Car Crash Back Injuries
Back injuries are some of the most common injuries suffered in an accident. Unfortunately, these types of injuries can have a long lasting detrimental effect on your life and the lives of the people that depend on you.
Types of Back Injuries
The back is divided into the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, and lumbar spine, which are the neck, upper back, and lower back respectively. Each section is made up of membrane, bone, and nerves all wrapped and protected by tissue, tendons, and muscles. In an accident, any of these components can be injured.
The human body is strong and resilient, but the spine is delicate and not designed to absorb the types of force involved in a motor vehicle collision. Back injuries that are common in accidents include whiplash, compression fractures, herniated discs, and severe muscle strains.
It’s important that you can recognize the signs of a back injury because these injuries are easily made worse by moving.
Signs of Back Injury
Whiplash is commonly seen in rear-end crashes, as the force of impact can whip your head forward and back with such ferocity that the tendons and muscles of neck stretch, strain, and tear. Symptoms of whiplash can include pain and stiffness often accompanied by a headache. These symptoms generally appear within 24 hours of the crash, though depending on the accident, they may not show up for a few days.
Compression fractures in the thoracic and lumbar spine can occur when the force of the impact throws you forward past the limits of the seat belt causing the spine to twist and vertebra to fracture. If you or someone else in the accident experiences back pain that intensifies with movement, a fracture may have occurred. It is crucial not to move and risk further damage or injury to the spinal cord itself. If the spinal cord is damaged, you may experience numbness or tingling below the fracture or loss of bowel or bladder control.
Spinal disks are rubber-like cushions between the individual vertebrae. When they herniate, the soft center of the disk is pushed through the tough exterior. Also known as a bulging or slipped disk, this type of injury can put pressure on nerves or the spinal cord itself. If you suffer this kind of injury in a wreck, you may experience sharp, sudden pain in the lower back and numbness in the back, buttocks or legs.
It’s important that you see a physician following a wreck so any back or spinal injury can be properly diagnosed and treated. Your doctor may take x-rays or order a CT scan, MRI, or bone scan, so they have a clear picture of exact nature of injury. Most back injuries are treated with injections, pain medications, and physical therapy or rehabilitation. Even in cases of severe muscle strain, your recovery may take longer than you might expect.
If you or a family member suffered a back injury in a car crash, you might be able to seek compensation for your losses, including lost wages, medical expenses and costs related to your injury. Contact us today to learn more.