The “lumbar spine” refers to the five vertebrae between the pelvis and rib cage, and its most common generators of pain are the discs and the facet joints. Pain associated with facet joints generally increases with age, while pain in the discs is more common overall. If you are suffering from back pain after an auto accident, it’s helpful to understand these two causes and how they differ.
Discogenic pain is generally caused by acute trauma, such as in an auto accident, or slow deterioration of discs over time. It is most common in the lumbar spine and may also be associated with spasms and pain extending to the buttocks or thighs. Bending, heavy lifting and excessive movement can worsen these symptoms, so it’s very important to get as much rest as you need throughout your recovery. Some spinal disc injuries are minor and can heal in short periods of time, while others can produce chronic pain which may slowly subside throughout recovery.
A full evaluation and diagnosis of a potential back injury are always important due to the wide variety of causes of back pain. Discographies and MRI scans are helpful in identifying degeneration of discs, and anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy are often the first steps for treating discogenic pain. There are also other non-surgical options which can provide long-term relief, such as epidural corticosteroid injections.
Facet joints work together with intervertebral discs to help control movement and support weight between the spine’s individual vertebrae. Pain in the facet joints can occur suddenly and without warning, and is often caused by direct nerve-damage or inflammation, which is why muscle spasms are also associated with this damage; the spasm is the body’s immediate means of protection from further damage. Fortunately, most facet joint damage can be identified with x-rays and other scans. CT scans may be used for greater detail of the affected joints, and MRI scans may be used to identify problems with structures associated with the joints, such as the spine’s discs and ligaments.
If you or a loved one has suffered a neck, back, or spine injury in an accident, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based injury law firm representing individuals (and their families) who have suffered an injury in an accident. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.