Back Injury After Car Accident: What to Know
By Grace Hancock
After a car crash, you may assume that your neck or back pain will go away with time. You may even walk away from a car accident feeling no pain at all, only to develop symptoms of an injury later on. Back pain can become chronic and affect your ability to work and do the things you enjoy. Sometimes back pain is caused by strains and sprains that heal over time. Unfortunately, back pain can also be a sign of serious injury. These injuries could include fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, or spinal stenosis. All these conditions have the potential to lead to nerve damage, permanent disability, or spinal cord damage.
Don’t wait to seek treatment or get help. Our team at Hancock Injury Attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve after your car accident so that you can focus on your physical recovery.
What Types of Back Injuries Are Common After a Car Accident?
Fractured vertebrae, also called spinal fractures, can happen anywhere along your spine. Common symptoms of fractured vertebrae include sensations of pain, tingliness, or numbness in the back or neck, loss of urinary or bladder control, muscle spasms, and weakness or paralysis of the limbs. Although these symptoms may sound scary, many fractured vertebrae injuries can heal over time with rest and the proper medical treatment. If left untreated, fractured vertebrae may lead to further injury, which is why it’s so important for you to seek medical treatment after an accident, even if you aren’t currently feeling any symptoms.
A herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc, is a term often thrown around with little to no explanation as to what it actually means. Your spine has intervertebral discs which act as cushions in between each of your vertebrae. These “cushions” keep your vertebrae from just sitting on top of one another; bone to bone. Your intervertebral discs have a tough outer layer and a soft inner layer. You can think of these layers as being like a jelly doughnut. When an injury causes the soft inner layer of your intervertebral discs to come out and press against one or more of your nerves, which in turn causes irritation to those nerves, the resulting injury is what’s known as a herniated disc.
Herniated discs typically occur in the lower back. Symptoms of a herniated disc vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms reported include sensations of pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in the affected area, pain that extends to the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, and even toes, and sudden muscle weakness. Although a herniated disc may heal over time, it can also worsen and lead to further injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Each of your vertebrae surrounds a cord of nervous tissue. This makes up your spine. That cord of nervous tissue is your spinal cord. Fractured vertebrae or herniated disc, depending on the severity of the injury, may also cause damage to your spinal cord. A spinal cord injury may result in symptoms similar to those of fractured vertebrae, including paralysis and difficulty with breathing or coughing.
A fractured vertebra or herniated disc type injury can also lead to a condition known as spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces in your spinal column narrow and compress your spinal cord. Common symptoms of spinal stenosis include issues with balance, weakness in your arms or legs, lower back pain when you’re standing or walking, and numbness in your legs or buttocks.
Nerve damage occurs when an injury stretches, compresses, crushes, or pinches your nerve. Symptoms of nerve damage can vary, that being said, the most common signs of nerve damage include a decrease or loss in reflexes, muscle weakness, radiating or shooting pain, and numbness and tingling in the affected area. Nerve damage may be resolved with treatment but can be permanent, depending on the degree of severity of your nerve damage.
Treatment for Back Injuries
Back injuries are most commonly diagnosed through the use of a computerized tomography scan, also known as a CT or CAT scan. Your treatment plan will vary depending on the results of your examination which will determine the severity of your injury. Treatment for back injuries may include physical therapy, prescription medication, or surgery. These treatment methods will only be considered if conservative methods of therapy prove insufficient to heal your back injury.
What You Should Do After A Back Injury
With any type of back injury, it is important to:
- Seek proper medical treatment. This is important, not only for your recovery but to also document your injury for the insurance company.
- Wait until you reach maximum medical improvement before you resolve your case. Your injuries may turn out to be more serious than you think. If you resolve your case too soon, you may not demand enough compensation to meet your future needs.
- Without a lawyer’s help in documenting your injury, you may not receive the compensation you deserve. More importantly, you may not receive the treatment you need to recover your health as fully as possible.
We Can Help
Whether you’ve recently been in an accident and have suffered a back injury or simply have legal questions about back injuries, contact Hancock Injury Attorneys for answers to your legal questions at 813-915-1110. From our office in Tampa, we represent back injury victims in the Tampa Bay area. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also reach us by e-mail. We will answer your questions, make recommendations, and provide you with a free, confidential evaluation of your accident claim, all without obligation to use our legal services.