Most new vehicles have innovative features that drastically reduce the risk of fatality in the event of a car accident. However, they can’t eliminate all the effects of physics. Even with the best safety features, you can still suffer debilitating knee and back injuries.
Of course, you’re likely to be sore and bruised after a collision, even without serious physical trauma. Additionally, some conditions aren’t immediately apparent. To understand the degreeof your injuries, you should see a car accident doctor after any collision. Knee and back injuries left untreated can lead to chronic problems, so you must receive treatment as soon as possible.
If you have back or knee pain that requires a physician’s care, what can you expect? Here are the most common injuries and their treatments.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Seat belts are life-saving, as they keep passengers from becoming projectiles. However, their most significant benefit can also inadvertently lead to injury; even as the strap keeps you in place, your body still has momentum. The body’s instinct is to try to stop itself, which can cause muscle strain. You might be familiar with one of the most common types of muscle strain called Whiplash, which affects the neck.
In addition, your extremities that aren’t restrained by seatbelts can come in contact with other parts of your vehicle. This is one of the leading causes of knee injuries, as the force of a forward collision may send your knee into the dashboard.
A car injury doctor is used to seeing particular conditions as a consequence of vehicle collisions. This is especially vulnerable since the knee is so complex with many small interconnected parts that facilitate movement. The following are the most common conditions that affect the knee:
- Meniscus Injury: This affects the knees’ discs, which provide stability and cushioning, allowing you to walk comfortably. When these discs are damaged, your joints experience friction that can be painful and interfere with ease of movement.
- Medial Collateral Ligament Injury: Also known as an MCL injury, this condition describes damage to one of the ligaments that connect the femur and tibia.
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: This ligament also connects the femur and tibia, and damage to it is referred to as a PCL injury. This condition is also colloquially referred to as “dashboard knee,” as it’s often seen in drivers and front-seat passengers.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: ACL injuries are some of the more severe conditions and usually
Back injuries are incredibly serious, as they can affect the spine and nervous system. Damage to this area of the body can result in chronic pain and even paralysis. A few common back conditions associated with car accidents include the following:
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Even minor damage to the spinal cord can cause a lot of problems. During impact, the spinal cord can be severed or bruised, and in some cases, patients even get paralyzed.
- Spinal Stenosis: This condition describes the narrowing of the spinal canal, which is usually caused by aging. However, a traumatic impact can bring on symptoms before they would typically manifest.
- Spondylolisthesis: The spinal cord and nerves are at risk of compression when vertebrae are knocked out of place, which only a severe impact can do. Stress fractures may also cause this condition.
- Herniated Disc: The spine is comprised of alternating vertebrae, which are made of bone and discs that are made of fibrous tissue. Discs cushion vertebrae and prevent friction but can be pushed or bumped out of alignment. You may have heard this condition described as a slipped, ruptured, or bulging disc. A herniated disc can put pressure on nerves and affect spinal alignment, leading to a variety of issues.
- Spinal Fracture: The severity of a spinal fracture varies depending on the location and intensity of the break. If your seat belt failed, you might experience what’s known as a Compression Fracture, which is a crack along the vertebrae.
- Whiplash: Symptoms of whiplash don’t always appear immediately, which leads many people to believe they escaped an accident unscathed, only to experience pain days or weeks later. This condition occurs when neck tissues, muscles, and ligaments are torn or overextended.
- Sciatica: The sciatic nerve connects the legs and spine and can be affected by herniated discs.
- Lumbar Sprain: Sprains describe torn or overextended ligaments and can happen in many places in the body. A lumbar sprain occurs in the lumbar region, also known as the lower back.
Warning Signs You May Have a Knee or Back Injury
If you suspect you’ve sustained a knee or back injury, what are the symptoms you should look out for? You should be concerned if you notice any of the following:
- Swelling and redness
- Change in your range of motion
- Pain in the affected area
- Grinding or locking knees
- Fever or chills
- Instability or weakness in the affected leg
- Tingling or tenderness
- Popping or ripping in the knee
- Stiffness in the affected area
- Blurred vision
- Bladder issues
Effective Treatment Options
An auto injury doctor can help you recover with a personal treatment plan. More severe conditions may require surgery, with subsequent physical therapy and care. Mild physical trauma can be alleviated with pain management and changes to your daily activities:
- Avoiding heavy lifting
- Using back support when sitting
- Exercising as advised by your doctor
- Massaging the affected area
- Applying ice to reduce swelling, followed by heat to relax muscles and increase blood flow
- Resting as appropriate to prevent further damage
Expert Medical Care
At CityWide Injury, we specialize in caring for patients with auto accident injuries. We understand that recovery can be a long road, and we’re with you every step of the way. Delaying treatment can have serious consequences, so if you’ve recently been in an accident, you should visit a specialist as soon as possible. You deserve the best medical care, and we’re here to deliver. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, give us a call at 713-782-0082 or contact us online.