Back injuries are an ailment most wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. They can impact everything from sleep to work to play. For many Oklahomans, back injuries are caused by auto accidents. Our team of lawyers at Car Accident Help in Oklahoma City has seen all kinds of back injuries over the years, and we’ve successfully advocated for clients seeking compensation as they heal from debilitating spinal injuries.
With years of experience working with clients suffering back injuries caused by car accidents, we’ve learned a thing or two about spine injuries. In this article, we’re covering the common causes and symptoms of car accident-induced spine injury.
Most importantly, if you have suffered a spinal injury following a car accident caused by someone else, contact our team today for a free case evaluation. There is a limited window of time after an accident that we can file a case to seek compensation. So, the earlier you contact our team of Oklahoma car accident lawyers, the better.
What Is The Spinal Column?
The spinal column, or the vertebral column or spine, is essential to the human skeletal system. It serves several important functions, including providing structural support, protecting the spinal cord, facilitating movement, and as an attachment point for muscles and ligaments.
The spinal column includes vertebrae and discs, which provide support and stability to the column. The spinal cord extends from the brainstem to the lumbar region and is indispensable for the function of the nervous system, spinal ligaments, and muscles.
Motor vehicle accidents and serious falls are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. When you consider the importance of the back and spinal column for neurological function and overall well-being, it’s a little alarming to hear how common spinal injuries from car accidents are.
Why Are Backs Often Injured in Car Accidents?
Back injuries are relatively common because of the force applied and the mechanics of car accidents. The sudden impact, deceleration, compression, whiplash, or other variables involved, our backs are uniquely vulnerable to injury when we are in car crashes.
When a vehicle abruptly stops or changes direction, the occupants’ bodies may continue moving, leading to a sudden deceleration. This can result in the jolting of the spine, causing injury. Or, if you are in a rear-end collision, the impact from behind can cause the head to jerk forward and snap backward quickly, leading to hyperextension and hyperflexion of the neck and upper spine. This rapid motion can cause strain and injury to the muscles, ligaments, and discs in the neck and upper back.
There are dozens more hypothetical situations where a car accident can abruptly disrupt, injure, or malposition your back in an unnatural and harmful way. As experienced car accident attorneys, we’ve helped Oklahoma clients with severe back injuries over the last few decades. We’ve seen firsthand the profound impact back injuries can have on individuals and families.
What Are the Effects or Symptoms of Spinal Injuries?
There are different types of spinal injuries. The most critical are spinal cord injuries, defined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as “damage to the bundle of nerves and nerve fibers that sends and receives signals from the brain. The spinal cord extends from the lower part of the brain down through the lower back…This damage can cause temporary or permanent changes in feeling, movement, strength, and body functions below the site of injury.”
If you suspect a spinal cord injury, seek emergency medical help immediately. Symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
- Numbness, tingling, or a loss of (or changes in) sensation in hands and feet
- Pain or pressure in the head, neck, or back
- Weakness in any part of the body
- Unnatural positions of the spine or head
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Problems with walking
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes in sexual function
Additionally, the following spinal injuries and symptoms are also common following car accidents as well.
- Whiplash – a soft tissue injury that often occurs in rear-end collisions when there is a strain or sprain of the neck muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues. Whiplash can cause neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and sometimes pain in the upper back.
- Herniated Discs– the impact of a car accident can cause the gel-like center of an intervertebral disc to push through its tough outer shell, resulting in a herniated or slipped disc. This can lead to back pain, numbness, and tingling if the disc compresses nearby nerves.
- Compression Fractures – compression fractures involve the compression or collapse of a vertebrae.
- Sprains and Strains – car accidents can cause sprains (stretching or tearing of ligaments) and strains (stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons) in the back. This can lead to pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.
- Facet Joint Injuries – facet joints are small joints between adjacent vertebrae that help facilitate movement. Car accidents can cause injuries to these joints, resulting in pain and reduced flexibility.
- Spinal Stenosis – Spinal stenosis involves the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. Car accidents, especially those causing fractures or dislocations, can contribute to spinal stenosis.
When Does Back Pain Start After A Car Accident?
Most people immediately go into survival mode following a car accident. Your adrenaline is elevated, your heart is pumping, and your muscles are awake and activated. You might have an endorphin response, which shuts down your pain receptors.
These responses are normal and natural. This is the way our bodies activate immediately to survive. However, these chemical responses in your body will likely be short-lived – lasting only a few hours to a few days. Bruises, broken bones, strains, and other pains may appear in the hours, days, or weeks following the accident.
For many, back pain is dismissed or delayed after a car accident because other injuries require immediate treatment. However, in the days or weeks after an accident, you may begin to feel pain. For some, back pain may not appear for several weeks or more. Back pain is not always present right after an accident, but it can have long-lasting effects if not identified and treated.
What To Do After A Back Injury From a Crash
You should always see a doctor following an accident. Discuss your pain, record as many details about your pain as possible, and share those with your doctor. MRI, CT scan, or X-ray may be necessary to assess the extent of back injuries and guide treatment decisions.
Spinal injuries left untreated today can become much more problematic later. Additionally, if another person was responsible for the accident and your permanent or life-changing injury, records of your pain and medical diagnostic testing may be essential in seeking compensation for the pain you have endured. If you have questions about your accident, contact our team of OKC car accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
Find Trustworthy Support With Car Accident Help
Back and spine injuries from car accidents can change the course of a life. To ensure the best possible outcome for yourself or your loved one who is experiencing back pain or injury following an accident, first seek medical attention and then legal guidance. The support of a trusted Oklahoma City attorney can make all the difference.
If you are the victim of a car accident and have suffered personal injuries, please contact our team today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable Oklahoma car accident lawyer.