Every year, approximately 11,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury in the U.S., according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). Most of these injuries are caused by some sort of trauma to the neck or back, and the most common is a car accident. Neck and back injuries can be complicated and long lasting. Even seemingly minor injuries can cause significant pain and force accident victims to miss work.
Understanding Back and Neck Structure
The neck and back are both part of the larger spinal cord that runs from the highest neck bone at the base of the brain all the way down to the lower back underneath the rib cage. These stacked bones are connected by muscle and tissue and include both discs and nerves that help to send messages from the brain to the rest of the body. The spine is divided into four sections:
- Cervical – located in the neck. Injuries here can result in weakness or paralysis to any part below the spot of the injury.
- Thoracic – located in the upper back and attached to the rib cage. While injuries here are less common, they can result in weakness or paralysis in the legs, bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs.
- Lumbar – located in the lower back. Injuries here could cause symptoms similar to thoracic spine injuries.
- Sacral – located in the pelvis. Injuries here could cause symptoms similar to thoracic spine injuries.
Common Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Given the complicated nature of the spinal cord and the wide variety of injuries that can be sustained, back and neck injuries can cause a variety of symptoms. The injury may be either complete (total loss of sensory and motor function below the injury) or incomplete (retaining some degree of sensory and motor function). Some of the more common signs of injury include:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation or altered sensation
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Changes in sexual function
- Pain or intense tingling sensation
- Difficulty breathing
- Weakness or numbness
It’s important to note that left untreated, a back or neck injury can become significantly worse. According to the Mayo Clinic, the time between sustaining an injury and receiving care can be critical to progression of the injury and the prognosis for recovery. Even if a victim isn’t sure of his injuries, he should seek medical care as soon as possible.
Treatment for Back and Neck Injuries Sustained in a Crash
Addressing a back or neck injury at any point along the spinal column can be complicated. Once damage is done, there may be few medical options available to reverse that injury. Some of the medical measures that can be taken include:
- Experimental treatments
Protecting Your Future After a Neck or Back Injury
Car accident victims who suffer a serious neck or back injury can face a long and difficult road to recovery. In many cases, a complete recovery may not be possible. At those times, a legal claim can help victims and their families obtain the compensation they need to address the new realities and challenges of their lives. Victims should consider the costs of:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Assistive devices (such as wheelchairs or ventilators)
- Home and vehicle accommodations (such as ramps or railings)
- Home care (for assistance with bathing, cooking, childcare, and more)
An Experienced Injury Attorney Can Protect Victims
The lifetime costs associated with neck and back injuries have been estimated at $1 million for minor injuries and up to $4 million for severe injuries. This means, victims and their families not only deserve but need compensation to obtain care and ensure their successful future. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team has helped back and neck injury victims get the justice they deserve and obtain this compensation, so they can move forward with their lives. Our lawyers will work hard to help you understand your rights and obtain the best possible outcome. Call our Mobile office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to find out more about how we may be able to help.