The Human Spine
Accidents occur every day, in every state, county, city and town in our country. While many accidents do not result in death or serious injury, other accidents dramatically affect victims for the remainder of their lives. Back injuries involving disc herniation may result from a variety of accident types auto, construction site, slip and fall, and others.
The human spine consists of three distinct areas of the cervical spine (neck region), thoracic spine (middle portion of the spine) and lumbar (lower) spine. The bony portions of the spine called vertebra. The cervical spine is comprised of seven vertebra which begin at the base of the skull and conclude in the neck area, at the top of the ribcage. The thoracic spine consists of twelve vertebra, which correspond to the twelve ribs comprising the rib cage. Finally, the lumbar spine contains five vertebra, which make up the lower back and terminate at the sacrum, just above the tailbone, or coccyx. It is the lumbar spine that is responsible for carrying most of the weight of the body, balancing the torso on the sacrum.
The vertebra that form the spine likewise form a canal through which the spinal cord passes. The spinal cord and the brain form the body’s central nervous system. The series of nerves that comprise the spinal cord pass through the vertebral column and branch out into the body, passing through portions of the vertebra called transverse process and vertebral foramen.
The vertebra of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine are separated by interverbral membranes called “discs.” These interverbral discs, which serve as the shock absorber for the spine, are comprised of soft, rubbery tissue that is surrounded by a tough, outer layer called the annulus. Pressure upon the spine (and therefore the interverbral discs), whether by natural or other, traumatic forces, can cause spine injury. Such an injury often causes a disc to bulge and then rupture, or “herniate.” Trauma to the spine can cause the annulus to rip or tear, allowing disc tissue to protrude and touch the nerves of the spinal cord that pass through the vertebra and into the body.
The impact between disc tissue and nerve root can cause great pain and discomfort, often resulting in painful, tingling sensations into the arms or legs. Herniation disc injury can result in significantly diminished range of motion, extreme pain and substantial disability. While many herniated discs ultimately resolve without surgical intervention, others require surgery.
Disc surgery can entail substantial risks, including paralysis
Events resulting in spinal cord injury are often the subject of litigation. To protect your legal rights following a traumatic event resulting in such an injury, it is generally wise to obtain legal advice from an attorney who is experienced in such matters. Attorney Joe Stephens can help “level the playing field” by providing accident victims with information regarding the practical and legal aspects of personal injury law. Call him today 713-224-0000 for a free consultation.