According to research conducted by the WHO (World Health Organization), every year, 1.5 million people lose their lives in a car accident, and 20 to 50 million people suffer serious injuries. Of course, the severity of those injuries depends on how bad the car accident was. The most common car accident injury is related to the back.
Car accident back injuries can cause discomfort and stiffness, alongside other health problems. And back injuries are not something you should take lightly, as the longer you wait to receive treatment, the worse it will get. Today we will take a look at different car accident back injuries and what you can do to treat them.
Whiplash or WAD (Whiplash-associated disorder) is one of the most common car accident back injuries. Whiplash is when your neck abruptly snaps back and forth in a fast movement, resulting in trauma to the neck’s tissues. It usually occurs when someone rear-ends you.
What are the symptoms?
- Tingling sensation
- Limited neck movement
- Headaches that originate from your neck
Be sure to get medical care if you have any of these symptoms, as prolonged whiplash can be harmful to your spinal cord. And more often than not, a rear-end is due to the fault of the other driver. If that is the case, you should talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer.
2. Lumbar Spine Injuries
The lumbar (L1 – L5 vertebrae) is the lower portion of the spinal cord. A lumbar spine injury is one of the worse car accident back injuries that can lead to disability. The first and second vertebrae (L-1 and L-2) control the hip stretching and movement, the third vertebrae (L-3) assists with knee alignment. The fourth one (L-4) handles turning your foot upwards, and the fifth vertebrae (L-5) is the extension of your toes.
As you can imagine, injuries to the lumbar spine can result in mobility loss in the hips and legs. And depending on the severity of the damage, someone with lumbar spine damage may need a wheelchair, or at the very least, need special supports for walking.
3. Vertebral Fractures
Vertebrae are sensitive to fractures of all severities and can arise anywhere along the spinal cord. So even the slightest bump can cause discomfort and stiffness to the back. Fortunately, some vertebrae fractures may heal over time with no medical attention.
But there are some serious ones like burst fractures, distraction fractures, and vertebral compression fractures. Let’s briefly discuss them.
This occurs when the vertebra fractures in various places and bony fragments injure the spinal cord.
A distraction fracture happens when the upper part of the body is thrown forward. At the same time, the bottom continues in place (perhaps due to using a seatbelt) and tears the vertebra apart.
Vertebral Compression Fractures
VCF or vertebral compression fractures is common to occur in severe car accidents. This happens when the vertebra’s front collapses while the back remains in place, resulting in a wedge shape.
As with any car accident back injuries, seek medical attention to see what sort of damage you have. Diagnosis of a spinal cord injury can include a CT scan, and at the same time, they check each vertebrate to see if there is any damage to them.
4. Sprains and Strains
A minor spinal cord injury is that of strains and sprains on the ligaments. This happens when a forceful impact overstretches the ligaments, and the pressure is too much for the ligament to absorb. Overstretching may also cause the ligaments to tear.
A stretched or completely torn tendon is a strain. In contrast, the equivalent type of injury to the ligament is a sprain. A tendon attaches a muscle to a bone, and a ligament attaches bone to bone.
5. Thoracic Vertebrae Fracture
Thoracic vertebrae are bones in the central part of the back, above the lumbar vertebrae. The most common fractures are rotation fractures, flexion fractures, and extension fractures.
This kind of spinal cord injury happens when the back of the bone stays firm, but the front of the bone fractures and loses height. It requires medical help, as it can cause severe discomfort.
An extension fracture is common in head-on car accidents. This fracture occurs when the bones pull apart in a sudden and quick motion.
A rotation fracture is a rare kind of spinal cord injury but a painful one. It occurs when the bone bends to the point of breaking.
6. Spinal Stenosis
One of the most complicated car accident injuries as many people don’t experience symptoms. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spine’s spaces, which can press the nerves that travel through the spinal cord. These are the possible symptoms:
There are two varieties of spinal stenosis, cervical and lumbar. Cervical stenosis implies that the narrowing of the spaces in your spine occurs in your neck. Lumbar stenosis indicates the narrowing that happens in your lower back.
7. Facet Injuries
Another tricky spinal cord injury is that of the facet joint. The facet joints are small, cartilage-lined points of connection where each backbone meets the one above and below. Often, it’s diagnosed as one of the few acute back injuries that occur in car accidents.
The symptoms may closely resemble a herniated disc, a fracture, a torn muscle of the spine, and sometimes an intense intra-abdominal problem. You may experience discomfort when you lean back, and you will feel your lower back very inflamed.
Car Accident Back Injuries Need Immediate Attention
As you can see, car accident back injuries can be a severe health issue as it may not only affect you at the moment but down the line. That is why you should always get a medical check-up after being in a car accident. This is even more true if you begin to experience some symptoms mentioned before.
If you found this article informative, be sure to check out our other health-related topics. Without a doubt, you’ll find one that piques your interest.