Depending on several factors, a vehicle collision can result in a wide range of injuries for occupants. From head trauma to fatalities, a car crash can be devastating to the victim and his or her entire family. One of the most common forms of injuries, however, is the back injury.
Back injuries can range from muscle spasms to paralysis based on the position of the injury and the severity of the collision. In general, the injuries can be categorized in five ways:
- Whiplash: Also commonly referred to as a cervical strain, whiplash is an injury that affects the upper portion of the spinal column. It is a common injury caused by the jarring motion of the head moving back and forth rapidly, often due to a rear-end collision. Unfortunately, whiplash is often seen as a minor strain and is not treated appropriately. It can lead to lasting pain and torn tissues that support the head and neck.
- Soft tissue injuries: The spinal column is strengthened and supported by a series of muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the back. A serious collision can cause lasting damage to these muscles. Victims can experience significant pain, spasms and stiffness that might last through the healing process and beyond.
- Herniated disc: Due to the force of impact the body is expected to absorb, portions of the spine might slip out of place. A herniated disc refers to one or more vertebrae that was pushed out of place due to the collision. While the injury itself might not cause pain or discomfort, the out-of-place disc can compress a nerve and cause a host of symptoms including back pain, sciatica, weakness, and numbness or tingling down the leg and foot.
- Fractures: A serious crash can contain enough force to cause a fracture in the vertebrae. These compression fractures form in response to significant stress or pressure on the spine. Severe fractures could damage the spinal cord or surrounding nerves.
- Spinal cord injuries: These injuries are among the most dangerous type of vehicle accident injury. Damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent nerve damage or paralysis. Victims might suffer paraplegia, quadriplegia or hemiplegia depending on the position and type of damage to the spinal cord.
Individuals injured in a car or truck accident must seek medical care immediately. Due to the type of injury and the body’s own natural defense mechanisms, some symptoms might not be readily apparent, and it is wise to be thoroughly examined by a medical professional.