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Back Injury from a Car Accident
A back injury from a car accident is one of the most common injuries people suffer in a crash. If you have been in a car accident, there are some things you should know if you are suffering from back pain.
Your back, or spine, is composed of about 30 vertebrae. The vertebrae hold together in a column by a combination of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Your vertebrae are bones that have shock absorbing disks between them. Injuries or damage to any parts of your back can cause pain or even paralysis.
What are Common Symptoms of Back Pain?
If you have been in a car accident, you lookout for symptoms of low back injuries and problems including:
- Pain in your lower back
- Stiffness in your lower back
- Numbness or tingling in your legs or feet
- Pain in your legs or feet
- Restricted range of motion in your lower back
Although a back injury may cause pain mostly in your back, you may also experience symptoms in your legs and feet.
What Causes Back Pain?
Lower back pain can have several causes. Here are some potential causes of lower back pain:
Herniated or bulging discs
In a car accident, the rubbery discs between vertebrae could be pushed to one side or ruptured (a herniated disc), a serious injury. Disks have a tougher exterior that houses a softer interior that may leak out when the exterior breaks. The rupture or bulge can affect nearby nerves causing pain or numbness in arms or legs. The leaking of the disc material onto the nerves causes extreme pain.
The discs between the bones in your spine wear thin due to the gradual loss of fluid content. As people age, the water content in the disks decreases making them more prone to tearing or rupturing in a car crash. Thus, the older you get, the greater the chance of an injury in an accident.
Subluxation occurs when one or more of your vertebrae move out of place, putting pressure on your nerves. Subluxations of the spine, are commonly called “out of place” or “stuck” vertebrae. Subluxations can interfere with the signals sent through your nervous system. The signal interference causes parts of your body to not function properly. Subluxations in car accidents are common, especially in the neck.
Cartilage, covers the ends of the bones in the joints. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when cartilage deteriorates over time. Osteoarthritis, like disc degeneration, gradually increases over time, affecting the spine. There is no cure, but a healthy lifestyle slows the progressions and eases the pain in the joints. Like disc degeneration, arthritis makes a car accident victim more vulnerable to injury in a crash.
In a high impact crash, like in a head on collision, a victim could suffer one or more broken bones in their back. Immediate medical attention should be sought. Do not attempt to move someone with suspected broken bones.
Back pain is a common problem after a car accident. The conditions listed above can be caused or aggravated through motor vehicle collisions.
What Should You Do About Back Pain?
If your back pain is due to a car accident, seek immediate medical attention. Emergency rooms only x-ray your back to make sure bones are not broken. An MRI is often needed to determine if you suffered a disc injury. If the pain is severe enough, ask your medical provider for an MRI to rule out a disc injury.
If you are experiencing back pain, you can try to treat it with bed rest and over-the-counter medications. If the pain hasn't improved for three days, you should consult your doctor.
Seek medical attention if your pain:
- Is constant or intense, especially at night or when you lie down
- Spreads down your legs, especially below your knee
- Causes tingling, weakness, or numbness in either or both of your legs
- Is paired with weight loss
- Is paired redness and swelling on your back
Contact 911 and receive immediate medical treatment if your back pain is caused by a high impact collision, causes bowel or bladder issues, or is accompanied by a fever.
If you have been in a high-impact collision, you should also contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to make sure you are fully compensated
Simple back injuries heal themselves after a few days of home treatment. However, a back injury from a car accident can take months or years to resolve. In extreme injuries, back pain can be permanent. More severe injuries and damage need the care of an experienced physician. Injuries caused by a high impact collision such as a car accident should be dealt with immediately. Consult an Austin back injury accident lawyer to learn your rights if you have a back injury from a car accident.