Several countries across the world have now tackled global issues, but road accidents are still a problem in the world we live in today. Road accident injuries, like lower back pain, whiplash injury, and disc herniation, are unique in a way because anyone can suffer at the hands of them. Therefore, it defeats the common notion that taller people have a greater likelihood of contracting such harm. Whiplash accidents and disc herniation pertain to damaged nerve cells and tearing of the muscles and joints. Other symptoms include severe pain in the neck region and numbing or tingling sensations in several body parts. To understand what causes such accidents and how such injuries affect the daily lives of individuals, we need to keep reading further.
So How Do We Understand Disc Herniation?
An accident injury doctor always has to keep an eye out for all sorts and levels of injury post-accident. Let us now dive deeper into how a doctor would explain disc herniation or a slipped disc.
Bones in the spine have discs around them that mitigate shock levels at the site of an accident. A disc herniation is a mutated version of a regular disc because of its cracked annulus that causes the disc nucleus to jab out of its outer structure. When this happens, the disc nucleus gets embedded into the narrow spinal canal. The spinal canal does not contain enough space to keep the disc nucleus in place, and that causes displacement of the discs. Spinal nerve endings get compressed over time, and that causes severe levels of distress in the neck and lower back area.
Common Causes for Disc Herniation
Automobile accidents are high impact, and in the case of a severe collision on the road, immense pressure gets exerted onto the spinal cord. When this begins to worsen over time, it causes disc herniation.
However, automobile accidents are not the sole cause of slipped discs. Other mishaps include slipping and falling from a height, especially on your back and neck. And injury while playing sports without the required protective gear is another leading cause of this.
Hereditary genes also have the potential to cause disc slips. It means that if one family member suffers from it, others are also likely to experience the same. Hence, herniated discs work like any other genetic disease, such as diabetes.
Ways to Spot a Herniated Disc
Patients suffering from slipped discs suffer varying onslaughts of pain because it differs from person to person based on the following factors.
- a) The level of impact onto the nerve tissue.
- b) The site of injury that got most affected by the collision during the accident.
- c) The amount of material that the spinal disc contains determines the magnitude of the external annulus. It will, in turn, define the extent of disc herniation.
An accident injury doctor usually looks for the following symptoms.
- chronic pain felt in the arms, feet, shoulders, thighs, buttocks, and the calves
- lack of sensation or prickling in several areas of the bod
- not being able to walk normally and a greater tendency to stumble and fall due to imbalance
- overall weakness
- irregular surges of burning sensations at the affected areas
- some level of discomfort experienced towards lower back regions
- fluctuating levels of pain in the neck region, around the shoulder blade, or the place where disc herniation is most severe
Doctors execute treatment plans for herniated discs based on the level of impact onto the spine. They strongly advise patients to religiously follow less cumbersome exercise regimes, like stretching and yoga. It prevents patients from going on a complete bed rest that stops the swelling of spinal nerves. Victims with low pain levels receive medication with anti-inflammatory properties. These pharmaceutical drugs include epidural injections as pain killers, X-rays, and spinal needles to help carry the medicine to the affected areas of the body. Physicians also use physical therapy techniques like massages and ice and heat treatments. Stretching helps to ease off the pressure from the affected areas.
Spinal Disc Surgery
Often, physical therapy is not enough to cure disc herniation, and in such a case, surgery is the last resort. It is a difficult decision to make and one that relies on mutual consultation. Patients get tested for an accurate analysis of symptoms for future treatment. Doctors make sure if the subject is in good health for the procedure to prevent complications post-surgery. The following symptoms appear that call for surgical intervention.
- in cases where the patient’s social and daily life is negatively affected
- muscle weakening and leg numbing experienced on the daily
- bladder functioning gets affected
- having difficulty walking or standing easily
- particularly beneficial when other techniques like medication and physical therapy fail to cure the patient
Once the surgery is over, doctors give special instructions and educate the victims on how to speed up their recovery process. However, doctors later advise physical therapy sessions to the patients, but that depends on their health.
Other Post Accident Injuries
Whiplash injury is a concept not known to all, but it is one of the leading post-accident injuries. It causes ligament stiffness surrounding the neck because of the sudden jerk of motion during a life-threatening accident. Whiplash accidents have a high tendency to cause terrible damage to the spine and causes excruciating pain. Research conducted with crash dummies and quality cameras found that the bones in the lower parts of the spinal cord get compressed. A state called hyperextension occurs, and the upper bones stay in a hyperflex state. This shift from the regular placement of the spinal cord causes abnormal movement and an irregular S-shape of the spine, tearing the spinal ligament.
Underlying Symptoms of Whiplash
In usual circumstances, victims exhibit symptoms in the first 24 hours of the accident only. You can find a few listed below. \
- pain in the jaw area
- feelings of dizziness
- blurry visions
- pain in the back region
- pain felt in one or both shoulders
- noticeably greater stiffness than before
- ringing sounds in the ears
- numbing felt in several parts of the body
- getting tired unnecessarily or quickly
Some Tips and Tricks to Treat Whiplash Injury
Spinal Manipulation involves stretching exercises administered by a whiplash doctor. The exercise regimen involves some easy-to-do low-intensity workouts while others are more strenuous. It all comes down to how much the patient can tolerate. Some treatment techniques also include applying pressure to the affected area since it helps decrease soreness and treat muscle wear and tear.
Massage and Controlled Stretching
This particular method is easier to implement, where a whiplash doctor massages muscles and joints that get tensed and go into spasm. It brings back life into the joints and quickens recovery time.
Greater doses of medicinal drugs prove to be more effective in treating whiplash. The reason for this is that medicinal drugs give instant relief only.
Whiplash treatment will only be holistic once it gets done using both medicinal and psychological means. The good news is that people are now becoming more aware of an individual’s mental health and not just their physical well-being.