Sprains and strains are common injuries that result from car accidents. They involve the tendons, muscles, or ligaments and are caused by overextending, twisting, or by direct impact to a joint. A car crash can force a person’s joints to bend in unnatural ways, beyond the normal range of motion. This affects the tissues such as ligaments and tendons that provide stabilization for the joint, damaging them. The tissues that are affected determine whether the injury is a sprain or strain.
What’s the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?
Sprains and strains are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. A sprain affects the ligaments, while strains affect the tendons. When these tissues stretch or tear, the resulting injury is a sprain or strain.
When the ligaments of the back stretch or tear, the injury is called a back sprain. Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that hold the joints together. This tissue is very tough and attaches to the bone on one side of the joint to a bone on the other side of the joint.
A back strain occurs when the tendon or muscle is stretched or torn. Tendons connects muscle to bone. They are fibrous cords and are very strong.
Back sprains and strains in a car accident occur when the victim’s back is overextended or twisted unnaturally, usually as a result of the impact or force from a crash. This severe stress on the joint is usually a back sprain and the ligaments are affected, often tearing. When the tendon or muscle in the back is torn or pulled, it is a strain. It happens then the muscle or tendon is stretched abruptly or too far.
Sprains are graded according to severity:
- Grade 1 – Stretching is slight with minimal ligament damage
- Grade 2 – The ligament is partially torn, and it is visible in scans. There is some instability of the joint.
- Grade 3 – The ligament is completely torn, severed in two. The joint is very unstable and cannot bend.
How Sprains and Strains Affect Car Accident Victims
Car accident victims are often seriously affected by back sprains and strains. The most common symptom, lower back pain, is often severe. This pain is usually located across the back, covering a broad area. The patient may also experience muscle spasms, also painful. They tend to occur while the person is engaged in activity but can also happen when they are sleeping.
Sprains and strains in the back can severely limit the person’s range of motion and mobility, posing a significant impact on their quality of life.
All too often, a person with a back sprain or strain will have difficult walking, often shuffling their feet. They also tend to walk while bent over, unable to stand upright or assume a normal posture. They may not have normal function of their back and have difficulty walking, sitting, standing, and driving.
Sprains and Strains Treatment
Treatments for back sprains and strains involve several different avenues. The back can be rather fragile, and it is a very complex structure. Recovery can take a lot of time and it is often accompanied by pain and frustration. It is important to find an attorney to handle your case and they should have a good understanding of back injuries as well as treatment options.
Treatment for back sprains and strains usually begin with anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal medications. Physical therapy is also a common option. This may involve the use of ice, heat, and ultrasound applied to the affected area in an effort to calm painful muscle spasms. Special exercises gently relax and stretch muscles that are painfully contracted in spasm. The next step is to strengthen the muscles, both those affected and those surrounding the affected area, to provide better support for the spine, keep it more stable, and prevent back injuries from getting worse.
Sprains and Strains Symptoms
The symptoms of sprains and strains vary, depending on the location of the injury and the severity.
Symptoms of sprains:
- Pain in the affected area
- Inability to move or limited ability to move the joint that is affected.
- When the injury occurs, you may feel a pop in the joint or even hear a pop.
Symptoms of strains:
- Pain in the affected area
- Muscle spasms
- Limited ability or inability to move the muscle that is affected
If you’ve been in an accident and sprained or strained your back, you could have a long road of healing ahead of you. The last thing you need to worry about are mounting medical bills and financially difficulties due to time lost on your job. At Johnstone & Gabhart we understand that this is a difficult and even scary time. Our attorneys have the education and experience to help you through this difficult time and ensure you get the compensation that you deserve. Call us today for your free case review and let us get started on your case. Don’t wait another minute, get reliable, assertive representation today.