Many Accidents Can Cause Herniated Discs at C4/C5 or C5/C6. Here’s What You Need to Know.
David Muñoz | May 10, 2022 | Personal Injury
A herniated disc can be a life-altering injury, causing chronic pain and a limited range of motion. It may even require invasive surgery to repair. Even if you don’t need surgery, ongoing medical care and rehabilitation can impact your quality of life.
Motor vehicle accidents, whether between two passenger vehicles or involving a bicycle, pedestrian, commercial truck, or motorcycle, are some of the most common causes of a herniated disc at C4/C5 or C5/C6.
If you’ve been hurt after an accident or notice that you have neck pain and stiffness due to whiplash, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your injury.
What Kind of Injury Is a Herniated Disc at C4/C5 or C5/C6?
The C4/C5 or C5/C6 refers to the part of your spine where the injury occurred. Your neck, called the cervical spine, consists of the first seven vertebrae, C1-C7. It connects your head to your shoulders and has a critical function in supporting your head and facilitating blood flow to and from the brain.
In between each vertebra are intervertebral discs, which are small cushions between each bone that allow for more fluid movement of your neck and back. These discs consist of a soft inner layer and a harder, fibrous outer layer that protects the inner layer. The discs help absorb shock from motion and facilitate movement of the back and neck.
A herniated disc is a tear in the disc’s outer layer that allows the soft inner layer to push out. The interiors of your discs contain proteins that can cause significant pain when in contact with the nerves in your spine. Over time, herniated discs make moving more painful and difficult. Left untreated, they can cause permanent injury and spinal damage.
What Are the Symptoms of a Herniated Disc?
Neck pain is the most common symptom of a herniated disc, but car accidents commonly cause other injuries to the neck, such as pulled muscles or whiplash.
That’s why it’s essential to know the following symptoms of a herniated disc so that you can get prompt medical treatment:
- Stiff neck or trouble with range of motion
- Pain that radiates down the shoulders to the hands
- Numbness or tingling in the neck and shoulders
Promptly diagnosing a herniated disc can help you start treatment. You may want to see a spine specialist. Detailed medical records will also be necessary if you plan to file a personal injury claim after an accident.
How Do You Diagnose and Treat a Herniated Disc?
A doctor will perform a physical exam first, looking for signs of pain, muscle weakness, and any loss of reflex in your extremities. They may order one or more tests to determine the extent of the damage, such as an MRI or X-ray. Once you receive the diagnosis, you’ll have a treatment plan.
Most doctors prefer to start with the least invasive treatment method and have surgery as a last resort.
Your treatment may include:
- Pain medications and a pain management plan
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and swelling
- Epidural steroid injections or injections at the nerve root
- Muscle relaxers
If these treatments don’t work or your swelling and pain lasts more than six weeks, you may need surgery to correct the issue. Herniated disc surgery usually involves removing the protruding part of the disc and repairing the tear in the outer portion.
Contact a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney for Help Recovering Compensation for a Herniated Disc
The reduced range of motion and chronic pain from a herniated disc can affect all areas of your life, from working to taking care of your responsibilities at home. Medical treatment of a herniated disc can be expensive. A personal injury lawyer will help you get a fair settlement after an accident to cover your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and suffering.
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.