Back pain is the most common type of work-related disability and one of the leading reasons that people miss work. In fact, Americans spend at least $50 billion per year on treatments and therapies for lower back pain. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, almost everyone experiences back pain at some point that interferes with their work, daily activities, or recreational activities. Men and women are equally affected by back pain, and it’s mostly seen in people between the ages of 30 and 50.

So, if you’ve been in a vehicle accident, it’s likely that you’ll experience back pain and spasms that last a few over days or even months. However, some injuries can last years or even a lifetime. Fortunately, most back pain goes away in a few days but when it doesn’t, it often indicates a more serious condition that will need ongoing treatment or even surgery.

The Anatomy of the Back

The back is made up of bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, skin, and other tissues, and injuries to any of these can cause pain. The spinal column, consisting of 30 stacked bones called vertebrae, runs through our bodies and helps us move around freely. When our bodies are involved in accidents, our spine typically bears the brunt of the force which causes a whole range of injuries and ongoing issues. Some of the 

The spaces between the vertebrae are filled by spongy pads of cartilage called intervertebral discs. They’re relatively tough on the outside but filled with a soft gel on the inside. A slipped disc, also known as a herniated or prolapsed disc, is a condition where the spinal discs rupture and the gel inside leaks out. This can cause both back pain and pain in other regions of the body controlled by the nerve that the disc is pressing on. 

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body running from the back of the pelvis through the buttock area and down the legs to the feet. Pressure placed on this nerve due to a slipped disc or another type of back injury can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in one or both legs.

The spinal cord contains nerve cells and nerve fibers and connects all the parts of the body to the brain. It carries signals to and from your brain that tells your body how to move as well as telling your brain when you’re feeling pain and other sensations. An injury to the spinal column can cause significant and life-changing injuries such as paraplegia; a loss of feeling or function in the legs and lower body, or quadriplegia; loss of feeling or function in all four limbs.

We’ve previously covered other spinal cord injuries as they differ in everyone but are a common outcome of many auto accidents.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is most commonly causes by trauma some kind of blow or shock to the back or by a medical disorder such as arthritis. Back pain can be due to:

  • Vehicle accidents- especially when your car’s been rear-ended
  • Slips and falls
  • Sports accidents 
  • Muscle strains- such as when reaching for something or picking up a heavy object
  • Arthritis
  • Bone lesions
  • Disc disease
  • Bone disease such as osteoporosis
  • Congenital abnormalities such as curvature of the spine
  • Viral infections
  • Weight gain 
  • Bad posture
  • Standing all day at work
  • A poorly designed chair
  • Repetitive stress
  • A poor sleeping position or poor-quality mattress
  • A buildup of scar tissue from multiple injuries
  • Diabetes
  • A pinched nerve
  • Wearing a heavy backpack or carrying a heavy purse or suitcase

When back pain is accompanied by a fever, loss of bladder or bowel control, pain when coughing, or increasing weakness in the legs, that may indicate a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention in order to prevent permanent damage.

Types of Back Pain and Spasms

When different people talk about back pain or injuries, they may actually be talking about different types of sensations:

  • Pain
  • Soreness
  • Stiffness
  • Spasms
  • Limited flexibility or range of motion
  • The inability to stand up straight or twist

Pain can occur:

  • In the upper back, near the neck
  • Between the shoulder blades
  • In the lower back (lumbar region)
  • On one only side of the back
  • Along the spinal column

Pain in the lower back region is most common in adults whether they’ve been involved in an accident or not as our bodies experience wear and tear due to age. The lower back also bears the most weight and is, therefore, most prone to damage and injury. Any back pain that lasts for more than three months is considered chronic.

Pain can be:

  • Shooting
  • Stabbing
  • Constant
  • Intermittent (coming and going)
  • Related to certain movement
  • Progressive (getting worse)

Back pain that lasts for more than three months is considered chronic.

Whiplash is one of the most common types of soft-tissue injury after an accident and although people typically think of whiplash as a neck injury, it can extend into the upper back. Lower back pain can also be caused by injury to the discs, facet joints, or sacroiliac joints after a whiplash-type injury.

Treatments for Back Pain

Diagnosing back pain normally starts with a physical exam from a doctor. If they suspect something more complicated than a simple strain, they may order imaging tests such as x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, and even blood tests.

If you’ve been injured in any kind of an accident, it’s always a good idea to see your doctor right away in order to document your injury in case you decide to bring a claim or a lawsuit. You may think that you’re fine and that your pain will go away soon, but you may be wrong. Failing to document your injury properly can lose you the chance to recover what you deserve for your injuries in the form of money you may need to get better.

If you don’t get the right treatment you need for a back injury it can leave you with months or years of pain and even a lifelong disability. Most back pain is treated without surgery, as pain medications are most common for reducing inflammation and pain. However, you should contact your doctor if your pain isn’t much better after 72 hours of these self-care measures.

The treatment for a slipped disk normally includes physical therapy, massage, exercise, and pain medication. It’s important to keep moving at least after the first few days, as this will speed up recovery. Swimming is particularly great for being weightless and moving without putting pressure on your back.

You Don’t Have to Put Up with Back Pain

If you’ve been involved in an accident and started to get back pain as a result, you might think you’re not entitled to compensation and you just have to live with it but that’s not true! There are various types of medications and therapies that can help with your back pain. Also, the person or company that caused your pain may be responsible to compensate you and pay for your medical bills and for the damage to your quality of life, however major or minor.

Previous Cases We’ve Worked On

Following are some examples of back injury damages we’ve personally recovered for clients:

$150,000. Broken bones. Our client was t-boned in Mesa, suffered severe back injuries. The insurance company settled after an independent medical examination and filing a lawsuit.

$37,000. Commercial truck accident. The client suffered severe back and neck injuries after being rear-ended in Tempe.

$37,000. Auto accident. The client suffered pain from a lower back injury after being t-boned in Mesa.

$37,000. Highway accident. The client suffered an extensive back injury after being rear-ended while on her way to work in Chandler.

 

Our experienced attorneys offer comprehensive guidance on all personal injury matters by phone or video conference call.

Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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