5 Spinal Column Injuries after Car Accidents

The spinal column consists of the spinal cord, which transmits neural signals up and down the body, and dozens of vertebrae that protect it. This column is very sturdy; however, it is not immune from trauma. Many horrific car accidents leave victims with spinal injuries that take months to heal.

Our experiencedVirginia car accident lawyer knows how painful these types of injuries can be. Our firm has fought for compensation for many injured victims, and we are available to help you as well.

Vertebral Fractures

Although the vertebrae are strong, they can crack under intense pressure just like any other bone in the body. Any spinal fracture can cause intense pain, even when you are still. Although many people suffer only a hairline crack that will heal over time, others suffer major damage. For example, a burst fracture can shatter bone, sending fragments into the spinal cord itself.

Other devastating fractures involve vertebral compression. In this situation, the front of the vertebra collapses onto the vertebra below, while the rear of the vertebra remains in the correct position.

Serious vertebral fractures will require surgery to reposition vertebrae and clean out fragments. Recovery can be long and arduous.

Herniated Disc

There are jelly-like pads nestled between the vertebrae that provide cushion whenever you bend backwards or forwards. Unfortunately, a traumatic car accident can damage these pads. In particular, the soft material in the center of a pad can push out through the harder shell (in a process called “extrusion”). This material then presses on surrounding nerves, causing constant pain.

Many people suffer herniated discs as a natural function of aging. However, trauma can cause herniated discs in even the very young. Common symptoms include weakness and pain, including a tingling sensation.

Fortunately, not every herniated disc requires surgery. Some will respond to anti-inflammation medications, rest, and physical therapy. However, many victims cannot work as they try to recover.

Spinal Stenosis

The spinal cord runs up through a channel in the vertebrae. However, an accident can narrow the spaces the cord travels through, which leads to compression on the cord itself or on the nerves that branch off from it.


This condition is also called spinal osteoarthritis. A person’s joints or discs can become worn, and bone spurs can grow on the spine. These changes cause stiffness and pain and can dramatically impair a person’s life.

Spondylolysis can occur at different parts of the spine:

Some people also experience spondylosis on multiple levels at once.

As with other spinal injuries, many people experience this condition due to natural aging. However, a car accident can accelerate the process even in young people.

Catastrophic Injuries

Spinal Cord Injury

A tragic car accident can injure the spinal cord itself. It can be bruised, nicked, pinched, tattered, shredded, or snipped in two. Generally, motorists will experience some impairment of movement or sensation below the side of the injury. The more damaged the cord, the more likely it is that a person will not be able to feel or move at all.

There are many types of spinal cord injuries. Some affect only certain parts of the body, while others may interfere with the ability to feel heat. The key, however, is to note any weakness, burning, pain, or lack of sensation in your limbs. These are all key signs that your cord is injured.

Contact a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Today

Spinal column injuries are some of the most disruptive that a person can experience. Many of our clients cannot work and are fearful that they will not have enough money to support themselves. Let us help you file within the statute of limitations.

The team at Barney Injury Law can bring a claim against the driver responsible for your accident. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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