This is the third blog in our series on lower back pain typically caused by slip and falls, construction accidents, work accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and other crashes that occur regularly on the highways of New Jersey. In the first blog, we discussed the different types of lower back injuries like herniated discs, bulging discs, and back fractures, and in the second blog we discussed the common diagnostic tests such as x-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and nerve studies or EMGs.
Here, we will tell you about the types of treatments that victims of these accidents often undergo to help find relief. The initial recommendation is usually rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Often times, the lower back pain people suffer from as a result of accidents involve muscle spasms that should heal up within a few weeks. However, in the first week or so, it is difficult to decipher the extent of the injury and whether it is something that will heal up with rest or a condition that will linger.
Chiropractic treatment may be used to provide pain relief and is regularly a first line treatment. Physical therapy is sometimes used to strengthen the surrounding muscles and help with mobility. After this conservative treatment, some patients undergo a series of epidural steroid injections.
For individuals with herniated discs who cannot obtain relief with the above treatments, surgery may be an option. Surgery is the last line of treatment and is usually considered in cases in which a patient has incapacitating pain or weakness. Surgery is usually an option when:
- Conservative measures do not work
- Back pain radiates to the legs and buttocks
- Pain is constant and interferes with the quality of someone’s life
- Neurological deficits like weakness or numbness in the legs
- Difficulty standing or walking
There are some emergent situations with disc herniation that requiring emergent back surgery, such as: severe weakness in both legs; bowel or bladder dysfunction; and loss of sensation in the groin area. These symptoms may be a sign of cauda equina syndrome (see image), which occurs when something is compressing on the spinal nerve roots. Without immediate surgery to address cauda equina syndrome, a person can suffer from permanent incontinence and/or paralysis.
Like most personal injuries, when it comes to lower back pain, obtaining immediate medical attention is crucial so that the appropriate diagnosis may be made. In an upcoming blog, we will address the different treatments that patients typically receive for lower back pain. At Mintz & Geftic, our lawyers and support staff do our best to make sure our clients not only receive excellent guidance on legal issues, but that they also see the best doctors in our area to help them recover from their injuries.
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