Millions of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Some of these injuries are severe and cause long-term health issues or permanent disabilities. In other cases, accident victims may recover completely, but only have surgery, physical therapy, and a painful recovery. For some victims, the pain will never end, especially with a severe back injury.
Common Back Injuries in a Car Accident
Back injuries are common in car accidents, including accidents that occur at slow speeds.
Spondylolisthesis is slipping of the vertebra. Infection, disease, and congenital disabilities can cause spondylolisthesis, or the vertebra can be broken or fractured by trauma. Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include low back pain, pain that radiates down the legs, and muscles that are weak, stiff, or tight. Treatment can include physical therapy, pain medication, and anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, a patient could require further treatment, including surgery.
Cervical radiculopathy is damage to the nerve function when the nerve roots are damaged from compression of cervical vertebrae. Causes of cervical radiculopathy include ruptured discs, arthritis, degenerative diseases, or injuries that place pressure on the nerve roots. Symptoms include pain that spreads to the neck, shoulders, chest, and arms. A person may also experience tingling in the fingers and hands, lack of coordination, and muscle weakness. Treatments include pain medications, steroids, physical therapy, and surgery.
Other Back Injuries
There are several other back and spinal cord injuries that can cause severe pain and long-term health conditions. Compression fractures, bulging discs, and herniated discs are common injuries to the spinal cord. Fractures and soft tissue damage are other common back and spinal cord injuries.
Diagnosing Back Injuries After a Car Accident
Doctors use a variety of diagnostic tools to determine the exact injuries to the back and spine after a car accident. X-rays are the basic tool used when doctors are checking for spine misalignment and bone fractures. An MRI (Magnetic Resource Imagining) scan can detect herniated discs, nerve damage, and other damage to the spine. A CT or CAT (Computer Axial Tomography) scan can also be used to identify and access damage to the spinal cord, discs, and vertebrae.
Depending on the severity of the injury and other factors, doctors may use one or more diagnostic tests to determine the injury to the back or spine. It is crucial that the damage is identified correctly, so that a treatment plan can be instituted that gives the patient the best chance of a full recovery.
Unfortunately, even with the best medical care, some patients will not recover fully. Some patients suffer chronic pain and impaired mobility because of back and spinal cord injuries from car accidents. The ongoing problems can impair the person’s ability to work and resume normal daily activities.
Consult a New Orleans Car Accident Attorney
If you are injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to substantial compensation from the driver who caused the crash. However, you must file an injury claim to recover money for your damages. The insurance provider for the other driver has a team of professionals working to protect its interest. You need a team of legal professionals on your side fighting for your rights.