Can a Car Accident Cause an Annular Tear?
An annular tear is one of the many injuries to the spine that can occur in a car accident. While car crashes are more likely to result in conditions like herniated discs and whiplash, annular tears are also possible. Because of the significant impact involved in most car accidents, there is always the possibility of a serious spinal injury. If you have suffered annular tears in a car accident, it is vital that you speak with an attorney right away.
The cost of treating these injuries can be substantial, both in money and time. Dealing with a long recovery is challenging on its own. Worrying about how to pay for this medical treatment only complicates matters further. If you believe you are entitled to compensation for your injuries resulting from a car accident, speak with a Southern California car accident lawyer right away.
What is an annular tear?
An annular tear is an injury that affects one of the 23 discs protecting the vertebrae in the human spine. These discs are designed to absorb shock and to protect the vertebrae and nerves within. Each disc separates two vertebrae, providing the flexibility needed for the back to bend and twist.
In the center of the disc is an oval-shaped part known as the nucleus pulposus. Surrounding the nucleus pulposus is a thin tissue known as the annulus fibrosus. An annual tear involves damage to the annulus fibrosus. Intense bodily trauma can cause this thin fibrous layer to rip or tear. If the tear is large enough, the contents of the disc and bulge through the annulus fibrosus and out of the disc.
This injury can be especially painful. In severe cases, the nucleus pulposus can breach the thin layer of tissue, causing significant pressure on the nerves within the spinal column. In addition to pain, this injury can also cause numbness and tingling throughout the body.
How accidents cause tears
While trauma from a car accident can cause or inflame a tear, many of these injuries occur over time due to wear and tear. The discs between vertebrae degenerate over time, which increases the likelihood of a tear.
These injuries can occur on their own, but severe trauma makes them far more likely. In some cases, tears that are otherwise manageable become overwhelming due to the trauma of a car crash. Tears are especially common when a vehicle accident causes the spine to compress.
Recognizing annular tears
There are some telltale signs of an annular tear. What complicates matters is the fact that this injury shares symptoms with other back injuries, like herniated discs. Medical professionals can also struggle to identify these injuries, as they may not be apparent through an MRI scan. To be certain of the scope of your injury, your doctor may order a comprehensive test of your spine known as a discogram. This scan can identify an area of significant damage to the discs in your back.
A discogram is similar to an x-ray. During the procedure, your doctor will inject a colored dye into your damaged disc. The dye will be clearly visible in the X-ray, giving your doctor an idea of where the tear might be located.
The most common symptoms for annular tears include back pain, numbness and tingling, leg pain, and worsening symptoms when you sit instead of stand. If you are dealing with these symptoms after an accident, do not hesitate to seek medical treatment immediately.
Compensation for annular tears
Diagnosing these injuries through a discogram can be costly if you are paying for your medical expenses out of pocket. The same is true for any procedure you require to address the injury. A successful injury claim could help you recoup the cost of this treatment.
A Los Angeles car accident lawyer from Ellis Injury Law can help you review your medical records and the facts of your case. After thoroughly considering your circumstances, our lawyers can advise you on your chances of recovering compensation from the negligent driver. To learn more about your legal options following an annular tear, schedule a free consultation with Ellis Injury Law as soon as possible.