Spine Injury Symptoms After a Car Accident: When to See a Doctor

Spine Injury Symptoms After a Car Accident

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Car accidents are the most common cause of spine injuries. Unfortunately, car accidents are anything but uncommon. In 2018 alone there were over 278,000 car accidents. Since a spine injury can be serious and life-changing, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and know when to go to the doctor.

We’ve put together this guide to show you the warning signs of a spine injury and what to do about it, so make sure you keep reading below.


A Car Accident Spine Injury Isn’t Always Obvious

If you or a loved one have recently been involved in a car accident, you might think it will be easy to tell if you have a spine injury.

Spine injuries don’t always come on right away. You might not start to experience numbness or paralysis until hours (or even days) after the accident. Continuing to walk around and go about your daily life can cause further damage to your spine without you even realizing it.

It’s always safer to assume you have a spinal cord injury after a car accident, even if you don’t feel any symptoms, and head to the doctor than stay home.


Types of Spine Injuries

There are two main types of spine injuries: complete and incomplete.

Complete spine injuries refer to a total loss of feeling and movement control in the affected areas. Someone with an incomplete spine injury, though, will maintain some amount of feeling or control in these areas although this will often be limited.

Your spine is also broken up into three sections:

  1. Cervical spine (your neck and upper back)
  2. Thoracic spine (the middle of your back)
  3. Lumbar spine (your lower back)

In most cases, an injury to one of these areas will affect everything below it. For example, if you damage your lumbar spine, you might experience paralysis in your legs. If you damage your cervical spine, though, you might lose control of your legs, pelvic, torso, arms, and shoulders.


Symptoms of a Spine Injury

Loss of movement is one of the most common and obvious signs of a spine injury, but just because you don’t experience this symptom doesn’t mean you don’t have a spine injury. You should also keep an eye out for the following:

  • Numbness or loss of sensation (such as the inability to feel heat, cold, or textures)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain or a tingling sensation in your spine
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Lack of balance/trouble walking
  • Extreme pressure in your spine, neck, or head

A twisted or bent back is also an indicator of spine injuries. This is the most visible symptom, which makes it one of the easiest to spot.


When to See a Doctor

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If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away. The longer you wait, the worse damage to your spine will get, which can make the effects of your injury much more serious.

Remember, it’s better to assume you have an injury and prove yourself wrong than it is to skip the doctor. Even if you aren’t showing symptoms, you should always visit the doctor after a car accident to rule out this type of damage.

Otherwise, your life can go through some big changes.


Responding to a Spine Injury

If you suspect someone might have a spine injury, don’t make a lot of movement. This can make the damage worse, so unless they are in a dangerous area, leave them where they are.

Call 911 immediately.

While you wait for paramedics to arrive, you can stabilize their heads with towels (or something similar) to prevent movement. You can also provide basic first aid if they have other injuries.

However, the most important thing is to keep them as still as possible. Although not always the case, this might prevent paralysis from occurring.


Should I Call a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Spine injuries can be life-changing. For example, you can experience paralysis, which means you’ll have to relearn how to do basic daily activities. You’ll also need assistance getting around, such as a wheelchair, and those aren’t cheap.

On top of that, your medical bills will be expensive. You’ll need a lot of treatment to recover from an injury this serious, and those bills can pile up fast. It’s not uncommon for hospitals to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for spinal injury treatment.

If you got your spine injury as a result of a car accident, the person who is at fault should be responsible for covering all these costs. Money shouldn’t be something you’re focusing on as you’re adjusting to your new lifestyle.

Because of this, you shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. They will make sure you get the compensation you deserve after sustaining such a serious injury from a car accident.


What to Do After Getting Spine Injury

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The first step you should take after suffering a spine injury in a car accident is going to the doctor. Once you’ve received the proper medical help you need, you should look into hiring a lawyer.

Our team at Alpha Accident Lawyers can help. We will stay by your side throughout the entire process and ensure you get the representation and compensation you deserve. Get in touch with us today.

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