Back and Spinal Cord Injuries

Back & Spinal Cord Injuries

Injury Resource Center of Michigan

The low back is susceptible to a variety of injuries due to stressful trauma of car accidents, truck and tractor-trailer accidents and motorcycle accidents. Injuries may include soft-tissue strains and sprains, as well as more serious injuries such as fractures or dislocations of the bones in the lower back. A coccyx or tail bone injury is more frequent in women than in men because of anatomical differences. Fractures of the coccyx are often painful and are aggravated by prolonged sitting, standing up from a sitting position and by performing routine activities. Treatment of the fracture may involve bed rest, wearing of belts and girdles, pain medication and anti-inflammatory agents, and in severe cases, surgical intervention.

A strain of the lower back is a soft tissue injury in which there is a pulling or stretching of the muscle, ligament or tissue. Pain in the lower back and restricted motion due to pain are common symptoms of low back strain. Treatment of acute lower back strain is rest and medications. On the other hand, a sprain of the lower back involves tearing or rupture of the tissue that may be accompanied by swelling or bruising. Treatment is much the same as for strains. However, recovery from a low back sprain may be more prolonged than from a strain and more often results in chronic low back discomfort.

The backbone or spinal column of 33 separate bones or vertebrae are vulnerable to injury, especially in serious motor vehicle accidents. The cervical spine, the seven bones that sit at the top of the spinal column, are particularly susceptible to injury with the principle risk being damage to the spinal cord and nerves. If there are serious injuries present, measures (including surgery) to relieve the pressure around the spinal cord and nerves will take priority over treatment of fractures or dislocation of the bones. Diagnostic procedures, such as neurological examinations, must be preformed with utmost caution because of the potential of spinal instability. The type of treatment for vertebral injuries depends upon the type of fracture, whether there is neurological damage and the age and physical state of the accident victim.

Motor vehicle accidents account for the majority of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Construction and industrial accidents, gunshot wounds and sporting accidents are also causes of spinal cord trauma. At greatest risk of spinal cord injuries are young males under the age of 40, particularly those 15 – 25 years of age. Victims of serious spinal cord injuries are often left with life-long social and occupational difficulties as well as physical and emotional impairments. Serious damage to the spinal cord, especially the cervical spine, often results in catastrophic, life-threatening consequences. An accident victim may suffer paralysis, or loss of voluntary movement, in all four limbs, both legs and arms, or a combination thereof. Loss of sensation, bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction may also be a result of spinal cord injuries. A number of spinal cord injuries could be prevented in car accidents if passengers always wear seatbelts. Public education for children and adolescents about the dangers of diving into shallow water has also helped to limit the number of spinal cord injuries. Because serious back and spinal cord injury victims often face long term medical treatment, loss of earning power and self-esteem, and social and financial difficulties, it is important that the victim and family members talk with an attorney who is skilled and experienced in injury law.

If you, a friend or loved one have suffered serious back or spinal cord injuries, talk with an experienced Michigan injury lawyer who will obtain the maximum degree of justice for you. Contact The Law Offices of Henry M. Hanflik by completing the online form or by calling toll-free 1 (888) 905-4632.

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