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Spine, Disc & Back Expert Injury Attorney Oregon

Don't let insurance company adjusters convince you that a spine injury is not a "Big Deal"

Many doctors call our spines our lifeline.

*National Health Survey statistics state that most back injuries related to the lumbar region

Back injuries are common in a variety of accidents. Back injuries that occur from lifting heavy objects comprise many accidents in industrial and manufacturing situations. Most injuries in car accidents to the spine and its related muscles also involve the neck; this is because the head’s weight is being thrust forward or backward at the top of the spinal column.

Serious back injuries are very common in these accidents. As seatbelts have become commonplace, there also are injuries in car accidents to the lower back if there is excessive slack in the shoulder restraint. This allows the top of the torso to be thrust violently forward. This can lead to a type of ‘jackknife’ injury. 

Types of Back Injuries We Help With

Common back injuries that make up most personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Vertebra fracture
  • Spinous process fracture
  • Transverse process fracture
  • Pedicle fracture
  • Articulating facets subluxation
  • Herniated or ruptured disc
  • A disc that bulges out from the spinal column
  • Strain or sprain
  • Torn tendons, ligaments, or muscles
  • Stretched tendons, ligaments, or muscles

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    A Herniated Disc is a Common Injury After a Car Accident.

    What Can Happen To You?

    Some of the effects of this injury may include:

    • Narrowed intervertebral space
    • Disc material suffers a degenerative condition
    • Mobility and flexibility of the spinal column is lessened
    • The ability to take repeated shocks and intense regular activity is lessened
    • Normal alignment of the vertebrae is compromised
    • Articulating facets can undergo serious subluxation
    • If there is a herniation of the 5th lumbar disc, it may displace on the sacrum posteriorly
    • The annulus fibrosis and interspinous ligaments may become flabby and not able to counteract the muscular force.
    • The sciatic nerve is the biggest one in the body.
    • The sciatic nerve gives sensation and movement to the lower body and extremities.
    • A lumbosacral joint injury can be expected to lead to serious pain along the sciatic nerve.
    • Minor trauma or small accident can cause a disc rupture.
    • If a disc is ruptured, it will not regrow. But the extent to which it sticks out and hits a nerve root causing neurological symptoms to vary widely. This explains why there are remission periods and exacerbation of symptoms sometimes.
    • The procedure to remove a ruptured disc means the disc material must be removed; this is called a discectomy. Also, the lamina may need to be removed to drop pressure on the nerve root; this is called a laminectomy. Sometimes spinal fusion is called for to eliminate pain and mobility that causes pain.
    • A procedure that is less invasive for a ruptured disc is called chemonucleolysis. This is where disc material is pulverized by the injection of a chemical.
    • A disc rupture can happen again because not all the disc material was taken out.
    • A ruptured disc at another level can happen after disc surgery and fusion; spine immobilization can put higher forces on the next joint. This can tend to rupture the disc in another area.​

    Other Serious Injuries We Can Help With

    Herniated Disc Injury After Car Accident

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    Herniated Disc = Life in Disability + Pain

    Point 1:

    A common dispute in back injury litigation is whether the injury is soft tissue or muscular-ligamentous injury. It also can be disputed if the injury is from a disc herniation.

    It is important that the jury understands the pros and cons of this type of issue. So they need to have a good grasp of the vertebral column anatomy. If the attorney clearly explains the number and location of the major vertebrae and the sacrum and coccyx, as well as how the spine is curved, the jury can understand how the spine is a load-bearing structure and the risks of injury to materials that join each vertebra. This is especially true at the bottom of the column end, in the L5-S1 interface. The majority of serious injuries happen at this level or at L4-L5.

    Vertebrae are stacked on each other with the nucleus pulposis between each structure. It acts essentially as a shock absorber. It is contained the space that is between the vertebrae and what is called annulus fibrosis. The nucleus pulposis is often compared to the stuff that is inside a golf ball. It may be referred to as a type of gristle-type material. If it tears or ruptures, the disc material will herniate. Depending on the location of this tear, the disc could impinge upon key nerve roots that go through the foramen and descend to make nerves that supply your lower extremities. Pressure or impingement on the nerve roots can cause pain and lead to significant impairment. Impairment may be pain, sensation loss, or numbness. Other problems could be muscle atrophy, muscle spasm, loss of range of motion, and tenderness in the joint.

    Point 2:

    Document Herniated Disc Symptoms

    There are many symptoms of a herniated disc, but all systems are not usually presented. Some symptoms relate to a higher injury level, which is thoracic, and others are related to an injury in the lumbar area. Common symptoms that can present are:

    • Muscle spasms
    • Flattening of the spinal curve
    • Tenderness of muscles near the spine
    • Numbness and/or loss of sensation
    • Cramps in muscles
    • Reflex loss
    • Atrophy of muscles
    • Intervertebral space narrows

    Important:

    *Note that the annulus fibrosis can be damaged and bulge and this may occur without an actual tear or rupture. If a disc bulges, there can be similar symptoms and can be very disabling to you. 

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      • “Honest, intelligent and strong attorney”

        I was badly injured in an auto accident. Bartley Herron persuaded the insurance company that they needed to give me the maximum settlement of insurance coverage. The money was and is very important to my family. I recommend Mr. Herron to anyone needing an honest, intelligent and strong attorney to represent them and to fight hard for them. That is what Mr. Herron did for me.

        HERNANDEZ
        (PORTLAND, OREGON)
      • “The settlement your people obtained for me was much better than anything the insurance company had offered me”

        I recommend Herron Law to everyone. I was hurt in a car accident and the insurance company tried to get me to settle without talking to an attorney. I am glad that I talked with you instead. The settlement your people obtained for me was much better than anything the insurance company had offered me. It turned out that I went through an unexpected hardship right after the car accident. I ended up really needing the extra money. Thanks for all of your help and concern.

        GARY
        (PORTLAND, OREGON)
      • “You gave me the drive to fight”

        Thanks to you for your hard efforts and support, you gave me the drive to fight. I actually miss you guys. We think about you often. Even when things were tough you always made me smile. I can never thank you enough.

        C.
        (OREGON)
      • “Your firm… got more than three times the money the insurance company was wanting to pay”

        I contacted your law firm for help after being hurt. I had been talking with the insurance company. The adjuster wanted to settle. But I was concerned that I should talk to a lawyer. Your firm represented me and got more than three times the money the insurance company was wanting to pay. I’m very thankful for the money and what you did for me.

        LAURIE
        (PORTLAND, OREGON)

      Did You Know These Facts Related to Back Injuries:

      • The number of cervical vertebrae in the back is 7.
      • There are 12 dorsal or thoracic vertebrae.
      • The number of lumbar vertebrae is 5.
      • The sacrum is a bone in a triangle shape that is connected and articulates with the 5th lumbar vertebra above but below the coccyx.
      • The 5th lumbar vertebra articulation and the sacrum generates an acute lumbosacral angle that makes disc space very likely to be injured in an accident.
      • The tailbone or coccyx has four rudimentary vertebrae that are located below the sacrum and are fused.
      • Generally, the vertebrae get larger from the top and going down.
      • The lumbar vertebrae are the tallest and widest vertebrae in the back.
      • The spinal cord stops at the second lumbar vertebra.
      • The nerves that come from below the L-2 are from the cauda equina or horsetail that is located below the end of your spinal cord.
      • The weight of the upper body is upheld and transmitted via the lumbosacral and sacroiliac joints.
      • Ligaments that are attached to the vertebrae assist to hold them in position. These are called the posterior longitudinal ligament, anterior longitudinal ligament, the ligamentum flavum, the interspinous ligament and the supraspinous ligament.
      • The prominences that feel bony along the back of your spine is actually the spinous process. This also is known as the posterior spinous process.
      • The wing-type bones of two that come out of both sides of the spinous process are called the transverse processes.
      • The anterior longitudinal ligament is attached to the anterior surface of the axis body and extends down to the sacrum. It is attached to the vertebral bodies.
      • The posterior longitudinal ligament is connected to the posterior surface of the axis. It extends down to the sacrum and attaches to the vertebral bodies.
      • The posterior longitudinal ligament is thin at the cervical and lumbar areas.
      • The posterior longitudinal ligament is not as strong as the anterior longitudinal ligament.
      • Spinal ligaments, which include the posterior and anterior longitudinal ligaments, have little elasticity.
      • If a spinal ligament is torn, it will heal but will have scar tissue that has very little elasticity.

       

      • If you rupture an intervertebral disc, you can expect there will be damage to your ligaments in the spine.
      • Of the intervertebral discs, the lumbosacral joint has the most strain. This s because this joint gets almost 10 times the weight for each square inch as the joint of the knee.
      • Most ruptured discs – at least 90% – happen between L5-S1 and L4-L5.
      • The intervertebral disc space that gets the maximum amount of trauma is the L5-S1 space. This is because it is between the fixed vertebrae that is below the sacrum and the vertebrae that are movable above the sacrum. It is the last disc in your moveable spine. So, it has a bigger and heavier load. The vertebral column weight that is supported does not exactly rest squarely on your first sacral vertebra. Instead, it is at an angle that delivers a shearing force. It tends to slide the 5th lumbar vertebra in a forward motion.
      • The laws of physics mean that a man that lifts a weight of 100 pounds with his extended arms before him will make a force of more than 1600 pounds on the lumbosacral disc.
      • The nerves in the lumbar area come from the spinal canal via the intervertebral foramen. These nerves are bigger at the end of the lumbar spine vertebra and sacrum.
      • The next biggest lumbar nerve root comes from the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae, and so forth.
      • The lumbar spine foramen decreases in size from the top of your lumbar spine down to the bottom. This is so the nerve opening or foramina that are between the 5th lumbar vertebra and the sacrum is the opening least in size. But it still can accommodate the biggest of your lumbar nerve roots.
      • There is a possibility of nerve root irritation due to impingement at the foramina that is located at the 5th lumbar vertebra and sacrum as the opening is not as big, and the nerve is bigger.
      • Between each vertebra is a disc that consists of cartilage that is called the nucleus pulposus.
      • Located around the nucleus pulposus and holding it in the space that is between the vertebral bodies is called the annulus fibrosis. This attaches to your vertebral bodies and helps to hold the vertebral bodies aligned and together. It also holds all of the cartilaginous disc material in the space between said bodies.
      • The disc’s purpose is to be a shock absorber or buffer between the many vertebral bodies and to provide more flexibility to the spine.
      • Approximately 1/3 of the length of the lumbar spine is comprised of discs.