How to Treat Intervertebral Disc Herniation for Accident Victims

How to Treat Intervertebral Disc Herniation for Accident Victims

The spine vertebrae are protected by round-shaped discs with a tough outer layer that acts as “shock absorbers” for the bones in the spinal cord. Evidently, these discs take most of the impact to protect the spine, and with inflammations and spine conditions representing some prevalent road accident injuries, there is an increased case of this condition among accident victims.

What Is Intervertebral Disc Herniation

Intervertebral Disc Herniation, or a herniated disc, is a fragment of the disc nucleus that protrudes out of the annulus and into the spinal canal. The nucleus can push out of the annulus through a tear or rupture.

Typically, the spinal canal has only enough space to contain the spinal cords and all 31 pairs of spinal nerves. As such, the space is inadequate to contain the displaced herniated disc fragment, which results in the disc pressing on spinal nerves and producing pains that may vary in severity.

Naturally, the annulus degenerates with age, and as degeneration continues, a minor twist or strain can result in a ruptured disc. Thus, the prevalent cause of intervertebral disc herniation can be attributed to old age. However, it’s also common for herniated discs to result from a single significant injury, as in the case of a road accident.

Symptoms Of Intervertebral Disc Herniation

The specific location for herniated discs is at the lumbar spine in the lower back of the body. Yet, some patients also experience the condition in the cervical spine at the neck. As such, the symptoms of a herniated disc vary depending on the position and size of the herniation.

  • Lumbar spine

Pressure on spinal nerves can cause pains, tingling, burning, and numbing sensations that emit from the buttock into the legs, usually affecting just one side. Pains can become more severe when standing, walking, or sitting.

  • Cervical spine

Symptoms of nerve compression in the neck may include varying severity of pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades. The pain extends down to the hand and may cause numbness in the shoulder. Pain is more significant with hand, neck, or shoulder movement.

Treatments for Intervertebral Disc Herniation

Doctors engage in physical examination or imaging tests to check the severity of the condition, as well as the patient’s reflexes, walking ability, muscle strength, and ability to feel light touches, pinpricks, or vibrations. Having identified the severity, doctors mostly choose from two treatment methods –  conservative treatment, such as medications and therapy, and surgery.

  • Conservative Treatments

For this method, doctors look to modify a patient’s activities to limit movements that result in pain. By doing so, patients can experience relief in symptoms quickly without taking pain medications.

  • Medications

Doctors recommend several pain medications to alleviate the effects of a herniated disc. Some common remedies include nonprescription pain medications, neuropathic drugs, muscle relaxers, opioids, and cortisone injections.

  • Therapy

Physical therapy has also proven to be effective for intervertebral disc herniation. Physical therapists engage patients in different exercises to minimize the pain of a herniated disc.

  • Surgery

Surgery is often the last resort regarding intervertebral disc herniation when conservative treatments fail to yield any positive outcome after some time. For this treatment, the protruding portion of the disc is removed. Sometimes, the entire disc is removed, and the vertebrae are fused with a bone graft.

At Colorado Accident and Injury Center, we engage in all conservative treatments to help patients recover from intervertebral disc herniation. If you have recently been in an accident or have a long-standing case of lower back and neck pains, then contact us today to engage some of the best professionals in Colorado.

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