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Can a herniated disk cause paralysis?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2021 | Workplace Injuries |

If you work in a warehouse or manufacturing facility, you may be no stranger to back pain. After all, repeated lifting, twisting and bending can cause muscle aches and even spasms. If you develop a herniated disk, though, your back pain may quickly turn into a nightmare.

Between each vertebra in your spine, you have rubbery or jelly-like cushions. These small disks keep your backbones from rubbing together and also facilitate movement. If a disk ruptures or moves out of place, you are likely to develop a herniated disk.

Symptoms of a herniated disk

If your herniated disk is minor, your first symptom may be ordinary back pain. As the condition worsens, though, you may develop one of more of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling in your arms, legs, fingers or toes
  • Muscular weakness in your upper body
  • Pain in your arms or legs
  • Headaches or nausea

Serious complications from a herniated disk

Depending on the extent of your injury, you may have to deal with life-altering complications from your herniated disk. If your herniated disc allows a vertebra or bone fragment to nick or sever your spinal cord, you may be vulnerable to permanent paralysis. Depending on the location of the injury, this paralysis may affect your arms, legs or torso.

Your treatment plan

If your symptoms are not severe, you are probably safe to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she may refer you to a specialist for diagnosis and treatment. Nevertheless, if you have any of the following symptoms, you should treat your herniated disk as a medical emergency:

  • Worsening pain, numbness or muscular weakness
  • Incontinence, constipation or other bowel dysfunctions
  • Loss of sensation in your upper thighs, buttocks or rectum

You ultimately may need surgery or other invasive procedures to repair your herniated disk. Fortunately, if your injury occurred at work and interferes with your ability to perform your job duties, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.