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Herniated Disc Injuries

Traumatic accidents like car wrecks can cause serious spinal cord injuries. One relatively common injury is a herniated disc. These discs serve a critical function in the normal operation of our spines. When they are injured, patients can suffer intense pain, and many people are disabled. Call Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys if you suffered a serious back injury in a car wreck, slip and fall, or other accident. A personal injury lawyer at our firm can review your ability to file a claim for financial compensation.

What is a Herniated Disc?

The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other. In between these bones are flexible, soft discs which act as cushions. Without them, bone would scrape against bone, and nerves would be pinched, leading to searing pain. There is also a risk that pieces of vertebrae could chip off and lodge into the spinal cord.

A disc becomes herniated when it is torn, and the soft center pushes out through the shell. The “filling” can then press against nerves, causing pain, or it might press against the spinal cord itself, leading to numbness and weakness.

In any event, moving the spine suddenly becomes painful. A person might feel acute, stabbing pain whenever they bend over or stretch their arms above their head. Unsurprisingly, many victims cannot continue going to work or doing much of anything until they get to the hospital and receive medical treatment.

Conservative Treatment Options for a Herniated Disc

These are disabling injuries. The most common symptom is pain whenever a person twists their back or even tries to straighten their spine. A person with a herniated disc can feel muscle weakness or weakness in a limb, especially if a nerve root is pinched or the disc is pressing against the spinal cord.

Your medical team will review x-rays or other imaging tests to determine the full extent of your injury. Only then can they decide the best treatment option.

The good news is that you might respond to conservative (non-surgical) treatment, which includes:

  • Muscle relaxants to reduce muscle spasms and help you sleep
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
  • Opioids to control pain (although these are addictive)
  • Antidepressants to help with sleep and reduce nerve pain

Your doctor might also recommend physical therapy. Stretching your muscles can often relieve pressure on a nerve and make life bearable. You might also minimize or eliminate acute pain by limiting certain activities, such as lifting heavy objects or bending over.

A more serious treatment for intense pain is a nerve root block. A doctor injects anesthetic directly into the affected nerve root. This procedure provides immediate relief from pain, but it’s only a temporary solution.

Surgical Treatments

Unfortunately, conservative treatment does not work for everybody. Some patients need a longer-lasting intervention to finally address the problem. Some surgical options include:

  • Nerve root rhizotomy. This technique uses radiofrequency pulses to numb a nerve. Pain is a neurological signal, and after this procedure, the nerve cannot relay pain sensations to the brain. Consequently, you should be pain-free.
  • Laminotomy. A doctor can make an opening in the vertebral arch to relieve any pinching on a nerve root.
  • Fusion surgery. A doctor can remove the damaged disc and then graft a plug of bone into the space, fusing the vertebrae into one piece. The doctor secures the vertebrae with screws or plates. Because the two vertebrae are fused, there isn’t a risk of them scraping against each other or pinching nerve roots.
  • Disc replacement surgery. A doctor might even remove a damaged disc to implant an artificial one made of plastic. The artificial disc should work exactly like a natural one, providing patients with a full range of movement when done successfully.
  • Surgery carries many complications: risk of infection, anesthesia problems, and injury to healthy tissue. Any surgery near or around the spine is also risky. One mistake could lead to permanent paralysis.

Discuss all treatment options with your doctor. You might prefer to try conservative treatment for several months to see if you can work around your pain. If that fails, then surgery is a reasonable next step.

Can You Sue for a Herniated Disc?

Yes. A herniated disc often causes large financial expenses. We hear from many people who experience such intense pain they can’t work, so they lose income. Surgical procedures listed above are also expensive. If the victim has no insurance, they will have to pay for care out of pocket.

The good news is that Georgia personal injury law allows people to seek compensation when someone else is liable for a herniated disc. In our experience, you might end up suing:

  • A negligent driver for running into you and causing your back injury.
  • A negligent property owner for failing to fix a hazard they knew about or failing to warn you about.
  • A criminal for violently attacking you and causing your injury.
  • A careless property owner who did not provide adequate security to protect against violent attacks.
  • The manufacturer of defective products which caused a herniated disc.

Let our legal team review. Sometimes it’s not clear who you can sue or who is to blame. For example, truck accidents have many causes. A careless trucker could be to blame for not paying attention. But in other cases, a truck mechanic is to blame or even the company that loaded freight onto a tractor-trailer. Our lawyers will request helpful information and investigate.

Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today

Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys is a leading personal injury law firm, with many clients in and around Atlanta. We can help anyone dealing with a painful spinal injury, including a herniated disc. Our lawyers know how to negotiate for compensation to cover your economic losses, including general damages like pain and suffering. After a herniated disc, some people cannot sleep as they used to, and their personal relationships will suffer. You deserve financial compensation from the person or business which is responsible for your back pain.

Call (404) 529-3476 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

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