Herniated Discs

Herniated discs — a common type of back injury

A herniated disc may be the source of back pain after a workplace accident, or any type of accident, including a car wreck or motorcycle crash. Herniated disc is a term used to describe a disc that has slipped out of place and ruptured. The disc is a soft cushion in between vertebrae of the spine. Pain is a result of the pinching of the spinal nerves close to the edge of the spinal discs.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, our team of workplace accident attorneys may be able to put experience and resources to work for you. We have access to medical experts who can fully describe the impact your injury has on your life. It may take months, or even years, to fully recover from a herniated disc injury. Some people who are injured cope with pain for the rest of their lives.

For a free case evaluation, call 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online today.

Who typically sustains a herniated disc injury?

Herniated disc injuries can happen to anyone. As people age, they become more susceptible as the disc loses its elasticity and becomes more rigid. A few occupations that have a higher rate of herniated disc injuries than average include:

  • Plumbers
  • Firefighters
  • Hospital workers (nurses, orderlies, attendants)
  • Construction workers
  • Carpenters
  • Janitors

The process of diagnosis can be long and difficult, and things may be made worse by insurance carriers who deny tests and treatments. In addition, it is a misconception that a worker had to be pain free prior to the injury to have a valid claim. Carriers may deny claims based on a preexisting condition or words to that effect. A workers' compensation lawyer can help with these issues.

Closer look at herniated (ruptured, bulging or slipped) discs

Between each bone in the spine (vertebra) lies a disc made up of cartilage which cushions against shock and provides flexibility. The disc has a strong outer layer and a soft jelly-like inner layer. When a disc ruptures or herniates, the jelly-like layer leaks out or "bulges" through a weak area in the outer layer. Sometimes the disc will press on the nerves in the spinal column, causing pain and, in some cases, nerve damage. Symptoms may include pain and weakness where the disc ruptured. Loss of bladder/bowel control, while rare, also can occur.

Herniated discs in the neck area will sometimes cause pain and numbness or tingling in the back of the skull, neck, scapula (shoulder blade), shoulder, arm and hand.

Low back (lumbar spine) injuries can cause radiating pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks, legs and feet, a condition sometimes called sciatica. It is the most common symptom of a herniated disc in that region.

Diagnostic tools include x-rays, scans, MRIs, discograms and myelograms (a special x-ray of the spinal canal). Common treatment includes bed rest, physical therapy and over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as epidural steroid or cortisone injections. In more serious cases, surgery is an alternative.

Surgical options include:
  • Micro-discectomy: A small part of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to provide more room for the nerve to heal.
  • Laminectomy: The lamina (part of the bony root) of the vertebra is removed or trimmed to create more space for spinal nerves. A common type permits the removal or reshaping of the disc.
  • Fusion Surgery (Spinal Fusion): A surgical technique to combine two or more vertebra. This is a treatment of last resort because it can lead to future deterioration of lower discs.
  • Artificial Disc Replacement: This is a relatively new form of surgery in the United States, but it has been used in Europe for decades. As the name implies, in an artificial disc replacement, the injured disc is replaced with an artificial one.

Our Workers' Compensation lawyers may be able to help you obtain a medical provider of your choice, as well as help to ensure you receive the workers' compensation benefits you may be entitled.

Information sources: WebMD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Spine Universe (an affiliate of the Everyday Health Network)

Contact our experienced attorneys today

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we understand how to apply the law to your workers' compensation case. You may need a North Carolina workers' compensation attorney that can handle your on the job injury and fight to try and get you the benefits you may deserve. You may need someone who will fight tirelessly for you. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation or contact us online today.

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin — fighting for justice for you.