Herniated Discs And Pinched Nerves


An intervertebral spinal disc lies very close to a spinal nerve root as the spinal nerve root exits the spinal canal.

The 33 vertebrae and the intervertebral discs are stacked one on top of the other to form the spinal column. Inside this hollow bony spinal column is the spinal cord. The spinal canal contains the cerebral spinal fluid and the delicate spinal cord itself.

The spinal cord has roots, like roots growing from a tree, called the “spinal nerve roots.” Nerve roots exit the spinal canal on the right and left, through an opening between two vertebrae called a “foramen.” Each nerve root forms a peripheral spinal nerve that goes down our right and left arms and our right and left legs, respectively.

Barry was diagnosed with a herniated disc at L5-S1 following a an Alexandria, Virginia car accident. His doctor told him that the disc at this level was pressing on a nerve root.

If a spinal disc herniates, the inner jelly of the nucleus pulposus slips out of place and may compress the nearby nerve root as it exits the spinal canal causing symptoms. A herniated disc can cause pain radiating down an arm or leg with numbness and tingling by compressing a spinal nerve root.

The Fairfax, Virginia Car Accident: Herniated Disc Injury

Saundra was in a Fairfax, Virginia car accident on Ox Road. As a result, she developed pain radiating down her left arm. Her neurosurgeon diagnosed her with a herniated disc in her cervical spine.

Since nerve roots in the cervical spine form spinal nerves that go down the arm into the hand, compression of the nerve root “upstream” by a herniated disc in the cervical spine, will be felt “downstream”-- down the arm and hand along the course of the nerve.

The nerve pain is called “radiating pain” because it radiates from the compressed nerve root in the spinal area, down the course of the nerve into the arm or leg. A herniated disc in the neck produces radiating pain down the arm into the hand. This condition is called “cervical radiculopathy.” A herniated disc compressing the right-sided nerve root at the C5-C6 level of the cervical spine causes what physicians call “right-sided C5-C6 radiculopathy.” A herniated disc compressing the left-sided nerve root at C6-C7 is called by physicians “left-sided C6-C7 radiculopathy.”

The Fairfax, Virginia Auto Accident:
Lumbar Herniated Disc Injury

Tom suffered a herniated disc in his low back at L4-L5 with pain radiating down his right leg from a Fairfax County car accident in Springfield, Virginia. His doctor gave him a diagnosis of right L4-L5 radiculopathy.

A herniated disc in the low back often compresses the sciatic nerve producing radiating pain down the course of the sciatic nerve -- down the leg. This is called by physicians “lumbar radiculopathy” or “sciatica.” A herniated disc in the low back at the level L4-L5 is called “L4-L5 radiculopathy.” If the symptoms are on the right side, the pain will radiate down the patient’s right leg and the condition is called “right-sided L4-L5 radiculopathy.”

To learn more about your herniated disc injury and why you are having radiating pain, consult the 3rd edition of Gerald Schwartz’s reference book published by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, by clicking “Primer of Neck and Back Injuries for Attorneys and Staff.

Free Consultation With Gerald Schwartz

Gerald Schwartz has 30 years experience handling herniated disc cases in Alexandria and all over Fairfax County. He is one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” in Virginia.

For a free consultation with Fairfax herniated disc lawyer call Gerald Schwartz at (703) 823-0055.