Common back injuries from a car accident include:Herniated Disc: A herniated disc, also known as a ruptured or slipped disc, occurs from sudden impact causing a bulging or breaking open of the spine. The spine is used to cushion the back and to keep it flexible. After a herniated disc, an individual might feel pain or numbness from the back and buttocks all the way down to the legs. This may be the result of a condition known as sciatica, which is the most common symptom of a herniated disc, and occurs in the lower back area. Spinal Cord Injuries: These are the most severe form of back injury, and can lead paralysis and lost feeling in the body. After the sudden impact from the car accident, displaced bone fragments, disc material or ligaments cut into the spinal cord tissue. Some spinal cord injuries result in small fractures f the spine, which in turn kills nerve cells in the body known as axons. Axons are particles that send signals between the brain and the rest of the body. This breakage in the functioning of the axons can be minor or temporary, resulting in temporary discomfort or lack of sensation in the body. In extreme cases, a complete disconnect between these axons and the brain results in temporary paralysis. Spine Injuries: The spine is characterized by its location throughout the back which are encased by muscles, discs, ligaments and nerves. These areas are (1) the neck area (cervical vertebrae), (2) the upper back (thoracic vertebrae), and (3) the lower back (lumbar vertebrae (lower back).
- Cervical Vertebrae – starts at the bottom of the skull and extends all the way down to the thoracic spine. It includes the C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae, and supports the head and neck areas as well as protect the spinal cord.
- Thoracic Vertebrae – comprised of the twelve vertebrae known as T1 through T12. It serves to stabilize the body and protecting vital organs. The thoracic spine is connected to the rib cage, and in addition to stability, provides a protective cage for the heart, lungs, and liver.
- Lumbar Vertebrae – commonly known as the lower back, the lumbar starts roughly six inches from the shoulder blade, connecting to the thoracic vertebrae, and extends to the tail bone. The lumbar spine consists of the L1 – L5 Vertebrae.