Anatomy of Spine
Understanding the spine is critical to understanding your car accident back injury. The neck or cervical spine consists of the top 7 vertebrae (bones) of the spine. The bones are identified by the letter C (for cervical) and then the number of the bone, counting from the top. So, C3 is the third cervical vertebrae from the top
The thoracic vertebrae are below the cervical spine, and consist of the 12 vertebrae starting at the bottom of the neck. The ribs attach to these thoracic vertebrae in the back. They are identified by the letter "T" and the number of the bone, counting from the top.
Below the thoracic vertebrae, beginning in the low back area, are the 5 lumbar vertebrae (L1 through L5), then the sacrum (S-1) and then the coccyx.
Between the bones or vertebrae in the back are spongy discs that allow you to bend over, twist or make other movements of your spine. When these discs are damaged in a car accident they sometimes bulge or herniate. Bulging or herniated disc can cause intense burning, aching or stabbing pain in the back.
When a disc is herniated or bulging, the disc can injure the nerves that travel down and exit the spinal canal. The nerves that exit the spine in the cervical area travel into the arms and hands. This is why injuries to the nerves in your cervical spine sometimes cause radiating pain into your arms.
The nerves that leave the spinal canal in the lumbar spine area travel to the legs and feet. This is why injuries to the nerves in your lumbar spine sometimes cause radiating pain into the legs.
Tendons connect muscles to bones in the spine. When overstretched, these tendons can stretch or tear. This type of injury is called a sprain, which can lead to back or neck spasms.
Many things can happen to a ligament upon injury. The ligament can be strained or sprained, it can tear, or it can break altogether. The prognosis depends on the severity of the injury but some of these injuries cause lifelong problems.
A back sprain or strain is a stretching or tearing of muscles or ligaments in the back. These injuries can range from very serious to minor irritations that heal quickly. Beware, doctors often diagnose a back injury as a sprain or strain only to find out that the injury is much more serious and involves a disc herniation or tendon tear.
Insurance adjusters will often discount injuries as only a “sprain or strain” or just a soft tissue injury that should heal quickly. Unfortunately, that is not true. These injuries often turn out to be serious and require extensive medical care and cause permanent problems.
We help people who have been suffered back injuries in car accidents. We offer a free consultation so that you may discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney. Contact us online or call our St. Louis office at 314-862-6865 to schedule your free initial consultation. When you meet with us, ask about:
- Evening and weekend appointments
- Home and hospital visits
- No attorneys fees unless you collect