Helpful Information About Back Pain and Spinal Injuries

One of the most common injuries suffered by San Diego accident victims is a spinal injury, typically resulting in pain to their back or neck. The spine is the foundation and structure for your entire body, so an injury to the spine can be very serious.

Spinal Injuries: Back Pain and Neck Injury

Spinal injuries are serious, common, and are injuries that can affect people the world over from many different incidents. While different diseases such as spina bifida or polio used to be the main causes of spinal problems, the use of motor vehicles and public transportation have made Americans more likely to suffer from the most dangerous forms of spinal injuries. Despite the best attempts to keep everyone safe, we still hear of car accidents in Chula Vista, pedestrian hit-and-runs in San Diego, Amtrak crashes in Oceanside, and, as of recently, train collisions in DC.

Most Californians are involved in some kind of car or traffic accident at some point in their lives. No matter where you are hit, how intensely you are pushed, the force and spinal injury caused by such collisions are unnatural and overall harmful for those involved. Other causes can be gunshot wounds or falls. The spine is one of the most important, and most delicate parts, of our bodies. Back injuries can leave lasting and traumatic disability to all of us.

Spinal cord injury, or SCI, is any damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function or mobility. The spinal cord does not have to be severed to leave lasting disability, but damage to the spinal cord can leave a lifelong impact. SCI can be anything from back injuries, ruptured discs, spinal stenosis, or pinched nerves.

The spinal cord is roughly 18 inches long and extends from the base of the brain down to the waist. The nerves embedded by the spinal cord carry messages from your brain to other parts of the body. The vertebra along your spine are categorized, the top being Cervical, (the first vertebrae is C-1), followed by Thoracic, Lumbar, and Sacral.

Some common injuries to the spinal cord resulting from car accidents, falls, or injuries are below.

Disc bulging: A bulging disc related to the lumbar nerves occurs when a disc bulges through a crevice in the spine. Discs are the soft, gelatinous material that cushions the vertebrae, and a bulge occurs when it shifts out of its normal radius from accidents or simply old age. Disc bulges can go unnoticed and remain unsymptomatic if they do not hit a nerve.

Herniated disc: Herniated discs cause pain in the back, legs, or lower extremities. When a disc herniation occurs, the cushion between spinal vertebrae is dislocated. Disc herniation normally would not be problematic except that the dense amount of nerves nearby means that the disc tends to hit and rest on nerves that cause the person a lot of constant pain. When the elastic of the disc ruptures, it can get pushed out and can pinch nerves. Many people who experience a herniated discs already suffer from spinal stenosis, which causes narrowing of the space between the spine and the nerves.

Disc rupture: A disc rupture can occur anywhere throughout the spine. Most commonly it occurs near cervical or lumbar nerves. A disc rupture can cause radiculopathy, which is a root nerve irritation and can cause pain going up and down arms or legs, coupled with weakness or numbness.

Approximately 450,000 people live with SCI within the United States. There are about 10,000 new SCI’s every year, and the majority of them (82%) involve males between the ages of 16-30. Motor vehicle accidents leaving these injuries account for 36% of the total, violence is 28.9%, and different types of falls are 21.2%.

With this rate of serious injury that can result from a car or motorcycle accident in San Diego, don’t be unprepared. Contact us for help if this has ever happened to you or a loved one.