Back pain seems close to a universal experience, especially as we age. We speak of throwing our back out after a weekend of chores (or perhaps weekend-warrior sports). It’s not fun, but it’s a normal part of life—isn’t it?
Not necessarily. Back pain can occur for reasons that should not be taken lightly, such as an accident due to another person’s negligence. And, because back pain often has no visible injury or marks, others can dismiss our pain as not being significant or severe, or maybe even claim that the pain is “all in our head.” For this reason, it’s good to understand the many types of back injuries and how they can be caused.
Injuries to Your Back
While back injuries can be enormously varied, the following are some of the more common types:
- Spinal cord injuries. Damage to one’s spinal cord can have lifelong consequences, impacting your ability to perform even the most basic of daily tasks. Approximately 17,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a spinal cord injury every year, and the reason is often a sudden and traumatic blow to the back. Such a scenario often occurs in a car accident.
- The slipping of one vertebra onto another is a form of spinal injury called spondylolisthesis. An extremely painful condition, it can be caused by a workplace accident or car crash, an infection, or a congenital medical condition.
- Herniated disk. When the natural cushion between vertebrae is damaged or affected, it can result in a herniated disk, also known as a slipped disk. Surgery does not always fix the problem. Such injuries can be due to a fall, a blunt impact, or a strain from lifting.
- Back sprains and strains. These kinds of injuries often occur from overuse or stressing the back muscles. Such problems can fade after a period of inactivity or can persist for years. Inadequate rest time can mean a long-term problem with back pain due to sprains and strains.
Understanding the Causes of Back Injuries
Back injuries are more likely to happen in certain situations:
- Workplace back injuries. Back disorders because of workplace injuries affect a large number of workers—over 600,000 yearly in the U.S. Such injuries can create ongoing, debilitating back pain, and can arise from a single incident, such as a slip or fall. Workplace back injuries can also form out of a repetitive stress (repetitive motion) injury, in which years of repeated movements create painful back dysfunction. One example of this is the lifting of patients that healthcare workers are required to do.
- Vehicle accidents and back injuries. Vehicular crashes are also major causes of serious back injuries. According to a 10-year study of spinal cord injuries in the U.S., almost 40 percent of such damage was due to crashes. Rear-end and side-impact collisions can torque or twist the spine, causing a variety of injuries, some severe. The end results can be fractures, torn ligaments, sprains, and whiplash. Often these injuries are not readily apparent until days or weeks after the accident.
- Back injuries resulting from or made worse by surgery. Sometimes surgery is tried as a fix for a painful back condition. Unfortunately, cases exist when these surgeries are inappropriate and unnecessary, resulting in greater back pain and even permanent injury. One study in 2011 discovered that 17 percent of back and neck pain patients were told that their condition required surgery when, in fact, it did not. Spinal fusions have sometimes been implicated in surgical problems, and some experts believe the procedure is overused.
Our backs are truly marvels of engineering in the way that our muscles, tendons, bones, and nerves work together to keep us moving. An injury to even a small portion of the back can mean massive changes for our lives.
When life goes wrong, we fight for what’s right.
Do you suffer from a back injury that you believe was caused by the negligence of someone else? The South Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm have represented injured South Carolinians in personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll get the personalized attention you deserve. South Carolina law entitles you to hold the negligent party legally responsible for your medical expenses as well as any lost wages and other financial losses. You may also seek compensation for pain and suffering or loss of comfort, care and companionship of a loved one. The deadline for filing a claim is already running, so contact the Louthian Law Firm for help by calling us at 1-803-454-1200. If you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form.