Back injuries from an accident are often underestimated until they become a source of persistent pain and discomfort. Affecting people of all ages and walks of life, these injuries can stem from various causes.
You can help protect yourself by learning about some of the most prevalent yet serious back injuries that you may encounter.
Strains and sprains
Among the most widespread back injuries are strains and sprains. Strains involve the stretching or tearing of muscles, while sprains affect ligaments. While they may seem minor initially, untreated strains and sprains can lead to chronic pain and limited mobility.
The spine consists of intervertebral discs that act as cushions between vertebrae. A herniated disc happens when the soft inner core of a disc pokes through its tough outer layer, often causing pain, numbness or weakness.
Compression fractures involve the collapse of a vertebra, typically due to a weakening of the bones. These fractures can also result from a fall or trauma. Compression fractures can lead to severe pain, altered spinal alignment and height loss.
Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down each leg. It ranges from 1% to 5% in annual incidence for people who are 40 or older.
This issue can result in shooting pain, tingling or numbness. Ignoring these symptoms may lead to long-term nerve damage.
Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra slips out of place, typically forward over another one below it. The misalignment can lead to spinal instability and nerve compression.
Taking proactive steps to maintain back health can help you. It is also important for a pain-free and active lifestyle.