Back injuries account for more than 20% of all workplace injuries in the United States and are common injuries from car wrecks or falls. Back pain can cause problems anywhere from the neck to the tailbone (coccyx).
Severe back injuries may result from car crashes, falls from significant heights, direct blows to the back or the top of the head, a high-energy fall onto the buttocks, or a penetrating injury such as a stab wound.
While injuries to nerves in the spine are not usually as devastating as spinal cord problems, pressure on many nerves at once can cause long term leg weakness and bowel and bladder problems. Injury to a single nerve (sciatica or radiculopathy) may be intensely painful, but is less likely to cause major, permanent problems. If the part of the leg that that nerve goes to is weak, surgery will often be recommended, as it is with patients with spinal cord problems.
Spinal Cord Injuries
An accident can cause spinal cord injuries when delicate spinal cord tissue is bruised, torn, or crushed by trauma to the back.
Fortunately, many low back injuries will not involve the spinal cord, which ends in the upper part of the low back (at the L1-2 disk). If this part of the cord is injured, patients will have trouble with bowel, bladder, and sexual function.
As many as 400,000 Americans are living with spinal cord injuries. Most spinal cord injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30, and about 82 percent of those who experience spinal cord injuries are male. Motor vehicle accidents account for approximately 44 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Other common causes include acts of violence, slips and falls, and sports-related injuries – mostly diving accidents and trampoline accidents.
Results of Spinal Cord Injury
After the spinal cord has been injured, messages no longer flow through the damaged area, essentially cutting off information between the brain and certain parts of the body. Generally, the functions of the body located above the point of injury will continue to work with no loss of function, while the areas of the body located below the point of injury will be impaired. Impairment can include motor deficit, sensory deficit, breathing difficulty, and bowel and/or bladder dysfunction
The prognosis of a particular spinal cord injury varies depending upon where along the spinal column the spinal cord has been injured, the severity of the injury, and which nerve fibers are damaged. These things can be narrowed down by distinguishing between symptoms like facial paralysis or periodic paralysis. As a general rule of thumb, some recovery can be expected within the first six months following injury. After six months, additional recovery becomes even harder and is why doctors will stress how important it is to begin a rehabilitation program as soon as possible after an injury.
Retain Experienced Back Injury Lawyers
Lowcountry Injury Law attorneys have much experience in handling injury cases involving significant back injuries, often with resulting permanent disability. If you or a loved one is a victim of an accident with a back injury, you will need a competent, knowledgeable personal injury attorney to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages, including past and future lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.