also be referred to as a slipped or ruptured disc.
Herniated discs can cause pain in the back, neck, and arms. They are often extremely painful, sending waves of pain from the neck and back to the arms. In some cases, they may not be painful at all. That is why it is vital to visit a doctor for a full scan post-accident to ensure that you do not have any injuries – especially if you do not feel any pain.
If you have a herniated disc, it is common for the pain to only show up sporadically or to flare up if you engage in certain pain-triggering activities. If severe, a herniated disc can cause walking, balance, and coordination problems and affect bladder and bowel control. If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact your medical doctor immediately.
Common signs and symptoms of herniated discs include:
- Sharp pain in your neck or arms
- Numbness and weakness that goes from your shoulder down to your arms and fingers
- Increased pain when holding certain neck positions or participating in certain activities like carrying a heavyweight
- Neck stiffness
Can Whiplash Cause Herniated Discs?
Yes, whiplash can be a direct cause of herniated discs in certain instances. While whiplash itself can often heal on its own with time, herniated discs often cause immense pain that needs treatment.
In some instances, whiplash injuries are not immediately apparent right after a crash. It may take days for the pain to settle in and for the injury to become evident.
One challenge with whiplash-related injuries like herniated discs is that the whiplash itself may not show up on x-rays or scans done by a doctor. A herniated disc typically will, though. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are prepared to gather evidence on your behalf and present as strong a case as possible when the herniated disc is thought to result from whiplash due to an accident.
If you believe you may have a herniated disc due to whiplash, you may be experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Weak arm muscles
- Numbness focused on one side of your body
- Pain near your shoulders or shoulder blades
- Muscle spasms
- Pain when turning your neck
Treatments for Herniated Discs After Car Crashes
A doctor or other medical professional can confirm whether you have a herniated disc through diagnostic imaging like a CT scan or MRI. If you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc following a car crash, a doctor would be the best person to prescribe a treatment plan for you based on your pain and injuries.
Common treatments for herniated discs include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
- Physical therapy
- Ice or heat packs
- Not participating in pain-inducing activities until your body heals
Some herniated discs are so serious surgery may be required. Surgery can be invasive so make sure you determine what your options are before proceeding. Common herniated disc procedures include:
- Spinal fusion – A stabilizing rod is placed into the vertebrae
- Disc replacement – An artificial disc is put in place of the herniated disc
- Discectomy – Removal of a portion or all of the disc affecting the nerve
- Laminectomy – Creates more space and relieves pressure by removing a portion of the vertebrae
Ultimately, treatment for whiplash and a herniated disc following a car crash will depend on many factors. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after an accident and keeping track of pain and other progressive injuries that may result will allow you to fully treat any potential herniated disc as soon as or before symptoms arise.
Can I Get Compensation for Whiplash or a Herniated Disc?
Determining whether you have a solid claim for compensation due to whiplash and a herniated disc in your neck or back depends on many factors. Often, insurance companies offer settlements based on “pain and suffering” depending on how severe your injury is and how large your medical bills may be. However, a settlement may not be your only recourse.
Our experienced attorneys can ensure you have a claim for damages and discuss what options for pursuing compensation might be available to you. Our team is experienced in both negotiating insurance claims for damages, as well as pursuing legal claims and lawsuits directly against the responsible party.
No matter what path we end up pursuing on your behalf, our experienced attorneys at The Terry Law Firm recommend that you pursue your claim as quickly as possible. The statute of limitations on when you can pursue a claim often starts on the date of injury. The statute of limitations in Tennessee for personal injury claims arising from car accidents is one year from the date of the injury according to Tennessee Code Title 28. If you begin an injury claim after this date, the court will likely bar you from seeking compensation.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help
If you suffered whiplash and a herniated disc in a car accident, our experienced team at The Terry Law Firm can advise you on what compensation may be available to you. Focus on healing and recovery while we vigorously pursue your claim on your behalf.