Lower back pain is a common symptom among car accident victims. It is also a common symptom in general, and this means that diagnosing a specific injury based upon a complaint of lower back pain can be difficult. However, the cause of the injury can help significantly in reducing the number of potential diagnoses. For example, among individuals who complain of lower back pain following a car accident, one of the most-common diagnoses is sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical condition that results from compression (or “pinching”) of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve splits at the bottom of the lower back and extends down the back of both legs.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
As noted above, the most common symptom of sciatica is lower back pain. This can either be a sharp localized or radiating pain, and it can range from relatively minor to extremely severe. Other common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Numbness and tingling (or feeling “pins and needles”)
- Burning sensations
- Sensations similar to an electric shock
- Pain that worsens after coughing, sneezing, or sitting for an extended period of time
These symptoms will commonly originate in the lower back and extend down the sciatic nerve into the legs. While it is possible to experience symptoms on both legs, it is more common for sciatica to affect one side of the body.
How Can a Car Accident Cause Sciatica?
While sciatica has many potential causes, one of the most common causes is a herniated disc which compresses the sciatic nerve. Herniated discs are common injuries in car accidents, and this means that many car accident victims will develop sciatica following their collisions.
In fact, according to the Cleveland Clinic, herniated (or slipped) discs are the single most common cause of sciatica. The forces involved in car accidents are easily significant enough to cause disc herniation in the lower back; and, while a herniated disc can result from a direct impact to the lower spine, a direct impact is not necessary to cause a herniated disc (which can then trigger sciatica).
Certain genetic, health, and occupational factors can increase car accident victims’ risk of herniated discs as well. These include:
- Age (older individuals are more likely to suffer herniated discs and sciatica)
- Diabetes (which can increase the risk of nerve damage)
- Carrying excess body weight
- Working in a physically-demanding job
- Working in a job that requires repetitive stress on the lower back
- Genetic predisposition to disc herniation
What are the Treatment Options (and Costs) for Sciatica from a Car Accident?
The treatment options (and the cost of treatment) for sciatica vary depending on the severity of the patient’s condition and his or her individual health characteristics. For some people, rest is all that is required. However, more severe injuries may require invasive treatment methods, and car accident victims who experience complications from sciatica (such as loss of bowel or bladder function) may need additional or ongoing medical care.
In any case, the financial costs of recovering from a car accident can be substantial. Pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other non-financial costs can impact car accident victims’ lives in various ways as well. If you are experiencing symptoms of sciatica following a car accident, you should see a doctor promptly, and you should speak with an attorney about filing a claim for compensation as soon as possible.
Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Confidence
Have you been diagnosed with sciatica following a car accident? If so, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. To speak with an attorney in confidence, please submit our online contact form now.
All content found on this site was created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.