Back pain can start after an accident with difficult and painful disability thereafter. Without the right treatment and an understanding about your injury, recovery can be unnecessarily delayed. We will look at several causes of back pain from an auto accident injury.
Muscle Strain is the most frequent cause of back pain from an accident or injury-producing event. Muscle strain is often referred to as soft tissue injury because it is an injury to muscle not ligament or bone. However it can be misleading. Muscle injury has a much faster recovery rate than soft tissue injury. Muscles heal in 4-6 weeks with therapy that can include ice and heat, chiropractic adjustments, ultrasound and massage. Most persons injured in their muscle groups move on to good healing with few residual symptoms. Therefore it is important to continue your treatment aggressively during those first few weeks to reduce the inflammation, injury and muscle imbalances that can cause complications.
If you have not improved within the first several months, you have likely sustained a more significant injury. Muscles that are not injured can pull hard on a spine, while the unhealthy muscles cannot, and therefore make the spine fall out of alignment. Ligaments too small to see on x-ray or MRI that hold the spine together can be stretched or compromised and cause laxing or micro movement in the spine and further pain syndromes. These injuries are hard to document because modern medicine has not yet advanced to that level of sophistication. All these injuries are treated the same however in the initial stages after an auto accident. Therefore continuing care is important.
If you still have not improved within the initial stages of recovery or you are developing symptoms in your legs like sciatica, these signs suggest a more difficult and troublesome injury possibility. Your physician may recommend an MRI to see what is going on. An MRI is an image of the soft tissue in the spine and visualizes disc that may be compromised. A bulging disc is a disc that tears due to trauma, protruding into the nerve canals resulting in symptoms of numbness or tingling in the extremities and chronic pain. A herniated disc denotes the nucleus, or center of the disc, pushing through the annulus fibers designed to keep it in place, producing pressure on the nerve root, causing pain. Discs act like a cushion between the vertebrae and the spine. If a disc has been displaced even slightly, it can produce severe pain. If the symptoms continue to remain unresolved, a qualified doctor can diagnose the cause. Our office can recommend a specialist if you need one.
SPINAL SURGERY: If conservative treatment such as physical therapy, and exercise have failed to resolve chronic neck or back pain due to an injury or degeneration of the spine, or if you are experiencing symptoms such as arm or leg pain, with numbness or tingling of the extremities, you may be a candidate for surgery. There are many possible reasons for chronic neck and back pain. However, if you have experienced trauma to your spine due to an accident, two of the most significant findings detected by an MRI or CT Scan of the lumbar and cervical is a bulging and/or a herniated disc touching or impacting the nerve at the location of the injury.
Three of the most common types of surgeries are know as Diskectomy, Laminectomy and Fusion.
Diskectomy- is the removal of a herniated disc through a small incision at the appropriate level of the spine. It is the most common surgical procedure performed with excellent results. It is least intrusive of the three types of surgery.
Laminectomy- is the removal of a portion of the bone, called lamina, to access an area for removal of larger portions of disc material causing pressure on the nerve root. The lamina is the bone that covers the spinal nerves or cord.
Fusion- is usually performed when a Laminectomy has failed to resolve chronic pain or when spinal instability is present. It is the most intrusive type of surgery. The surgery involves the placement of rods, plates or screws in the area where the lamina has been removed to help stabilize the spine. You may be recommended to spinal surgery. Here is some information for you to consider if such a recommendation has been made.
If you need surgery, you should assure yourself by getting a second opinion. Additionally do not rely on the case to pay the bills. It will not settle before the bills are due. Use your health insurance or make arrangements for surgery on a lien. You can always contact us and or check out our website at www.allenflatt.com.
We want to improve because then our case is only about money. Jurors and courts are powerless to restore your health to you, so you should take all steps to get as fully healed from an accident as you can.