Accidents can be a pain in the neck—literally. They can also cause significant back pain if you suffer a herniated disc from an accident.
A disc herniation, is a type of spinal injury, which affects about two out of a hundred people in a given year. A herniated disc, also known as a ruptured disc, can cause disabling symptoms that last for weeks, months or even years. During that time, you may be unable to work and perform your usual duties around the house. You may additionally require extensive medical care, including diagnostic tests, physical therapy, injections, surgery, and medications.
These costs can add up quick. If the accident wasn’t your fault, somebody else may be on the hook for your herniated disc costs. But insurance claims and lawsuits involving an injured disc can be tricky. You can’t afford to be sidelined with a herniated disc injury. And if your claim is contested, you can’t afford to hire the wrong law firm. Hire The Texas Hammer from the start and get the outcome you deserve.
Herniated Disc Injuries
A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of neck or back pain. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 2% of people get a herniated disc every year. They can happen anywhere along the spine, but typically occur in the lower back or the neck.
Since we’re lawyers—not doctors—we encourage you to read more about herniated discs on websites such as the Cleveland Clinic or the Texas Back Institute. Suffice it to say that the severity of a herniated disc injury varies widely. Some patients experience no symptoms. Others have significant pain and other symptoms, such as numb or tingly legs and feet. The symptoms usually get worse during periods of activity and feel better while resting. The discomfort level depends on the degree to which nearby nerves are irritated.
The onset of a herniated disc can happen gradually as a result of repeated use and movement over time. Or, it can occur suddenly from a traumatic event, such as a car crash, a slip and fall accident, a work accident, or another personal injury.
Herniated Disc Treatment
Initially, your doctor might prescribe you medication and recommend that you limit activities that cause you pain or discomfort. These activities could include work—and not just jobs that require a high degree of physical activity. Sitting often places more stress on spinal discs than standing, so even if you have an office job, you might have to temporarily adjust your work routine.
Based on your recovery progression, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. If your herniated disc injury is not responding to physical therapy, the next treatment option might be injections. Injections are typically performed prior to surgery. Injections are often a form of steroids which are injected close the area where you are exhibiting pain. If your neck or back injury is not cured by injections then surgery may be an option. Surgical options for a herniated disc include a discectomy (removing the herniated disc), laminectomy (removing a part of the bone around the disc to relieve pressure), artificial disc surgery (replacing a damaged disc with an artificial disc), and spinal fusion surgery (stabilizing the spine by directly joining two or more vertebrae).
Herniated Disc Costs
How much is it going to cost to treat my herniated disc? That depends on a number of factors. Although every person is different, and every injury is unique, it’s possible to look at data which compares herniated disc treatment costs across many patients. This may not provide a precise estimate of how much treating your injury will cost, but it gives a rough idea of herniated disc treatment costs.
A Dartmouth study known as the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trail (SPORT) compared the cost-effectiveness of surgery to non-operative care. The study has a number of interesting data points. Particularly valuable is the different “cost components” that the study takes into account. It shows that surgery itself is just one part of the overall costs for a herniated disc. Other costs, for both surgical and non-surgical patients, include:
- Health care visits (surgeon, physician, chiropractor, physical therapy, acupuncture)
- Diagnostic tests (MRI, X-ray, CAT Scan, EMG)
- Medications (NSAIDS, steroids, narcotics, muscle relaxants)
Missed Work Costs
The Dartmouth study also looked at indirect costs of a herniated disc. The biggest indirect cost of a disc injury is missed work. Dartmouth researchers calculated that total indirect costs for surgery patients and non-surgery patients were around $9,200 and $9,700, respectively. However, this amount is often significantly higher.
Employees who suffer a herniated disc from a work injury may qualify for workers’ compensation. If the employer does not carry workers’ comp insurance, it may be possible to file a herniated disc injury lawsuit.
Why Choosing The Right Injury Lawyer Matters
The nature of herniated disc injuries can complicate the injury claims process. A common defense tactic is to argue that a herniated disc was not caused by an accident, but was due to disc degeneration, which is present to some degree in almost everyone after age 40. Defense attorneys also like to claim that, because a herniated disc causes no pain in some patients, it can’t possibly be the cause of pain in your situation. In both cases, the defense often hires medical experts that are friendly to the defense’s case.
Even if you have a preexisting back condition like degenerative spinal changes, and even if you have a dormant disc herniation that becomes active only after an accident, you can still be awarded a herniated disc settlement or verdict. But you need a tough, skilled attorney that will stand up to the defense, hire their own experts, and fight for you. You need The Texas Hammer. For a free case review, click here to get started.