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Can a Herniated Disc Cause Permanent Nerve Damage?

Dec 15, 2021

If you were recently in a car accident, then you might start to notice some pain and discomfort in the hours and days after the initial collision. Some car accident injuries can actually take a bit of time for you to fully experience the symptoms as your body is racing with adrenaline, which can actually mask pain and other symptoms. Back and neck pain are commonly reported symptoms of people who have been in car accidents. One reason why you might be experiencing back or neck pain after a car accident is disc herniation. A herniated disc can compress nearby nerves and even lead to temporary nerve damage. In order to avoid permanent nerve damage, you will need to get herniated disc treatment as soon as possible.

Herniated Disc Symptoms

A herniated disc can cause a variety of symptoms that can also depend on the location of the herniated disc. If you suffer a herniated disc in your neck, you might develop shooting or stabbing pains that radiate through your shoulder and into your arm. While a herniated disc in your lower back may cause pain that shoots through your hips, buttocks, and legs, you may also experience pain, stiffness, and soreness in the area where the herniated disc is located. A herniated disc can also cause tingling and numbness in other parts of the body.

What Causes a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is a common experience with car accident victims in the neck and lower back. Whiplash is the most common of all car accident injuries because the neck is not restrained and protected while you are in a vehicle. An injury like whiplash can make you more susceptible to a herniated disc. A herniated disc in your lower back can also cause sciatica, which is a type of lower back pain where the sciatic nerve is aggravated or injured. Herniated discs are also sometimes referred to as slipped discs, and can occur with improper lifting techniques, too.

Herniated Disc and Nerve Damage

When you suffer a herniated or slipped disc, the structure of the spinal disc has been damaged and is compressing on nearby nerves. The spinal disc is made up of a soft, gel-like nucleus and is encased in a tough outer shell. If the outer shell is cracked or torn, then the inside can spill out and pressure nearby nerves. Temporary pressure on a disc can cause pain, tingling, and numbness that may resolve once the pressure is removed. However, with a herniated disc, the issue with the spinal disc needs to be addressed in order for you to avoid any permanent nerve damage. If the spinal disc continues to aggravate or pressure nearby nerves, it can negatively impact the healthy functioning of those nerve roots. If a herniated disc compresses or damages a set of nerves, it can also lead to permanent weakness, loss of functioning in certain organs, or even paralysis.

Treatment Options for a Herniated Disc

The treatment options for a herniated disc will depend on its location in your spine and the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor will want to identify the location of the herniated disc and may also want to test your reflexes, range of motion, and muscle strength. They will also look for other areas of tenderness along the spine and in your extremities. An MRI or CT scan can also provide a more detailed look at the affected area and help to rule out other potential causes of your pain. There are non-invasive and minimally invasive options to help effectively resolve a herniated disc and avoid permanent nerve damage. This includes chiropractic care, which uses manual techniques and promotes the body’s natural healing responses. Physical therapy can also help you regain lost strength or range of motion from your car accident injury.

How to Avoid Permanent Nerve Damage

The sooner you see a doctor for your car accident injury, the more quickly you can get started on a treatment plan to resolve your symptoms and address the root cause. Visit a car accident doctor at AICA Orthopedics in College Park and get started on treatment and relief for a herniated disc, and our team of doctors can help you avoid permanent nerve damage from a herniated disc.


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