Probably the most common form of lasting injury after an automobile collision is an injury to the neck or back. Usually, that takes the form of a muscle strain or sprain (the over-stretching or tearing of muscle). However, a neck or back injury could include a “herniated disc,” which is a potentially more serious injury to the structure of the spinal cord.
The spine consists of a series of bones – “vertebrae” – that run from the base of your neck to your tailbone. To keep the spine flexible, in between each two vertebrae is a jelly-like “disk.” Each disk is supposed to stay carefully in place between the vertebrae, to maintain your spine’s flexibility. However, when you suffer trauma to your neck or back, one or more of your disks may be pushed out of alignment. This is called a bulge or, if it’s more extreme, a herniation.
This can cause pain at the site of the herniation. It also may cause a second type of problem: There are nerves that run from your brain, down your spine, through your limbs and to your hands and feet. A herniated disk may press upon these nerves, which creates the sensation of pain, numbness, or tingling running into one or more of your limbs – even though your limbs have not actually been injured. If you notice any odd sensations in your limbs following an automobile collision, along with neck or back pain, you may be dealing with damage to one or more of your disks. Generally this is conclusively diagnosed by a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (“MRI”) scan.
If you are concerned that you suffered a significant neck or back injury as a result of an automobile collision, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.