After a car crash, many accident victims and medical professionals tend to focus on injuries on the upper spine, like whiplash. However, car accidents can also cause injuries in the lower back, but may get overlooked in the aftermath of everything else. A common lower back injury suffered in car accidents is sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
The sacroiliac joint
The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects the sacrum and the iliac bones (or ilium), linking the pelvis to the lower spine. The range of movement of this joint is minimal, but it’s important because it supports the entire weight of our bodies when we stand upright. The SI joint is designed to help prevent the force of movement from things like walking, running, and twisting from injuring the spine. Although the joint is technically considered “immovable” because it’s held together with strong ligaments, it’s still subject to injury.
Extreme strain on the joint, like in the event of a car accident, can cause significant trauma. Injuries to the SI joint can include ligament damage, fractures to the bones within the joint, or nerve damage that radiates into the hips and legs.
Symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Even a minor car accident can damage or stretch out the ligaments in the SI joint, which causes inflammation and pain in the lower back, as well as down the hips and buttocks. Hard stops and impacts from car crashes can dislocate or displace the bones in the joint. Trauma to the sacroiliac joint can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Aching in the lower back, after sitting or driving for long periods
- Difficulty and pain standing up from a seated position, rolling over, tying shoes, or getting in and out of the car
- Pain in the lower back, hips, and buttocks, ranging from aches to sharp pain
- Numbness and tingling in the legs
- Pain that radiates out into the groin
In the case of a fractured SI joint, injury victims may also feel a grinding sensation in the joint, have difficulty or an inability to bear weight, and pain may increase greatly with activity.
Treating sacroiliac injuries
Every person’s injury and treatment plan is unique, but SI joint injuries are typically treated in a variety of ways:
- Physical therapy, to restore ligament strength
- Tissue massage
- Ice and cold compress therapy
- Cortisone injections
- NSAID painkillers
- Steroid therapy
- Prescription painkillers
- Surgery, usually as a last resort
If you believe you have a sacroiliac joint injury as a result of a Tennessee car crash, you are likely in a lot of pain, and your medical bills may be overwhelming. At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we work to hold the negligent driver responsible for your medical care and damages. Call our lawyers today at 615-246-5549 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Knoxville.
Nashville personal injury attorney Rocky McElhaney represents people who have been injured in car, truck and other automobile accidents as well as many other forms of negligence throughout the state of Tennessee.