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Injuries May Not Be Immediately Apparent

Without the superficially obvious cuts, bruises or even broken bones, many people come out of an auto accident feeling uneasy, but generally okay, in the immediate aftermath. When a traumatic experience like that occurs, most people are just happy to be conscious and alert.

But, when a person is involved in a car accident, adrenalin often will mask the immediate pain that is felt from an injury. It is not until a person goes home and a few hours later, they begin to feel the effects of the crash as the adrenalin wears off.

That is typically due to the fact that the areas most affected in an auto collision tend to be along the neck and the spine. And the delicate nature of the back and spinal cord means that the pain caused by an underlying problem might not become evident until days or possibly even weeks later.

Effects Of Trauma To The Spine

The spinal column is lined with discs, divided into 31 different parts, which absorb impacts to the back like a cushion, and in each of these discs they are filled with spinal fluids which act as a type of shock absorber. What usually causes this delayed onset of pain in the back is following a severe traumatic event like an auto accident, is the discs may tear and leak fluid. And each person has a limited supply of spinal fluid in their discs, unlike other parts of the body it will not regenerate when it has depleted. As the fluid leaves the disc through the tear, it bulges out, or becomes herniated, and when herniated it can push up against the nerves which run through the spinal column. But, this drain of spinal fluid can start at the moment of impact and manifest itself in the weeks and months that follow as the fluid becomes depleted.

Reasons For The Delayed Onset Of Injuries

It may take some time for the injury to catch up and make itself evident as the back adjusts to the trauma. The spinal column is the main throughway which nerves pass to various points in the body; depending on which disc is affected, other issues related to the nerves may start to appear. For example, if you injured the disc in your lower back which controls the nerves to the toes and foot, this could lead to problems with those extremities as the inflamed spinal disc has less room and presses against the nerve. As the disc herniation becomes worse, so too might the seemingly unrelated nerve pain now running down from the spine to the foot and toes.

Make Sure You Visit A Hospital

It's always recommended that you visit the hospital immediately following a collision, to make sure you are checked out for other possible injuries. In many cases, if you are experiencing back pain right away, the most they will do in the emergency room is to take X-rays to ensure there aren't any broken bones. But, other than that, the patient is typically sent on their way and told to visit their family doctor if they have any lingering problems. The family doctor will then recommend the next steps in care, as it is common to come to them with lower back aches and pains in the aftermath of a car accident. A follow up then with a specialist would most likely be needed. MRI's should be taken if the issues continue, which will allow doctors to observe and diagnose problems in the spinal cord much clearer than an X-ray.

John Morelli, Attorney at Law, in Cherry Hill, has decades of personal injury experience. Our New Jersey office also has access to resources to help you recover. If you have been involved in an auto accident and are looking to speak with a lawyer, call 856-528-3205 or send us an email.

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