Being a Kirkland personal injury lawyer and that has worked on many Seattle auto accident cases, I have come to the realization that every part of the body can be affected in a severe auto accident. The worst injuries, however, occur to the brain and spinal column which can lead to severe pain, disability and in the worst cases, death. One common result of a severe auto accident is radiculothapy which leads to discomfort and pain.
Radiculopathy or a pinched nerve occurs when severe impact or the body’s natural aging process ruins a spinal disk. There are 24 vertebrae that make up the spinal column with the upper 7 vertebrae in the neck make up the cervical bones; all of the vertebrae are separated by an intervertebral disc. These disks separate and cushion the bones, preventing them from rubbing on each other or the spinal cord. In a severe auto accident these discs can be pushed out of place or rupture- releasing the liquid that the disk is composed of- deflating it and making it useless as a cushion. This puts pressure on the spinal nerve causing symptoms such as tingling, numbness, shooting pain or a sensation of hot or cold in the damaged area.
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If the nerve is pinched it will not work properly and will reduce the feeling in nearby appendages such as the arms or shoulders. A doctor can easily determine where the problem is by the location of the pain or numbness in your body and through the use of x-rays and CT scans.
Conservative methods to treat a cervical radiculopathy include pain medications, anti-inflammatory’s and a neck brace to help immobilize the muscles and allow them to relax. Physical therapy may also be suggested to help build the muscles in the neck. Steroid injections may also be used to reduce the swelling in the disc and relive the pressure on the nerve. Surgery called a cervical fusion is used in severe cases which consists of removing the disk and replacing it with a piece of bone.
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