In the hours and days after an automobile wreck, victims often ask doctors and lawyers: why does my back hurt after a car accident in Maryland? It’s a common question because back injuries are unfortunately one of the most common injuries suffered in a car wreck. The back and neck area is very fragile and complicated. This makes diagnosing, treating, and making an insurance claim for a back injury a challenge.
Numerous types of injuries caused by a car wreck can cause back pain. The back and neck have many interconnected components. There may be many reasons why your back hurts after a Maryland car accident. Always seek an appointment with a doctor or Baltimore car accident back injury lawyer after a car crash that leaves you with back symptoms.
Why Back Injuries Happen in a Car Accident
The human body is not well equipped to deal with the extreme forces unleashed by a car accident. The neck and back area is particularly vulnerable to the sudden backward and forward motion associated with a hit from behind. Rear-enders are the most common type of wreck.
A car accident may cause disc injuries and facet joint injuries, two of the most prevalent back injuries. Many drivers and passengers also suffer from whiplash injuries in Maryland car collisions.
Common Back and Spinal Injuries You Can Suffer in a Car Accident in Maryland
The rapid back and forth movement of the head caused by the impact of a crash causes damage to soft tissues in the neck and spine. The medical term for whiplash is cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome.
The most common symptom of whiplash is neck pain, ranging from mild to excruciating. Whiplash symptoms also include a stiff neck, a reduced range of motion, upper back and shoulder pain, and a persistent headache. Whiplash patients sometimes experience tingling, numbness or weakness that radiates into the shoulder or down the arm.
Herniated discs are also known as ruptured discs or slipped discs. Discs become damaged when the soft center protrudes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing. When a slipped disc presses on a nerve, the condition is excruciating.
Maryland personal injury lawyers sometimes compared discs to jellied doughnuts. The “jelly” from the core of the disc may intrude into the spinal canal and hit a nerve root. A powerful impact from a car accident can cause herniated discs in the upper back or the neck. The pain from a herniated disc often radiates across the body, down the arms and legs.
Although some Maryland car accident victims recover from a herniated disc in a few months, others may require costly surgery. It’s important to talk to a Baltimore car accident lawyer to ensure you make a full and fair recovery from a herniated disc injury.
Facet and Facet Joint Injuries
Facet and facet joint injuries can be very serious and painful. They occur when the impact of an auto accident damages the facet joints. When this happens, the joints can fail to support the spine, curtailing your mobility and affecting your quality of life.
Thoracic Spine Injuries
Injuries to the thoracic spine are usually extremely serious. The thoracic spine, or upper back, connects with the ribs and chest region. Sprains and fractures in the thoracic spine are usually caused by high-speed car wrecks. They can cause permanent nerve damage.
Lumbar Spine Injuries
The five largest vertebrae comprise the lumbar spine. Strong muscles in the lumbar spine provide stability. Although the lumbar spine is more resilient than the thoracic spine, injuries cause considerable low back pain and limit your ability to carry out your normal duties.
Therefore, a sprain or strain to the lumbar spine can prove particularly painful. A sprain involves damage to the ligaments. A strain is defined as stretching of the ligaments, muscles or the tendons. Either of these injuries typically limits movement, causes pain and discomfort, causes swelling and tenderness, and may impact your ability to perform everyday activities.
Spinal fractures are also known as compression fractures or fissures of the vertebrae. A break or a dislocation of a vertebra can cause displaced bone fragments to pinch and damage your spinal nerves or spinal cord causing severe back pain and even paralysis, states the Mayfield Clinic.
These injuries are usually caused by car wrecks, gunshots, or sporting injuries. They are sometimes caused by car accidents in which a seat-belt failed to hold the victim properly during the accident. If the lower part of the body is held but the upper part is not, fractures can be caused to the spine.
People who suffer from this injury may find everyday functions like breathing and walking exacerbate the pain. They may experience complications like bladder problems and require surgery.
Spondylolysis describes a stress fracture in one of the vertebrae bones in the back. This can be a long-term cause of a back hurting after a Maryland car accident. Spondylolysis can push vertebra out of place. Hyperextension of the spine is a common cause. A severe slippage may compress the spinal cord or nerves.
People who suffer from spondylolysis after a car wreck in Maryland sometimes require surgery but it’s the last resort. The initial course of action is usually anti-inflammatory medications. A doctor will advise you to rest and may recommend you wear a back brace to help support the spine as it heals.
A compressed nerve in the spine can cause radiculopathy. You will likely experience pain that radiates down your arms, feet, legs, and hands.
Radiculopathy is caused by a compressed nerve in the spine. It may result in pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness along the nerves in the back. People involved in auto accidents often experience radiculopathy at the same time as other back conditions like herniated discs, exacerbating their pain and discomfort levels.
Serious Spinal Cord Injuries
The worst-case scenario for a back injury in a car accident is a serious spinal cord injury. Rather than acute pain, these accidents can cause paralysis and an absence of feeling.
The severing of the spinal cord causes complete or partial paralysis below the injury. Car accident victims can end up with paraplegia or quadriplegia (tetraplegia).
Paraplegics experience a loss of function from the waist down. People with incomplete paraplegia can often still balance or walk. Complete paraplegia impairs the use of the legs and torso. Paraplegics can still use their arms but are typically confined to a wheelchair.
Quadriplegia (tetraplegia) involves the loss of sensation and movement in all four limbs. Although this injury is relatively rare, car accidents are the leading cause. There are varying degrees of quadriplegia, ranging from a complete and total loss of the ability to move the limbs to an incomplete form of quadriplegia allowing partial but uncontrolled movement of one or more of the limbs. About 8,000 people sustain a severe spinal cord injury every year in the United States. According to Disabled World, people who suffer a spinal cord severance higher up their back, above C-4, may require a ventilator to breathe.
Serious car accident spine injuries that cause the severing of the spine change your life in an instant. You deserve high levels of compensation from the driver who caused the wreck to meet the life-long costs of your permanent disability.
Baltimore Attorney for Back Injury from a Car Accident Offering Free Consultations
The back is extremely complicated. This list of reasons why your back may hurt after a car accident is not exhaustive. Talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms. You should also give your Baltimore personal injury lawyer all of your medical documents so as we can hold the driver who caused your injury responsible. Talk to Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 431-0911.