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Oh the low back! We write often about the effects of a car crash with the neck, because it is so prevalent. We tend to overlook the potentials of injury to the low back. The fact of the matter is that the low back is just as susceptible to injury and here’s why.
When a crash happens from the side, rear, or even the front, the forces applied to the body are just as impactful to the low back as they are in the neck. The difference is that the low back is strapped down with your seat belt, and the neck is free to move about because it doesn’t have the same structural design as the rest of the spine. So in order for us to really get down into the dirt of it, we need to look at the mechanics and design of the lumbar spine.
Our neck is designed to turn, lean, and flex, while our low back is designed to flex and extend. That’s primarily it. So when we have an impact to the lumbar spine from the side that forces it to perform the other two directions, the result can be severe. It can range from as slight as a strained Erector Spinae muscle to as intense as a ruptured disc.
When we look at the discs of the spine, they are comprised of rings similar to that of a tree. They can handle slight rotation and sheering forces, but when the force becomes greater than their capacity to withstand there is usually a tear. The tear can be within the first few rings of the annular fibers or it can be so severe, that it reaches the Nucleus Pulposus which is the center portion that is the shock absorber of the spine. It is filled with fluid, and is designed to take downward forces to the spine. If the fibers that contain the fluid tear, then the fluid will seep out causing what is known as a ruptured disc. If a piece of the disc breaks off, it is called a sequestered disc. All of this is incredibly painful and can wreck someone’s life.
The repair process for the more serious conditions will likely require surgery. Of course this is the least desired, but in the case where it is a sequestered disc, the floating piece of disc can float around within the spinal fluid creating periodic pain, or numbness. It’s a condition that you can live with, but it’s a lot like Pandora ’s Box. You never know when it’s going to hit and put you to floor.
In the case of a herniated disc, or bulging disc, there is good news. These conditions are actually very common. You can live a completely normal life without any pain. And for those that do experience pain, specific chiropractic adjustments can help quite well with the correction or pain reduction.
Ultimately, when a crash happens, the entire spine is potentially at harm. It becomes pretty critical for your long term health, to at least get checked to make sure that there aren’t any problems; even if you are not experiencing any pain. Whiplash Center of Utah is your St. George Chiropractor, dedicated to the injured. Our chiropractic physicians are certified and qualified to not only treat whiplash, but also low back damage and injury.
If you have been involved in a crash, please contact 435-674-7515 to schedule your appointment, and we’ll take care of the rest. We even bill your insurance for you.