Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc, can happen to any of the 23 fibrous, protective discs between vertebrae of the spine. The lumbar region or lower back is the most common location of a herniated disc. Discs are located between the vertebrae for shock absorption and connection. They serve as ligaments joining the vertebrae of the spine. The outer portion of spinal discs are tough collagen protein layers. Within are more proteins for structure and support, but a more gel-like substance to provide cushioning between the spinal bones.

Normal aging and usage result in dehydration of the discs and less flexibility, making them more prone to rupture. People experience herniated discs mostly in the age range of 35 to 45 and with weight gain. Extra weight puts more stress on all of the joints of the body, not just the spine. If the disk is ruptured and the gel matrix spills out, this can lead to an inflammation reaction in a part of the body where there are abundant nerves located to let you know. The discs of the back are avascular. This means there is no blood supply and nourishment for them. Once they are damaged, there are no innate repair mechanisms that can reach and repair them.

The pain of a ruptured disc can go on for many years as the gel leaks out and continues to cause immune reactions and subsequent irritation. The pain usually goes away with the eventual clean-up of the gel from the disc. Some people with ruptured discs experience no pain. Signs and symptoms of a ruptured disc are:

  • Pain at the location or in limbs (C-spine disc injuries can result in arm pain. Lumbar disc injuries can result in pain to the buttock, leg, or foot.)

  • Nerves often express their displeasure with numbness and tingling

  • Weakness of the muscles served by the affected nerves

Complications of a herniated disc can be:

  • Debilitating pain that causes one to be unable to perform work or daily functions

  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction

  • Compression of the cauda equina portion of spinal nerves serving the lower body

  • Loss of feeling to the area of the buttocks, inner thighs, crotch, upper posterior thighs

  • Addiction to painkillers

Surgery is usually only performed in herniated disc cases where there is nerve compression leading to complications. There is a high failure rate for these types of surgeries and those submitting to them often end up in more pain than their initial condition caused. Research is indicating that intervention via immune modification will be a much more effective means of treatment in the future than physical, invasive therapies to the injured region.  

If you or a loved one suffered further harm due to unnecessary disc surgery, or a botched disc surgery, you may be eligible for damages. Call the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to see if you have a medical malpractice case. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid for representation unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds made on your behalf.