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A herniated disc is one of the most common and serious back injuries people experience, and it often happens as a result of on-the-job activity or from acute injury like an auto accident. When a disc is herniated, the center gel cushion is pushed out of its normal position between the vertebrae in the spine. Without the cushion of the disc in its proper position, when the gel lands on spinal nerves the resulting pain can be excruciating, with shooting pains down the arms or legs, and tingling and numbness in hands and feet. Left untreated, a herniated disc can result in a medical emergency called cauda equina syndrome, in which sufferers can experience numbness in the genitals, difficulty with bladder and bowel control, and progressive numbness or weakness in the legs that can be permanent.
A herniated disc can happen suddenly, such as in a fall, or auto accident. The herniation can also occur over time after repeated activities, such as bending and lifting, or putting recurring strain on the spine. Auto accidents or an injury can sometimes put a disc in motion, but the disc doesn’t actually become fully herniated or produce any symptoms of pain for days or even weeks afterward.
Herniated discs can happen as a result of many types of job duties – from the more obvious ones in construction and warehouse work, to seemingly harmless tasks like filing papers or childcare. Following a physical examination and an MRI to diagnose a herniated disc, a doctor will recommend treatment which can include physical therapy, prescription medications, epidural steroid injections, and/or surgery.
Insurance companies and the adjusters who work for them typically delay medical treatment for herniated disk claims. This delay can result in further damage to your back that could become permanently disabling. Now is not the time to “wait and see” whether the insurance company is going to be fair with you. Assume that their primary concern is to save money on your claim by calling your condition a “soft tissue” injury. Ask yourself, “Is the adjuster medically trained to know what my diagnosis really is?”
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