No one other than people who have had a back injury will understand how a bad back affects everything you do. Standing up, sitting down, walking, even sleeping all become painful and unpleasant when you have a bad back.
If you’ve been injured and are suffering from back injuries, you probably have lots of questions. You’re probably worried about your future and whether this back injury is permanent.
If injury cases cannot be settled, they will be judged by a Jury. The only way to force an insurance company to pay you fair money for your back injury is to make sure that you build the strongest case you possibly can.
That may worry the insurance company and result in them taking your case seriously. That is why it is important for you to understand as much as you can about back injuries and back injury cases.
The Anatomy of the Back
Your spine is the frame or pillar that allows you to stand upright. It helps bear the weight of your body. However, it is also the tunnel through which all of your body’s nerves pass from your brain and branch out to the rest of your body.
Lawyers and doctors call your lower back the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is made up of bony vertebrae. In between each bony vertebrate is a disk, which is soft and filled with gel. The disc acts like a shock absorber between the bony vertebrae.
But it also creates space between the bony vertebrae so that your nerves can branch out to all the parts of your body, like your legs. Without nerves, you would not be able to feel or move your legs.
Types of Back Injuries
Back injuries can involve fractures or breaks to the bony vertebrae. They can involve stretching the ligaments and tendons. But probably the most common back injury I see in my law practice is an injury to the disc.
Whether it is a bulging disc or a herniated disc, when a disk is injured, the height between the bony vertebrae is reduced. Think of a flat tire on a bicycle. This can cause your nerves to get pinched. Pinched nerves can cause numbness, tingling, a lot of pain and even paralysis.
The more severe the nerve impingement, the more important it is to get medical treatment right away to avoid permanent consequences.
Some back injuries involve actual broken bones — fracture of the bony vertebrae. With this kind of back injury, pain and disability/inability to walk is almost instant after the crash or accident.
But the vast majority of back injuries involve the softer, gel-like disks in the back, which are between and cushion the vertebrae. Trauma like an accident, a fall, or a work injury can result in damage or a tear to these disks.
Once a disk or disks are ruptured or herniated in your back, there are a couple of possibilities. It may mean that after a recovery, you will be pretty much okay. Although you will have a permanently increased risk that a future trauma or injury will cause you further disk injury.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you have herniated disks with very bad pain and very limited activities of daily living, you could need surgery to try to take the pressure off of your back. This is because the disk is no longer a good “shock absorber.”
The most common back injury involves just the muscles, tendons and nerves of your back. These are called “soft tissue,” “whiplash,” or sprain-strain” type injuries. The bad thing is that they can be just as painful and just as limiting to you as the more serious kinds of back injuries.
Many of these injuries get better after managing the pain and increasing blood flow. It also gets bearable after strengthening the surrounding muscles with physical therapy. Unfortunately, some of these kinds of muscle injuries never heal properly.
In fact, they can become a permanently painful condition for which there is no available surgery or cure. These kinds of chronic pain injuries in the low back can only be treated with medication, changing your lifestyle and therapy.
However, too much medication is bad for your stomach and is also often bad for your kidney or liver. There are other pain management options available though.
Pain management doctors treat thousands of patients with chronic back pain every week and new treatments are always being developed.
A back injury is one of the most common kinds of injuries people can get in car crashes, fall down accidents and injuries at work.
They can range from a temporary tweak to a very serious, debilitating kind of injury. The latter could require multiple surgeries and mean that you may never return to work. Serious business.
But the real danger of a back injury is this: MOST BACK INJURIES HAVE THE SAME SYMPTOMS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ACCIDENT.
That means that thousands of people who have been involved in an auto accident or a work injury start out with mild tightness and complaints of pain. The pain, tightness and disability grow over the hours and days after the back injury.
And then, for the more minor injuries, the patient starts to get better. For the unfortunate people with serious injuries, the pain gets worse and worse until it is unbearable and debilitating.
Lower Back Injury Treatment
If you suffered a back injury, my honest advice is to see a doctor immediately. Nothing is more important than your health. Insurance companies love it when injured people with back injuries delay getting help so that they can argue you were not really hurt.
And as you can see, there are lots of different kinds of back injuries with serious consequences for you and your family. Sometimes, the nerve pinching is temporary and can be treated with pain medicine, rest and physical therapy.
If doctors see a serious impingement of nerves on your MRI, or if you do not improve with therapy, doctors may move on to giving you a series of three epidural steroid injections.
These are injected directly into your lower back and their purpose is to reduce swelling so that your nerves do not get pinched anymore. If nothing else fixes the problem, the back injury must be treated with surgery.
The surgery can range from less serious microdiscectomy, to more serious lumbar fusion. Lumbar fusion surgery results in the bony vertebrae being permanently fused together. It is a serious surgery.
As you can see, back injury cases can get complicated quickly. If you have worries and concerns about your back injury, well, you probably should. I offer a free case evaluation either in person or by telephone. I can answer all of your questions and help put your mind at ease.
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Cab Driver, Fall Down