Suffering a traumatic spinal injury or spine injury in a car accident can alter your life in just one day. You need to seek medical treatment first, then help from a car accident attorney.

Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries After a Car Accident

Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries After a Car Accident

Motor vehicle accidents can lead to serious spinal cord injuries, spinal trauma, and disabling back injuries. Some of these spinal injuries may involve a traumatic spinal injury, herniated disc, or a life-altering injury to the spinal canal, central nervous system, or brain.

Other wounds can lead to ongoing pain because they involve the back or a neck injury. Anytime the spinal column is injured after a motor vehicle collision, it can trigger serious complications – even the loss of bowel control.

In some cases, victims of serious car accidents or motorcycle accidents may experience limited neck movement numbness, causing pain at the injury site.

Injuries may also lead to problems with nerve pain, or damage to facet joints. A headache inability may also diminish a car accident victim’s quality of life.

How Injuries Can Affect Other Parts of the Body

Typical injuries of the vertebrae (back bones) at chest height or in the lower back (from a lumbar injury) can affect the legs, trunk, bladder, or again, the bowel of the human body.

Some accident victims complain of the following symptoms: legs tingling, or in more severe cases, a partial or entire loss of sensory functioning, or chronic back pain.

Symptoms may also involve heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure – all of which represent emergency symptoms after a car accident.

If a spinal cord fracture occurs traumatically or non-traumatically, nerve cells and nerve tissue also become damaged.

Common Types of Spinal Injuries

A car accident is often associated with the most common type of spine injury, whiplash. However, patients may also experience fracturing, herniation, or spinal stenosis, all of which can be caused by a back or neck injury.

Immediate Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries

Almost every spinal injury sufferer will need emergency medical care. After the emergency team treats life-threatening conditions, the patient will need help with therapy and recovery.

Immediate symptoms may include severe pain, numbness, and problems with breathing.

Research and Stats

Spinal cord injury

Car rollovers, according to research, are often associated with spinal injury.

According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, spinal cord injury (SCI) is a major cause of death and long-term paralysis in the state. Victims have few treatment options.

Spinal Cord Damage and Paralysis

The spinal cord works as the body’s message path, sending signals between the brain and the body. Damage to this pathway can disrupt these signals.

This disruption can lead to loss of movement (paralysis), loss of sensation, or both conditions. The extent of the injury, particularly in a car accident, often depends on where the spinal cord is damaged and the severity of the injury.

Injuries closer to the head may result in paralysis of both arms and legs, known as quadriplegia.

Damage lower down the spine may affect the legs and lower body, known as paraplegia.

Facet Joint Injuries and Neck and Back Pain Medication

Facet Joint Injuries and Neck and Back Pain Medication

The facet joints connect the bones and spinal column.

When you have a spinal cord injury and the facet joints are involved, you may experience a great deal of discomfort at the spinal injury site – causing pain in either the neck or back.

In the neck, the joints, as they do in the back, offer stability. They enable neck movements, such as head turns and nods. Therefore, a spinal injury of this type, whether in the neck or back, must be examined closely.

When spinal injuries involve these joints, it’s important to recover the costs you’ll need for therapy and back pain or neck pain medication.

Moreover, these spinal injuries may lead to facet joint syndrome, which can be an ongoing problem. The medical condition triggers inflammation and arthritis, which can lead to extreme and diffuse neck and back pain and discomfort.

Lumbar Spinal Injuries

A lumbar spine injury occurs in the lower back. It is a painful injury and requires specialized care. Conditions of a lower back injury may vary from an injury that requires surgery to sciatica, which may be treated by physical therapy.

Sciatica is a chronic pain that travels down the sciatic nerve – from the buttocks and down the legs.

Lumbar Sprains

Lumbar sprains happen when the ligaments in the lower back stretch or tear due to sudden movements. These sprains can lead to pain, swelling, and difficulty moving.

Spinal Stenosis

In some cases, untreated back injuries cause spine stenosis. Stenosis will worsen if you forego medical treatment.

Spinal stenosis narrows the vertebral canal, thereby affecting the neck most frequently. It can cause neck pain and stiffness as well as numbness in the fingers and arms. This may cause the patient difficulties when moving heavy objects.

Disc Herniation

Disc Herniation

Your vertebrae feature soft structures known as vertebral discs. These discs represent a shock-absorbing mechanism in the body.

Depending on your injuries, the treatment options for herniated discs include surgical replacement of the herniated disc for the most severe damage to physical therapy in the mildest form.

If a spinal disc pushes through a weakened part of the spine after a motor vehicle collision, you can also suffer from burning pain in the head, neck, or back.

In fact, this type of spine injury is a common issue in many car accidents among accident victim claims.

Claimants of motorcycle accidents also frequently seek medical treatment and pain medication following this type of spinal trauma.

Some of the treatments may include therapy for burning pain or corticosteroid injections, often given to offer immediate pain relief.

The steroid treatment is meant to reduce nerve irritation. This irritation increases pressure and swelling.

However, epidural steroid lumbar injections only offer pain relief for about three months.

It’s also important to note that some patients do not experience relief from the discomfort. They may suffer from upper back or lumbar back pain for the rest of their life.

Needless to say, patients frequently need to have a higher pain tolerance than other patients suffering from other types of physical discomfort.

Damage to Nerve Fibers

When an injury occurs that affects the spinal column, it can also impact the rest of the body. That’s because the spinal cord has nerve fibers that run through the spinal canal.

As a result, a spinal cord injury can impair muscles and nerves below the injury site. This may lead to muscle weakness or result from vertebral or spinal fractures.

Burst Fractures and Vertebral Compression Fractures

Burst Fractures and Vertebral Compression Fractures

Bones from spine fractures may also damage nerve roots or pinch the spine’s nerves after car accidents. Almost half of cervical injuries were caused by car accidents and by spine injury fractures or spinal cord damage, according to a five-year study.

Vertebral fractures are defined as either burst fractures or vertebral compression fractures.

If the vertebra is crushed in all directions, it is known as a burst spinal fracture or burst fracture. When the vertebrae are compressed, a small break may appear in the spine called a spinal fracture.

What Happens to Your Spine After a Car Accident?

Sudden stops or impacts can cause the body to move unnaturally, putting intense pressure on the spine. Rollovers cause the most severe spinal injuries.

Rear-end collisions often result in whiplash, the most common spinal injury in serious motor vehicle accidents and crashes. Symptoms emerge in the form of neck stiffness and pain.

Side-impact crashes can bend the spine beyond its normal range of motion, leading to injuries.

What Are the Four Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?

The spine is divided into four main areas: the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid-back), lumbar spine (lower back), and sacrum. Each spine injury area can be affected differently by a car accident crash.

  1. Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries. These car accident injuries involve the neck or the part of the vertebrae that involves the cervical spine. They may range from whiplash, a common injury due to the sudden back-and-forth motion of the head, to more serious fractures.
  2. Thoracic Spine Injuries. The mid-back area, which is less mobile, may suffer from sprains, fractures, or disc injuries due to the force of a car accident crash.
  3. Lumbar Spine Injuries. Lower back injuries after a car accident often include strains, herniated discs, and fractures. A lumbar sprain, fracture, or herniation can be painful and debilitating. That’s because the area of the lower back supports much of the body’s weight.
  4. Sacral Spine Injury. The sacral spine or sacrum sits below the lumbar spine or above the tailbone or coccyx. Five bones make up the sacrum, numbered S-1 to S-5. Neurologic injuries make up half of these injuries, which may include soft tissue wounds and hip fractures.

What Is Spinal Shock?

Spinal shock occurs after an acute injury to the spinal cord and involves a reversible loss of neurological functioning.

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome After a Car Accident?

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition that affects the space between the thoracic outlet (first rib) and the collar bone.

Symptoms include neck and shoulder pain and numbness, coldness, and weakness in the fingers. Pain relief, physical therapy, and, in some cases, surgery are used to treat the problem.

When Should I Be Concerned About Back Pain If I’m a Car Accident Victim?

When Should I Be Concerned About Back Pain If I'm a Car Accident Victim

After a car accident, back injury symptoms can vary. Some people might feel pain right away while others notice it days later. Common symptoms include:

  • Persistent Chronic Pain: Pain in the back that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time.
  • Numbness: A lack of feeling in your back, arms, or legs.
  • Weakness: Difficulty moving or a feeling of weakness in the limbs.
  • Stiffness: Limited movement or stiffness in the back area.
  • Headaches: Frequent headaches can also be linked to back or spinal cord injuries and nerve roots.

If you experience these symptoms after a car accident, it’s important to see a doctor. Early diagnosis can lead to better recovery outcomes.

What Can Cause Delayed Back Pain After a Car Accident?

Delayed back pain after a car accident or motorcycle accident is common. It often starts hours or even days after the incident. This can result from the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Whiplash: A sudden jolt can strain your back muscles and ligaments, causing whiplash after a traumatic motor vehicle crash.
  • Soft Tissue Damage: Muscles or tendons may be stretched or torn, leading to pain at a later date.
  • Spinal Disc Injury: Discs in your spine can herniate or bulge after an impact, causing a delayed pain reaction of the spinal injury.
  • Hidden Vertebral Fractures: Small fractures in the spine might not be immediately noticeable after car accidents.

Stress and adrenaline can mask pain right after car accidents and collisions. Once they subside, the pain becomes apparent. Always seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, even if you feel fine.

Evaluating Your Back and Neck Pain After a Spinal Cord Injury

Your surgeon will use special tools to diagnose your neck and spine. They will perform a clinical exam, which includes a questioning session and imaging ordering, such as MRIs and CT scans. A case manager is also assigned for your rehabilitation or post-operative care.

Can I Receive Compensation if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt?

To receive compensation, a Maryland plaintiff must prove the other party was totally at fault for a motor vehicle collision. However, the court allows plaintiffs to still make a claim if they were not wearing a seat belt during the accident.

Contact the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky About Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim

Contact the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky About Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim

If you’ve suffered a car accident spine injury, back or neck injury, or other spinal cord injuries from a car accident, seeking legal help is necessary.

Contact the Law Offices of Alex Poberesky today for a free consultation. We can help you recover what you need to pay for your spinal cord injury or back and neck injuries. If the other party was at fault for your accident, we can help you maximize your claim.