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What is a Herniated Disc and How Does it Happen?

March 29, 2022

We rely on our spines to function properly. Our spinal cords ensure that our bodies can move in the way that they were intended to move, and any kind of damage to the spinal cord area can significantly impede our day-to-day activities. The discs in our spine are little rubbery cushions that sit between each vertebra. Each disc has a soft center area called the nucleus that is encased by a tougher rubbery exterior called the annulus. Sometimes, these discs can become herniated, which happens when part of the inner nucleus pushes through a tear in the outer annulus.

How Does a Disc Herniate?

Herniated discs are often caused by a gradual, age-related wear and tear process. This is typically referred to as disc degeneration. As we age, the discs in our spine become less flexible, making them more prone to rupturing or tearing, even with a minor strain or sprain. Most individuals do not know exactly when their disc becomes herniated.

However, there are certain risk factors involved, including those who may be overweight, those who smoke regularly, and those who do not have an active lifestyle. Additionally, certain types of occupations can lead to people becoming more prone to herniated discs, including those with physically demanding jobs that require lifting, pulling, pushing, twisting, and bending sideways.

Even though traumatic incidents such as car accidents or slip and fall incidents usually do not cause a herniated disc, these incidents can significantly increase the pain and suffering associated with the herniated disc.

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Information available from the Mayo Clinic indicates that individuals could suffer from a wide range of symptoms as a result of a herniated disc. The signs and symptoms do depend on where the injured disc is located as well as whether or not the disc is bulging into a nerve. Typically, a herniated disc affects one side of the body, and symptoms can include:

  • Arm or leg pain. Discs that are herniated in the lower back can lead to pain throughout the back area, the buttocks, as well as the thighs and calf. This pain can extend all the way down to the foot. For discs that are herniated in the upper back or neck area, individuals will typically feel this pain in their arm or shoulder. This pain could shoot down through the arm if a person moves into certain positions.
  • Weakness. Muscles that serve any nerve affected by the herniated disc could weaken over. Unfortunately, this can significantly increase a person’s ability to keep their balance or hold on to objects. Herniated discs often lead to increased slip and fall risks for victims. This could also lead to the inability to hold onto heavier objects, which will affect not only work-life but also day-to-day activities.
  • Tingling and numbness. Individuals who have herniated discs often describe a radiating numbness or tingling around the injured disc as well as in the areas affected by the nerves that the disc is bulging onto.

Reach Out to an Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has sustained a herniated disc due to an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity, you need to reach out to an attorney immediately. A skilled Kentucky spinal cord injury lawyer can examine the facts of your case and work diligently to obtain the evidence needed to prove liability. Ultimately, the goal was to make sure that you recover compensation for your medical bills, any lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more.