The lumbar radiculopathy lawyers The Sevey Law Firm have dedicated their careers to helping injured individuals in Sacramento, Roseville, and the surrounding areas. There is a reason why so many people here choose us to help them in their time of need. If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, we’re here to help. We know that back pain can be particularly devastating, and we are ready to fight for you.
Back Pain and Your Livelihood
Nothing can prevent you from living a fulfilling and joyful life more than back pain. An estimated 80% of the American population suffers from back pain at some point in their life. This pain can be debilitating, robbing you of your livelihood and limiting daily activities.
Sometimes referred to as a bulging or herniated disk, lumbar radiculopathy occurs when a nerve located near the cervical spine is injured or disrupted. This can cause severe discomfort from the hips down to the legs and feet which manifests as numbness, a tingling sensation, and unrelenting pain.
Diagnosing Lumbar Radiculopathy
Your back is made up of the spinal cord and its bony protective enclosure, known as vertebrae. Acting as a cushion between the vertebrae are vertebral discs. When the liquid inside the discs (nucleus pulposus) leaks through the annulus fibrosus, it can reduce the level of protection between the vertebrae.
This decrease in protection means a reduction in comfort across the spinal cord and can cause a compressed lumbar nerve root. As the liquid leaks out over the nerves near the spinal cord, it can cause a significant amount of pain, most commonly in and around the sciatic nerve. The lumbar region is the part of the spine most commonly affected by a herniated disc, specifically the L3-L4 and L4-L5 discs.
Common Causes of Lumbar Radiculopathy
Suffering a slipped, bulging, or herniated disc can happen in a number of ways, especially as we get older and are more prone to injury. Because a bulging disc occurs when the outer ring of a spinal disc gets worn down or tears, it is more prevalent in older adults.
Lumbar radiculopathy is very common in accident victims. When the body tenses up in anticipation of a fall or impact, a significant amount of stress is placed on the spine. In addition, workplace accidents like lifting heavy objects or operating machinery can lead to bulging discs and other back and spine problems.
It is important to note that many accident victims may initially believe that their injuries are simply bruising or soreness. Many delay medical diagnosis and treatment, thinking they will recover on their own. Unfortunately, the condition may worsen over time, so it is important to see a doctor immediately after an accident.
Diagnosing Lumbar Radiculopathy
After talking to the patient about the accident or reason for the injury, the doctor usually completes a series of tests to determine whether lumbar radiculopathy is the cause. This includes testing the patients in the following ways:
- Motor and Sensory Function: Any injury to the spinal cord can put the patient at risk of degradation in motor or sensory function. The doctor will look at a number of areas to determine whether or not there is nerve damage and will also examine the muscles to ensure they are not torn.
- Leg Movement: The doctor will have the patient lie down before raising each of his or her legs one at a time to monitor their level of pain. If the pain increases, a herniated disc is more than likely the cause.
- Loss of Range of Motion: Going from joint to joint, the doctor will test the patient’s range of motion. If any damage is present, there should be a significant loss in these types of movements.
After completing these tests, the doctor will then order imaging studies if they suspect a bulging or herniated disc. This is typically done with an MRI. Here, the doctor can adequately assess the severity of the injury and accurately diagnose a herniated disc. The doctor can also look for any additional damage to the surrounding structures.
Treating a Herniated Disc
In a large number of cases, lumbar radiculopathy can be treated and managed with some level of pain medication. Pain management is typically delivered in the form of high-dose, over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol. In more severe cases, high-dose prescription medication may be prescribed. These powerful medicines can include Mobic, a pain medication that is stronger than ibuprofen. However, if the patient cannot manage their with medication, they may require surgery to repair the damage.
Herniated Disc Complications
Like any injury that affects the spinal cord, herniated discs can be very serious and may result in complications down the line. The most dangerous complication is called Cauda Equina Syndrome; it occurs when the lumbar disc herniates at the lower level of the spinal cord, causing liquid to exit the disc and compress the cauda equina. This can lead to damage to the bowel and bladder, causing constipation and incontinence.
Additionally, some patients experience loss of motor and sensory function in the legs. Patients can also suffer kidney damage due to high doses of ibuprofen and other pain medication used for treatment and pain management. A herniated disc can be very painful, and the dosage of ibuprofen to manage the pain can result in long-term kidney damage, so it’s important to have regular blood work to monitor the health of the kidneys.
In other cases, when surgery is necessary to repair the bulging or herniated disc, complications can arise. This includes everything from the risk of infection to blood clots, as well as any damage caused by medical negligence during the operation. And while these complications can be treated and reversed, they might cause severe problems if not dealt with in a timely manner.
Contact a Roseville Lumbar Radiculopathy Lawyer
The aftermath of a slip and fall, car accident, or workplace injury can be catastrophic to your physical health and financial well-being. Worrying about how to manage pain, return to work, and pay for your medical bills is often too much to handle on your own.
If you or a loved one is suffering from lumbar radiculopathy, you need a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney on your side. An experienced injury attorney can help assign responsibility for the accident and will help you secure the compensation you are rightfully owed. Don’t pay out of pocket for someone else’s recklessness. Contact a personal injury lawyer from The Sevey Law Firm by calling (916) 788-7100, and schedule a free consultation with us today.