Car accidents tend to happen. However, the damage from an auto accident is not always restricted to the subject-vehicles. Of all the many car accident injuries, back pain and back injuries tend to be extremely common.
The most minor of auto accidents can lead to back injures. This is because the human body is not created to withstand a jarring blow from a car accident, even at low velocity and speed.
Even an apparent minor back injury will have a large impact on one’s daily life. This article will examine common types of back injuries stemming from auto accidents, steps to take after a back injury, and ways to treat those injuries after an auto crash.
Back Injury Types
The human spine is divided into three different sections: cervical vertebrae (neck), thoracic vertebrae (upper back), and lumbar vertebrae (lower back). Each area of the spinal cord and its vertebrae are encircled by discs, tendons, muscles, nerves, and ligaments, and if damaged can lead to different degrees of pain. These degrees of pain can range from mild to extreme debilitation, and from short-term to longterm.
Thoracic Back Injuries
Usually, injuries to the thoracic area of the spine are the most severe. The thoracic spine/upper back links to the chest and ribs areas. High-impact car accidents cannot only result in sprains and fractures in this area, but can also cause permanent nerve damage.
Lumbar Back Injuries
The lumbar spine consists of the five largest vertebrae and the most durable of muscles needed to provide stability of the spine. As a result, a strain or sprain to the lumbar section can be extremely painful. A strain is a pulling on the ligaments, but a sprain consists of real damage to the ligaments. Regardless, both injuries can result in stifled movements, bruising, swelling, and tenderness, and can seriously affect your daily life.
Herniated Disc Injuries
There are times wherein auto accident victims sustain herniated discs. Discs involve the cushions in between the vertebrae that safeguard the spine. Herniated discs can happen when a disc is dislodged. Many times, the herniated disc will place pressure on the spinal cord or its encircling nerves. Symptoms tend to involve abrupt and intense pain in the lower area of the back, along with numbness and tingling in the lower limbs/legs.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Injuries to the spinal cord are the most severe of back injuries. These can vary from bruising or massive pressure to permanent injury to the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal cord damage usually leads to total or partial paralysis, loss of sensation in specific areas of the body, and inability to use muscle reflex. Also, based on the injury type or resulting treatment, sufferers of spinal cord injuries stand the chance of secondary medical problems, i.e., infection due to surgery, blood clots, pneumonia, bleeding, and spinal fluid leaks.
Back Injury Treatment
Usually, back injuries and the severity of the injury are diagnosed through the use of X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, myelograms, and bone scans. After a diagnosis is determined, treatment differs based on the type and severity of the injury. Most back injuries demand only temporary treatment, including pain medication, pain injections for inflammation, chiropractic treatment, and rehabilitation therapy.
Severe back damage can lead to surgical procedures that release pressure on the spinal cord or the encircling nerves. This could be accomplished by removing parts of the vertebrae and also fusing vertebrae together after the ruptured disc is taken out.
What To Remember…
Since back injuries are not always severe, and since post-accident endorphins can hide pain, back injuries tend to be a prime illustration of auto accident injuries that are not shown until much later. Therefore, it is important to monitor any uncommon sensations or aches, and seek an extensive medical examination if you experience even the slightest amount of back pain after an
auto accident. The high medical bills and the impact of severe back damage on your daily life (included in “pain and suffering” damages) is an important part of any auto insurance claim or lawsuit.