It is not uncommon to experience back pain after an auto accident. In many cases the pain is moderate and disappears in a short period of time. In other cases, back pain is severe and signals a serious injury that can have long-term effects. In the days and weeks following an auto accident or truck accident back pain should not be ignored.
Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries
Symptoms of back and neck injuries vary based on the nature of the accident and on the severity of the injury sustained. These symptoms may appear immediately after the accident or may appear only after several days or even weeks. The most common symptoms of back and neck injuries are:
- Limitation of the range of motion.
- Pain in the head, neck, back or shoulders.
- Pain that becomes more intense with activity.
- Difficulty focusing vision.
- Migraines, headaches or vertigo.
- Sagging of a shoulder, arm, or joint.
- Numbness, tingling, burning, or of something crawling on your skin.
- Inability to lift something.
- Numbness or tingling in a leg and/or hip.
- Limited motion of a leg.
- Feeling that you hear and/or feel bones grinding against each other when you move the limb.
- Appearance of a bump or lump near the point of injury, or deformity.
- Bruising, swelling, redness or inflammation.
If you experience any of these symptoms after an auto accident, see a doctor immediately. You will want to obtain a diagnosis. It is also important to seek immediate medical attention to minimize pain and to reduce the risk of the injury developing into complex long-term problems.
Common Auto Accident Back and Neck Injuries
Your back and neck support a very intricate set of bone, joint, nerve and muscle complexes. These nerves connect the brain with nerves in other parts of the body, often controlling function. Back and neck injuries can, thus, be very serious and the effects can be life-changing. Among the types of injuries often sustained in auto or truck accidents are:
- Whiplash. This injury is often sustained in rear-end accidents. When your head is pushed forward by the force of the impact of vehicles while your body remains still, the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the neck can be damaged.
- Fracture of the spine. Fractures often occur when a seat belt fails in an accident. This causes the lower half of your body to be held in place by the seat belt as the upper half of the body is pulled and pushed around by the force of the impact of the crash. Compression fractures can cause numbness, muscle weakness, bladder problems, or pain and weakness in the extremities.
- Herniated Disc. Also called slipped discs or ruptured discs, these injuries often require surgical repair. A disc becomes herniated when the soft center of a disc pushes through a crack in the casing around the exterior. This type of injury often results from the jarring caused by the impact of the crash.
- Radiculopathy. This auto accident injury occurs when a nerve in the spine becomes compressed. It often accompanies other back conditions. When this occurs in the lower back it is called lumbar radiculopathy. When it occurs in the neck it is called cervical radiculopathy.
- Facet and Facet Joint injury. Facet joints (lesser known parts of the spine) are small and help to support the weight of your body. They also enable movement between the vertebrae. These joints work with the spinal discs to control movement throughout the spine and your whole body. A critical part of their function is to limit the movement of the body – preventing the spine from bending too far in any direction. These joints can be damaged in an auto accident or truck accident, resulting in limitation of mobility. They contain a very large concentration of nerves and are very painful when injured.
- Spondylolysis. This stress fracture can occur as a result of an auto accident and may push a vertebra out of alignment or position. Sometimes this causes compression of the spinal cord or of nerves. It is caused by hyperextension of the spine causing a stress fracture.
- Spinal cord injury. Injury to the delicate spinal cord is fairly unusual in auto accidents. When they occur, it is typically in a high-impact crash. Injury to the spinal cord, particularly if it is severed, will have significant impact on the parts of the body below the level of the injury. The outcome is often paralysis.
Back pain after an auto accident or truck accident should never be ignored, even if it is delayed in its effects. Back and spine injuries are often very serious and often have permanent effects. If you are injured in an accident, and you experience back or neck pain, see a specialist immediately. Keep a written record of your symptoms and the level of your pain. Maintain notes about your treatment, as well. Then contact a trusted auto accident attorney with experience helping people with back and neck injuries.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident or truck accident and you believe you have a back or neck injury call Altizer Law, P.C., in Roanoke, VA. Trusted personal injury and auto accident attorney Bettina Altizer and her team will help you build a case and obtain the full amount of financial compensation for your back or neck injury.