Recovery: How a herniated disc can affect your life

It was a normal morning when you hopped in your car to go to work. You took your usual route, and you didn't expect anything bad to happen.

The next thing you knew, your vehicle was forced off the road by a dangerous driver. Your vehicle rolled, and you suffered a number of injuries in the crash. One of those injuries was a herniated disc.

In some cases, a mild herniation doesn't cause a person much trouble, but you're symptomatic. How can a herniated disc affect you?

1. Leg pain

If you suffered a herniation at the L4-L5 level or between the L5 and S1 discs, then you may have sciatic pain. The nerve that passes through this area affects the groin, side and back of the leg, may affect the knees and other parts of the lower body.

If you have a herniation of the L4-L5, then it's normal to see nerve impingement. That means that the nerves may be pinched. Your leg and foot may feel weak. You may also have pain or weakness on the top of the foot on the symptomatic side of your body.

With the L5-S1 injury, you may have numbness and pain on the sole or outside of your foot.

2. Arm weakness

If you have a cervical herniation between the C4 and C5 discs, then the nerves that control the arm may not work correctly. This can lead to weakness in the upper arms. You may also have shoulder pain from this injury.

3. Chest pain

While most thoracic spinal injuries don't cause symptoms, a herniated disc in that part of the spine could lead to pain in your chest.

How will this injury impact you in the long term?

Depending on the severity of the herniation, you may need to go through physical therapy or surgery. It's normal to have a computed tomography scan (CAT) scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) to determine the point of injury and to see if there is pressure on your nerves. Once the surgeon or doctors know what injuries you've suffered and how severe they are, you can discuss a treatment plan. Spinal injuries may recover, but many are life-long conditions that require ongoing therapy and care.

Your attorney can help you seek a claim against the driver who caused your accident. That individual should be held responsible for your injuries. Your attorney can move forward with an insurance claim or help you sue the individual for the compensation you need.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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