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Hidden Impact: Why Seeing a Doctor Today Could Save You a Lifetime of Treatment Tomorrow

Often times being involved in an automobile accident, even a minor one, leaves you with lasting negative repercussions that may not be evident to you at first. Following the initial feelings of confusion, anxiety and even anger, it is important to follow the appropriate procedures both at the scene of the accident and in the days and weeks ahead in order to ensure that your claim will not be subject to a quick settlement with the insurance company that fails to fairly and adequately compensate you. In many cases, symptoms of debilitating conditions do not present themselves immediately after the accident. Rather, these symptoms slowly become apparent, worsening over time. Accepting a hasty check from an eager insurance company will ultimately preclude you from having these delayed conditions properly cared for and treated.

After being involved in a car accident, most people experience minor back and neck pain, often expressing this pain as dull aches and muscle stiffness. While this pain might seem innocuous and undeserving of any treatment or care, the truth is that if left untreated, what might appear to be merely bothersome soreness may turn into something more serious and debilitating in the future.

A common delayed condition, known as spinal stenosis, can result in feelings of numbness and pain in the back, buttocks, thighs and calves as well as weakness in parts of your arms or legs. The pain and numbness that those suffering from spinal stenosis endure is a product of the narrowing of your spinal column and the resulting pressure on your spinal nerve. This pressure results in the tingling, numbness and pain. Symptoms that you may experience when suffering from spinal stenosis depend on where exactly your spinal cord has narrowed. Generally, spinal stenosis affects your lower back (lumbar spine) or your neck (cervical spine). The effects in your lumbar spine will be especially telling when you walk or stand for any prolong period of time, while the effects of cervical spine stenosis are more often felt in your neck and shoulder, with pain radiating down your arm or hand. This can even cause headaches, numbness, and muscle weakness. Because cervical spinal stenosis can cause intense pressure on the nerves that control your ability to balance properly, it can lead to clumsiness and a tendency to fall.

Understanding your spine

To understand some of the causes of spinal stenosis, a brief overview of how your spine is designed and functions is helpful. Your spine is called your vertebrae column and is divided into seven distinct regions. The cervical spine consisting of 7 bones, thoracic (12 bones), lumbar (5 bones), sacrum (5 bones that are fused or joined together) and your coccyx (3 to 5 bones fused together at the lower tip of the vertebral column). Between the vertebrae sits a vertebral disc—a unique structure that essentially acts as a shock absorber between the adjacent vertebrae. Each of these discs is made up of a soft, jellylike inner core (the nucleus pulpous) and a tough outer layer (the annulus fibrosis). It can even be helpful to picture your disc as a jelly donut, with the jelly filling being the nucleus and the outer layer annulus being the outside ring.

Common injuries as the result of trauma:

Although spinal stenosis may occur through the normal aging process and the usual wear and tear of the discs, it can also affect those who have suffered an injury to the spine. When a person is injured as a result of the trauma caused to the neck and back from being involved in a car accident, this trauma can result in a herniated or slipped disk. A herniated disc occurs when the soft inner core (nucleus pulpous) actually breaks through the firm outer layer of the disc (annulus fibrosis). Herniated disks are common after an auto accident and dangerously compromise the healthy well-being of your spine. After enduring an injury to your vertebrae in an accident, your body becomes more susceptible to suffering future injuries. Those who have suffered injury as the result of an accident are at greater risk due to compromises in their bone structure that has resulted from the trauma. Those with these types of spinal injuries often experience rapid degenerative changes in their vertebrae that would not have occurred but for the injury sustained during the accident.

What might start out as a herniated disc today coupled with aches and pain may lead to an early onset diagnosis of spinal stenosis years down the road. While it may not seem imperative to seek treatment following an accident when your only obvious symptoms are soreness and dull aches, these seemingly minor injuries may have a profound impact on your need for further treatment down the road. Accordingly, it is imperative that if you are involved in any type of accident, however minor you may think your initial injuries are that you see a doctor to evaluate you today in order to greatly reduce the likelihood that you will have to suffer from a debilitating disorder such as spinal stenosis tomorrow.

The attorneys at Dolman Law Group have ample experience representing those who are injured in auto accidents and in ensuring that our clients seek necessary medical treatment as soon as possible after an injury in order to reduce the need for treatment in the future. We actively represent clients throughout the state of Florida. Please contact me at 727-451-6900 or via email; Julia@dolmanlaw.com

If you wish to read about other common injuries that accident victims typical suffer from, more information available at https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/back-neck-injury-attorneys/