Common Back Injuries from Car Accidents

back injury car accidentA car accident can be quite traumatic; add an injury, and the trauma continues. Many car accident victims suffer back injuries, which can lead to debilitating pain and loss of employment. Even when the damage is not permanent, many victims still take a very long time to heal.

Statistics from Good Body report that back pain was the leading cause of disability in 2017, that 3 million years of productive life is lost in the U.S. each year because of back pain, and Americans spend about 50 billion dollars each year to battle back pain.

The impact of a car accident can apply extreme pressure on the neck and spine, and it is not uncommon for car crash victims to experience back pain and injury after a crash. Some common back injuries due to car accidents include:

  • Whiplash can cause severe pain in the neck, as well as the lower and upper back. It is caused by the jerking, back-and-forth movement of the head during the impact of a crash. The impact may tear or damage ligaments, nerves, muscles, nerves, bones, and discs in the cervical spine.
  • Soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains, occur from the force of impact. Ligaments, muscles, and tendons can tear or overstretch leading to pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
  • Spinal disc injuries may happen from the force of impact as well. There are 23 discs that sit between each vertebra. The job of the discs is to provide cushioning and support. The impact of a car crash may damage or displace one or more of the discs causing a bulging disc, annular tears, and herniated discs. A bulging disc is when the disc bulges out into the spinal canal. An annular tear happens when a crack is created in the disc’s outer ring of ligaments. An annular tear may cause pain and inflammation around the damaged disc. A herniated disk is when a tear causes the internal, jelly-like center of a disc to leak into the spinal canal. Nerve pain is possible if a disc fragment irritates the nearby spinal nerves.
  • Joint damage from a high-impact car crash occurs when the facet joints which connect the vertebrae in the spine are damaged. This usually causes lower back pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
  • Spinal cord injuries are the most dangerous car crash injuries. The impact of the crash may bruise, lacerate, or damage the spinal cord. This can result in permanent nerve damage or paralysis. Immediate medical attention is required. A person with a possible spinal cord injury should not be moved until an ambulance or EMTs arrive at the scene.
  • Thoracic spine injuries occur in the middle or upper back and may cause severe pain in those areas of the spine. Fractures, disc herniations, and sometimes paralysis in the worst cases. This type of spine injury is especially serious because the vertebrae is narrower in the thoracic section of the spine.
  • Spinal stenosis happens when a back injury is left untreated. This progressive disease gets worse over time. It is the narrowing of the channel that houses the spinal cord. The narrowing forces the vertebrae out and pinches the nerves in the channel. Pain, tingling from legs to toes, stiffness, and possible loss of bladder and bowel control may follow.

What are the symptoms of a back injury from a car accident?

Symptoms that may signal a back injury immediately after impact include:

  • Extreme pain in head, neck, or back
  • Not being able to move fingers or toes
  • Numbness, tingling or burning sensations in any part of your body
  • Immediate headache
  • Not being able to walk
  • Loss of balance
  • Not be able to control bladder or bowels
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Twisted, unnatural, awkward position of body after accident

Delayed symptoms of back injury include:

  • Pain in shoulders, neck or back
  • Several days of continuous headaches after impact
  • Swelling, bruising or pain in the belly
  • Weakness
  • Inability to lift
  • Pinching sensations in the shoulders, neck, or back
  • Tingling or numbness in hands, arms, or fingers
  • Decreased vision
  • Decreased hearing
  • Stress, anxiety, panic

Treatment for back injuries caused by car accidents

Back injuries will require x-rays, CT scans, bone scans, and MRIs to assist the doctor in diagnosing the type of injury. Most of the time, back injuries from car accidents need minimal treatments like pain medications and physical therapy. More severe spinal cord issues may need surgical interventions. Sometimes a back injury will require multiple types of treatments and extended recovery periods.

No matter what your treatment plan is, however, it is critical that you follow it to the letter. Failure to do so can make your injury worse.

What should I do if I suspect I have suffered a back injury due to a car accident?

Always see a physician after a car accident, especially if you are injured or suspect a back injury. If you missed work, incurred high medical bills, or have suffered with pain and immobility due to a car accident, it is wise to speak to Nashville personal injury lawyer from our team. If your car accident occurred at work, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. We can help you understand the options you have and guide you toward the best possible outcome for you.

If you have been in a Nashville car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, or due to faulty vehicle equipment, Rocky McElhaney Law Firm will fight for compensation s for your injury, pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and any other losses. Call our experienced and dedicated Nashville car accident attorneys at 615-425-2500, or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. We operate offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville.