Helping clients who suffer from herniated discs is complicated by the fact that doctors use different terms to describe the same vertebral injury. A herniated disc usually consists of a painful rupture of the fibrocartilage of the disc between spinal vertebrae. In other words, the disc or “cushion” between the hard, bony vertebra tears and disc material from the inside leaks out.
Many injured victims find out in the weeks and months after a car crash that there are discs in their backs or necks that have become herniated discs. We have seen doctors use all of the following phrases to describe this condition:
Ruptured intervertebral disc,
Herniated nucleus pulposus (“HNP”)
The two best analogies we use to explain this injury is that “the jelly has come out of the donut,” and “the toothpaste has come out of the tube, has then hardened and fragments broken off.” Bottom line: make sure your doctor explains to you what has happened to your spine and what can be done to treat it so that it does not get worse.