What are common back injuries from car accident?

After a car accident, common back injuries include soft tissue bruises, torn muscles, sprains at the lumbar spine area, lumbar strains, fractures, herniated discs, and disc bulges.

Author: Brad Nakase, Attorney

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What are common back injuries from car accident?

After a car accident, a person will feel back pain. A muscle back pain will feel like a sore muscle after back exercises. A spine disc pain will feel tingly or sharp pain, and debilitating. If you feel back weakness, numbness, or tingling pain, you could have nerve damage or a disc. If you feel pain for over a week, it is time to see a doctor.

For example, one night, Leo is driving home from a restaurant after meeting up with old friends in Los Angeles. While passing through an intersection, he is T-boned by a car running a red light. Though he is lucky to walk away after the accident, if shaken up, Leo discovers soon after that his back is in a lot of pain. In the mornings, it is difficult to get out of bed, and when he has to bend over, his entire spine spasms. Leo’s wife, Marjory, suggests he contact a Los Angeles car accident attorney and see a doctor about his back pain since he may have a spinal injury. Leo, a little afraid of going to the doctor, wonders what kinds of spinal injuries are common after car accidents. In any case, Marjory makes him an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.

What Causes Back Injuries?

After a car crash, it is common for victims to feel pain or soreness in one or more areas of their bodies. Back pain, especially, is very common after collisions. While some back injuries may resolve on their own with rest, other back problems can create continuing discomfort which can make daily activity impossible without pain or distress.

Therefore, it is essential to seek immediate treatment after a car accident. A doctor can take a look at the injuries and refer patients to additional care before the pain becomes overwhelming. Some individuals may feel fine in the days following the crash and only later experience intense back pain.

If back pain is left untreated, such an injury can result in chronic pain that requires an orthopedic diagnosis and treatment.

But what is it about car collisions that causes such terrible back injuries?

When a car experiences a collision, Newton’s laws of motion create much of the havoc that a human body experiences. When the car makes impact, the human body is still in motion until something stops its movement. This object may be a seat belt, and airbag, a steering wheel, or a windshield. In the worst case, the human body may only be stopped when it makes contact with the roadway.

This kind of extreme motion can fracture, sprain, or otherwise seriously injure many parts of the body, especially those that affect the neck, spinal cord, and back. In fact, it is not only head-on, rear, and side-impact collisions that cause injuries. Even minor accidents – think fender bender – can cause mobility issues.

What Physical Areas Can a Car Accident Impact?

A car crash can affect the lumbar vertebrae, otherwise known as the lower back, the thoracic vertebrae, or upper back, and the cervical vertebrae, which we know as the neck. Each of these areas is composed of nerves, tissues, ligaments, tendons, bones, and muscles, which extend from the neck to the pelvis.

There are 33 vertebrae spine bones, 32 muscles, and 31 nerve roots in the human neck and back, all of which can cause long-lasting pain when damaged. The most common back injuries include those affecting the lumbar spine, which is located in the lower back. The lumbar spine is composed of five vertebrae, each of which is surrounded by soft discs with a soft center and tough outer ring.

Less common are thoracic injuries, which can be more serious in nature due the fact that the upper back is associated with the rib and chest area. If any of the 12 vertebrae in this area are impacted in a crash, then an individual may suffer from difficulty breathing, nerve damage, or general chronic pain.

There are some types of injuries that do not show up instantly after a crash, which include soft tissue injuries.

It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible after a crash to check for any major issues and reduce recovery time.

What Are Symptoms of a Back Injury After a Car Crash?

After a car crash, it is common to feel sore, which can make it hard to determine which pain is related to the back specifically. It can be helpful to know what to expect after an accident in order to decide what to do next.

Because the spine includes the large area from the neck to the pelvis, pain can radiate to many different regions of the body. After a car accident, back pain may come from inflammation, fractures, and compressed nerves. The symptoms may be uncomfortable but manageable, or they may make everyday tasks impossible to perform.

After a car accident, one may experience any of the following medical issues:

  • Muscle spasms
    • A muscle may repeatedly twitch, feel like a hard knot, or feel tender when touched. Muscle spasms vary when it comes to pain; they may be mild or debilitating.
  • Burning pain
    • A harsh pain may move down one’s back and buttocks through the back of both legs. This can be a mild pain that goes away, or it can be a burning discomfort that lasts for days.
  • Stiffness
    • An individual may not feet as flexible after a car accident due to their muscles tensing up. This kind of stiffness may go away after some stretching, or it may be continuous.
  • Sharp pain
    • Changing positions, such as sitting up or standing, can cause a sharp pain in one’s back.
  • Pain when walking or standing
    • Sometimes, physical activity in itself is painful, causing a throbbing sensation or mild pain when one does daily tasks.
  • Tingling or numbness
    • Because the spinal cord connects the body’s limbs, tense muscles can pinch nerves, which may lead to feelings of tingling or numbness in the hands, feet, legs, or arms.

However, if an individual is experiencing headaches, disorientation, or dizziness after a car collision, then it is likely he or she has endured damage to their cervical vertebrae from whiplash. It is important that an individual make note of their symptoms, including tracking what activities worsen the pain and how often the discomfort occurs.

What Are the Most Common Back Injuries from a Car Accident?

A car accident can result in a number of different back injuries, though many problems result from whiplash. Whiplash injures the soft tissue and can cause many other serious spinal issues. These injuries include sprains, strains, herniated discs, and fractures. Also, if an individual suffered previous problems such as spinal stenosis, then a car collision can worsen the preexisting condition.

The symptoms of a back injury after a car crash can vary greatly, and an individual may suffer from one or more types of injury. It can also be difficult to diagnose the exact cause of pain without running tests. This is because different injuries may present similar symptoms.

  1. Lumbar or Thoracic Vertebrae Fractures

A spinal fracture occurs when one or more vertebrae crack, break, or are otherwise injured. The human body has 33 bones that protect the spinal cord and make up the backbone. When one of these is injured, the individual may be said to have a broken back. A doctor may use the following terms to describe a back fracture:

  • Burst Fracture
    • This occurs when multiple parts of the vertebrae are crushed and bone fragments have scattered.
  • Flexion Fractures
    • This is when a vertebra breaks; fractures usually happen in the middle or posterior columns of the spine.
  • Compression Fracture
    • When too much pressure is applied, there can be cracks or breaks in the vertebrae
  • Fracture-dislocation
    • This is a combination of a fracture and a dislocation of the vertebra or vertebrae.
  1. Back Sprains and Strains

When an individual suffers a back strain, this means that their soft tissue is overstretched, which causes injury. A strain refers to the tendons of the back, which connect the bones to muscles. By contrast, a back sprain causes damage to the ligaments that connect joints to bones or bones to other bones.

Sprains and strains alike can cause pain that is hard to get rid of. Because imaging cannot pick up on this kind of injury, it is important to talk about the possibility with one’s doctor.

  1. Herniated Discs

A car accident can result in the discs of the spine shifting and compressing, causing what is known as a herniated disc. A herniated disc happens when the inner part of the spinal disc is forced out through the outer ring.

A doctor may use the terms bulging, slipped, or ruptured to refer to a herniate disc. This is a serious condition because the part that protrudes can rub against nerves. This can cause numbness, burning, or weakness that affects other parts of the body.

  1. Spondylolisthesis

This condition occurs when a vertebra is displaced by a stress fracture. When the vertebrae move, the motion can compress the spinal cord or nerves. The amount of movement and its location affect pain levels and the appropriate treatment. Usually, sufferers experience pain, weakness and numbness. They may also find it difficult to walk.

  1. Facet Joint Injuries

Facet joints are located between the bones of the spine. Nerve roots run through the joints into different regions of the body, such as the legs and arms. Facet joints allow an individual to bend or twist without damaging the spine. A damaged facet joint, however, can cause pain.

Thinning cartilage or previous untreated trauma to the spine can cause problems with facet joints. Muscles may spasm or tighten as a result, which can cause the outside of the back to feel tender or endure radiating pain.

  1. Discogenic pain

Damage to the spinal discs can cause discogenic pain. This kind of discomfort includes sharp pains or shooting sensations. It can cause sciatica, which means that pain radiates through the buttocks and on to the feet, groin, or both legs.

Discogenic pain can cause people to feel uncomfortable in a number of different ways. Some people feel better lying down, while others may find that lying down triggers more pain. Any activity that lasts for an extended period can make the pain worse.

  1. Degenerative Spinal Disorders

If an individual suffers a severe injury to his or her back, they may get a degenerative disc disorder months or years in the future. It can also encourage other unknown health problems. As the human body ages, previous injury combines with degeneration may result in:

  • Bulging discs
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Pinched nerves
  • Foraminal stenosis

What to Do About Back Pain After a Car Accident

After an individual experiences a car accident, it is important they he or she goes to the doctor for an evaluation. Even if a victim does not need to go to the emergency room, it is still important to see an orthopedic specialist to rule out any serious problems and ensure that any physical activities will not pose an issue.

For instance, simple activities like carrying a child or doing laundry can trigger pain after a car accident. This can make the problem worse, leading to a longer recovery time and more severe damage.

A doctor may ask for an x-ray or MRI to check if there is disc damage or degeneration. Discography can identify specific problematic discs. He or she can also examine any injuries, assess mobility issues, and suggest possible therapies.

What Treatment Can Help Back Pain After an Accident?

Treatment for back pain after a car accident will depend on the injury type, severity, and location. A back brace, rest, and gentle stretching can help relieve some symptoms from whiplash. That said, an individual may require further care or a referral to a spine surgeon. Treatment may include the following options:

  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Spine surgery

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Back pain after a car accident: Common injuries

A high-speed car accident that causes a spinal fracture or vertebrae sprain can lead to permanent and painful nerve damage. Likewise, A car accident resulting in a minor back injury left untreated can progress into a degenerative or chronic spinal condition.

Back Injury From Car Accident

Common injuries from car accidents include soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and spine injuries such as fractures and herniated discs.

What is the average settlement for a back injury in a car accident?

The average settlement for a back injury in a car accident ranges from $11,000 to over $1 million depending on four factors: 1) Was the injury soft tissue? If yes, the average settlement is $12,000; 2) Was there a spine injury? If yes, the average settlement is $70,000; 3) Was or is surgery required? If yes, the average settlement is $275,000, 4) Is there a permanent disability? If yes, the average settlement can exceed $1 million.

What causes most semi-truck accidents?

The number cause of semi-truck accidents is driver fatigue; a driver cannot legally drive more than 12 hours per day in 24 hour period.

Tractor Trailer Injury Lawsuit

If a tractor trailer seriously injures a victim, an injury lawsuit often results in a money settlement exceeding $1 million.

Rear-end collision settlements California

Unless there is a serious injury, the average settlement for a minor rear-end collision is $12,000 to $22,000. The average rear-end collision settlement resulting in serious injury is $60,000 to $25,000.

What is eggshell plaintiff theory?

The Eggshell Skull doctrine is a common law rule that makes a negligent defendant liable for a plaintiff’s unforeseeable injury because of the plaintiff’s preexisting fragile health condition.

What are common back injuries from car accident?

After a car accident, common back injuries include soft tissue bruises, torn muscles, sprains at the lumbar spine area, lumbar strains, fractures, herniated discs, and disc bulges.

Car Accident Spine Injury

A car accident may cause a serious spine injury when a victim was rear-ended. Spine injury settlement amounts depend on the severity of the spine injury and medical bills.

Brain Injury Prognosis

An estimated fifty percent of patients with traumatic brain injury go through more decline in their cognition within five years of sustaining injury.

How much should I settle for a herniated disc?

A herniated disk is a serious injury that causes lifetime pain if left medically untreated. Because a herniated disc is a big deal, the average settlement is $80,000 to $280,000, depending on if there was surgery.

Sex with Teacher

For years, students, teachers, and lecturers have entered into romantic relationships and dated, despite the risks. In fact, ‘dating my teacher’ is one of the Google searches with millions of results online. However, minor student sex with the teacher often ends up in the minor suing the teacher and winning over $1 million in damages.

Teacher Has Sex with Students

The modern meme for teachers having sex with their students is sex teachers (sex-ed teachers). Teachers having sex with students is uncommon. Students who had sex with their teachers won millions of dollars in lawsuits. 

Compensation for Back Injury

For back injury settlements for strains and sprains, the average settlement is between $15,000 and $45,000. The average settlement for a back injury accident that require or resulted in surgery ranges from $45,000 to $350,000.

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