Being involved in an accident, especially ones that cause trauma to your back makes you vulnerable to spinal injury. If you suspect that you have sustained an injury to the spinal column, have yourself checked immediately. Any damage to your spine is cause for concern. If left untreated, spinal damage can lead to more severe complications and become irreversible.
Here are some of the most common spine injuries people sustain from serious accidents:
Whiplash is an injury that you get from the sudden, forceful, and rapid backward and forward movement of your neck. The movement is usually caused by abrupt acceleration and deceleration. It also happens in rear-end collisions, or when a vehicle crashes to the one in front of it. Here are some symptoms of whiplash injury:
- Neck, shoulder, and back pain
- Stiffness in the neck
- Pain when moving the neck
- Headache and dizziness
- Muscle spasms
- Memory and concentration problems
In some instances, people have also experienced other symptoms like blurred vision, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and irritability. Symptoms may occur immediately after the accident. But sometimes, they may develop after a few days.
Your spine begins below your skull and runs down to your tailbone. Individual bones called vertebrae are stacked together to form the entire length of the spine. In between the vertebrae are rubbery cushions called disks. When those disks rupture or slip due to a blow to your back, you get a herniated disk.
Herniated disks usually occur in the lower region of the spine, but they can also affect the neck area. Sometimes, they can irritate nearby nerves and cause numbness, pain, or weakness in your arms or legs. Some other symptoms include:
- Sporadic or continuous back pain
- Muscle weakness
- Pain around in the location of the herniated disks are
- Decreased reflexes
- Disruptions in bladder or bowel functions
Trauma from serious accidents may cause the vertebrae to break. This condition is called a spinal fracture, and it has different types.
The first type is a compression fracture where the front of your vertebrae crumples or collapses from trauma. It causes the spinal column to bend forward, resulting in a hunched posture. This type of fracture comes with severe back pain.
The second, more dangerous type of fracture is called a burst fracture. It’s where severe trauma causes the entire vertebra to break or get crushed. The bone fragments may then cause damage to surrounding tissue, particularly the spinal cord.
A burst fracture may result in pain, instability of your spinal column, or damage to your spinal cord. This traumatic spinal injury requires immediate medical attention.
Spinal Cord Injury
Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves responsible for relaying messages from the brain to the rest of your body. It runs through the hollow center of the entire spinal column.
Even though it’s protected by the spine, trauma to the vertebrae may cause damage to the nerves. Usually, broken bones cause further injury to the spinal cord. And in some rare cases, the spinal cord may be completely severed.
Depending on the location and severity of the injury to the spinal cord, different parts of your body may be affected. Any damage to it may include the following effects:
- Loss of sensation
- Inability to move body parts
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction
- Difficulty breathing
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Muscle spasms
- Severe pain
Spinal cord injury may also cause paralysis, referred to as:
- Quadriplegia: affects the arms, legs, and pelvic organs
- Paraplegia: affects the entire lower body below the waist
The extent of the injury to the spinal cord determines the severity of the paralysis. Complete spinal injury means that there is a total loss of sensation and movement below the damaged area. Meanwhile, an incomplete injury means that there’s still some sensation and movement below the spinal cord injury.
Spine Care Specialists in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, FL
Do not take any spinal injuries lightly. They shouldn’t be left unchecked. If you’ve ever had a serious accident, contact a healthcare provider as soon as you can. You may want to consider visiting a clinic, especially if you feel any symptoms associated with spinal injuries.
At Advanced Orthopedic Center, we are prepared to provide comprehensive care for your spinal injury. Our team of experienced doctors can help you with diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Aside from our expert orthopedic physicians who’ll take care of your spinal injury, we also have skilled pain management practitioners to help you tackle your pain. Our interventional pain management techniques ensure that you’ll be able to return to your normal activities as soon as possible.
If you want to learn more about the services we offer, you may call us at (941) 629-6262. And if you would like to schedule a consultation, you may use our safe online appointment request form.
We look forward to serving you!