Treating Herniated Discs After a Car Accident

Herniated Discs After a Car Accident

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

July 1, 2022

Can herniated discs be caused by a vehicle accident?

Nerves may be impacted by a herniation in a lumbar disc, resulting in radiating agony. A disc is a  fluid- filled circular structure in your spine that sits between your vertebrae—the intervertebral discs  in your spine act as cushions. The purpose of a disc is to absorb stress from the spine while also  protecting it from injury.

The spine is surrounded by a vast network of nerves that convey numbness and pain throughout the whole body. Healthy discs are essential for the whole nervous system since they are so near the  spine and nerves.

Nerves are used to communicate with the rest of your body as you go from your  spinal column to the rest of your body. It’s common for correctly formed discs to avoid rubbing against or pinching nearby nerves. Herniation, on the other hand, is caused by the disc’s pressure  being pushed out.

A herniated disc happens when the impact of a vehicle collision forces one of your vertebrae (backbone bones) to push into your spinal canal, compressing, pressing on, or otherwise irritating your spinal cord, which is a bundle of neurons that sends signals from your brain to other areas of your body.

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What are some alternative reasons for a herniated disc?

Several circumstances may cause a herniated disc, but the result is that your intervertebral disc (the cushion between your vertebrae) bulges or ruptures. This disc takes up more room than it should,  giving you a lot of discomforts.


Herniated disc discomfort is often caused by spinal tension and regular wear and tear. Another name  for this is degeneration.

Our back’s intervertebral discs support and distribute our weight, as well as absorb movement-  induced injuries (such as walking, twisting, and bending). Our discs may wear down over time as a  result of how effectively they allow our mobility.

The disc’s annulus fibrous (outside layer) might degenerate, causing the nucleus pulposus (inner jelly-like layer) to press through and bulge or herniate.


Injuries may cause herniated discs. In a car accident, for example, a disc may herniate because of the jerking effect of the quick collision, exposing the disc to excessive pressure.

Herniation of a disc may also be caused by lifting a large item improperly or twisting too much.


Herniated discs most often arise due to trauma to the intervertebral disc or from normal wear and  strain (degeneration).

Your disc may have weakened to the point that even a little mishap might result in a herniated disc. Sneezing may cause a disc to herniate (it does happen). Sneezing may not seem harmful when it happens, but if you already have weaker discs, sneezing may lead to herniation.

How to Treat a Herniated Disc Caused by a Car Accident

In your back, tiny discs cushion the bones that make up your spine. After disc injuries, herniates (bulges) are prevalent. A herniated disc may result from an injured or degenerative disc, as well as regular wear and tear with age. If a herniated disc presses on a nerve, it may produce leg pain and numbness (sciatica) as well as back discomfort.

Rest, medicine, and exercise may help heal herniated discs. In certain cases, a surgical operation may be required.

If a person with a slipped disc loses bladder or bowel control, has weakness in the arms or legs, or  has numbness in the inner, upper area of the thighs, call 911 immediately.


Changing your position or adjusting your posture may help you feel better right away. Some individuals find lying on their backs with their feet propped up on a chair and knees bent at a 90- degree angle to be quite relaxing.

Apply a cold compress many times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used (including Motrin, Aleve, Advil, and Naprosyn).


Resting for more than a day or two is not recommended. It’s vital to get back into action as soon as possible once you’ve healed. Lifting and pushing, on the other hand, should be avoided.


On all slipped discs, an examination should be performed.


The health care professional may suggest pain reliever injections, muscle relaxants, anti- inflammatory drugs, acupuncture, or physical therapy. The average time it takes for individuals to observe benefits is six weeks. Back surgery may be required depending on the state of the back.

3 Symptoms to Look Out For If You Have a Herniated Disc

If a disc in your lower spine bulges or rips, you may suffer pain in your lower back and/or leg. Here  are three telltale signs of a herniated or bulging disc to help you figure out what’s causing your lower  back pain:


It is believed that sitting puts a lot of pressure on your lower back discs. As your bulging or ruptured  disc becomes more visible when you sit, the discomfort in your lower back may grow.


Herniated or bulging discs in the lower back most often develop around or at the nerve roots, which  are located in the posterior (back) or lateral (side) area. When a disc herniates, one or both of the  procedures indicated below may affect the root of these nerves.

Compression that is done directly. A bulging disc or leaking inner contents push on the spinal nerve  root as it leaves the spinal canal.

Chemicals cause irritation. When chemical irritants seep out of a herniated disc, inflammation and irritation may ensue in the nerve root region.

Burning pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling along the front and/or back of your thigh, leg,  and/or foot occur due to the injured nerve roots’ inability to function. Sciatica is the medical term for these symptoms. Symptoms of sciatica usually manifest themselves in one leg at a time.


Certain actions, such as leaning forward/down, lifting a large item, pushing or dragging a heavy  object, coughing, and sneezing, may aggravate your lower back pain and/or sciatica.

Rapid onset of discomfort is common with herniated lumbar discs. Rather than single, identifiable damage, pain is often produced by a mix of circumstances, such as an accident or traumatic experience. The ache, on the other hand, seems to have sprung out of nowhere.

This sickness is usually not life-threatening. However, it may be physically uncomfortable. Even without medical intervention, about 90% of persons with acute disc herniation do not report any discomfort after six weeks.

Different Treatment Options For Car Accident Herniated Discs


Even while you should get medical assistance if you have a disc herniation, there are a few things  you may do at home to help with your recovery. Minor slipped discs are often accompanied by inflammation in the location of the slipped disc. Early on, heat and ice treatment may help decrease  inflammation and give comfort.

Additionally, your doctor may advise you to avoid certain sleeping, sitting, and standing postures to prevent putting undue pressure on the afflicted region. Maintaining a good posture might also help you prevent future spine surgery.


A physical therapist may treat disc herniations by gradually reducing pressure on the problem region  and restoring blood flow and nerve connection to the damaged area using exercises, massages, and  gentle stretches.

Signals are conveyed to other body regions when a herniated disc pulls on a nerve, producing discomfort. With physical therapy, it is feasible to establish ways for reducing nerve and spinal  pressure while creating, maintaining, and maintaining correct nerve pressure.


Chiropractors are educated to deal with the spine and the neurological system inside it to stimulate  healthy communication from the brain to the rest of the body by eliminating spinal misalignments  that obstruct this connection. When a disc herniates, it indicates that something is amiss with the  body, which prevents it from communicating and even mending itself.

Chiropractic therapy aims to reduce pain caused by disc deterioration while also realigning the vertebrae safely and efficiently. Chiropractic therapy regularly may help your spine and body heal from the inside out, perhaps sparing you from minimally invasive spine surgery.


Neurosurgeons may treat disc herniation disorders in an outpatient setting using minimally invasive  spine surgery procedures. Pain relief, healing, and avoiding spinal surgery are the three main aims of intervention in spinal problems.

To relieve pain and speed recovery, more severe disc herniations may need a combination of therapies. Epidural steroid injections, which may reduce pain in the arms and legs and the spine when a ruptured disc inhibits nerves, are one kind of spine interventional therapy.


Surgery for the spine is a big procedure, and most doctors prefer to use more conservative  approaches before resorting to surgery. If more conservative multimodal therapy is ineffective, your  doctor may recommend surgery.

A variety of therapy treatments may help a herniated disc patient decrease discomfort and enhance recovery. Consider visiting a medical clinic where orthopedic physicians, neurologists, physical therapists, and chiropractors can provide complete and holistic treatment.

What is the average cost of treating a herniated disc?

Surgical treatments for herniated discs that aren’t covered by insurance often cost between $20,000  and

$50,000, including the surgeon’s fee, anesthesiologist’s fee, and facility’s fee. The two kinds of discectomy operations are minimally invasive outpatient microdiscectomy and an open discectomy requiring inpatient hospitalization.

When a doctor orders herniated disc surgery, most health insurance plans will pay for it. As long as  the deductible is satisfied, an insured patient’s normal out-of-pocket cost ranges from 10% to 40% of  the treatment cost, for a total of roughly $2,000 up to the annual out-of-pocket maximum.

The cost of spinal fusion surgery for those without health insurance to fix issues like slipped  vertebrae or other spinal instability may vary from $80,000 to $150,000. A procedure that employs titanium   implants rather than a donor’s bone is generally more costly. Depending on your insurance  coverage, the procedure will cost you roughly $5,000 in most circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Herniated Discs


A herniated disc may occur in the lower back, mid-back (thoracic), or neck (cervical). In your medical records or on a diagnostic report, you’re likely to come across the term “axial” pain (such as an MRI  or CT scan).

Only the neck and back are affected by axial pain.


Symptoms such as pain, muscular weakness, aberrant reflexes, loss of reflexes in the extremities,  sensory loss, and balance concerns will be examined by doctors. A doctor may recommend  diagnostic testing to rule out other issues and confirm the existence of a herniated disc.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be quite useful in diagnosing herniated discs and  establishing damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Medical practitioners will offer therapy based on  the kind and degree of a herniated disc.

NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that reduce pain and swelling

Prescription pain medications are available for severe pain

Muscle relaxants

Nerve root injections or epidural steroid injections

Exercises and physical therapy are all options for treating herniated discs.

When bowel or bladder function is compromised, walking or standing becomes difficult, or persistent symptoms of pain persist months after standard therapy, surgery is suggested.

Correctly diagnosing a herniated disc is the first step toward effective therapy. Effects of a herniated disc over time

A herniated disc caused by an automobile accident may need more care at home, either temporarily  or permanently. You may have to depend on public transportation if you cannot drive and require more finances for physiotherapy.

Pieces of the spinal structure (the disc) that divides the bones, or the vertebrae, might migrate out  of position after a collision. The dislodged disc will probably give you great pain because it may push  on your spinal nerves. Herniated discs may cause significant discomfort in the neck, back, legs, and  even hands due to car accidents.

Injuries to the spinal cord or spine sustained in an automobile accident may have long-term implications. Furthermore, some persons get herniated disc symptoms after a small automobile  collision. We suggest calling a reputable pain management doctor to explore your treatment options if you have been in a  vehicle accident and have been diagnosed with any of the herniated disc symptoms mentioned  below.

You’re suffering from back pain:

  • The most frequent herniated disc symptoms are lower back pain and leg discomfort
  • In RTAs, the bottom two vertebrae of your spinal column are more prone to herniation
  • Disrupted or damaged discs create intense sensations by placing pressure on the sciatic nerve
  • Numbness in the hands, legs, or back:
  • Numbness is a sign of herniated discs.
  • The implications of injuries, such as trouble walking, may makedailychores difficult.


It’s possible that assessing the worth of a herniated disc claim may be challenging. Several variables influence the value of a herniated disc claim. The following major components are considered while valuing an injured cervical herniated disc claim:

  • The severity of the accident;
  • The type of injury sustained and how severe it was;
  • The type of treatment required for herniated discs;
  • The victim’s medical history and age;
  • The doctors’ prognosis;
  • Pain and suffering, as well as non-economic damages (loss of enjoyment of life);
  • The amount of insurance coverage available and who was at fault for the accident.

A pre-existing ailment might cause herniated discs, which can damage your injury claim. Because of previous conditions, insurance companies routinely ignore or undervalue injury claims involving a herniated disc or injuries sustained in a vehicle accident.

It might be claimed that since you have a medical condition, are old, or have previously had a  cervical spine injury; you should be compensated less than someone who does not have any of these factors in their claim.


If your herniated disc causes significant damage and a long rehabilitation time, you may be entitled  to compensation. The typical compensation for herniated discs is $360,000, with a median range of


One of the most prevalent lifelong injuries in car accidents or industrial accidents is disc herniation. Those who are culpable, including the at-fault motorist, may face legal consequences.

The employer’s insurance coverage gives workers’ compensation payouts for employees who are injured at work. Compression symptoms may be life-threatening, demanding medical attention or surgical intervention.

WARRIOR can assist you with your herniated disc following a vehicle accident

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