Spine Sprain/Strain After a Wreck
I can’t tell you how often our St. Louis personal injury lawyers receive phone calls from good people hurt in bad automobile accidents.
Of those phone calls, most involve some type of claim for back, neck, or spine injury relating to the wreck. To even more specific, many victims report that they went to the emergency room on the day of the crash and were checked out by trauma staff for any fractures or serious injuries.
Going to the ER After the Crash
The fact is, a lot of people haven’t been injured in accidents before, so they don’t know what to expect.
Typically, x-rays are done to rule out any fracture. If a patient makes complaints of neck (whiplash) or low back pain, the hospital will typically classify that type of car accident injury as a “sprain” or “strain.” So if you suffer from whiplash, the emergency room will classify that injury as a neck sprain or cervical strain, unless the xrays come back positive for fracture.
Patients suffering from these types of ailments will be discharged with papers from the ER that will usually say something like “MVA cervical strain”, meaning “motor vehicle neck whiplash.” What is the medical significance of this injury? Well it is hard to say immediately after discharge from the ER because patients are commonly prescribed Flexeril (muscle relaxant) or hydrocodone (narcotic pain reliever) and the muscles become somewhat dulled to the pain.
This can cause a masking effect of the real injury and the patient can be under a false sense of recovery. (Yet another reason why it is a big mistake to talk to an insurance claim adjuster for a recorded statement!)
At this early stage there is just no way to know how badly you are injured from the car crash.
What Are Soft-Tissue Injuries?
Neck sprain, lumbar strain, and whiplash are all classified as soft-tissue injuries. Now don’t be fooled into thinking that all soft-tissue injuries are minor. In fact, our lawyers have represented hundreds of clients with significant
soft-tissue injuries that have required extensive medical treatment.
Understand that hospital emergency rooms are there to diagnose and treat trauma. These busy facilities rarely classify a sprain or strain as a catastrophic injury, yet that should give you a sense of security that the injury is insignificant or will just “go away” with time. In fact, orthopedists and neurologists commonly agree that car accident soft-tissue injuries such as herniated discs or “slipped discs” are actually permanent injuries that may become less painful with proper treatment and time, but will never completely “go away.”
The xrays done at the emergency room only show bone and will not identify the extent of the sprain/strain. Only MRI, CT, and Myleogram will show your treating physician what kind of soft-tissue injury was caused by the wreck and how bad it is.
For example, a herniated disc is something that can be classified as a neck sprain, yet it can lead to nerve root impingement and radicular-type symptoms, which include numbness and tingling in your arms and hands. These are significant injuries that all began with the simple diagnosis of a sprain or strain. Watch Josh‘s video below to learn more about Herniated Discs.
If you have questions about a car accident that caused neck sprain, lumbar strain, or other type of soft-tissue injury, contact the experienced personal injury attorney at Schultz & Myers and get our team of lawyers working to protect your rights. Now more than ever, car insurance companies fight soft-tissue injury claims with a vengeance. Why? Because, for some reason, insurance claims adjusters just don’t understand that a neck sprain or lumbar strain can be a very serious injury, potentially requiring months or years of physical therapy or even surgery.
Call us for a FREE consultation at 314.444.4444. We have client intake specialists available to answer calls 24/7.