What Type of Back Injury Do I Have?

 

As one of the most common health problems for many New Yorkers, back pain affects individuals at least once throughout their lives. Determining the root cause of one’s back issues is critical to receiving appropriate care to resolve and prevent long-term complications that may result. While the lower lumbar region is often most affected, back strain and sprains can happen anywhere along the spine and have debilitating effects on the sufferer. Understanding the types of spinal injuries that can occur is vital in understanding why you are hurting so much.

Back Sprains

When one injures a ligament within their back, it is known as a back sprain. These typically are a result of overuse or sudden twisting and involve painful inflammation. The healing process could last up to 10 weeks or more, depending on the severity of your injury.

Back Strains

This is a more severe injury that involves the damaging of muscles and/or tendons in one’s back. It often occurs in the lower back after lifting improperly or over extending the muscles surrounding the spine. Just like a sprain, healing times can last months if there was significant damage.

Disc Degeneration 

Some injuries occur over time when we put our bodies through the rigors of regular physical activities and everyday living. This condition is a result of our cushioning discs shrinking and which causes our vertebrae to lose their strength. Painful inflammation and ache are common symptoms of this condition as these vertebral bones rub and push against one another without any padding to absorb the pressure. 

Herniated Discs

Also known as a bulging disc this condition involves the soft jelly-like substance within our cartilage cushioning to erupt from the sac that contains it.  When this happens, additional pressure is put on to the spine and surrounding nerves, which causes significant pain. 

Spondylolisthesis

When one of our vertebrae becomes cracked due to a traumatic injury, it will eventually shift out of its place in our spine, causing excruciating pain in our back. This painful condition regularly happens in sports situations that put constant stress on the lower lumbar region.

Spinal Stenosis

Over time or after a traumatic spinal injury, the spaces between your vertebrae may start to narrow, putting pressure on nerves and your spine that can cause long-term health complications that include:

 

  • Paralysis
  • Numbness
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Inability to have sex
  • Limited mobility
  • Pain
  • Possibly death

 

This condition most often occurs in the lower back and cervical region of the neck and requires ongoing care to manage it.  

When in Doubt, Get Your Back Injury Evaluated

Like a lot of joint aches and pains we experience, back injuries get better on their own most of the time, and you feel back to normal within a few weeks. Relying on home treatment options to relieve our pain after a minor injury makes sense, but you shouldn’t take the severity of your condition lightly. When you have ongoing back inflammation, painful pinched nerve sensations, or loss of mobility, it’s important to get it evaluated by a trusted physician.