Injuries to the spinal cord are common in automobile accidents, sport-related accidents, and slip and falls.
Victims of car accidents suffering from spinal cord injuries can seek compensation from the faulty driver who caused the accident. It is advisable for car accident victims to consult a St. Louis automobile wreck law firm to understand their legal options and to follow the correct procedures when filing a personal injury claim.
The spine is a vulnerable part of the body, especially when it comes to car accidents. In some cases, the injury caused to the spine may not present itself soon and may manifest itself as chronic back pain. Injuries that show up days after the accident can be difficult to prove because many insurance companies categorize such injuries as pre-existing and degenerative in nature.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine includes the vertebrae and spinal discs that lie between each vertebrae. Injuries to the vertebrae are easily visible in X-rays and MRIs. However, the concern arises when an injury has affected the spinal discs. The spinal discs between the vertebrae act as shock absorbers to the spine, protecting the spine from trauma. Spinal discs are made up of four parts:
- The vertebral end-plate that is above and below the disc.
- The nucleus pulposus, the inner part of the disc made of soft cartilage.
- The annulus fibrosis, the outer shell of hard, fibrous cartilage, is flexible and allows movement and holds the vertebrae together.
- The nerves around the outer edge of the disc.
Injury can occur on the outer part of the disc, the annulus fibrosis, causing a tear. The nucleus pulposus then pushes out of the tear causing a herniated disc. When it pushes out, it pushes the surrounding nerve fibers causing pain, tingling sensations, or numbness.
Types of Annuls Fibrosis Tears
Tears that occur in the annulus fibrosis are categorized as follows:
- peripheral tears – these tears occur on the outer layer of the annulus fibrosis
- concentric tears – occurring between the layers of the annulus fibroses, these are indicative of degenerative damage
- radial tears – radial tears begin at the center of the disc and radiate to the outer layers
Identifying Annular Tears
When a car accident trauma results in annular tears in the spinal discs, victims usually exhibit symptoms of pain in the back and the legs and pain that increases while sitting. It is not unusual for annular tears to show up on MRIs and may require a discography test or a discogram to diagnose the extent of damage to the disc.
Treatment for Annular Tears
Annular disc tears can take a long time to heal. Medical practitioners recommend the following treatments:
- physical therapy
- chiropractic treatment
- pain medication
- low-impact exercise
- epidural steroid injections
- anti-inflammatory medications
- hot/cold therapy
St. Louis Automobile Wreck Law Firms
Annular tears can disrupt normal life activities and may require extended time off from work. Recovery is not only lengthy but also expensive. The legal assistance of a St. Louis automobile wreck lawyer can help you recover rightful compensation for the injury when caused by a negligent driver. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.