After a Bucks County car accident, you could suffer an annular tear. This type of personal injury affects your spine, which could leave you with significant pain in your neck, back, and/or legs explains Bucks County personal injury lawyer Michael L. Saile, Jr. It is highly recommended that you see your family doctor following a New Jersey or Pennsylvania car accident in order to be treated or referred to a specialist for treatment of your spinal injuries.
What Causes an Annular Tear?
The annulus is the exterior portion of a spinal disc and protects the inner portion of each disc in the spine. The inner portion of each disc, or the nucleus, is what our body uses as a shock absorber to allow us our every day movements and activities. The outer section of the annulus contains many nerves. When the annulus rips or tears, due to the sort of trauma experienced in a car accident, you will likely feel great pain.
An annular tear can also originate, due to high impact during a car accident, from the nucleus of a spinal disc, which causes the jelly-like liquid at the center of the disc to seep out and come in contact with the many nerves present in the outer layers of the annulus. This is perhaps the most painful type of annular tear.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If you seek medical treatment for lower back pain after a car accident, you may find you will be diagnosed with an annular tear. Your doctor can diagnose an annular tear simply with an MRI. The final diagnosis, however, can be made through CT-discograms. In this process, dye is injected in the disc and if there is a tear, the dye will leak out into the torn area. If there is no tear, the dye will stay in the nucleus of the disc.
There are surgical and non-surgical treatments for annular tears. Non-surgical treatment consists of rest to allow the spine time to heal and to reduce pain and symptoms. Physical therapy can also be recommended, along with bracing to stabilize the spine. Over-the-counter pain medication might be recommended by your doctor to reduce pain. It can also be recommended by your doctor to apply heat and ice alternatively to the injured area.
Surgery is not usually needed for annular tears but in very select cases, the symptoms of an annular tear can be treated with intra-discal electrothermal therapy. This procedure is minimally invasive and can be a good option for someone who suffers from more mild symptoms of an annular tear. For more serious symptoms, spinal fusion surgery may be performed.
Even with treatment, you could still feel persistent pain in your lower back. Be aware that annular tears can also be the precursor to a herniated disc. Most patients will experience symptoms such as neck pain or back pain. Additionally, depending on which disc is injured, pain might radiate down your arms.
If you have been involved in a car accident and have suffered an annular tear injury, you might be entitled to compensation to assist with medical bills and any other type of monetary loss. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help you with your case. The experienced personal injury lawyers at the Bucks County Law Firm of Cordisco & Saile LLC know the Pennsylvania car accident and injury laws. Call today to speak to an experienced attorney, or visit our personal injury website to obtain your FREE copy of our PA car accident book.