Disc injuries occur frequently in auto collisions. Most doctors are most concerned about disc injuries because they are the most difficult, common problem in the neck and low back. Many doctors are mislead by the initial presentation of disc lesions, e.g. herniations, bulges, extrusions, because the initial presentation is often atypical.
The typical presentation of disc herniations (protrusions and extrusions) if it occurs in the neck, is pain in the neck and shoulder, or shoulder blade, and down the arm. The pain may also radiate into the middle back, between the shoulder blades. Many inexperienced doctors may ascribe the middle back pain to a disc or problem in the middle back. But this is a mistake 98% of the time. There is a phenomenon called “referred pain”, and this is the USUAL phenomenon in the case of neck or low back problems. Referred pain patterns must be recognized by the doctor, so that treatment is directed at the source/cause of the pain, rather than where the pain is felt. Referred pain may be called, sclerotomal or myofascial pain.
The typical symptoms from a disc herniation in the low back, is pain in the buttock and down the back of the thigh and below the knee- usually the back or outside of the leg.
However, immediately after an injury, disc problems may not manifest in the typical way. In fact, this is another common source of mistakes by doctors, i.e. to overlook disc injuries that don’t initially manifest in the classic, typical way. This is especially true of young people. I always have a high index of suspicion for disc injuries, because they can be so nasty and difficult to get better, and they may take a long time to improve.
I specialize in the treatment of refractory neck and back problems, that don’t improve after auto accidents. If I can help you, please call 404-558-4015.