Are you living with chronic back pain and aches? While back pain is extremely common among most age groups, it is not always an annoyance that can be alleviated with painkillers or a bit of relaxation. Sometimes persistent backaches can be a warning sign of a serious back or spinal cord injury that has not yet been diagnosed.
What Causes Chronic Back Pain?
There are a lot of parts that come together to form your back and spine, including joints, muscles, discs, and the spinal cord itself. If anyone of these body parts is injured, inflamed, or irritated, then the result can be a backache, often coupled with limited mobility.
A few examples of different types of back injuries are:
- Herniated disc: Between each of your spinal discs is a soft tissue called a disc, which stops the bones from rubbing together as you move. Being in an accident or overexerting yourself can cause a disc to become herniated or out of place. Not only will this cause you to feel pain whenever the disc is moved or touched, but it will also cause pain as the spinal bones scrape against and damage one another.
- Bulging disc: In some cases, a disc can bulge rather than become displaced or herniated. A bulging disc is somewhat like a swollen joint, and it can be just as painful. Direct harm to a disc as well as infection in the region can cause it to bulge and swell.
- Degenerative disc disease: People who are diagnosed with degenerative disc disease (DDD) will experience a gradual or rapid shrinkage of their spinal discs as they get older. DDD is considered incurable in most cases. As the disc shrinks, pain will increase, and mobility will decrease. Bone spurs may also form as the spinal bones rub together, further adding to chronic pain symptoms.
- Pinched nerve: A bone spur or herniated disc may trigger a muscle spasm at random, which puts pressure on nearby nerves. If a nerve is pinched in this manner, it can cause pain spikes, persistent aches, or even an uncomfortable feeling of numbness in the region.
How to Tell If Your Back Pain Is Serious
The best way to understand the extent of your back pain is to see your medical provider. They may run a series of tests including X-rays to get a clearer idea of what is going on.
To help your doctor narrow in on your symptoms, tell them about:
- Any accidents you were in that may have contributed to or caused your back injury. Many people will walk away from a car accident, for example, not realizing they have been seriously injured until days or weeks later.
- Difficulties you have experienced with day-to-day tasks, like getting out of bed, walking, climbing or descending steps, and lifting lightweight objects. Feeling severely challenged during an action that used to be typical may be a strong indicator of a spinal cord injury.
- Medications you have taken to try to alleviate the pain and how effective they have been. Regular off-the-shelf painkillers are usually ineffective when it comes to lessening the pain caused by a serious back injury.
When to Call a Lawyer About Your Back Injury
If you have any reason to suspect that your back injury was caused by an accident that was not your fault, then you should call a catastrophic injury attorney right away. Let them know what happened and discuss your relevant medical record with them. They may be able to file a claim against the party that caused you harm, like a negligent driver, and seek damages on your behalf.
Do not worry if you had an accident a few weeks or months ago but are only now feeling the worst of your back injury. Most states have at least a one-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, meaning you have one year to file a claim against the party who caused your back injury. If your state has a longer statute of limitations, then you will have that much longer to bring your case to a personal injury lawyer and file your claim.