Car accidents as well as truck and bus accidents, are a common cause of cervical disc herniation especially those during which an abrupt change of speed ocurrs. Seat belts and airbags in cars are designed to prevent this type of personal injury. During a vehicle collision, the weight of the head being moved quickly or violently forward and/or backward produces tremendous pressure on the cervical vertebrae (neck) and can cause the disc to bulge or herniate.
Basically each intervertebral disc has two parts, the annulus fibrosus and the nucleus pulposus. The annulus fibrosus is made up of layers of fibrous tissue. It surrounds the nucleus pulposus and serves as a retaining sheath of dense fibrous tissue which keep the nucleus under pressure. The nucleus pulposus which is retained within the annulus fibrosus has a mucoid character and consistency similar to grissle and acts like a fluid. Herniation occurs when the nucleus pulposus protrudes or ruptures through the surrounding annulus fibrosus.
In this video, Dr Nabil Ebraheim, Professor and Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at The University of Toledo, explains what a disc herniation is and how it affects other parts of the upper body.