Some vehicle accidents only cause minor injury to a driver in Birmingham, Alabama, but other injuries are permanent. Injuries that cause permanent or long-term damage often get called catastrophic. A common type of catastrophic injury from vehicle accidents is a spinal column injury.
Overview of spinal column injury
The spinal column houses the spinal cord, which serves as the body’s main support. It also serves as a communication port that sends signals to other body parts. This means that a catastrophic auto accident can have a huge impact on the spinal column function.
Some general signs of spinal column injury include paralysis, spasms, radiating pain between the legs and buttocks, balance issues and breathing issues. Statistics estimate the yearly occurrence of spinal column injury at 54 out of 1 million people.
Types of spinal column injury
Whiplash is an injury occurring from the violent back-and-forth jerking of the neck. This action places stress on the vertebrae and neck, which forces the muscles out of alignment. Signs specific to whiplash include arm numbness or tingling, limited range of neck motion, dizziness and headache, especially at the neck base.
The vertebrae may fracture anywhere along the spinal column and can range from minor to major. A compression fracture, a break with small cracks, is the most common, and walking or standing commonly makes the pain worse. Some people may experience height loss and feel less pain lying on their back.
Each vertebra in the spine has a gel-like substance under it, known as a disc, to provide cushioning from impact. During a vehicle accident, the disc can rupture. Symptoms depend on where the injury occurred. The impact forces the discs out of alignment, and they press against the spine, which causes intense pain.
Sometimes, the symptoms of an injury do not appear immediately after an accident. It is important to get medical care to treat a potential injury as soon as possible, receive the necessary medical care and have proof to file a claim.