Forces in an auto accident can cause back injuries and other types of including whiplash. With the cars today, we have some of the most advanced safety features ever invented by man; however we still get injured in car accidents. In my opinion, the death rate has lowered, but the injury rate may have gone up.
Your back is very complex. Your spinal cord runs from your head all the way to your tailbone. It includes muscles, tendons, discs, and ligaments. Not to mention all the bones and nerves that run through it.
Symptoms of a auto accident back injury
Forces and the impact of the car wreck directly determine injury. Injuries to the back should be taken very seriously. When you have an injury in one area of your back, it could affect other areas of your body, such as your legs, pain radiating up and down, muscle fatigue, numbness, and general back pain. Injuries after a car wreck can get worse with time if not treated properly and quickly.
Your back is complex
Your back has 24 vertebrae separated by 23 disks. The disks are like a small water balloon that act as a cushion between the bones. If you have a disk issue, such as a bulging disk or herniated disk, you may end up have surgery. Pain from back injuries can be mild or excruciating.
A bulging disk is no more than a disk that has been moved or shifted out of place between the vertebrae. Back injuries such as this can directly come from a car accident. Back pain is a good indication you need to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to determine the extent of your injuries. A bulging disk could start to leak the fluid out of it, and then it’s a herniated disk.
In a car accident you could have a herniated disk. This is when the actual disk breaks open and starts leaking. This type of back injury would require doctor’s care, chiropractic care, pain management, and possible surgery.
I’m sure many of you have heard of a pinched nerve. Pressure from bulging disk or herniated disk apply pressure to the nerve roots. This leads to immediate pain and severe discomfort. This pressure can cause the nerve to quit sending signals to the brain. This may cause a numbness and tingling sensation. It may even feel like a part of your body has fallen asleep.
It’s possible for a nerve to repair itself if it is compressed for a short period of time. It may take weeks or months for the symptoms of that pinched nerve to be gone. However, if the Nerve stays compressed for a long period of time, it is possible you could have suffered permanent injury.
Soft tissue injuries
Most common injuries resulting from an auto accident is soft tissue damage. When a car hits you going 50 mph and you are sitting still, your body will get trust violently from one extreme to the other. You may not realize this even occurred, because it happened so fast.
Your tendons, ligaments, and muscles will stretch or tear when your body is being thrown from one extreme to the other. The pain from these types of injuries may not present itself right away.
There are many different types of fractures that can occur in the back during an auto accident. This type of spine injury would require immediate medical attention. Because of the complexity of your back vertebra, these fractures would be extremely serious in nature; it’s not the same a broken arm.
Different types of back fractures
- Axial burst
- Dislocation Fractures
How the doctor will diagnose an injury
First the doctor would have to find out the extent of injury to your back. He may use different diagnostic equipment to do this.
A ct scan can identify a back injury by showing damage to the disk and spinal cord, it may also be used to show how bad a disk is herniated.
If you are claustrophobic, you probably won’t like an MRI. MRI scan show damage to nerves and tissue in your back. MRI’s are becoming the most common method along with X-rays to determine damage done to your back in auto accident
X RAYS are great for showing broken bones. They can also show how your back may be misaligned after your car wreck. Many chiropractors use X-rays to show them the problem areas of your back and what steps need to be taken for medical care.
How to get treatment for these auto accident back injuries
Back injuries resulting from auto accidents can be addressed by a chiropractor. Chiropractors are well trained to treat soft tissue and auto accident related injuries. A chiro can treat sprains, strains, damage to ligaments, tendons and muscle.
Epidural and trigger point injections directly into the affected area to alleviate the pain associated with your injury. They may prescribe medications such as hydrocodone to help you deal with the pain. However, pain management does not fix anything; it only helps you cope with the pain associated with your injury.
These Doctors try to find to root cause of your pain. They may prescribe muscle relaxers’ and anti-inflammatory drugs to help with swelling and discomfort. A neurologist is trained to discover the causes of symptoms, as well as using EMG testing to assess the injury to nerves and whether it is reversible in the short and long term.
Having surgery will not be something anyone is thrilled about. Surgery should be a last resort; however there are doctors who would want to do this first instead of being a last resort. Surgery may include spinal fusion and disk removal.
Previous medical conditions or pre existing injuries
We have had a few patients that have had previous car accidents that caused spine injuries. These injures, in the insurance company’s eyes, may be preexisting. A preexisting injury may be something that happened long ago, but you still feel the effects of it today. Car accidents can injure your back, or make your pre existing injury worse.
Making sure to see the right doctor after you have been in an auto accident with a preexisting condition is paramount. The doctor has to be able to diagnose the current injury, not the old.
Accident doctor list a wide variety of doctors across the nation that can help with spine injuries that resulted from an auto accident. Back injuries can be minor, or what seemed minor, can turn into surgery. Car accident back injuries are not to be taken very lightly. That is why we advise anyone who has been involved in an auto accident to make sure they go see a doctor, no matter if they think their back injury is minor or severe.