Types of Personal Injury: Herniated Discs

One type of Spinal injury that is not uncommon in automobile collisions is a herniated disc (also spelled “disk”).  Between each of the vertebrae (bones) in the spine, there are soft cushions called discs.  These discs are similar in form to a jelly doughnut–they have a soft center with a shell exterior.  As we get older, the disc looses its elasticity and becomes more susceptible to injury.

A disc herniation occurs when pressure causes the disc to distort, allowing the center to push out towards or even through the outer shell.  When it breaks through the outer shell, this is a disc rupture.

Other Terminology for Herniated Discs

Many doctors use terms such as “bulging disc” or “protruding disc” to describe the early stages of a disc that is in the process of herniating.  Disc bulges, protrusions and herniations can all cause issues in the spinal column because they narrow the spinal canal, putting pressure on the nerves that run through it.  These nerves run our of the spine and all down the body, so, when pressure is placed upon them by a bulging, herniated, protruding or even ruptured disc, the patient can have pain all down their arms (if the disc in question is in the cervical spine) and all down their legs (if the disc in question is in the lumbar spine).

Symptoms Caused by A Disk Bulge

The result of the nerve root pressure caused by herniated discs pinching the nerve is a variety of symptoms including:

  • feeling s of numbness and tingling down the arms or legs, weakness in the hands or feet
  • pain in the area of the injured bulging herniated or slipped disc, and;
  • electrical shock-like sensations down the legs from sciatica and nerve damage.

These injuries to the disk can be life-long and very debilitating.

Proving the Cause of Your Disc Injury

Proving the origin of a disc injury is typically difficult because you rarely have a before and after picture to look at.  The only way to discover them is through a MRI.  Typically, people do not go get an MRI when they are having no issues.

As a result, insurance company lawyers often hire their own doctors to testify that it is their opinion that the herniation occurred over time naturally vs as a result of the wreck and all the pain is just coincidental to the disc condition.  This is why if you have a herniated disc as a result of an automobile accident or other personal injury, it is important you hire a spine injury attorney with the resources to take your doctors deposition and establish a causal connection between the injury-producing event and your herniated disc.  If you would like to talk to a Houston personal injury attorney about your injury, please call us for a free consultation. (713) 932-0777.


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Paul Cannon

Paul Cannon has practiced personal injury trial law since 1995. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2005. He has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2017-2019, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017. He is a Shareholder, trial lawyer and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. His legal writings have been published by the Texas Bar Journal, Business.com, Lawyer.com HG Legal Resources, Lawfirms.com, and others. He has been asked to give educational talks and media interviews regarding personal injury law issues..