One of the most common problems that people suffer after being in a car accident is back pain. It makes sense. When you’re in a motor vehicle accident, no matter where the impact comes from—font, back, or side—it’s going to cause some sort of stress on the muscles in your back and your spine.
Damage done to your back in an auto accident can result in all sorts of symptoms, however, not just your average backache. When the bones in your spine move, crack or become compressed, they can pinch nerves, creating pains and numbness in other parts of your body. One such condition is commonly known as sciatica.
So, Can Car Accidents Cause Sciatica?
Car accidents can, indeed, cause sciatica. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and experience pain, muscle weakness, and numbness in your lower back and/or one or both of your legs, sciatica could very well be the cause.
As described by the Mayo Clinic, sciatica is “pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.” In most cases, it will only affect one side of your body and symptoms can range from a dull ache to sharp, severe pain and numbness. Severe cases can also cause problems with the bowel or bladder.
The condition is usually brought on when a herniated disk or bone spur in the spine compresses a part of the sciatic nerve. The impact and trauma of a car accident can cause these problems in your spine even if you have no previous history of back problems.
When To Seek Medical Attention For Sciatica
You should, of course, see a doctor immediately if you’ve been in a car accident. The following suggestions assume that you have already seen a doctor and pain that the doctor said should go away has not gone or you have developed new symptoms.
Minor cases of sciatica can sometimes resolve on their own, but you should always check with a doctor if you experience pain in your back or legs that lasts more than a week or two after an accident or if it develops but wasn’t immediately present after the accident occurred.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor to see if medical treatment might be required:
- Burning or tingling in the leg that worsens when you sit
- Difficulty bending your foot upward at the ankle
- Sharp pains that make it difficult to stand up or walk
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving your foot or leg
- Constant pain on one side in the buttock and/or leg
If you do have a herniated or broken disk, it’s important to get the proper treatment as soon as possible. Any delays could make things worse or cause permanent damage.
Common Treatment For Sciatica After A Car Accident
Luckily, diagnosis and most treatments for sciatica are non-invasive. To diagnose sciatica, your doctor will most likely order X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and possibly a CT scan and/or Electromyography (EMG). These tests will allow the doctor to see if there is any damage to the bone or soft tissue in your spine as well as to measure nerve responses.
For relatively minor cases, your doctor may just give you some instructions about how to care for yourself until symptoms subside on their own. If you sciatica does require medical treatment, doctors usually employ one or more of the following treatments:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Muscle relaxants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-seizure medications
- Physical therapy
For the most severe cases of sciatica, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections which can help relieve inflammation and pain for up to a few months at a time and/or surgery.
Speak To A Qualified Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyer
Sciatica and other problems that result from car accident injuries can quickly generate large medical bills—not to mention causing you to lose time at work or even lose the ability to do your job completely. When you’ve been involved in any type of auto accident, the first thing you should do after seeking medical attention is to contact a qualified and experienced car accident attorney.
At Solnick and Associates, our team of personal injury attorneys will stand behind you and fight for your rights to make sure that you get all of the compensation and protection to which you are entitled. We’ll take care of the doctor bills, the insurance companies, and all of the legal red tape so that you can concentrate on getting healthy and getting your life back to normal.
A consultation is free and confidential. We’d be happy to talk to you, review your case, and discuss exactly what we can do to help you with your personal injury claim. You can contact us online anytime or call (877) 415-6495 to schedule an appointment.