We all know commercial trucks, including include 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and dump trucks, are some of the largest vehicles on the road today. But did you know they can weigh 60,000 – 70,000 pounds more than the average sedan?
Those who are involved in accidents with big rigs and large commercial trucks typically bear the brunt of the impact. Consequently, injuries suffered in a truck accident can be more severe than those suffered in a car accident. Some of the most common injuries suffered in truck accidents involve the neck and back, ranging in severity from whiplash to paralysis. Many truck accident victims who suffer neck and back injuries require extensive medical treatment as part of the recovery process. Sometimes, permanent disability may result.
Anatomy of the Human Spine
The human spine consists of 33 bones (vertebrae) surrounded by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Vertebrae are separated by discs, which keep the bones from rubbing together. The spine can be broken down into the following regions:
- Cervical (neck): C1 to C7
- Thoracic (mid-area of back): T1 to T12
- Lumbar (lower back): L1 to L5
- Sacrum: connects the spine to the hip
- Coccyx region
Victims of trucking accidents may find themselves in excruciating neck or back pain. In addition to causing physical harm, these injuries may prevent victims from returning to work at full capacity or at even at all, not to mention difficulty completing daily activities like personal grooming, cooking, cleaning, and personal hobbies. Below are common spinal injuries one may sustain in an accident with a commercial truck.
- Fractured vertebrae: Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal fractures. Once diagnostic imaging confirms a fracture, you may be prescribed a brace by your physician or orthopedic doctor.
- Herniated disc: A herniated disc occurs when a tear or weakness in a disc’s outer layer allows fluid to leak into the spinal canal. This can produce consistent pain. If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may have a herniated disc in your spine: sharp/intense pain, pain radiating into your shoulders or down your arms, tingling in your arms, muscle tightness in your spine, and cramping.
- Bulging disc: A bulging disc, sometimes called a protruding disc, occurs when a disc protrudes through the spine. Most bulging discs occur in the lumbar spine. While a disc can shift over time, an event such as an accident may cause you to experience significant pain. Symptoms of a bulging disc include muscle spasms, pain tingling in the neck, shoulders, or arms, or upper back pain radiating into the chest or stomach.
- Pinched nerve: A pinched nerve, according to the Mayo Clinic, “occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons.” Pinched nerve victims may experience pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, or a combination of all.
Treating Back Injuries
Diagnostic testing like a CT scan or MRI can reveal a disc injury, and doctors typically prefer to begin treatment with non-surgical or minimally invasive options. A popular form of treatment is physical therapy, consisting of stretches, exercises, and hot and cold packs. If that does not relieve your symptoms, further treatment may be needed. Many patients with back injuries may undergo injections like epidural nerve blocks, facet joint injections, and sacroiliac joint injections. The last option typically is surgery, such as a spinal fusion or diskectomy.
The spinal injuries mentioned above are only some of the conditions a motor vehicle accident victim may face. If you are injured or feeling pain following a wreck, you should consult with a medical professional who may evaluate your symptoms and help alleviate your pain.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is a large regional law firm that represents truck accident victims throughout Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky. If you have been hurt in a truck accident and would like a free consultation with a lawyer, call us at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. We have the resources to consult with expert witnesses to help advance your case and pursue recovery for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Our firm handles all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our attorney fee comes out of the recovery. Let us show you why NST is the way to go.