Most people will have some level of back injury at one time or another which interferes with work, routine daily activities, or recreation. In fact, Americans spend more than $50 billion each year on lower back pain alone—the most common cause of missed work and job-related disability. While most back pain will go away within a few days, a serious back injury can result in pain that lasts months, or even years.
These common injuries can be caused by everyday work and recreational activities, or can stem from a slip and fall, car, or other type of accident. If you’ve suffered a back injury due to another person’s negligence, it might be in your best interest to contact an experienced Colorado Springs back injury attorney for help.
The difficulty with back injuries is that they are often stubborn and problematic from the start. Even with quick medical help, a back injury may take weeks and even months to go away. Even worse, it can be difficult to accurately diagnose a back injury, since symptoms are so similar. A car accident victim may believe that they have a pulled back muscle, when in reality—they have a herniated disc.
Back injuries typically cause extreme pain and stiffness. Walking, exercising, lifting, or even sitting can exacerbate pain. In some cases, lying can even be painful. Nearby nerves in the spinal cord can also be affected, causing radiating pain down the lower extremities and buttocks. It can become crippling to walk or sit for a long period of time. If not treated, nerve pain can become permanent and nerve damage can result. Car accident victims may lose strength in their legs or experience numbness and tingling that never truly goes away.
Disc herniation is generally the result of age-related wear and tear; as we age, the spinal discs lose water content, making them less flexible and more likely to tear or rupture with a minor strain or wrong twist. Lifting heavy objects can cause a herniated disc, or, more rarely, a traumatic event such as a fall or blow to the back can cause disc herniation.
A bulging disc extends outside the space it should normally occupy, with the bulging part typically being the tough outer layer. Bulging discs are also considered part of the normal gaining process, and generally cause little or no pain as opposed to a herniated disc. If the disc compresses an adjacent nerve root, however, discomfort or disability in various parts of the body can occur.
Spinal fractures or dislocations of vertebrae can lead bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Most spinal fractures occur from a car accident, sports injury, serious fall, or gunshot wound.
Soft Tissue Back Injuries
Injury or strain to the muscles, tendons or ligaments in the lower or middle back are soft tissue back injuries. The lower back is extremely flexible and supports the majority of the body’s weight, therefore is most prone to soft tissue back injury. A minor twisting motion while performing routine work can overstretch a lower back muscle, or soft tissue back injury can result from an auto accident as well.