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Back injuries can occur through a range of different incidences with the severity of a back injuries varying substantially. Someone suffering from back pain can be affected from anything up to a few weeks, to pain for life or permanent disability.
Most references to a back injury refer to the lower and middle part of your spine and the surrounding muscle and tissue, with the upper part of the spine and surrounding muscles typically referred to as the neck. Back injury claims therefore normally refer to claims for compensation when your lower or middle spine is injured in an accident or as a result of medical negligence.
Accidents that can cause back injuries vary massively, some of the most common ones include:
Whiplash injuries are when the neck or cervical spine is injured due to a sudden jolt when the head is thrown forwards and backwards. Apart from whiplash, injuries to your lower and mid back are quite common in car accidents due to strong impacts which can occur even when a seatbelt is correctly used by the driver and any passengers.
Manual Handing Regulations and Health and Safety laws protect you in the event of a lifting injury in the workplace, meaning you may be able to claim compensation from your employer should you suffer injury in the workplace due to a lack of health & safety.
Operations on the spine can be high risk and very complicated and unfortunately these procedures can sometimes go wrong if they are not performed correctly. If this does happen any victim could be entitled to claim compensation from the NHS trust responsible for the acts of all the doctors, nurses and other medical staff employed by them.
Other types of personal injury claim that could result in a back injury include: slip and trip accidents, sporting accidents, criminal injury compensation claims, industrial disease claims, animal accidents and even some accidents abroad.
While use of the term ‘slipped disc’ is in common use, the medical term for this type of injury is more accurately a ‘prolapsed disc’ or ‘herniated disc’. A herniated disc occurs when the disc bulges or ruptures and the internal material presses on a nerve or the spinal cord. This can cause extreme pain, numbness and weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disk. The majority of people who suffer a herniated disk do not need surgery to correct the problem.
A fracture or dislocation of a vertebra can often cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Spinal fractures are usually the result of workplace accidents, sports injuries or road traffic accidents. Fractures and dislocations of the bony vertebrae can result in debilitating spinal cord damage. Depending on how severe an injury is, you may experience pain, difficulty walking, or be unable to move your arms or legs. Many fractures heal with treatment but severe fractures may require surgery to realign the displaced bones.
Back injury treatment
Treatments for back pain vary depending on how long you have suffered with the pain, how severe it is, and your individual needs and preferences.
Initially, back pain is usually treated with over-the-counter painkillers and home treatments. Most people will experience a significant improvement in their symptoms within six weeks.
If you have had back pain for more than six weeks (known as chronic back pain), your GP will advise you about which painkillers to take and may recommend:
Exercise classes – group classes supervised by a qualified instructor, where you are taught exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture, as well as aerobic and stretching exercises.
Manual therapy – therapies including manipulation, mobilisation and massage, usually carried out by chiropractors, osteopaths or physiotherapists (although chiropractic and osteopathy aren’t widely available on the NHS).
Acupuncture – a treatment where fine needles are inserted at different points on the body. It’s been shown to help reduce lower back pain, although it’s not always available on the NHS.
These treatments are often effective for people whose back pain is seriously affecting their everyday life and who feel distressed and need help coping.
If you’ve been involved in an accident in which you’ve received a back injury, you might be able to claim for compensation. For an assessment of your eligibility, call the team of specialists at First Personal Injury on 0800 808 9740 or arrange a call back via our online enquiry form.
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