Herniated discs are no laughing matter. They’re a type of back injury that may be caused by a slip and fall injury or car accident — and you may not notice the pain right away. A herniated disc may even cause pain or discomfort to radiate down to your feet, making it difficult to enjoy everyday life and even go back to work.
Because it can take a few days to notice a herniated disc injury, you may not immediately realize where it came from. But if you have been involved in an accident, most commonly a slip and fall or motor vehicle accident in Ontario, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away to discuss your options.
Our personal injury lawyers can meet with you for a free initial consultation. Call (416) 364-2000
What is a herniated disc?
A herniated disc is also called a spinal disc herniation, slipped disc, or ruptured disc, and it refers to problems with one of the rubbery cushions that help keep our spines together. When herniated, the rubbery “jelly” pushes through the exterior of the spine.
Sometimes, a herniated disc causes no symptoms at all. Other times, the herniated disc may irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness of the arm or leg — depending on its location along the spine, though most occur in the lower back as it bears most of our weight and physical stress. Your muscles near the injury also may weaken, which can cause you to fall or make it difficult to carry items.
You also may have a herniated disc and not even know it. But for others, the pain is unbearable.
Herniated Disc Causes
Many cases of herniated discs are caused by age. As we get older, the wear and tear on our bodies and loss of water content in our spinal discs can result in what’s known as disc degeneration. However, some herniated discs are due to back injuries. Other types of back injuries that can occur during a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall accident include a back sprain or strain, spinal cord damage, or fractures, so it’s important to receive a proper diagnosis if you are experiencing symptoms.
Physical trauma — such as a blow to the back during a high-impact sport or the impact of a car accident — sometimes is unavoidable. But when your injury was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, time lost from work, medical bills, and more through filing a tort claim. A herniated disc can even cause a long-term disability, leaving the injured patient unable to earn an income and support their family. In some cases, you may be able to collect long-term disability benefits if you pay for them through your employer, or Accident Benefits if you were injured in a motor vehicle or other accident. A qualified Toronto personal injury lawyer can help you determine which benefits you may qualify for and other ways to seek compensation.
Herniated Disc Treatment
It is important to contact a doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing pain, numbness, or tingling in your spine or body parts near the site of an injury. He or she can give a proper diagnosis of a herniated disc, which may be followed by preliminary treatment methods including anti-inflammatories, chiropractor visits, acupuncture, or steroids.
While herniated discs can improve over time with exercise and physical therapy, some injured patients opt for surgery. In fact, herniated disc surgery is the most common surgery performed for leg and back pain in the U.S. In some cases, doctors find these surgeries to be unnecessary, and fewer are performed in Canada because of long wait times and limited resources.
That said, Dr. Michael Goyten, head of the spine program at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, told CBC News that patients should make a decision on their treatment plan based on how much pain they can live with, essentially. In a study comparing surgical and non-operative treatment plans for 1,200 people with herniated discs over four years, both groups saw improved symptoms after two years; however, those choosing surgery generally said they felt better relief for sciatica and other pain than physical therapy alone.
“Although the outcomes might be the same at two years, well, two years is a lot of time to take off in terms of inability to work, or if you’re caring for children at home or maintaining a household,” Goyten said.
We couldn’t agree more.
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Get Help with a Herniated Disc Injury
If your herniated disc or other back injury was caused by someone else’s negligence in any type of accident, you shouldn’t have to foot the bill. The experienced back injury lawyers of Preszler Law Firm can help you gather evidence and fight for a fair settlement. Call 1-800-JUSTICE or fill out our online case evaluator form to get started with a free consultation today.