Injuring your back in a car accident is extremely common and something we all dread.
Even minor accidents can lead to back pain that requires medical treatment and physical therapy.
Car accident back injuries are common because of the laws of motion.
During impact, the body is still moving until something stops it.
That could be anything from a seatbelt or airbag to the steering wheel or windshield. Your spine is delicate, and a severe impact can result in catastrophic injuries.
Here is a look at some of the most common back injuries from a car accident.
Back Sprain and Strain
Back strains and sprains are some of the most common back injuries we see. A back strain happens when soft tissue stretches too far, resulting in damage.
A sprain involves damaged ligaments. Back pain after a car accident can linger and cause stiffness, affecting nearly every aspect of your life.
Unfortunately, soft tissue injuries like these aren’t visible on x-rays. You’ll need to discuss your complaints with your doctor to set up a treatment plan.
All along your spine, you have discs cushioning the vertebrae. A car accident results in a lot of force on your discs, sometimes causing them to shift and compress the nerves.
When there’s nerve compression, you’ll feel a lot of pain and numbness.
A herniated disc might resolve independently but usually require conservative and non-invasive treatment, such as physical therapy.
Surgery may be necessary for severe cases where nerve impingement impacts other parts of your body.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A car accident back injury, such as a spinal cord injury, could be permanent. When your spinal cord is severed, it can result in permanent paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries are classified as complete or incomplete.
An incomplete spinal cord injury means you might have some feeling, whereas a complete one means complete paralysis from below the injury level.
The higher the spinal cord injury, the more paralysis is likely.
A spinal fracture means one or more vertebrae crack, break, or suffer other damage. One of the more common types of spinal fractures is a compression fracture.
It’s a small fissure or crack on the vertebrae but can result in significant pain. With a spinal fracture back injury from a car accident, symptoms can include pain when breathing, sitting down, or walking.
You might have muscle weakness, numbness, and bladder issues.
Spondylolisthesis involves the displacement of vertebrae by a stress fracture. Any movement of the vertebrae could compress the spinal canal or nearby nerves.
In severe displacement cases, you might find walking hard and have numbness and weakness.
Common Symptoms of Car Accident Back Injuries
Back injuries can disrupt your job and home life.
You might be unable to work in your regular job or around the house because of physical limitations, and the pain might impact your daily activities.
Your quality of life can suffer, and you might even need to hire assistance at home.
Some of the most common symptoms of a back injury include the following:
- Mild, moderate, or severe back pain;
- Stiffness and muscle spasms;
- Problems standing up or walking;
- Pain radiating down your buttocks and legs; and
- Tingling or numbness in your arms, legs, hands, or feet.
Don’t take any chances if you have any back pain. Seek medical treatment right away.
Treating Car Accident Back Injuries
Treatment for car accident back injuries will vary depending on the type and severity. Some back injuries can heal with physical therapy.
Other serious injuries will require surgical intervention. Injuries that involve paralysis or nerve impingement might be permanent.
It’s crucial to seek medical treatment following a car accident, even if you don’t think you have a severe injury. Some soft injuries might not be visible for one or two days.
If you plan to pursue compensation from the party who caused your back injuries, the best course is to seek timely medical treatment.
Otherwise, the defendant’s insurance company will use a delay or a gap in treatment against you.
Possible treatment therapies include:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and painkillers,
- Physical therapy,
- Chiropractic care,
- Prescription muscle relaxants and painkillers,
- Corticosteroid injections, and
Some long-term care might involve speech and occupational therapy too. Victims with permanent damage might need to join support groups to learn how to manage lifestyle changes.
Contact a Skilled Car Accident Attorney
If you sustained back injuries from a car accident in Texas or New Mexico, please get in touch with the experienced car accident lawyers at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C.
We have a reputation for successfully representing car accident victims with severe back injuries. We know this can be a terrifying time for you and your family, but you’re not alone.
We’ll be there every step of the way and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact one of our conveniently located offices in Texas or New Mexico to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.