Disk injuries have the capacity to be life-changing injuries. There are various degrees of disk injury: Bulging disks, ruptured discs, and fully herniated discs. Most of these conditions are caused by car accidents.
The nature and extent of disk damage can be determined best through an MRI scan. If a scan reveals there is disk impingement on nerve roots, which branches out from the spinal canal, the symptoms are usually ridiculer in nature and typically manifest as shooting pain, numbness and stabbing sensations down the arms and legs. The MRI is often followed by a nerve conduction study which will measure nerve signal loss in certain nerve groupings which help the neurologist get a more accurate picture of the extent of the nerve damage.
The treatment for minor disk injuries (those that impinge only on nerve roots) begins conservatively with physical therapy and anti-inflammatories in the hope that the swelling near the impinged nerve roots can be sufficiently diminished so that surgery is not necessary. If the pain and numbness continue or worsen, and depending on the severity of the pain, the patient may elect to have a discectomy, which is the surgical removal of the bulging or ruptured disk. Today, disk injury procedures are less evasive and disks can be removed through microsurgery.
Sometimes, the disk and boney structures that protect the spinal cord can actually be compressing upon the cord itself, stopping blood flow into the cord which can quickly result in permanent paralysis. This is known as myopathy, meaning the spinal cord itself has been damaged. The damage can be extensive resulting in actual loss of bodily functions such as weakness or give-out in the legs and arms, the actual loss of a leg or arm function, loss of bowel and bladder control, burning pain sensations and the complete and percent paralysis of both the legs and arms. Should any of these symptoms appear, an urgent neurological consultation is required and normally immediate spine surgery is required to remove the compressing structures from the spinal cord. Sometimes, if cord the compression is serious enough the result is hemiplegia or paraplegia. These types of injuries will require life-long 24-hour nursing care and future medical procedures.
If the spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence of another, the personal injury lawyer must be prepared to prove not only legal fault and causation but also millions of dollars worth of damages.