The spinal cord is responsible for coordinating movement and function throughout the body. With more than 120 muscles, 100 joints and 220 ligaments, it has remarkable flexibility and range of movement. It is also astonishingly strong, able to sustain hundreds of pounds of weight and pressure at any given time.
However, the spinal cord is not built to handle the sudden impact of a car accident. While the spinal cord will act as a “shock absorber” for the rest of your body in a car accident, it may suffer from tearing ligaments, pinching nerves and other damage that result in serious back injuries over the course of your life.
About 40 percent of all spinal cord injuries each year come from car accidents. These spinal cord injuries result in ongoing conditions such as muscle weakness, limited range of motion, chronic pain and more. Back injuries from car accidents can not only significantly impact your ability to continue everyday activities, but can even affect your life expectancy.
If you have suffered a back injury from a car accident, you may find yourself experiencing different levels of pain from one day to the next. If this happens, it can be very confusing to explain your symptoms to a doctor. As a result, you may find yourself not getting the kind of care you need.
At The Flood Law Firm, we have helped hundreds of car accident victims during their recovery process by fighting for their rights to financial compensation. We understand the pain you are experiencing, along with the added stress of not knowing how to explain your symptoms to your doctor. The following article is meant to help you identify the pain associated with your back injury and give you a better understanding of what kind of medical support you may need.
Common Back Injuries
Injuries from a car accident may affect multiple areas in and around the spine. Injuries to the back muscles tend to be milder and more temporary, while injuries to the spinal cord are likely to be more severe and have long-term consequences to your health.
Some of the most common back injuries after a car accident include:
Soft Tissue Bruising/Tearing
This includes stretching or tearing of muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back. While soft tissue damage cannot be seen by an X-ray, it can cause anything from muscle weakness to excruciating chronic pain.
These may include compression fractures (where the vertebrae crack from downward force of impact), flexion fractures (where the vertebrae crack from being violently whipped forward), transverse process fractures (caused by twisting or pitching back and forth).
This is the most common type of back injury from a car accident. It happens when the vertebrae ligaments or discs that connect two vertebrae are stretched or torn, causing the bones to come out of alignment.
When a vertebrae cracks, the soft center material may begin to leak out. This is called herniation. Depending on where it happens, the herniation may affect surrounding nerves, causing pain, weakness, numbness or tingling.
When vertebral bones come out of alignment, they may press on the nerves or on the spinal canal. While it may go unnoticed immediately after a car accident, over time spondylolisthesis can result in pain, weakness, difficulty walking, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord has seven distinct regions that impact different parts of the body. Your symptoms and the level of pain you experience have a lot to do with what part of the spinal cord was injured during your car accident.
Treatment of Back Injuries from Car Accidents
The road to recovery after a car accident spinal cord injury can be long and difficult. Every case of back injury is unique, and some symptoms may not show up until months or years after the car accident.
Many in the medical community do not fully understand the long-term effects of car accidents on the spinal cord. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury after a car accident, it is wise to seek out the support of doctors and therapists who specialize in back injuries. Specialists in back injury will not only take your symptoms seriously, but will have the most insight into your condition and give the best estimate on how long it will take for you to heal.
Depending on the severity of your back injury and the length of time it has gone unaddressed, treatments for your back injury may include several different forms of treatment. Milder back injuries may involve physical therapy, chiropractic care and non-pharmaceutical approaches such as heat packs and massage. Those with more serious car accident back injuries may need pain medication and injections to reduce inflammation. The most severe back injuries often require surgery, including removal of vertebrae or fusing vertebrae together.
Settlements from Back Injuries
Finding the best possible care for your back injury after a car accident may present a significant financial burden. Many victims of back and spinal cord injuries due to car accidents choose to hire an attorney who can help them pursue financial compensation to help with their medical bills.
Filing a claim for your car accident injury does not always mean going to court. In many cases, victims of car accident back injury will reach a settlement with the person or party responsible for their accident. This financial settlement can make all the difference to you and your family by alleviating the expenses involved in your healing process. A settlement may also include financial damages for other factors such as the work you’ve missed as a result of your back injury, repairs to your vehicle, transportation costs, and childcare expenses during your doctor’s appointments.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you are the victim of a car accident injury that was not your fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation. By working with an experienced car accident attorney, you can focus on healing from your back injury with the assurance that someone is on your side and fighting for you to receive to the maximum settlement possible.
The Flood Law Firm has a proven track record of successfully representing Connecticut residents injured in car accidents. We are here to help you get the compensation you need to get your life back. Call us today at (860) 346-2695 for a no-obligation, no-cost consultation about your case.