Pain in the lower back occurs to many of us during our lives. The thoracic spine has 12 vertebrae and the lumbar spine is made up of 5 vertebrae. Vertebrae can be crushed or fractured as a result from a fall from a high place or an accident. Discs can tear and protrusion can impinge on the spinal cord causing severe radiating pain in the legs. Diagnostic tests such as an X-Ray or MRI are critical in determining whether a disc is herniated and impinging on the spinal cord or nerve root. These injuries are painful and serious and can result in the need for surgery.
The cervical spine starts at the base of the skull and contains seven vertebrae and eight pairs of nerves responsible for controlling the neck, arms and upper body. The joint between the vertebrae are made of a large sponge mass known as a disc. The discs absorb vertebrae from the weight and movement of the head. When a disc becomes herniated in the direction of the spinal cord or nerve root it is a serious injury. It can cause paralysis and frequently causes neck pain which radiates into an arm. In addition the vertebrae can become fractured. Vehicle accidents cause a large portion of neck and back injuries. MRI’s are crucial to determine and identify size, location and severity of a cervical disc injury.
Even when an MRI unequivocally confirms a disc herniation, insurance companies have successfully created a public misconception that it is not a serious injury: they call it a soft tissue injury, everyone has one or it’s not related to the accident or it is an injury that existed before the accident.