After an auto accident, you may feel pain in your back, but you might brush it off because your limbs are attached, you can move, and you’re just happy to be alive. However, after a few days, your back pain is worse and that’s all you can think about.
The reality is that back injuries are a very common outcome of motor vehicle accidents. While some back injuries can be minor and go away with rest and strengthening exercises, other back injuries can lead to debilitating pain.
Unfortunately, the force of a car crash can result in many types of serious back injuries including herniated discs and spinal injuries. This is because when the discs of the spine move out of place or fractures of the vertebrae occur, damage to the spinal canal takes place—causing back pain due to pressure placed on the spinal cord and nerves. When this happens, spinal stenosis could be the result.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis occurs when the amount of space within the spine is reduced. When narrowing or tightening of the spinal canal transpires, the nerve roots and spinal cord are compressed and a person often suffers severe pain. Although spinal stenosis typically starts out as gradual back pain (usually in the lower back), this type of spinal injury gets worse over time. Unfortunately, spinal stenosis often results in chronic debilitating pain.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
The symptoms of spinal stenosis can range in location depending on the area of the spine that was injured. Some of the symptoms of cervical spinal damage includes weakness, balance issues, and numbness and tingling in the legs, feet, arms, or hands. When lumbar spinal damage occurs, symptoms can include cramping and pain in the legs when standing or walking. Typically, the pain eases with sitting, leaning forward, or lying down; however, many people still have pain while they sleep.
It is important to remember that symptoms of spinal stenosis also resemble other conditions. This is why it is critical to seek medical attention after an auto accident when experiencing any type of pain and numbness.
Diagnosing and Treating Spinal Stenosis
If you have any type of back pain following an auto accident, it is important to be your own advocate. Pain, numbness, and weakness in your back, legs or arms is not normal, so it is essential to urge your doctor to conduct a thorough physical examination that includes imaging tests. Generally, evidence of spinal stenosis will be apparent on x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
If spinal stenosis is detected, it is typically treated with pain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and opioids. Additionally, steroid injections and physical therapy can help those living in pain. However, sometimes conservative treatments don’t work, especially for people who experience muscle spasms, chronic pain, and paralysis. In these events, surgery may be necessary to help relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
While most surgeries help reduce the pain of spinal stenosis, some surgeries actually cause infection, blood clots, and the same or worse symptoms. Unfortunately, the pain associated with spinal stenosis can interfere with a person’s job and interrupt a person’s sleep at night—ultimately resulting in lifelong work and relationship challenges.
Because this type of pain can be chronic and chronic pain is debilitating, it is important that victims of car accidents who have suffered spinal stenosis make full and fair financial recoveries for their injuries, medical bills, and other damages. To find out about pursuing a car accident injury claim to compensate you for your damages, please contact our law firm for a complimentary consultation at (301) 942-9118. We would be happy to answer your questions and inform you of your legal rights.