Our bodies are amazing pieces of machinery, discs and ligaments serve many functions throughout the skeletomuscular system. The cervical discs have the highest proportional height and their nuclei have the greatest capacity to swell. This allows a greater range of motion and shock attenuation. The outer portion of the cervical disc area is called the annulus and is attached by fibers that are easily torn with acceleration and deceleration motions, otherwise known as whiplash.
Discs are viscoelastic structures and display properties known as anisotropy, creep, and hysteresis. Anisotropy is a term defining the disc’s strength and stiffness which will vary depending on the type and direction of the force applied. The term Creep refers to the disc’s gradual deformation under constant pressure. Hysteresis describes the loss of energy in tissue after repetitive loading and unloading of pressure or weight.
Healthy discs will have dynamic flow it in the nuclei allowing for an even distribution of weight or pressure over the endplates in the spine.
Ligaments are only able to resist force in one direction. They provide strength and stability by allowing a finite amount of displacement in each spinal segment. A ligament’s strength increases when repetitive weight is applied however little resistance is offered within normal physiological ranges of motion. Ligament injuries of peripheral joints are graded in terms of severity with grade one, the first degree, being the mildest. Local tenderness may or may not be present in pain usually occurs only when stress is applied.
Grade 2, the second degree, depicts moderate to severe pain when stress is applied and causes some degree of handicap. The final and most severe grade, grade three, reflects a complete or nearly complete rupture of at least a portion of the ligament. Ironically, this loss of continuity may result in no pain when a joint is stressed. A third-degree ligament injury is best defined by a complete inability to bear any weight on the injured joint. However, the ligament may appear perfectly normal under the microscope.
If you have suffered a personal injury from a vehicle, or other type of accident, involving whiplash, a bulging or slipped disc, torn ligaments, or other injuries relating to the spine or neck area through no fault of your own, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney before accepting a settlement from the insurance company. Robert Edens offers an honest, no-obligation, free consultation. He will evaluate the facts of your case, review any settlement that an insurance company has offered you, or tell you how you can handle the case yourself if his services are unnecessary. Call 847-395-2200 or click here to schedule your appointment for a free consultation.