Back injuries are among the most serious potential consequences of a car wreck because the back is so complicated and the spinal cord carries a large part of the peripheral nervous system to the brain. In this blog, we look at seven back and spinal injuries you may suffer in a Virginia car accident.
The spine is very complex. It is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Even a minor back sprain can be agonizing. If you suffer a serious back injury in a Virginia car accident, you are likely to experience considerable pain and suffering and have ongoing medical needs. Both of these factors push up the amount of money you should claim in a lawsuit filed against a driver who caused your injury.
Back and Spinal Injuries in a Virginia Car Accident
Whiplash is a common type of injury sustained in a car or truck accident. Typically, whiplash injuries are caused by rear-end wrecks. Whiplash entails damage to the soft tissues in the neck, the muscles, and ligaments. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are suddenly propelled forward by the force of an impact while the body remains still.
Symptoms from whiplash may take hours or days to show themselves. Often accident victims can feel fine at the scene and hurt later. Common symptoms are pain, stiffness, blurred vision or extreme fatigue. Whiplash injuries usually clear up in a matter of days or weeks but some linger and can require physical therapy.
2 Herniated Discs
Herniated discs are also known as slipped discs or ruptured discs. This can be a serious condition that requires corrective surgery. Herniated discs occur when the soft center of a spinal disc protrudes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing.
Discs are often compared to jellied doughnuts. The “jelly” from the core of the disc may intrude into the spinal canal and hit a nerve root. A jarring impact during a car accident can lead to this extremely painful injury in the upper back or the neck.
When a car accident victim suffers from a herniated disc, pressure is often applied to the nerve around it. This can radiate through the body. Although some patients recover from a herniated disc in two or three months, others may require costly surgery.
3 Spinal Fractures
Spinal fractures can be extremely painful and cause medical complications. They are oftentimes associated with accidents in which a seat belt fails to properly hold the accident victim during a wreck. While the lower half of the body is held in place, the upper half is pulled around by the pressures of the impact, leading to spinal fractures.
A compression fracture is a small crack or fissure of the vertebrae. People who suffer a compression fracture may experience acute pain or other symptoms. Breathing and walking often exacerbates the pain. A compression fracture can cause other issues such as numbness, weakness in muscles and bladder problems.
The treatment for spinal fractures depends on the severity of the injury. Some patients may be treated by being immobile. Others require surgery.
4 Lumbar Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy is caused by a compressed nerve in the spine. Car crashes can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness along the nerves in the back.
This condition is known as lumbar radiculopathy when diagnosed in the lower back. When experienced in the neck, it is called cervical radiculopathy. Pain associated with radiculopathy travels down the hands, feet, legs, and arms. Victims of auto accidents often suffer radiculopathy at the same time as other back conditions, exacerbating their pain and discomfort.
5 Facet and Facet Joint Injuries
Facet and facet joint injuries are less well known back and spinal injuries sustained in a Virginia automobile accident. Nevertheless, these injuries can be very serious.
The body’s facets are shielded by a strong but malleable membrane that lubricates the joints. It allows the spine to move with ease in any direction and helps support the weight of the body.
On occasions, the impact of a car, truck or motorcycle wreck can injure these facet joints. They may fail to support the spine in the way they did before the road accident. These injuries may limit your mobility and affect your quality of life.
A neck facet joint injury causes pain to the neck and possibly the shoulder or upper arm. A back facet joint injury causes low back pain and potentially pain in the buttocks or thighs.
6 Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are the worst case back injury scenario in an automobile wreck. The severing of the spinal cord often causes paralysis that may be partial or total below the location of the injury. Victims can end up with paraplegia or quadriplegia (tetraplegia).
Paraplegics suffer from an impairment of the body’s function from the waist down. The severity of the paralysis depends on whether they are diagnosed with incomplete paraplegia – a condition in which they may still be able to balance and walk – or complete paraplegia that prevents the use of the legs and torso. Paraplegics can still use their arms.
Quadriplegia (tetraplegia) is an even more severe condition. Both sensation and control are lost in all four limbs, states Disabled World. Quadriplegia is usually a result of a severe spinal cord injury to the upper back or the neck. Victims may experience the loss of sexual function and be incontinent. In severe cases, they may not be able to breathe without a ventilator or a respirator.
Spinal cord injuries are often caused by car crashes but they may also be the result of other accidents, diseases, or medical malpractice. Superman actor Christopher Reeve because a quadriplegic after he suffered fractures to the two top vertebrae, considered the most serious of cervical injuries, in a horse riding accident.
Paraplegia and quadriplegia are extreme spinal conditions that typically require long-term or permanent medical care. If you suffer from a serious spinal cord injury, it’s important to talk to a Virginia personal injury lawyer who can help you recover enough money for your acute ongoing health needs. Fortunately, spinal cord injuries are rare in wrecks but we see them in some cases, particularly in high impact crashes involving tractor-trailers.
Spondylolysis is a stress fracture in one of the vertebrae. Spondylolysis may push vertebra out of place. This condition is often caused by hyperextension of the spine. When the slippage is severe, the spinal cord or nerves can be compressed.
Spondylolysis can require surgery but the initial course of treatment is usually nonsurgical. Your doctor will usually prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and advise you to rest to avoid further back pain. Doctors may also recommend the wearing of a back brace to help support the spine as it heals. Corrective surgery is usually the last resort.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer for Back and Spinal Injuries in a Virginia Car Accident
Back and spinal injuries in a Virginia car accident may be very severe. Even injuries at the less acute end of the spectrum can cause pain, discomfort and time off work. If you suffer a serious back injury in a Virginia car accident you should not deal with the insurance company alone. You end up accepting less money than your injuries deserve.
If you suffer a back injury, you may lose income and your home may be at risk. If your back injury was caused by another driver, it’s important to recover as much as you can. Our experienced Norfolk back injury lawyers can help you. Please call us today for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.