Understanding the Spine
There are actually quite a few parts to the spine. The spinal cord at the center of the spine is surrounded by discs, muscles and other tendons, and even nerves.
Healthcare professionals divide the spine into three areas, named by their location. These parts are: the cervical spine (or neck,) thoracic vertebrae (or upper back,) and lumbar vertebrae (lower back.) Motor vehicle accident injuries? Those can impact any part of the spine!
There are different types of names for injuries, too. Fractures occur when the bone itself is damaged. Injuries to spinal discs are called herniations. Trauma to ligaments are known as sprains. Injuries that occur in the muscle tissue are called strains.
Treatment only begins after a thorough diagnosis.
Usually, this means imaging like CT Scans, X-rays, and MRIs.
Your physician will review the results of these tests, as well as the details of the accident, your medical history, and may even conduct a physical exam. After this, your physician will be able to determine just what’s injured where, and how severely.
Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan unique to you and your trauma.
Medications can help to manage some of the symptoms of a back injury. That doesn’t mean that medications are without risk, however. You can speak with your pharmacist about how a medication will affect you.
Some of the most commonly prescribed medications for back injuries are: ibuprofen, Ketoprofen, and Naproxen. In cases of moderate to severe pain, opiates pain-killers may also be prescribed.
Injuries that are classified as sprains and strains are first treated with non-invasive treatments. These treatments can help heal slight tearing for muscles, tendons and ligaments. Doctors generally begin a course of soft-tissue treatments with a plan to review results after a set time period. (That’s generally 8 to 12 weeks.)
Some common types of these treatments are: chiropractic adjustments, medical massages, and physical therapy.
If pain and other symptoms continue, other treatments will be considered.
Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural Steroid Injections are a slightly more invasive procedure, but often used when conservative options are not working well. These injections are popular choices as they allow a patient an opportunity to avoid more invasive surgical options.
These injections reduce what are known as ‘radicular symptoms,’ that commonly occur when there are spinal disc herniations. An example of a radicular symptom might be pain that radiates out from the point of injury.
Spinal fusion or spondylodesis
Spinal fusions are a type of surgery where a surgeon fuses (or joins) two or more vertebrae together.
Surgeons graft bone tissue from the injured patient. Tissue is a natural part of the body, and will easily fuse with other surrounding bone tissue.
Spinal fusions are often successful, but can permanently affect range of motion–even if pain is eliminated.
Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR)
Artificial Disk Replacement surgeries are a type of surgery where a surgeon substitutes a severely injured disc with a prosthetic disc. ADR surgerys are reserved for cases where self-healing is not possible due to the extent of damage done to the disc.
If you have suffered a spinal injury in a motor vehicle accident, it is critical to find an attorney as soon as possible. Even if you are in beginning stages of your treatment, having your attorney from the onset of your case positively influences your ability to obtain proper compensation you deserve. Spinal injuries and their treatments are expensive and emotionally exhausting trials. Find an attorney immediately to insure financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering.
Need help finding an attorney? Check out our guide to Denver Attorney Reviews HERE
It is important to stay in constant communication with your healthcare providers if you have suffered spinal injuries in a motor vehicle accident in order to find the best, least possibly invasive, and available medical treatments. There are many other options for spinal injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents. Some of these treatments are well tested: some of these treatments are experimental.