Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who has never been in a car accident before, you’re at least familiar with the term whiplash, a common car accident injury. Whiplash occurs when your body is thrown forward during a car accident but your seatbelt prevents you from flying too far forward into your windshield. This sudden jerking motion causes the muscles in your neck and back to strain and ache. Since the impact can cause much more damage than whiplash, you’re very lucky if that’s the only injury you sustain.
Your spinal discs act as a shock absorber for your spine, but when too much pressure is placed on them, damage is inevitable. Even wearing a seatbelt, the impact of a car accident can put a lot of strain on your back, sometimes causing a spinal disc protrusion or herniation.
Disc herniations occur when too much pressure is placed on the spine, causing the nucleus (the spongy center) of the spinal disc to squeeze out of the annulus (the harder material encasing the nucleus on the outside). The bulging of the disc out of its normal alignment puts pressure on nearby nerves along the spinal cord causing shooting pain, weakness, or tingling in the extremities.
There’s also the possibility that the strain could be powerful enough to fracture a vertebra, called a vertebral compression fracture. Fractured vertebrae are extremely dangerous due to the proximity to the bundle of nerves running down your spinal canal. Should a fracture occur near those nerves, they could potentially be severed, causing severe, possibly irreparable damage.
While vertebral compression fractures require additional surgical intervention, such as vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty arthroscopic procedures, you may also benefit from the use of epidural injections. Spinal damages can be very painful and make physical therapy, which is often prescribed before and after back surgery, nearly impossible to bear.
What is an epidural injection?
Epidural injections are utilized to treat back pain resulting from herniated discs, fractures, and other auto accident injuries. The injections contain corticosteroids, which help reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.
During the procedure, you are first given a local anesthetic in the area of the injection. This provides immediate short-term pain relief. Once the injection is released into your spine you will receive the dose of steroids that will provide relatively long-term pain relief. It may take several injections, spaced out over time, to effectively reduce your pain.
Epidural injections are a quick, convenient outpatient procedure that can be provided as many times as needed throughout your healing and recovery process. All you need to do is either stop on in or schedule an appointment with our auto injury experts, the board-certified physicians of the San Antonio Auto & Work Injury Walk-In Clinic, and we’ll be happy to assist with your pain management needs. Request an appointment online or call (210) 615-0400 for more information.
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