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Back and Neck Injuries

 Posted on April 11,2016 in Catastrophic Injuries

catastrophic injuries, San Jose injury lawyerDepending on the severity, back and neck injuries can be considered catastrophic injuries in the medical sense, as well as the in the legal realm. Catastrophic injuries usually refer to severe, chronic injuries to the spine, spinal cord, or brain and directly affect the central nervous system. They can be caused by any number of events, with the most common being auto accidents. All too often, victims of these injuries are left with lifelong complications, long-term medical care, and the possibility of never being able to work again, not to mention waking up and going to sleep with pain every day. Catastrophic back and neck injuries are serious and, unfortunately, insurance companies tend to downplay how severe cases are.

Most Likely Causes

Anything can happen in a day, whether you leave the house or not. Accidents are named such because no one plans for such events to happen to them when they start their day. However, many victims of catastrophic injuries are enjoying very common everyday activities when their accidents occur. Catastrophic injuries may result from:

  • Auto accidents (more common in rollover cases);
  • Mass transit accidents;
  • Construction site accidents;
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents;
  • ATV and recreational vehicle accidents;
  • Swimming pool accidents;
  • Playground accidents;
  • Golf resort accidents;
  • Assaults or other violent crimes; or
  • Boating accidents.

Most Common Injuries Explained 

The neck and the back consist of a large number of small parts and pieces that make up a large portion of the anatomy of the central nervous system. With so many pieces, anything really can happen, though some injuries are more prevalent than others. Some of these include:

  • Soft Tissue and Neck Injuries: The rule of thumb in anatomy and physiology is that if one portion is damaged in the spinal column, everything below it is also damaged. Often, if there is severe damage to the neck, there will be complications with other parts of the body below the neck. Luckily, the spinal cord in the neck are surrounded by strong ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Therefore, the most common neck injury is a soft tissue injury, that is, the portions protecting the spine but not including the spine itself. Sprains, strains and contusions are the most common injuries and victims may experience swelling, bruising, and pain most of the time. These types of conditions do well when treated with home remedies such as ice packs, pressure and plenty of rest. Although, in order to rule out further complications, especially in accident cases, a physician should be consulted. Symptoms of other more serious injuries often resemble those of minor injuries. 

  • Muscle Strain: This is also known as a pulled muscle. It is, by definition, when a muscle is overstretched or even torn. These are extremely common in neck, lower back and the shoulder region and happen from fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. These occur most commonly in sports activities and heavy lifting but also in vehicle crashes and slip and fall injuries. Typical home remedies are rest, ice, compression and elevation. If all of these have been tried and after 24 hours you see no sign of improvement, a medical professional should be consulted. As with all injuries, symptoms can be present and indicative of both minor and major injuries, and may include:

    • Sudden onset of pain;
    • Soreness;
    • Limited range of movement;
    • Bruising or discoloration;
    • Swelling;
    • A "knotted-up" feeling;
    • Muscle spasms;
    • Stiffness; and
    • Weakness. 
  • Whiplash: This is a term used to describe an injury to the neck caused by a rapid back and forth movement of the neck (like cracking a whip), usually as a direct result of a motor vehicle accident. Reports show that being rear ended is the most frequently reported accident and yet it is also the accident that has the potential to cause the most damage to the passengers inside the vehicle. Symptoms of whiplash typically become noticeable within the first 24 hours after an accident. If you see any of the signs, it is important to contact a physician as soon as possible to rule out severe, lasting damage and to prevent any injury from worsening. Some symptoms to watch out for are:

    • Neck pain and stiffness;
    • Loss of range of motion in the neck;
    • Headaches;
    • Tingling or numbness in the arms;
    • Dizziness;
    • Blurred vision;
    • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus);
    • Sleep disturbances;
    • Irritability;
    • Difficulty concentrating; and
    • Memory problems.
  • Herniated Disk: Your spine is made up of many bones, called vertebrae. Between these bones there are cushioned disks to help keep your spine mobile as well as a bit more resilient. During a severe accident, these disks can be jolted out of place or injured. This is known as a ruptured disk or a herniated disk. These types of injuries can show no symptoms or they can be debilitating and require lifelong treatment or even surgery to correct the problem. It is wise to see a medical professional shortly after an injury is suspected. Due to the herniation, the disk is pressing on the spinal cord, and, therefore, will typically interfere with nerves traveling to limbs. Therefore, most symptoms of this injury are noticed in the limbs, rather than directly in the spine. Notable signs and symptoms include:

    • Arm or leg pain,
    • Numbness or tingling, or
    • Weakness in a limb.

If you have experienced an accident and feel any sort of pain, it is best to see a physician immediately. With proper testing and analysis, the true source of any pain or discomfort can be discovered. Also, you should seek out an attorney to help you recover compensation for your medical costs. Even if your insurance company seems friendly, it is their job to save as much money as possible and may be trying to earn your trust in hopes that you will believe them when they tell you that you are not really injured or that it will not affect you the rest of your life. Many such injuries can result in lost wages and other expenses, and it is the insurance company's job to compensate you for this. If you are in need of a San Jose, CA personal injury lawyer, contact Attorney John J. Garvey, III today at 408-293-7777 to schedule your free, risk free initial consultation to discuss your story and your options.



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