Most people who are in car and truck accidents suffer from neck and back pain. Sometimes after undergoing diagnostic tests, they find out that the cushion-like disks that separate the bones (vertebrae) in their backbones have been damaged. This especially happens in rear-end collisions. Your doctor may have told you that you have one or more herniated and bulging disks. This post discusses what this means and what you can do about these often serious medical problems.
A herniated disk happens if the outside of the annulus fibrosis, the disk’s outer cover, ruptures or tears. Some of the soft nucleus puplosus, the jelly-like material inside the disk that gives it the shock-absorbing quality to protect your vertebrae, leaks out.
Sometimes it escapes into the spinal canal, often contacting a spinal nerve root. Enormous pain and other symptoms can result.
Herniated disks progress in stages going from smaller to the most extreme: prolapsing, protruding, extruding, to sequestering. In that last state, the material inside the disk has severed from the disc.
They are also referred to as ruptured or slipped disks and the pain can be called a pinched nerve.
Adding to the complexity of a correct diagnosis, herniated disks do not always cause extreme discomfort. At other times, the symptoms are more like those from bulging disks that are described below.
Further, while they can be caused by the sudden trauma of being crashed into by another vehicle, they can also be caused by aging, falls, other injuries, or other factors.