What Does a Herniated Disk After a Car Accident Feel Like?
Car accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries—even collisions that happen at low speeds. Many people injured in a car accident have a herniated disk due to the force of the crash. Herniated disks occur when a vertebra pushes into the spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord. While, in rare cases, some people experience no symptoms, herniated discs are associated with severe, sharp pain often. Read on to learn more about a herniated disk injury, as well as what symptoms to look for.
What Is a Herniated Disk?
Every person has disks between the vertebrae and the spine. These fluid-filled structures are designed to cushion the spine, absorbing stress and protecting it from injury. Surrounding the spine, an extensive network of nerves sends pain and numbness signals throughout the body. Disks also protect these nerve systems, and any contact between them can pinch adjacent nerves and cause pain. Herniation is the result of pressure being forced out of the disks, and it often occurs from the force of impact during a car collision.
Symptoms of a Herniated Disk
Most patients experience herniated disk symptoms primarily in the lower back, but they can occur in the neck, too. The signs and symptoms depend on the location of the affected disc, as well as whether the disk is pressing on a nerve. Often, people only feel the symptoms of a herniated disk on one side of the body. Aside from pain and discomfort in the back and neck, some of the signs indicating you may have a herniated disk include:
- Sharp Arm or Leg Pain. A herniated disk in the neck often causes pain in the shoulder and arm. The pain may shoot into your arm or leg when coughing, sneezing, or moving into certain positions. A herniated disk in the lower back often leads to pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf. Some patients also feel pain in the foot.
- Numbness/Tingling. Herniated discs—no matter the location—often cause radiating numbness or tingling in the body part(s) that contain the affected nerves.
- The nerves affected by herniated disks often cause nearby muscles to weaken. Without treatment, this can lead to a greater risk of stumbling or a reduced ability to lift or hold things.
Sometimes herniated disks exist without any symptoms, and patients only learn of the problem through a spinal image. If you’ve been in a car accident—even a minor one—or if you experience any of the symptoms described above, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to determine the source of the problem.
Seek Treatment for a Herniated Disk
If you’re suffering from a herniated disk after a car accident—or you suspect you might be—seek medical attention immediately. Often, physical therapy, chiropractic care, or interventional spine treatments can provide long-lasting relief from pain and other symptoms of a herniated disk. Take the first step toward recovery and reach out to Impact Medical Group of Tampa today. We’ll provide you with a precise diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan that supports all stages of your recovery. Call us today at (813) 283-1910 for your free consultation.