Can Degenerative Disc Disease Be Caused by Trauma?
What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
Degenerative disc disease is when the discs between the vertebrae of the spine break down, causing pain, weakness, and/or numbness.
Although it is one of the most common types of chronic pain, it is also sometimes a misunderstood disease as well. Notably, it can be caused or exacerbated by trauma such as a car accident, entitling you to money damages (despite what insurance companies may tell you).
Causes Of Degenerative Disc Disease:
If you were told that your degenerative disc disease is just a natural part of aging, you may want to get a second opinion. Especially if you are a relatively young individual. Degenerative disc disease is painful, incurable and life-changing, introducing an element of pain that is progressive.
Although it can occur late in life as the body’s production of collagen and proteins diminish, degenerative disc disease caused by trauma is also common.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, in addition to the natural aging process which leads to dry discs that lose shock absorbing integrity, there are two other causes for degenerative disc disease:
- Daily activities or sports injuries that cause tears to the disc’s outer core.
- Traumatic injuries that create soreness and swelling that causes instability of disc integrity.
Although a torn ligament or broken bone will heal, this isn’t the case with a damaged disc in the spine. Unlike other biological tissue throughout the body, very little blood circulates through a disc.
It cannot repair itself once injured. It can only deteriorate and may impact your neck.
There are treatment options available, yet this chronic condition can be life-long.
After The Diagnosis:
Since there is no cure, once diagnosed, a person faces a lifetime of treatment and a permanently altered lifestyle.
Not only will a person possibly face giving up physical activities that they once enjoyed, they may also be required to a significant commitment to self-care.
A medical professional will prescribe a regimen of treatment that poses the best possibility of preserving range of motion and managing pain. Some of the most common treatment strategies involve:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory prescription medications
- Surgical options such as a spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement
- Spinal mobilization
Living with degenerative disc disease caused by trauma is a 24/7 lifestyle situation.
Many everyday activities the average person once took for granted will take center stage because they all result in pain:
- Sitting down causes spinal compression and forces all support of the weight of the head on the neck.
- Frequently checking messages on your smartphone means bending your neck at an awkward, downward angle.
- Hanging up the laundry on the line in the backyard for that Spring fresh scent means tilting your head slightly backwards.
- Your daily jog creates repetitive jarring to your neck discs.
- Dance night with your partner is great fun, endorphins suppressing any pain. But you awaken in the middle of the night feeling as if there is a knife in your neck.
A lifetime of self-care means your life changes altogether.
Sitting around watching TV may involve alternating hot and cold treatments with each commercial break. Instead of pecking away at the keyboard for hours at work, you may require frequent breaks to take a pressure-relieving stroll. Instead of a traditional desk and chair situation at the office, you might need to invest in an elevated workstation where you can stand.
Cover The Cost:
Even individuals with excellent health insurance will still have exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses if they are to receive the best care and treatment that preserves a high quality of life.
Medical experts calculate that out-of-pocket expenses may seem minimal in the beginning with co-pays, heat/cold packs and over-the-counter pain relievers only running up an annual tab of a few hundred dollars.
However, consider what it takes to cover the cost of care for a lifetime when a disease is degenerative, which means it will only get worse. That translates to the cost of care only rising.
As treatment intensifies along with the disease, medical costs can soar to hundreds of thousands of dollars should artificial disc replacement surgery become the only viable option for managing pain.
Degenerative disc disease settlements from a traumatic accident can help to ease this financial burden.
Plan For The Future:
If you or a loved one have suffered from degenerative disc disease caused by trauma or a traumatic injury where someone else was at fault, you need to enlist a team of personal injury lawyers.
A committed legal advocate can help you plan for the future by aggressively pursuing the compensation you deserve. Please contact us today for a free consultation on your case.