Spinal injuries can be very serious. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, this type of damage can lead to chronic pain, paralysis, loss of sensation, and other complications. One of the most common types of spinal injuries are herniated discs, which often occur between the C4/C5 and the C5/C6 vertebrae. If you believe that you have sustained a herniated disc in an accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
What Are Herniated Discs?
The bones in the spine, also known as the vertebrae, are separated by structures known as discs. Discs act as cushions between each vertebra, preventing pain and absorbing shock from impact. When a person experiences a significant amount of force, a disc can be pushed out into the spinal cord. This is as a herniated disc, also known as a ruptured, slipped, or bulged disc.
Herniated discs can be very painful. They may develop anywhere down the spine, including the cervical spine, or the neck. In these types of injuries, herniated discs typically occur in two locations:
- Between the C4 and the C5 vertebrae, which act as the bridge between the high cervical spine and the low cervical spine
- Between the C5 and the C6 vertebrae, which are present in the low cervical spine
Symptoms of C4/C5 and C5/C6 Herniated Discs
Symptoms of herniated discs can vary. If you experience a C4/C5 injury, you will likely experience the following complications.
- Weakness in the shoulder
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the neck and arms
- Pain, tingling, or numbness that radiates into the shoulder
On the other hand, C5/C6 herniated discs typically involve the following symptoms:
- Difficulty stretching the wrist at the forearm
- Weakness in the bicep muscles
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the thumb
Although herniated discs are common, they can result in serious complications. For example, patients with very severe C4/C5 injuries will likely need help eating, bathing, getting up and down, dressing, and going to the bathroom. Patients with C5/C6 herniated discs may experience partial paralysis in the hands, legs, trunk, and wrists.
If you believe that you sustained a herniated disc in your cervical spine, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely prescribe medication to help treat the pain and determine whether or not you need surgery to correct the disc.
Legal Options After a C4/C5 and C5/C6 Herniated Disc
Herniated discs often occur during an accident, such as a motor vehicle collision or a slip and fall. If you sustained this injury due to someone else’s actions, you could hold him or her accountable through an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you can prove that his or her negligence caused your accident and herniated disc, you could recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Medical professionals also have a responsibility to correctly diagnose herniated discs and uphold a certain standard of care while providing treatment. If your provider misdiagnoses your condition, prescribes the wrong medication, makes a surgical error, or commits any other act of negligence, you could hold him or her accountable in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In these situations, you need an attorney on your side. As soon as possible following your injury, contact a Missouri lawyer with experience in medical malpractice and personal injury claims. Your attorney can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.