Back injuries are caused by trauma to the vertebral column and can affect the spine, spinal discs, and soft tissues. Some back injuries can also happen gradually from aging. Depending on the type of injury, symptoms can range from aches and stiffness all the way to permanent disability.
At AlaMed Injury Clinics, we have an expert team of doctors, nurses, and therapists dedicated to providing exceptional back injury treatment. Once our tests identify the underlying problem behind your back pain, we will develop the ideal plan for your needs. We offer a wide range of treatments, including hot/cold therapy, nerve stimulation, laser therapy, exercise, and more.
Contact us if you have a back injury and let our specialists give you the necessary care to get you back to health.
Symptoms of Back Injury
Back injuries can occur instantaneously from an accident or gradually from aging. The injury can also be mild or severe. The severity is influenced by factors like age, health, occupation, lifestyle, weight, etc.
Typical signs of back injury include:
Back pain – The most common symptom of back injuries is a pain or ache in your back, sometimes extending to your pelvic region, hips, or feet. The pain can be a dull ache on the lower back or stinging pain that moves to the thighs, knees, or feet accompanied by a tingling sensation. The pain worsens after prolonged sitting or standing.
The pain or ache is usually accompanied by:
- Inflammation in the back
- Difficulty performing any activity requiring back support, like sleeping, standing, or urinating
- Lack of control over bowel movements
- Tightness and numbness on the pelvic region and thighs
- Weight loss
Types of Back Injuries
Back injuries are categorized depending on the affected area and the cause and effect of the injury:
The bulging disk is a gradual injury that affects your spinal disc. The discs in your vertebrae column are shock absorbers. They protect your spine from damage by tissue and bones during movement. When these discs slip out of place, they shift their internal fluid to the weakest part of the spine. The displacement causes a bulge that affects the nerves in the spinal cord or the surrounding tissues. The swelling creates a painful protrusion that worsens with time.
A herniated disk injury typically occurs on the lower portion of the spine. The injury is a result of the degeneration of the spinal vertebrae column disk. The degeneration occurs naturally as you age. The injury can also be aggravated by excessive strain on the disc.
Back pain emanating from nerves is a consequence of mechanical damage to the nerves. A bulging disk, bone fragments, or herniated disk can press against a nerve resulting in acute pain that goes down the legs.
Spinal fractures also cause debilitating pain in the lower back. The fractures are fragments of the vertebrae column broken because of a fall, accident, or a violent push. The severity of the outcome depends on where the fractures lie. They can pinch the spinal nerves or spinal cord or displace vertebrae discs.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Back injuries can also be caused by back muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Noteworthy, the most common type of back injury affects the soft tissues. A back muscle strain can create a lump pressing against the spine. A pulled tendon or stiff skeletal muscle also affects your back. There are also muscle spasms that cause pain waves and contractions in the back.
How Will Your Doctor Diagnose Your Back Injury
Doctors diagnose back injuries through the following methods:
A Physical Exam
A doctor will conduct a physical exam to establish the source of pain. The test also highlights the condition of your muscle flexibility and strength.
A CAT Scan
Your doctor conducts this scan to examine your internal spine structure. The scan provides diagnostic information of the effects of the bulge, herniated disc, or bone fragments, and area of the nerve damage. The scan shows the presence of compressions, tumors, or tissue damage.
Doctors can also request an MRI to analyze the situation in your soft tissue. MRIs produce better imaging to assess the integrity of your internal tissues.
Your doctor will conduct this test first to examine your vertebrae column and the area of pain.
Types of Treatment
The type of treatment administered depends on the findings from your diagnosis. These are some of the treatments administered to treat back injuries.
Exercise With Oxygen Therapy
Exercise with oxygen therapy, or EWOT, is a non-invasive treatment that accelerates soft tissue repair. The oxygen boosts soft tissue recovery by reducing inflammation, and exercise encourages the regeneration of skeletal muscles and increases oxygen intake in these tissues.
Laser therapy is administered to remove tissues compressing your spinal nerves that cause pain. In case a herniated or bulging disk causes compression against your nerve, this method helps relieve the pressure off the nerve.
An ultrasound uses sound waves or vibrations to treat spinal cord injuries and soft tissue injuries. Your doctor rubs a machine that produces vibrations against the area of injury for pain relief.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS is a treatment that uses low voltage electric current to reduce pain in your back injury. The treatment does not resolve the underlying condition that caused the injury. It is only used as a pain reliever. The electric current from the machine stimulates your nerves sending signals to the brain that temporarily disrupt the pain pathway giving you short-term relief.
Exercising is vital in reducing stiffness in your muscles, ligaments, skeletal muscles, and tendons. It improves the mobility of the soft tissue preventing them from tearing and alleviates pain caused by soreness.
Lowering the body temperature is the first treatment in Hot/Cold therapy. Low temperatures cause your blood vessels to constrict. The blood vessels' size-reduction decreases inflammation and swelling, which are a source of compression and pain. Cold therapy also provides a numbing effect on the pain. Cold therapy is immediately accompanied by heat treatment. The heat improves the flexibility and movement of the soft tissues improving their functionality and reducing pain.
Energy Released During an Accident
It is not necessarily the speed that causes an injury it is the sudden stop. Your body and organs are moving at the same speed your car is moving. The g-force involved in a motor vehicle accident can easily cause catastrophic injuries, damage to the organs, or even death. G-force is a measure of kinetic energy to which the body is subjected during acceleration or deceleration. It is widely known a 160 pounds per wearing a seat belt and traveling at only 30 miles per hour experiences about 30 g's of force in a front-end collision with a fixed object. Which is 2.4 tons of force acting on the body. If the vehicle occupant was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, they could likely experience 150 g's or 12 tons of force on the body. It is not uncommon for people to suffer serious soft-tissue injuries and broken bones even in lower-speed collisions.
Injuries to Internal Organs
Your organs including the brain can often move around in the cavities and compartments of the body during an accident. The accident can create physical trauma, but may not immediately be apparent, which is why you should always seek a medical evaluation after a car crash. In order to reduce the effects of g-force trauma on the body, it is important to wear a seatbelt at all times. Not only will a seatbelt stop your body from colliding with the car's interior, but it can also provide about a foot of extra “stretching” distance which can drastically reduce the amount of acute g-force execrated on your body. Avoid following other vehicles too closely, and put down the cell phone. It is estimated that one out of every five car crashes which result in an injury is a direct result of distracted driving.
Contact AlaMed for Your Back Injury Treatment
Back injuries can start as subtle discomforts that are easily ignored. However, the injuries become worse when they are left unattended. Do not disregard your back discomfort when the pain is still mild. Contact our injury clinic, AlaMed Injury Clinics so that our experts can analyze your injury and set you on a treatment journey that leads to healing.