If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing pain in your lower back, you might have a herniated disc, which could lead to months of debilitating pain. The pain might even radiate down your leg, making everyday activities such as driving difficult or impossible to perform.
A herniated disc can be caused by several things, including sudden twisting and turning movements. Your spinal column is equipped with discs to absorb shock. When these discs are damaged, their inner layer bulges through the spinal canal. As a result, spinal nerves become irritated.
Symptoms and Treatment of a Herniated Disc
The most common symptoms include:
- Sciatica – pain, numbness or tingling in the buttock region that shoots down one leg.
- Weakness, numbness or pain – these symptoms could occur in the lower back, leg, shoulder, arm, neck or chest.
- Pain in the lower back or leg – this pain worsens when you sneeze, laugh, sit or cough.
You definitely should see your physician to get an accurate diagnosis if you think an accident has left you with a herniated disc. If you continue to have pain after following your doctor’s advice, steroids may be ordered to combat the inflammation of the herniated disc. In the event your sciatic nerve is affected, your doctor may order an MRI, CT scan or Myelogram. X-rays could also be ordered to rule out a broken bone or other condition.
Emergency Surgery for a Herniated Disc
Sometimes surgery is necessary to repair a herniated disc, especially if the herniated disc has caused cauda equina syndrome, a rare condition prompting emergency surgery.
Cauda Equina syndrome causes
- Loss of control of bowel and bladder functions;
- Pain that continually increases; and
- Weakness or numbness in one or both legs.
If you develop symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, you should seek treatment within 48 hours. The solution may be surgical removal of the herniated disc.