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Can A Car Accident Cause Spinal Stenosis?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Sep 19, 2022


Can A Car Accident Cause Spinal Stenosis?

Accident victims can sustain injuries to any part of the body when a car crash occurs. However, injuries to the spine are usually some of the most debilitating and catastrophic. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are nearly 18,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries in the United States each year, and motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of injuries to the spine. But can a car accident cause spinal stenosis? The short answer is yes. Because being involved in a motor vehicle collision puts a tremendous amount of strain on a victim's spine, the accident may result in spinal stenosis, which is associated with life-long consequences and costly medical treatment. At Labrum Law, we understand the consequences our clients face after sustaining spinal stenosis and other severe injuries. We are dedicated to helping accident victims pursue the compensation they need to get back to normal as soon as possible if they can. Consider calling (615) 338-9500 to schedule your free consultation.

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a serious condition that refers to the narrowing of the spaces within a person's spine. As a result, increased pressure is put on the spinal cord and nerve roots, causing pain or even limb weakness or numbness among other symptoms. Spinal stenosis is difficult to diagnose, and many accident victims who have the condition do not develop symptoms right away. The first noticeable symptoms often appear when the condition worsens over time.

In many cases, spinal stenosis is the result of wear and tear in patients over the age of 50, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease. Spinal stenosis is often related to osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease in which a person's bones rub against one another and which can cause the narrowing of spaces in the spine. Other conditions that cause and contribute to spinal stenosis include degenerative disc disease and deformities in the spine. 

Can Car Accidents Cause Spinal Stenosis?

Many victims of motor vehicle accidents wonder, “Can a car accident cause spinal stenosis?” The trauma sustained in an accident may or may not cause spinal stenosis. After all, spinal stenosis refers to a condition that occurs as a result of complex changes to the aging spine. However, a car accident can lead to an injury that causes spinal stenosis, not to mention that traumatic events can aggravate an existing case of spinal stenosis. Often, people who have spinal stenosis do not discover the condition until after they have gone through a full medical check-up. A car accident is one event that might necessitate a medical check-up and lead to a diagnosis of spinal stenosis.

However, being involved in a car crash can trigger the onset of symptoms associated with spinal stenosis. Depending on the victim's age, pre-existing condition, the force of impact in the accident, and other factors, spinal stenosis can manifest itself immediately or develop gradually because of spinal degeneration.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis After a Car Accident

When a car accident leads to the narrowing of spaces in the spine and a victim suffers spinal stenosis, the victim may not develop symptoms right away. Symptoms can take time to manifest, and their severity depends on the region of the spine that was affected. Some of the most common symptoms associated with spinal stenosis include:

  • Back pain
  • Numbness or weakness in the limbs
  • Loss of balance
  • A burning sensation and tingling in the limbs
  • Pain while walking or standing

While a car accident may cause spinal stenosis, the force of impact in motor vehicle accidents may also aggravate a pre-existing condition. Often, accident victims who have spinal stenosis are not aware of the condition until after a car crash occurs.

How Is Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?

Besides wondering, “Can a car accident cause spinal stenosis?” accident victims may also wonder how this type of injury is diagnosed. Unlike other types of spinal cord injuries, spinal stenosis is very difficult to diagnose. One of the reasons the diagnosis of spinal stenosis is so challenging is the fact that symptoms of the condition may take years to manifest. Often, a full medical check-up is necessary to diagnose spinal stenosis.

One of the most common ways to diagnose spinal stenosis is with X-rays. While X-rays show visible damage to the vertebrae, they do not provide a clear picture of the soft tissue around the spinal canal. For this reason, medical professionals may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to get an accurate diagnosis of spinal stenosis.

What Is the Treatment for Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis can cause a tremendous amount of pain and may result in temporary or permanent disability, especially if the injured person does not receive proper and timely treatment. Typically, spinal stenosis is treated without the need to undergo surgery. Some of the most common forms of treatment for spinal stenosis include:

  • Massage
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications
  • Steroids

However, severe cases of spinal stenosis may require surgery, resulting in medical bills, lengthy rehabilitation, and pain and suffering. The appropriate treatment depends on the extent and severity of the spinal stenosis. Regardless of what type of treatment is required for the condition, an accident victim may be entitled to compensation for the cost of medical care. At Labrum Law, we help victims of motor vehicle accidents across Tennessee fight for the compensation they need.

Who Is Liable for Spinal Stenosis Caused by Car Accidents?

Liability for spinal stenosis resulting from car accidents depends on who was at fault for the accident. When a victim of a car crash suffers spinal stenosis, he or she may be entitled to compensation if the other party proves to be negligent. An injured victim may seek compensation for medical bills, loss of income, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages and losses.

Spinal stenosis may also result in life-long impairments, disabilities, or paralysis, which means the expenses and losses associated with the condition may linger with the injured victim for the rest of his or her life. When a car crash results in spinal stenosis, the victim may benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney who can fight for fair compensation and advise the victim of his or her legal rights when dealing with insurance companies.

Car Accident Attorneys at Labrum Law

At Labrum Law, our car accident attorneys represent accident victims across the state of Tennessee. Often, accident victims wonder, “Can a car accident cause spinal stenosis?” When victims of a motor vehicle accident suffer spinal stenosis or other injuries caused by the accident, an experienced attorney can help them pursue financial compensation. Our experienced attorneys at Labrum Law offer free consultations, so consider calling (615) 338-9500 to learn more about your legal rights.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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