Degenerative disc disease might not be the first injury that comes to mind when you think about car accidents, yet thousands of crash survivors struggle with this condition for the rest of their lives after suffering back injuries. Degenerative disc disease causes chronic pain and immobility.
Most crash survivors do not realize they have this condition until years later. Over time, however, the symptoms of this disease can make themselves known. It may be possible to seek financial damages for degenerative disc disease as the victim of a car accident in Salt Lake City. The first step is recognizing you have this disease.
Relentless Low Back Pain
Degenerative disc disease affects the rubber discs between the spinal cord’s vertebrae. Back pain is the most common symptom. Tears in the wall of the spinal cord can affect the nerves and cause chronic, persistent back pain. You may experience pain or aches in the lower back, tailbone, buttocks and upper thighs. You could also feel pain at the specific site of the disc if you have a herniated or ruptured disc.
Degenerative disc disease often causes disc herniation due to a lack of proper spinal cord structure. Tears in the surrounding walls or general spinal cord weakness could allow the soft interior of the spinal disc to leak or rupture out of the stronger exterior. Some people will notice immediate pain, along with tingling in the limbs, while others may not experience any symptoms during rupture. Treatments for herniated discs include pain medications, muscle relaxers and physical therapy. Most cases heal without needing surgery.
Chronic pain may lessen in certain positions and worsen in others. In addition to continuous moderate pain, you may also notice occasional spikes of more intense pain with degenerative disc disease. Flare-ups may cause intense pain for a few days or even weeks before returning to a lesser level. As spinal disc degeneration worsens, you may experience flare-ups due to loss of fluid. Then, the pain will balance out as your spine re-stabilizes.
Numbness or Tingling
Problems with your spinal cord can affect other parts of your body, such as the limbs. The spine is responsible for sending signals, or messages, to and from the brain. Degenerative disc disease and related back problems may interrupt the messaging system and cause symptoms such as tingling, numbness or lack of sensation in the arms and legs. It is especially common for people with degenerative disc disease to suffer tingling sensations or shooting pain in the thighs and legs.
Numbness, weakness or tingling may be chronic with degenerative disc disease. It may not go away if you sit, stand or engage in physical therapy. The sensations could persist to the point where it is difficult to walk on some occasions and then diminish to a more tolerable amount. You may not notice any numbness or tingling at all with degenerative disc disease. Each case is unique.
Sudden Muscle Weakness
Your back or neck may give out or suffer sudden weakness. Instability in your spine from losing its structure can cause your back or neck to abruptly stop providing support, making it difficult to move. You may experience muscle weakness or the feeling of your back locking up. Muscle spasms in the lower back could point to degenerative disc disease. Muscle spasms are severe but short-lived bursts of pain that are temporarily disabling.
If you think you have degenerative disc disease, ask a doctor if it could relate to a car accident. While spinal cord disc degeneration is a natural part of aging, it could also stem from trauma to the spine, such as an impact injury. A car accident may have accelerated existing degenerative disc disease. It may be possible to obtain compensation from the party that caused your car accident for the pain, emotional distress and medical expenses related to your degenerative disc disease. A car accident could help you explore your options in Salt Lake City.