One of the most common injuries people suffer after getting in a car accident, especially in accidents in which they are rear-ended, is neck injuries. More specifically, individuals who have been rear-ended might suffer a herniated disc

A herniated disc can happen for a number of different reasons. Everything from aging to simple genetics can cause or predispose a person to a herniated disc. However, sudden, jarring impact is something else that can cause a herniated disc. In the case of a car accident, it is the jarring impact that causes the discs in between your vertebrae to slip or rupture.

The top seven vertebrae of your spine are known as the cervical vertebrae. These include the C4/C5 and C5/C6 discs in between their respective vertebrae. Injuries to any of the cervical vertebrae or discs in between them are one of the most common causes of neck pain. 

Read on to learn more about how herniated discs are diagnosed, what symptoms accompany a herniated disc, treatment options, and finally what legal options you have if you have suffered a herniated disc as the result of a car accident.

Diagnosing C4/C5 and C5/C6 Disc Injuries

The good news about herniated discs is that they are fairly easy to diagnose. In addition to conducting a few tests to determine if the pain you are experiencing is consistent with a C4/C5 or a C5/C6 herniated disc, your doctor might order a magnetic resonance image (MRI). An MRI should be able to tell if there is damage to any of your cervical discs. 

However, an MRI alone might not be enough to determine the extent of your pain as individuals with similar MRI results can experience vastly different levels of pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of Herniated Cervical Discs

The symptoms individuals with herniated disks might experience depend on which disk is herniated. Those with C4/C5 ruptures are more prone to feeling muscle weakness in their shoulders and arms. 

If a patient has a C5/C6 herniated disk they could be more likely to experience pain and/or tingling and numbness up and down the arm. C5/C6 herniated discs are also often associated with increased levels of pain, stiffness, and adverse effects on the patient’s range of motion.

Given the pain and debilitating effects of either type of injury, it is possible an individual might have to miss work if they have a serious case. This is especially true if the person works at a job that requires manual labor.

Treatment

There are several different treatment routes doctors might pursue depending on which discs are herniated, the age and gender of the patient, and the severity of the case. 

Some treatment possibilities include:

  • Medication, including steroids, to reduce swelling
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Both diagnosis and treatment of C4/C5 and C5/C6 herniated discs can be costly. Treatment can take months or longer before an individual feels as good as they did before the accident.

As noted above, the cost for diagnosing and treating herniated discs is significant. If you have a job that involves manual labor you might also have to miss work for an extended period of time. This can cause serious financial hardship for you and your family, something you should not have to deal with on your own.

The best option available to you is to hire a qualified car accident lawyer to advocate on your behalf. A good lawyer will take up your cause and communicate with the other driver’s insurance company to make sure the details of the case are accurately reported. What’s more, is that your lawyer will be on guard against the insurance company’s attempts to minimize how much they pay you for your injuries.

If negotiations are not proving fruitful, your lawyer will file suit on your behalf and represent you at trial. From the initial investigation all the way through a settlement or verdict, your lawyer will make sure you get the justice you deserve.