The Most Common Back Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle Accidents

Understanding the Typical Back Trauma Suffered in a Car Crash

The Most Common Back Injuries Caused by Motor Vehicle AccidentsAccording to data collected by the Mayo Clinic, about four of every ten spinal cord injuries suffered by Americans every year are caused by motor vehicle accidents. Back injuries are one of the most common consequences of a collision and can be extremely debilitating, even when impact was at a relatively low speed. Furthermore, many back injuries are internal in nature, making them difficult to observe initially. Here are the most common types of back injuries suffered in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents:

  • Whiplash—Though whiplash involves the snapping of the head and neck, it almost always causes pain, discomfort, and trauma to your back. After all, theneck and back work in tandem. When your head ricochets back and forth, it stretches muscles in your back and can have an impact on your upper spine, vertebrae, and discs. While whiplash can take hours or days to fully manifest, it typically includes persistent pain, dizziness, stiffness, and/or fatigue.
  • Soft tissue injury—Virtually any level of impact can cause trauma to muscles, tendons, and ligaments in and around your back. Symptoms of soft-tissue injury include stiffness, headache, muscle tenderness, nausea, vertigo, tingling, and numbness.
  • Herniated disc—The vertebrae in your spinal column are separated and cushioned by discs that absorb shock and protect sensitive nerve endings. The blunt force of a motor vehicle accident can cause a disc to slip, bulge, or rupture, leading to friction between vertebrae and/or impingement of nerves. Some of the indications of a herniated disc include pain that extends to your legs or arms, pain that gets worse when you stand or sit, pain that increases at night, or unexplained muscle weakness.
  • Spinal cord injury—Though your spinal cord is an amazing and resilient body part, even a minor accident can lead to bruising or swelling, and a serious crash can cause spinal fractures or severing of the spinal cord. The most common type of spinal fracture is a compression fracture, where the impact of a crash causes cracks in or along your vertebrae. One of the first symptoms of a compression fracture is localized pain at or near one of your vertebrae. Typically, the pain will increase with any type of movement. A compression fracture, however, can have more serious consequences, including bladder issues, loss of muscle tone, numbness, and loss of sensation. The severing of the spinal cord generally results in some level of paralysis.

Spinal Stenosis—Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

According to statistics gathered by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about one in every 10 Americans suffers from some form of spinal stenosis with the malady most common among people over the age of 50. What is it, what are the symptoms, what causes it, and what can you do about it?

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Very simply, stenosis causes the spaces within your spine to narrow. When that happens, there can be extra pressure on all the nerves that travel up and down yourspine. Spinal stenosis is categorized as either cervical stenosis, where your neck is primarily affected, or lumbar stenosis, found in your lower back. You may be diagnosed with both types of spinal stenosis.

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

Though spinal stenosis can be congenital (you may be born with a small spinal canal), it’s usually caused by some event or development in your body, such as a:

  • Herniated disc
  • Tumor
  • Spinal injury
  • Ligament injury or deterioration
  • Overgrowth of bone

What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

With both types of spinal stenosis, a common symptom is numbness, tingling or a weakness. With cervical stenosis, that sensation may be in the hand, arm, foot or leg. With lumbar stenosis, it’s customarily limited to the foot or leg. With cervical stenosis, you’ll typically experience neck pain and difficulties with balance or walking. With lumbar stenosis, it’s common to have cramping or discomfort when you walk or when you stand for long periods of time. Those symptoms are generally alleviated when you sit down or lean forward. If you find that you’re stooped over orconstantly leaning forward, you may have stenosis.

How is Spinal Stenosis Treated?

A definite diagnosis of spinal stenosis typically requires an x-ray, an MRI or a CT myelogram. There are a number of ways to treat spinal stenosis. Surgery is always an option, but typically should be one of the last. If your stenosis is mild and you’ve caught it early, a physical therapy regimen can be extremely helpful. You can, of course, take pain medications or anti-inflammatories. Steroid injections can help relieve irritation or inflammation. If your stenosis is the result of thickened ligaments, you may also undergo a decompression procedure, where small, needle-like tools are used to excise part of the ligament and relieve pressure.

Contact 911 Injury Relief for Experienced Medical Professionals

Let 911 Injury Relief help you on your path to wellness. For more information about the range of services we offer, contact us today.

After Surgery

When Can I Expect to Get Back to My Former Life after Surgery?

When Can I Expect to Get Back to My Former Level of Activity after Surgery?

After SurgeryYou lead an active lifestyle that’s an integral part of your quality of life. Unfortunately, that often involves injury—it’s all just a part of the game. But when you’ve suffered the type of injury that requires surgery, one of your first concerns will typically be “when can I get back in the game?”

Not surprisingly, there’s no hard and fast answer to that question. Every surgical procedure is unique, so the criteria that help determine how long you’ll need to recover and what type of treatment or therapy will best work for you will vary as well. Here are some recommendations, though, to help you maximize your chances of full recovery while minimizing the length of time it takes to heal.

Let Your Surgeon Be Your Guide

There’s one person who understands your injury, the surgical process and your needs during convalescence better than anyone else—your surgeon. Resist the urge to look for remedies online or to get recommendations from a friend who just happens to be a physical therapist or rehab specialist. Unless they’ve seen your charts, they can’t have anywhere near the knowledge of your injury that your surgeon has. Your surgeon will know what your body can handle and the potential risks of different types of treatment. When you undergo other treatment options without consulting your surgeon, you risk complications that could set you back.

It’s a fundamental rule—the more invasive your surgery is, the longer it will typically take to heal and get back to normal activities. The recovery time from an arthroscopic procedure may be as short as a few weeks, whereas open surgery can take months of recovery time.

The Best Way to Heal Fast—Listen and Follow

One thing is pretty certain—you’ll have a better chance of a quicker recovery if you pay close attention to what your surgeon tells you and you follow his or her recommendations. Make certain you do the minimal amount prescribed, but be careful not to push it without consulting your surgeon. It may seem like more is better (and will help you heal sooner), but it may put unhealthy stress on your body, particularly the areas that were subject to surgery.

Contact 911 Injury Relief for Experienced Medical Professionals

Let 911 Injury Relief help you on your path to wellness. For more information about the range of services we offer, contact us today.

Surgical Options for Treating Back Pain

What Are My Surgical Options for Treating Back Pain?

Surgical Options for Treating Back PainA condition that is all too common is back pain. In fact, in the US alone there are 31 million people suffering from some degree of back pain at any given moment (source).

From slow developing back aches to severe cases of spinal trauma, many patients of all ages and walks of life experience are susceptible to episodes of back pain. These injuries can range in severity from minorly inconvenient to completely debilitating. In any case, back pain should be monitored closely and treated immediately if it begins to affect your quality of life.

Your back is an impressive and important musculoskeletal structure that controls a critical portion of your overall ability to function. In addition to its important role in your ability to move, reach, bend and twist, the muscles, tendons and bones that make up your back also have the extremely vital role of protecting your spine and spinal cord. Any degree of damage to your spinal cord could disrupt the channel through which your brain initiates nerve functions, potentially leading to pain, discomfort, degeneration and partial or complete paralysis.

In order to maintain your optimum level of health and wellbeing, there are several surgical options available to address conditions that can generate back pain.

Types of Back Injuries Treated Surgically

Numerous back pain conditions generate such significant symptoms that they will require surgical intervention to reduce their severity. Due to the potential for complications, surgery is typically only utilized in cases where it is deemed absolutely necessary. While most surgeries are highly successful, non-invasive measures will always be taken initially, if possible, to treat back pain or prepare the patient for surgery. Certain conditions will be too severe to approach with caution and will require immediate surgical intervention.

Severe back pain can spur from a number of circumstances and conditions. While those that are exposed to more risky situations, such as athletes, laborers and extreme sports enthusiasts, are at a greater probability for back injuries, other factors such as poor posture, stress, overuse, genetics and neurological diseases can render an individual with acute and/or chronic back pain. Back injuries that require back surgery include:

  • Fractures
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolysis
  • Kyphosis
  • Pinched nerves – Can be caused by fluid build-up, loose fragments, swelling and any other source of pressure
  • Herniated disc

Back Pain Surgeries

When you are suffering with severe or sustained back pain, meaningful relief can be a godsend. Even the slightest discomfort in your back can turn simple tasks into nagging inconveniences. Addressing your back pain at its source through progressive medical intervention (chiropractic care, medical massage therapy, physical therapy and surgery) will improve your physical and mental state and assist in your return to normal activities such as functional tasks, work, social engagements and hobbies.

With access to quality surgical treatments for back pain, you can take your health into your own hands. Pain doesn’t have to be part of life with the surgical options below:

  • Total Disc Replacement Surgery
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Laminectomy
  • Spinal Fusions
  • Discectomy
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Corpectomy

Speak with your orthopedic surgery team at 911 Pain Relief to establish your best course of action for treating your back pain.