Two of the most common sources of pain in the lumbar spine are the facet joints and discs.
Overall, discogenic pain is more common, but in older people, facet oriented pain is more common. When you suffer lower back or neck pain after a car accident, chances are that the pain is originating from either of these two sources. Our attorneys explain what causes lower back and neck pain after a car accident.
How Car Crashes Cause Neck and Back Pain
A lot of science is involved when it comes to evaluating the impact of car accidents on the occupant’s body. The most common cause of accident related neck and back injuries is whiplash, regardless of whether the injury is facetogenic or discogenic in nature. In a car accident, the sheer speed and force create such acceleration and deceleration that the body is not prepared for, especially when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop. This can cause injury that results in lower back and neck pain.
A person suffers discogenic pain when the condition of the spinal discs changes as a result of acute trauma such as a car accident. A large percentage of people experience discogenic pain in the lumbar spine area, and this pain can occur when the person is sitting still or doing some activity that irritates the injured area. The symptoms include:
- Centralized pain or pain that radiates to one or both legs, buttocks, groin or feet.
- Pain that increases when sitting, standing or bending over
- Pain that reduces when laying down flat
Diagnosis and treatment of discogenic injuries
The lumbar spine consists of five vertebrae cushioned by soft discs. Each of these discs has a tough outer ring. When young these discs consists primarily of water, but as we age, the lose hydration and become prone to cracking and annular tears. This causes inflammation and pain. In order to diagnose a discogenic area, an MRI may be required. In some cases, the doctor may have to perform a discography as well. The most common treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. Epidural corticosteroid injections are also effective. If conservative treatment does not work, surgery is likely the last option available.
The facet joints are surrounded by a think membrane that secretes a viscous fluid to lubricate the joint. The facet joints support the body weight and facilitate movement between the vertebrae. These joints work in combination with the intervertebral discs to enable the whole spine to move.
Common symptoms of these injuries include:
- Muscle spasms that may force the spine out of alignment, causing neck or pain
- Sudden pain
- Restricted movement
Diagnosis and treatment of facetogenic injuries
These injuries are visible on X-rays, however, in some cases, a CT scan or MRI may be required. Hot and cold compresses are used to treat the symptoms. NSAIDs are also effective. Massage and physical therapy is also helpful in treating these injuries
Suffering from lower back or neck pain after a car accident?
Get in touch with a competent St. Louis auto accident attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. to discuss your legal rights. Call (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.