Experiencing back pain and injuries after an accident is common. Though you can resolve some of these injuries with rest, other injuries can cause more severe discomfort, resulting in an inability to perform your day-to-day activities.
This post will explore the common back injuries you can experience from a car accident, possible treatments, and how we at the Law Offices of Sadaka Associates can help you seek compensation for the injuries you sustain.
What Causes Back Injuries?
When in an accident, Newton’s Laws of Motion take effect. Though your vehicle stops after coming into contact with something else, your body remains in a forward motion until an airbag, seat belt, windshield, or steering wheel stops it.
The violent motion and abrupt stop you experience can fracture, sprain, or severely injure several body parts, including your spinal cord, back, and neck. Though you will commonly experience these injuries in head-on, side-impact, and rear collisions, even minor car accidents can have an impact on your mobility.
Common Symptoms of Back Injuries
After being involved in a collision, you will often feel sore all over, making it challenging to determine if the soreness relates to a back injury. Fortunately, knowing what to expect after a car accident can help you determine what to do next.
The back pain you experience after an accident could stem from inflammation, compressed nerves, or fractures. Furthermore, because your spine starts at your neck and travels down your back, the pain can spread to many areas.
Common symptoms of back injuries include:
- Burning Pain: You might experience a searing pain that moves down your lower back through the back of your legs. This pain can be mild, going away in a few days, or more severe and long-lasting.
- Muscle Spasms: Your muscles could twitch repeatedly or feel tender on the outside. Muscle spasms tend to vary in pain levels, ranging from manageable to debilitating.
- Sharp Pain: You could experience sharp, acute pain in your back every time you try to change positions, sit down after walking, or stand up after prolonged sitting.
- Stiffness: Since your muscles tend to tense up after a car accident to protect your body, you might not feel as flexible as usual. While this stiffness could go away after light stretching, sometimes it could continue throughout your day or for extended periods.
- Numbness or Tingling: Tense muscles could pinch your nerves and cause sensations of numbness or tingling. On top of that, since your spinal cord connects to your body’s extremities, you could feel this sensation in your arms, hands, legs, or feet.
You might also experience disorientation, dizziness, and headaches, often resulting from cervical vertebrae injuries.
Considering such a wide range of symptoms, you need to note how you feel, the activities that increase your pain, how often it occurs, and how long it lasts.
Common Back Injuries From a Car Accident
You could suffer many types of back injuries after being involved in a car accident, with most of them resulting from whiplash.
Whiplash happens when your head and neck propel forward while your body stays still, causing your head and neck to come to a sudden stop. Besides the stiffness, pain, dizziness, and blurred vision, whiplash can also damage soft tissue causing several back injuries.
The following common back injuries you could experience from a car accident include:
Spinal or Lumbar Fractures
Spinal fractures occur when one or more of your vertebrae crack, break, or get damaged. Such injuries are commonly associated with car accidents where the seat belt fails to hold your body in place adequately. As a result, your body’s lower half remains still while your head and torso are jostled around.
You could experience different types of spinal fractures, including:
- Compression Fractures: Small breaks or cracks along your vertebrae caused by too much pressure
- Burst Fractures: Refers to the crushing of multiple parts of your vertebrae, sometimes causing your bone fragments to scatter
- Flexion Fractures: Breaks in your vertebra, with fractures often occurring in the posterior or middle columns
- Fracture-Dislocation: The combination of flexion fractures with the movement or dislocation of your vertebra or vertebrae
Back Strains and Sprains
Back strains involve the excessive stretching of your soft tissue, causing damage and pain that can be challenging to eliminate. The strain often occurs in the tendons in your back, damaging the ligaments that connect your bones and muscles.
When involved in a car accident, the discs cushioning the vertebrae in your spine can be subjected to immense force and pressure. This pressure can cause these discs to shift and compress the nerves, leading to herniated discs.
Herniated discs occur when the inner part of your spinal cord pushes out beyond the outer ring. The protruding portion then rubs against your nerves, causing burning sensations, numbness, and weakness that could extend throughout your body.
The good news is you can resolve these injuries with non-invasive methods, such as physical therapy. However, some cases require surgery, especially if the damage is severe and impacts other structures in your body.
Spondylolisthesis, another type of back injury, happens where your vertebra becomes displaced due to a stress fracture. The condition compresses your nerves or spinal canal, resulting in weakness, pain, numbness, and difficulty walking. However, the pain you experience will depend on the location and amount of displacement.
Discogenic pain refers to the often sharp pain or shooting sensation you experience due to damaging your spinal discs. In some cases, this pain could radiate to your groin, feet, or both legs.
The discomfort you feel when experiencing discogenic pain varies from person to person. For instance, while you might feel better lying down, the same action could result in more pain for others. On top of that, some people report cases where sitting or standing for extended periods could worsen the pain.
Facet Joint Injuries
Facet joints, found between various spine bones, have nerve roots that run through them and into different parts of your body. These joints let you twist or bend in different directions without damaging or hurting your spine.
Issues with your facet joints could be caused by thinning cartilage or not treating previous trauma to your spine. As a result, your muscles could tighten, and you might feel tenderness on your back or experience radiating pain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur when your spinal cord is cut, bruised, or even severed due to the impact you experience during a car accident. This injury can be severe, with permanent paralysis known to happen when your spinal cord becomes lacerated or severed.
What To Do When You Experience Back Pain After an Accident
Essentially, you must visit your doctor or an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible after an accident, even if you only feel some initial mild symptoms. The doctor will conduct a thorough examination, assessing your injuries and mobility limitations before recommending potential treatments and therapies.
By seeking immediate treatment, you can address potential problems before they get worse and get medical clearance before attempting physical activities that could worsen your injuries. Failure to consult a doctor increases the risks of exacerbating the problem and could lead to further damage and longer recovery times.
Potential Treatments for Back Injuries
The treatment for your back pain and injuries will vary according to the type of injury, its severity, and location. For instance, rest, gentle stretching, and a back brace can help you resolve symptoms from whiplash. However, severe cases will need more extensive care from a spine specialist. Such care could include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Corticosteroid injections
- Spine surgery
Getting Compensation for Your Back Injuries
Experiencing back injuries can make it challenging to work and complete daily activities. On top of that, the pain you endure could require extensive medical care, which significantly impacts your finances and quality of life.
Instead of adding to the stress and frustrations of your recovery, consider consulting the personal injury lawyers we have here at Sadaka Associates. Our attorneys stand ready to offer you the help you need to navigate legal proceedings.
The last thing anyone wants to think about after suffering a back injury from an accident is how to file a personal injury claim. By working with us, you can dedicate all your energy to your recovery while our legal team handles everything else. We will review your case, help you determine the best solution for your situation, and even gather the necessary evidence to help you support your claim.