Auto accidents are a leading cause of injuries in the United States. Data shows that more than 5.6 million car crashes were reported in the country in 2012, out of which more than 30,000 were critical cases, and 1.6 million involved injuries. Many people are hurt daily in side-impact, and head-on and rear-end collisions resulting in different kinds of injuries. Of these, back injuries are the most common and can range from minor bruises and sprains to disc herniation, fractured vertebrae and severe damage to the spinal column. Consult with an experienced back injury doctor immediately if you have been involved in a car crash and sustained injuries. Read on to learn more about the types of injuries and treatment options.
Back Injury Types
All cars today are equipped with airbags and seatbelts that often save fatal consequences, but injuries are inevitable. Here are some of the common types of back injuries in a car accident:
Lumbar spine injuries: Your lumbar spine has the strongest muscles, and consists of the five largest vertebrae, providing support and stability to your spinal column. Strain, sprain, or injury to the lumbar spine means pain and discomfort leading to swelling, bruising, tenderness, and limited movement. Injury to your lumbar spine may seriously affect your ability to carry out normal activities.
Thoracic spine injuries: The upper back or thoracic spine connects with the chest area and ribs, and injuries in this part are the most critical. High-impact road collisions result in fractures and sprains in the thoracic spine, and may also lead to permanent damage to the nerves.
Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious, and range from pressure or bruising to permanent damage to the spinal column and nerves. It may lead to partial or complete paralysis, loss of reflex action, and a feeling of numbness in certain body parts. Depending on the nature of injury and treatment, patients with spinal injuries are susceptible to secondary medical problems like clotting of blood, infection related to surgery, pneumonia, spinal fluid leaks, and bleeding.
Herniated discs: Car crash victims often suffer from herniated discs, and it occurs when a disc gets displaced. A herniated disc exerts pressure on your spinal column as well as the adjoining areas leading to sudden and excruciating pain in the lower back. One may also get a feeling of numbness in his or her legs. This happens when one sustains an injury in the middle or lower area of the spine, affecting the legs. This condition is known as paraplegia.
Compression fractures: Seniors who become victims of auto accidents suffer from compression fractures, which are small cracks in the spinal bones. If you leave it untreated, it will eventually result in deformation and collapse of the vertebrae, causing permanent damage to the structure and shape of the spinal cord in extreme cases. The common symptoms of compression fractures are difficulty in breathing, pain, discomfort, and postural changes.
A certified injury doctor will examine back injuries after an auto accident. A physician can ascertain the severity of an accident through CT scans, X-rays, bone scans, myelograms, and MRIs. Once the diagnosis is over, you will receive treatment depending on the type and seriousness of the injuries. Most of the back injuries require temporary treatment such as physical therapy, pain medications, and injections to reduce inflammation. In severe cases, one may have to go for surgery to ease the pressure on the spinal column or the adjoining areas. The process involves removing the vertebrae parts and fusing it together after removing the fractured disk.
If you have been a victim of a car crash, get in touch with a back injury doctor for treatment. Make sure that you preserve all the documents including the prescriptions, bills, and diagnosis reports. These will help you in filing compensation claim in the future.