Back injuries, particularly to the lower back, are quite common. They can happen suddenly or gradually over time. You can experience back injury while lifting or overusing your back at home or work, while working out, or even by making an awkward movement. Regardless, a back injury can make it hard to move freely throughout your day. If you sustain an injury, you need to find the right back injury treatment in Atlanta. Our team of doctors at Hurt 911 Injury Center has been helping and treating back injury victims for over two decades. Our seasoned Atlanta chiropractors and physiotherapy practitioners know which methods and treatments work for various forms of back injuries and will create a treatment plan tailored specifically for your needs.
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What Are Some of the Common Symptoms of a Back Injury?A back injury can have a wide array of symptoms, which include:
- A shooting or stabbing pain that radiates to the foot
- An aching sensation in your lower back
- Reduced range of motion or decreased ability to flex your back
- Inability to stand up straight without experiencing pain
- Weakness, tingling, or numbness in one or both legs
- Unexplained loss of weight
- Intense, constant pain that worsens at night
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Onset of trauma like a blow to the back, or a fall.
What Are Some of the Common Causes of Back Injuries?The most common causes of back injury are usually strain and issues with back structures.
StrainStrained muscles can lead to lower back pain or injury. Strain usually happens due to sudden awkward movements and the lifting of heavy items. It can also be due to over-activity, an example being the stiffness and sore feeling that happens after several hours of playing a sport or garden work.
Structural IssuesThe spine is made up of interlocking bones stacked on top of each other, commonly known as vertebrae. Discs are the tissue regions that cushion the space between these interlocking bones and injuries to these sections are common due to back pain. Sometimes, the tissue regions can herniate, bulge, and even rupture, resulting in the compression of nerves. Herniated and bulging disks can be extremely painful, leading to the irritation of the sciatic nerve or sciatica. This issue can be experienced in the leg as numbness, tingling, or pain.
OsteoporosisThe thinning of the bone, combined with the loss of bone density can result in small fractures in the vertebrae. These can result in severe pain and are known as compression fractures.
ArthritisThis is also a potential cause of back injury and pain. It is usually caused by the deterioration and damage of the lower back joints’ cartilage. Over time, this condition can result in a narrowing of the spinal column, also referred to as spinal stenosis. Severe back injuries can be as a result of falling from a substantial height, car crash, penetrating injury like a stab wound, high-impact fall onto the buttocks, or direct blows to the back. If you sustain a back injury, be it minor or severe, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
What Are Some Types of Back Injuries?The lower back is the most prevalent region of back pain and injuries. Some of the most common back injuries include:
Sprains & StrainsWhen you tear a ligament or overstretch a muscle, the surrounding area tends to become inflamed. This inflammation results in a back spasm, which in turn causes both extreme back pain and difficulty in moving. That’s because the back spasm immobilizes the muscles in the injured section, in an attempt to protect the joints and ligaments from further damage.
Bulging or Herniated DiscsA bulging or herniated disc is another common type of back injury. This tends to happen when there’s an issue with the discs (the rubbery cushions between the vertebrae). A herniated disc happens when the softer interior pushes through a tear in the disc’s exterior. This can result in the irritation of the nearby nerves, leading to painful symptoms like muscle weakness, tingling, numbness, arm or leg pain. In some cases, however, individuals with a herniated disc do not experience any symptoms. Also, surgery is often not required to treat a herniated disc. The practitioner will discuss your treatment options, which may include physical therapy, rest, medication, or epidural injections.
Fractured VertebraeVertebrae fractures can range from simple compression ones, where the bone collapses on itself, to the burst kind, where the bone pieces explode out into the tissues surrounding the spine, including the spinal cord and nerves. The worst for fracture injuries is known as fracture-dislocation, where the bone breaks, but since the ligaments have been also damaged, the bones slide away from each other.
Nerve DamageNerves play a vital role in transporting information that controls body sensations and movements to the brain. Lower back nerve damage happens when too much pressure is applied to a nerve surrounding the tissues like cartilage, tendons, muscles, or bones. This pressure affects the nerve’s function, leading to pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, or increased sensitivity.
Soft Tissue InjuriesSTI or soft tissue injuries occur when overuse or trauma to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles occurs. STIs usually happen during exercise and sports activities, but the injuries can also happen during simple everyday tasks.
What is Involved in the Diagnostic Process for Back Injuries?Medical or clinical diagnosis is a process that is meant to identify the underlying cause(s) of the back injury or pain. The doctor determines the cause of injury via a combination of the following steps:
Reviewing Your Medical HistoryYour doctor will ask a series of questions like a description of when the injury and the symptoms occurred, how it feels, and what treatments or activities make the pain feel worse or better. A comprehensive review of your medical history and records will also be done.
Physical ExaminationThis evaluation is done in the clinic, and it’s likely to include various aspects of a thorough examination. These include:
- An array of motion tests to assess the alignment and mobility of the involved joints
- Visual inspection of the skin overlying the affected region as well as the overall posture
- Hands-on assessment by palpating for muscle spasms and tender regions.
- Segmental assessment to check every spinal segment for ideal motion
- Neurological assessment, including tests of skin sensation, muscle strength, cranial nerves, and reflexes.