The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) posits that back pain is the second most common reason for doctor visits in the United States. The ACA also says that about 80 percent of Americans will experience back problems at some point during their lives.
What Causes Back Pain?
The most common form of back pain is mechanical back pain, which refers to damage done to the spine through trauma (like an accident), strenuous activities, or wear-and-tear. In cases of mechanical back pain, the muscles and ligaments which surround the spine often experience inflammation and irritation.
So back pain and back injuries can be caused by a sudden trauma, such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, or bicycle accident. Not to mention a sports accident. But is all back pain the same?
Different Types of Back Pain
There are many different kinds of back pain and back injuries you can experience as a result of an accident in Pennsylvania. Among them are sciatica, herniated discs, and osteoporosis.
Sciatica — This condition results from irritation or damage caused to the sciatic nerve, and affects the lower back and lower limbs. The biggest nerve in the body, pain caused to the sciatic nerve can be severe. There are many causes of sciatica, among which are injuries such as occur during car accidents, athletic accidents, and fall-down accidents.
Herniated Disc — You are probably aware that your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, each stacked one on top of the other. Between each vertebra is a disk which holds the two vertebrae in place. When a disk suffers an injury — a herniated disk, slipped disk, ruptured disk — pain and numbness can be felt in surrounding nerves as well as in arms and legs.
Osteoporosis — Osteoporosis is an ailment marked by low bone density. Having a decreased bone density can cause you to have weakened or fragile bones. Osteoporosis can increase your risk for fractures in the event of a car accident or slip-and-fall accident. Low bone density is a very real problem in the United States — about 44 million Americans have low bone density. This issue often contributes to hip fractures, which are particularly painful and difficult to recover from.
Back Pain Treatments
Rest is usually recommended for men and women suffering from back pain. Bed rest — avoiding painful positions for an extended period — can often lead to improvements in a patient’s condition. However, this is not always the case.
There is a slew of medicines a doctor will prescribe you for severe back pain, starting with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. However, if the pain is intense your doctor may prescribe narcotics, muscle relaxers, or even try cortisone injections.
A good physical therapy regimen is often recommended in cases of back pain. Physical therapists can take you through exercises and stretches to ease the pain and build strength. These exercises can be performed at home rather than in a gym. It is important to seek the advice of a trained physical therapist before attempting a physical therapy regimen.
Heat and Ice Applications
The application of heat and ice is also recommended, and certainly in conjunction with physical therapy. The general rule is to apply heat for around twenty minutes, then alternating to the ice for the same amount of time. This practice — done about three times daily — can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
In some cases — particularly related to herniated disks — it is necessary for an injured person to submit to spinal surgery. This is usually important when the disk is protruding into the spinal canal.
If you are suffering from back pain as a result of a Pennsylvania accident — be it a car accident, motorcycle accident, or slip-and-fall accident — you should seek a medical evaluation. And if your injury was the cause of someone else’s negligence, you should not hesitate to speak with a personal injury attorney.
There is a lot to learn when it comes to back pain and back injuries, and the Carpey Law website has a good deal of information for your benefit. Check out our blog category section. Once there, you can find such articles as:
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Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.