Low Back Injury and Pain After a Car Accident
Low back injury and pain after a car accident is not uncommon. Oftentimes, low back injury or pain complaints after a car accident will appear hours, days or even weeks after the accident. These pain complaints may be localized to one part of your back or they may radiate down your legs and into your toes. Significant low back injuries may result in the need for emergency surgery or stabilization. However, more frequently low back injuries are initially treated conservatively – meaning non-invasively. It is only after non-invasive treatment fails where invasive treatment such as injections, ablations, or surgery is explored.
The damage to the vehicles involved in a car accident does not indicate the severity of injury to vehicle occupants. While it is typical that higher speed crashes are more likely to cause injury to vehicle occupants, low speed accidents can cause significant injury as well. Low speed car accident victims can sustain serious injury requiring surgery such as rhizomoties or fusions. This is typically a result of the forces of the crash being directly transferred to the car accident victim’s spine.
Low back injuries in car accidents can encompass various types of injuries. To understand the types of low back injuries of the spine, first you need to know the anatomical make up of the spine itself.
THE LUMBAR SPINE
The lumbar spine refers to the low back portion of the spine. It includes five (5) lumbar vertebrae, sacrum and coccyx. Each vertebral level of the lumbar spine is numbered in sequential order starting with L1. This means L1 is the first and highest lumbar vertebrae and L5 is the lowest and last lumbar level. L1 through L5 plus the sacrum and coccyx make up the entirety of the lumbar spine.
Between each vertebrae from L1 to the sacrum are spinal discs that act as shock absorbers. They are numbered based on the vertebral discs they are between. For example, the L1-L2 disc refers to the spinal disc between the L1 and L2 vertebrae. The spinal discs are made up of a gel-like cushion center called a nucleus and think outer layer called the annulus. You can analogize these spinal discs to jelly donuts where the jelly is the nucleus and the outer donut is the nucleus.
WHAT TYPE OF LOW BACK INJURIES CAN CAR ACCIDENTS CAUSE?
Car accidents frequently cause low back injuries. Sometimes, these injuries result in a few days of stiffness. Other times, these injuries can result in severe pain, weakness, burning sensation, numbness, bowel incontinence, or even paralysis.
Some of those injuries include:
Bulging Disc – bulging discs result where a fragment of the disc nucleus is pushed into the tough outer layer of the disc called the annulus.
Herniated Disc – herniated discs result where a fragment of the disc nucleus is pushed out of the annulus through a tear in the annulus.
Extruded Disc – extruded discs is a type of herniation where the disc nucleus is not only pushed out of the annulus through a tear in the annulus, but extends either above or below the disc level.
Nerve Irritation – nerve irritation can often result from herniated discs as the result of the disc nucleus placing pressure on one or more nerves. It is typical for lumbar nerve irritation to cause pain, burning, tingling and/or numbness down the lower extremities.
Fractured Vertebrae – Fractured vertebrae can be classified by fracture pattern, such as flexion, extension, or rotation. The severity of fracture can vary along with necessary treatment. Compression fractures are typically stable and need only be monitored. Burst fractures may require immediate surgical intervention.
Paralysis – Paralysis can occur in several ways but are typically the result of Spinal Cord Injury.
Cauda Equina – Cauda Equina is caused by injury to the nerve roots below the L2 vertebrae and can result in bowel incontinence as well as lower extremity weakness and sexual dysfunction.
WILL I NEED SURGERY TO FIX MY LOW BACK INJURY?
The answer to this question depends on the type of injury you sustained. Some injuries simply require a few days rest. Some injuries may result in the need for conservative care while others may require immediate or delayed surgical intervention.
Your injuries severity will be established through objective and subjective findings. Objective findings include x-rays, CT, or MRIs – imaging which shows us what the injury looks like. It may also include testing such as nerve conduction studies or even orthopedic examination. Subjective findings will include how the injury victims describes their pain. Ultimately, the type of treatment you will require will largely be dependent on the type of injury you sustained in the car accident as well as how that injury has affected your activities of daily living.
LOW BACK INJURY ATTORNEY
If you have sustained a low back injury due to a car accident, it is important to seek immediate medical care. It is also important that you seek legal representation due to the injury you sustained. Low back injuries can cause significant financial, physical, and emotion stress. A low back injury attorney will be your advocate in holding the person or persons who caused you injury accountable.
GET YOUR FREE CAR ACCIDENT, INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH CASE REVIEW WITH AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY TODAY
If you have been injured in a car accident or recently lost a loved on, contact Presser Law for a free case review with an attorney to determine your legal rights. For over 10 years, Justin Presser has represented car accident and injury victims throughout Central Florida in their times of need and he would be honored to help you as well.
About Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney Justin H. Presser
Justin H. Presser is an award-winning lawyer and founder of Presser Law, P.A. representing clients in the areas of personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death and more. With an office located in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Presser Law, P.A., proudly services clients throughout Central Florida including the following areas: Orange County including Orlando, Ocoee, Doctor Phillips, Apopka, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Maitland, College Park, Thornton Park; Seminole County including Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Casselberry, Chuluota; Lake County including Clermont, Mount Dora, Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg, Sorrento; and Brevard County including Melbourne, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Palm Bay.
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