A herniated disc is often the result of some physical trauma such as a motorcycle or auto accident. This often generates radiculitis (inflammation of spinal nerves) that is caused by the production of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and creates severe pain. A new imaging system known as the Digital Motion X-Ray system (DMX) produces 3-D color images while the patient moves. The DMX allows doctors to observe inflammation areas not observed by MRI or CT scans and provides medical evidence of physical trauma from a motorcycle accident that can be used by a personal injury law firm. If you have been in an Ohio auto accident and have since suffered from a back injury, then the Chester Law Group can help you with a personal injury settlement.
How Can an Ohio Auto Accident Cause a Serious Back Injury?
Back injuries often occur as a result of a violent truck, motorcycle, or auto accident. Quite often, these accidents generate what is called a herniated disc that can generate back pain. In layman’s terms this is known as a slipped disc. A herniated disc can put pressure on spinal nerves causing severe hip, buttock, back, neck, arm and leg pain. This pain can be intermittently sharp and shooting down a limb and can actually reach your feet and hands. Other times, it can be continuous and escalate if you stay in one position too long whether standing, sitting or in a reclined position.
If you are dealing with a back injury as a result of an Ohio auto accident, make sure to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible as these back injuries can become a long-term problem. Many accident victims experience back injuries but leave the injury undiagnosed until it’s too late. It is possible for your back pain to become more serious over time, creating a life time of discomfort and uncompensated financial loss. Make sure you set up an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible and then contact a personal injury law firm to speak with an auto accident lawyer about a personal injury settlement.
Why Are Herniated Discs So Painful?
For those unfamiliar with a herniated disc, here’s what you need to know. Spinal discs are connective tissue pillows that are found between the vertebrae (bones) of your spinal column. These pillows act as shock absorbers and allow for some movement along your spinal column such as twisting and bending forward and backward. These discs have a two-part anatomy known as the center region that is named the Nucleus Pulpossus and an outer part Annulus Fibrosis.
The Nucleus Pulposus is like Jello and can withstand high pressure, for example when you are standing or sitting down. This gelatinous center also allows for movement in many directions such as bending side to side, forward, backward and twisting. The Annulus Fibrosis, which surrounds the Nucleus Pulposus, has a high concentration of protein and is quite tough. In other words, the Annulus Fibrosis is a protein bag that holds in the gooey Nucleus Pulposus and prevents the nucleus from escaping.
Now that you have some understanding of disc anatomy, let’s move on to what a herniated disc is. If the Annulus Fibrosis is bruised during an Ohio auto accident, or if it gets a slight tear or is completely ruptured, the gooey inside of the Nucleus Pulposus leaks into the tough outer fibrous area. Now you have a herniated disc which can cause pressure on the spinal nerves that in turn can cause pain and muscle weakness.
Once you have been examined by a medical professional, you should have some idea as to the severity of your problem and what therapies can be applied to your particular situation. Quite often, conventional treatments are used such as hot or cold compresses, exercise, painkillers, traction, chiropractic care, or physical therapy.
Although there are a number of therapies for herniated disc problems, it is often difficult to know whether a herniated disc is really your problem. Some doctors assume your back pain is a result of a damaged disc even though they have no X-ray or MRI to back it up. We need to go a little bit further to understand the difficulty in diagnosing back pain that makes it difficult to treat properly.
Why is Diagnosing a Herniated Disc After an Auto Accident So Difficult?
The medical community uses the term “radiculopathy” which is not a description of a specific problem but refers to nerves that are affected or what is also called neuropathy. They are referring to nerve roots (radix, radic is Latin for “root”) coming from the spinal column. These nerve roots have some form of pressure on them that causes radicular pain, tingling, numbness and possible weakness. Generally, the trauma is at or near the nerve root along the spine but pain and other symptoms can be experienced anywhere along a limb (arm or leg) and is known as referred pain.
Now, you can have what is called a chemical radiculitis (itis means inflammation) which is an inflammatory response of the nerve root when you have damage to a disc (herniated disc) that allows disc fluid to flow around the nerve. The fluid comes from the nucleus pulposus which leaks out due to damage to the annulus fibrosus. This fluid contains a glycoprotein that initiates an antibody response and autoimmune reaction generating inflammation. The culprit here has been identified as Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF- alpha) and is the cause of inflammation along the spinal column. Patients experiencing severe chronic pain due to inflammation can be treated with an anti-TNF molecule such as etanercept for pain relief. TNF-alpha is involved in regulation of the immune system that includes programmed cell death (killing tumors), inflammation response and inhibiting viral replication. Chronic inflammation is also a major contributor to the aging process.
Inflammation is actually a necessary part of the healing process. Inflammation occurs in response to tissue damage due to physical or chemical stimuli that is harmful. Without inflammation, physical trauma or infections would not be able to heal. On the other hand, if inflammation persists and becomes long-term (chronic) that means the immune system is out of control and sets the stage for a whole host of diseases to set in.
Advances in X-ray Technology for Back Injuries
There is a new imaging system called Digital Motion X-Ray (DMX) which is unique in that it allows the healthcare provider to visualize internal and external movements of the body at the same time. Essentially you have a three-dimensional series of X-Ray pictures in color that can demonstrate abnormalities involved with ligaments and inter-segmental joints as the patient moves.
While the patient moves, images are recorded on a VHS videotape at 30 frames per second. This allows the doctor to play the motion over and over so that they can see the extent of the patient’s injuries. The DMX is perfect for elucidating spine stability.
This DMX technology has been able to find injuries that have not been seen by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CAT scans (CT) or standard X-rays. These scans can only take pictures when the patient is not moving. Many injuries can be missed because they can only be observed when the patient is moving. Quite often, pain is experienced only when the person is moving, and, therefore needs to be observed when in motion. The DMX can document the injury and help determine the proper course of therapy as well as see if the patient has healed.
Consult with an Ohio Auto Accident Attorney About Seeking Compensation for Your Back Injury
If you have been seriously hurt in an auto accident and experienced a herniated disc generating chronic inflammation, you may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. These types of accidents often involve long-term inflammation and severe pain so you need to consider that you may need continued medical care.
The Chester Law Group is an Ohio personal injury law firm experienced in auto accidents involving spinal injury and can guide you through the personal injury process. You should note that it is important that you consult with an attorney before you attend a Defense Medical Exam (DME) so your personal injury lawyer can advise you every step of the way. Call the attorneys at Chester Law Group today to get the help you want from people that you can trust at (800)218-4243.
David M. Chester of Chester Law Group is an Ohio personal injury lawyer with offices in Akron, Canton, Cleveland Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown, Amherst, Beachwood, Medina, Mentor, Ravenna, Twinsburg, Warren, Westlake, and Wooster. Main office 430 White Pond Dr. Akron, OH 4432.