Herniated disk at L5-S1
I have a herniated disk at L4-5: Did you know that babies are born with 33 separate vertebras (disks), but that as they grow and develop, 9 of these vertebras (discs) at the base of the spine grow together, meaning that most adults have 24 separate discs, and that these disks are placed in 3 distinct categories: cervical (neck); thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (lower back). I admit that I had no idea until I became a workers’ compensation lawyer and I had to learn more about my client’s back injuries.
One fact I have learned is that of these 24 disks, the disc located at L5-S1 is the one which is most commonly herniated, followed closely by the disc at L4-5. These two discs comprise 90-95% of all herniated discs suffered by workers, so if you have a herniated disc at L5-S1 or at L4-5 following a job injury, you are not alone.
A herniated disk refers to the situation where the cushions (disc) between the bones (vertebrae) of your spinal cord, or the vertebrae themselves, are damaged due to injury or disease, causing the disc to be squeezed out from beneath the vertebras. Many people have herniated disks, but do not experience any symptoms (they are asymptomatic), this is because the extruded disc material has not yet come into contact with the nerves running down your spine. When the disc contacts a nerve, pain ensues. Depending on what level your herniation is located (cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine), pain can run down your right or left arm, right or left leg, can affect your hands, feet, fingers, toes and can cause numbness as well.
If you have suffered a herniated disc as the result of a job injury, conservative treatment will most likely be attempted at first, as sometimes the disc will right itself; but for those with a more serious herniation, surgery is typically what will be needed. Given your age, education and the work you have done over your life, you may be able to return to work following surgery (although maybe not in the field you were performing prior to your back injury) or you may not. Regardless, it would probably be in your best interest to at least speak with a knowledgeable workers comp attorney to review your case.
If you live or work in Alabama+, you suffered a job injury and you have any questions about your rights under Alabama’s Workers Compensation laws, don’t hesitate to contact and speak with one of the experienced Huntsville Workers Compensation Lawyers at Powell and Denny for a free consultation. Virtual appointments are available through Zoom.
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Herniated disk at L5-S1