Spinal stenosis and car accidents: What to know

Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and nerves. This narrowing can lead to compression and irritation of these vital nerves, causing a range of painful and debilitating symptoms.

While spinal stenosis can result from age-related bone degeneration or congenital conditions, traumatic events such as car accidents are also big contributors to its development or aggravation.

What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis after a wreck?

It’s always wisest to seek medical attention right away after you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident. However, be on the alert for problems that creep up over the next few days or weeks, since it can take a little while for swelling and other damage to affect the nerves in your spinal column. Watch for:

  • Neck or back pain: Following a car wreck, it is common to experience neck or back pain. However, if the pain persists or intensifies, it may be indicative of spinal stenosis. The pain may radiate to other areas, such as the arms or legs, depending on the location of the affected spinal segments.
  • Numbness or tingling: Spinal stenosis can cause sensations of numbness, tingling or a “pins and needles” feeling in the extremities. These symptoms may occur in the arms, hands, legs, or feet, depending on the location of the affected spinal canal narrowing.
  • Muscle weakness: Muscle weakness, particularly in the arms or legs, can develop as a result of spinal stenosis. This weakness may affect coordination, balance or the ability to perform certain activities requiring fine motor skills or strength.
  • Radiating pain: Spinal stenosis can lead to radiculopathy, where pain radiates along the path of a compressed nerve root to the arms, legs, hands and feet.
  • Changes in bowel or bladder function: In severe cases, spinal stenosis can cause dysfunction in the bowel or bladder. Symptoms may include urinary or fecal incontinence, difficulty with urination or changes in bowel movements.

It’s important to note that some of these symptoms require immediate medical attention and surgical intervention to prevent or minimize any permanent damage, so don’t delay. Consulting a healthcare professional, such as an orthopedic specialist, neurologist or spine surgeon, can help in diagnosing and determining the most appropriate treatment options.

Given the devastating possibilities of spinal stenosis and the complicated recovery process, if you have it, you have every right to expect the compensation you need to obtain treatment, cover your losses and take care of your family after a wreck caused by another’s actions or inactions. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start exploring your options.

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