Most serious back or lumbar spine injuries involve damage to the spinal
cord, such as
herniated discs. Click the link to read more about
spinal cord injuries.
Nearly all of us suffer back pain at some point in time. In this country,
back pain is second only to colds as the main reason people see their
primary care doctors.
In studies that add up lost productivity of American workers and medical
costs show that backaches are the most expensive chronic illness citizens
between the ages of 30 and 60
Fortunately, most back injuries, even from accidents, tend be minor. With
rest, the passage of time usually helps back injury sufferers regain their
customary level of activity. Most back injuries are likely due to strains
and sprains of muscles and ligaments.
Thus, not all back injuries are serious
spinal cord injuries.
However, injury that threatens the spinal cord gives the greatest cause
for concern. Compression or squeezing of the spinal cord because of an
accident is an emergency, and may require immediate surgery to correct
the dangerous condition and prevent
nerve damage and possible
Most back injuries don’t cut the spinal cord which would, of course,
death. A back injury is more likely to cause vertebral compression or
fractures, which could squeeze and crush the spine’s nerves. Such back injuries
can range from a good result – such as a complete recovery – to a
catastrophic injury and result such as
paralysis: be it quadriplegia (from neck down), paraplegia (from waist down), or
hemiplegia (one side of the body).
Many times people who suffer from back pain may have a degenerative condition
existing that pre-exists an accident or new injury. Some common pre-existing,
possibly age-related, conditions are:
Spondylosis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis,
which is a condition of normal aging. Bone spurs (osteophytes) form on
the edges of the spinal vertebrae disks and the facet joints where the
vertebrae link to each other. These bone spurs commonly result in stiffness,
loss of range of motion, and discomfort. Symptoms are similar to those of
disk herniation, but they tend to be less sudden and more long-term and intermittent.
If bone spurs form between vertebrae, they can irritate the adjacent nerve
roots, producing such symptoms as pain in a limb and, less often, loss
of sensation or weakness in the area served by that nerve root. If a bone
spur forms in the spinal canal, the result can be cervical spondylotic
myelopathy or spinal stenosis. Spondylosis and disk herniation may also
occur together and both may contribute to a person’s difficulties.
Sciatica: characterized by pain in the lower back and gluteal region. This
pain can radiate down one or both legs into the thigh, calf, ankle, and
foot. Genuine sciatica occurs when pain travels below the knee. Sciatic
pain comes from nerve compression at the base of the spine. It’s
a type of
radiculopathy. Sciatic pain or sciatica can be described as sharp, dull, burning, tingly,
numb, continuous, or intermittent and usually affects only one side of
the body. It can radiate the entire length of the nerve, in some cases
all the way down to the toes
- Arthritis affects millions of Americans, some 80% of people over the age
of 55. It is estimated that by the year 2020, over 60 million people will
suffer from this often-disabling problem. Arthritis is actually a term
for over 100 rheumatoid disorders. Arthritis can affect the spine, and
occurs there when the cartilage in the joints is worn down as a result
of wear and tear, aging, injury or misuse.
It is tricky for a lawyer to represent a back injury accident victim who
already suffers from a pre-existing or degenerative back condition, such
as spondylosis, sciatica or arthritis: How do we prove, medically, that
there is a new back injury from a recent accident?
One tip is to suggest that the accident victim continue to see the doctor(s)
that treated him or her before the new back injury. Of course, the patient
must tell the doctor about the new, recent back injury. It is for the
doctor to say if there is something new or different injury present or
some worsening of the patient’s condition. An experienced personal
injury lawyer will compare medical records from before and after the accident.
It might also be helpful to have the doctor repeat some of the diagnostic
tests done before the recent accident and back injury, and compare them
with the older test results. Just know that insurance companies are skeptical
and fight especially hard against injury claims where there are prior
For your serious personal injury, you need legal representation from a
qualified personal injury attorney.
Contact us for your free consultation.
Gary E. Rosenberg, P.C.
Serving: New York City, including the Boroughs of Queens, Manhattan, Staten
Island, and Bronx.