Back and neck injuries are among the most debilitating, and most common, types of injuries. Most minor soft tissue back and neck injuries only require medical treatment, rest and time to fully recover. However, certain cases of more severe back and neck injury can result in prolonged pain, paralysis and even death. This article will outline how these injuries occur, how to prevent them and what your options are if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Car crashes are the most common cause for trauma-related injuries, and can be particularly detrimental to the spine. Even at low speeds, soft tissue damage can occur resulting in muscle and tendon sprains as well as whiplash. In crashes that involve high speed collisions, the spine can twist in a way that may cause damage to the spinal cord, which could lead to severe pain or paralysis. The vertebrae can also be traumatized to the extent of fracturing or dislodgment that will require immediate medical care.
The best way to avoid crash-related injuries is to always wear a seatbelt, buy a car with a high safety rating, bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance, and always be alert for recalls of your vehicle.
The phrase “lift with your legs, not your back” was coined for the exact purpose of avoiding injury, and is too often ignored. Lifting objects improperly, or lifting objects that are too heavy, can result in hernias and damaged ligaments or muscles. Fortunately, most lifting injuries only require noninvasive medical treatment and time in order to recover.
To avoid a preventable back injury, always ask for help or use the proper tools to lift an object that is too large or heavy for you to lift alone. Also be aware that back injuries can develop over time, and that strenuous, repetitive motions can cause pain and damage to your back.
Slip and Fall Injuries
A slip and fall may seem minor, but it can cause severe damage to a person of any age. However, falls are especially dangerous to the elderly. During a fall, the spine may absorb a large amount of energy that can result in a fractured or dislodged vertebrae. Falls from ladders have higher risks of injury the higher a person is when they fall.
When using a ladder, it is important to give it a thorough inspection before use, and to never trust an old ladder that is made of wood or other degradable material. Always use common sense while on a ladder, and have a friend hold the base to provide stability.
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to avoid regular slip and falls besides being aware of your environment and having proper footwear (like wearing slip-resistant boots in winter).
Your Options After a Back or Neck Injury
You first step after any injury is to seek medical help immediately. If you believe that you injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, legal help may be available to compensate you for your injuries. In the instances listed above, consult these types of legal professionals to gain help in your case:
- Car Crash: Auto-Injury Lawyer
- Heavy Lifting: Workers’ Compensation Lawyer (if you were injured while lifting something while at work)
- Slip and Fall: Premises Liability Lawyer (if you were injured on someone else’s property)