If you hurt your spine, that can spell trouble for you. Many individuals complain of back pain during their lives. Improper posture often causes that, and also, as humans get older, they can suffer disk deterioration through regular activities.
If you wreck your car, that can be another situation where you might hurt your back. Even if all you do is twist or turn it slightly, that can be enough to necessitate months of physical therapy, ice packs, pain meds, and so forth. Of course, it’s possible that you might hurt your back even worse, and you may have to deal with that for the rest of your life.
In this article, we’ll talk about car accidents, spinal injuries, and the relationship between the two.
The Human Spine
You should realize that the spine is a complex and multifaceted body part. If your spine does not function as it should, you’re probably in for a lot of misery. There are all the disks, nerves, and vertebrae, and they need to maintain full functionality, or constant pain might be the result.
Car crashes cause more spinal injuries than almost anything else, including slip-and-fall accidents or falls off roofs or ladders. Of all the reported spinal injuries every year, car wrecks cause about 38% of them.
The spine, or backbone, as many laypeople call it, has 33 individual bones, the vertebrae. Doctors divide them into five regions: coccygeal, sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical.
What Can Happen in a Car Wreck?
Let’s say you’re driving, and a car rear-ends you. You were on the highway, and you stopped because of a sudden traffic jam. The driver behind you was not paying attention as well as they should, as they let a text message distract them.
A car striking your vehicle from behind can jar your entire body. Your spine might absorb much of that impact, and you may feel sore for days, weeks, or months afterward.
You shouldn't wait to see a medical professional after such an accident. The sooner you can figure out what’s wrong with your back, the sooner you and your medical team can figure out the best path forward.
You might have vertebrae damage, or there are also disks between each vertebra. A car wreck can harm those as well. If the collision is violent enough, a disk can even shatter and fragment into your spinal column.
Is Surgery Possible?
Back surgery is sometimes possible, but doctors only want to operate on your back if they feel like they have no other choice. If anything goes wrong during a back surgery, you risk paralysis in some instances.
A doctor is almost always going to recommend less invasive options, such as the pain meds, cold treatments, physical therapy, and posture adjustments to which we already alluded. If it’s evident that the damage is so severe that none of that will help, they might consent to operate on you and repair the damage as best they can.
What Is the Best Possible Outcome?
The best outcome that you can expect following a car accident-related back injury will depend entirely on how severe the damage is. Ideally, you want your spine to retain the “S” shape from when you have fully functional vertebrae and connecting disks. Your body’s natural curves try to maintain that “S” position, but after a car wreck or a similar accident, X-rays and MRIs might not show that anymore.
Usually, what happens after a back injury is that if you can’t figure out how to correct it or it doesn’t heal properly, your other body parts will start to compensate. You might find yourself hunching over to alleviate your pain.
In time, you may not be able to walk so easily. Seemingly ordinary activities like driving, typing while sitting at a desk, or playing with your kids will become agonizing.
None of that is good news, but medical science is now better at treating back problems than it ever was in the past. You can probably find a solution or at least a way to alleviate the worst of your pain.
You should be sure to get the proper settlement amount from the driver who caused your injury. There is no reason that they should stick you with paying for your own doctor bills, pain meds, etc., following a car wreck. If you can’t get them or their insurance company to pay you what you’re due, hire a lawyer and pursue this matter in court.