If you’re experiencing arm or neck pain, or immobility of your head and neck after a traumatic incident, you may have a cervical disk injury. It’s recommended to have any head, arm, or neck pain, or other injuries assessed and diagnosed by your doctor. Contact us today at 1-800-824-5416 and we’ll help you takes the steps needed to bring those responsible to justice, cover expensive medical treatments, and make sure your rights are protected.
If the injury is due to the negligent actions of another driver please feel free to visit our Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer page.
What are Cervical Disk Injuries?
Your spine is made of 33 separate bones, called vertebrae. The cervical spine is comprised of the 7 vertebrae that make up your neck, referred to as C1 through C7. In between each vertebrae are soft donut-shaped cushions called disks, and are referred to by the vertebrae numbers on either side (for example, disck C1-C2 is the disk between the 1st and 2nd vertebrae). These disks allow our neck and spine to move and twist, provide padding between the bones, and join adjacent vertebrae to one another. Just behind the cervical disks is the spinal cord, which sends electrical signals to and from your brain throughout your body. The signals send sensory feedback from your body back to your brain, and motor signals from your brain to your body, instructing it how to move and operate.
After a traumatic injury, or after years of prolonged stress, your cervical disk may become damaged. Disks can become compressed, tear, slip out of place, bulge, or dry out and stiffen over time. It’s also possible for an injury to a cervical disk to affect the nearby spinal column, which in turn will effect sensory and motor functions in certain areas of the body.
What Causes Cervical Disk Injuries?
In Los Angeles and around the rest of the world, too, the most common cause of cervical disk injuries is hyperextension, or over-flexing of the neck beyond its healthy range of motion. As the joints bend past their normal limits, the disks become compressed. This is seen often with high-contact sports injuries like football or hockey, as well as in automobile accidents. In fact, cervical disk injuries associated with car accidents are often referred to as whiplash.
In addition to sudden traumatic injuries, prolonged, long term wear and tear can gradually result in cervical disk injury, as well. Holding your head or neck in awkward positions for long periods of time can have an accumulated affect. Even again can contribute to the decrease in cervical disk elasticity and flexibility. While these types of injuries can happen to you at any age, your are more susceptible and less likely to recover the older you are.
What are the Symptoms of Cervical Disk Injuries?
Symptoms of cervical disk injuries include pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, or other new sensations, mostly located in the neck or arms. Occasionally there may be pain in the upper back, between the shoulder blades. Different symptoms may be experienced depending on the exact disk that has been injured.
- C4-C5 – Pain or weakness in the deltoid muscle, or top of the upper arm, with little to no numbness or tingling.
- C5-C6 – Weakness in the bicep and wrist, with possible numbness, tingling, or pain in the thumb side of the hand.
- C6-C7 – Weakness in the tricep and forearm, with numbness, tingling, or pain from the triceps down through to the middle finger.
- C7-T1 – Weakness in the hand, with numbness, tingling, and pain down the arm through to the little finger side of the hand.
How are Cervical Disk Injuries Diagnosed?
Your doctor will want to discuss with you any symptoms you’re having, as well as the circumstances of your injury. In addition to assessing your physical symptoms, x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, may also be needed to accurately measure the severity of your injury.
How are Cervical Disk Injuries Treated?
It is uncommon for surgery to be needed for most cervical disk injuries. In most cases your doctor will recommend a combination of rest, neck immobilization, pain medication, and physical therapy. Keeping your neck in a comfortable position is a priority, especially while sleeping, as your muscles relax and provide less support. Neck braces are very helpful in keeping your neck immobilized. Physical therapy treatments may include stretches, massage, traction, and heated baths. In severe cases, steroid injections may be necessary to reduce inflammation.
If you or a loved one has suffered a cervical disk injury as a result of someone’s negligence and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, contact us today for a free consultation.