Spine injuries are common in car accidents. Your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. The spinal cord runs through a hollow canal in the center of your vertebrae, and nerve roots split from the cord and travel between the vertebrae into various areas of the body.
The nerve roots have limited space to travel, and when they become compressed or damaged they can cause symptoms of radiculopathy.
Here at Tulsa Accident Care Center, auto accident specialist, Robert Mitchell, MD, and our team of caring and compassionate medical professionals provide comprehensive auto accident care. Following a car crash you need a prompt and accurate diagnosis, and appropriate treatment to help you heal.
Radiculopathy describes symptoms experienced when nerves in the spine are compressed. This can occur when there is a sudden impact, such as a car crash. Keep reading to learn more about this condition, and what we can do to help.
When a nerve in the spine is compressed, symptoms vary depending on what part of the spine is affected. Depending on the location and type of your radiculopathy, you may experience varying symptoms.
The neck, also called the cervical spine, is especially vulnerable to injuries from car crashes. Due to its mobility, the neck may snap forward and backward or side to side in both a high impact and low impact car crash. This can cause various types of injuries, including cervical radiculopathy.
The nerves in the cervical region of the spine are involved in providing sensation to the arms and hands. When a nerve in the cervical spine is compressed, it's common to experience neck pain, and abnormal sensation such as tingling, numbness, and burning in the arms and hands.
The lower back is known as the lumbar region of the spine. Radiculopathy that occurs in the lower back is called lumbar radiculopathy. The sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body runs from the lower back, down your buttocks, and down each leg is often involved in lumbar radiculopathy. Lower back pain is a typical symptom.
When it comes to car accidents, the lower back is most often associated with radiculopathy.
The thoracic spine is the longest part of your spine. It runs from the base of your neck and down to your abdomen, and connects the cervical spine above and the lumbar spine below. Thoracic radiculopathy occurs when the nerve root in the thoracic part of the spine is compressed.
This is often experienced as pain and abnormal sensation in the upper back area. Numbness may also occur, and the numbness may travel to the front of the body.
Compressed nerve roots become inflamed and irritated, causing various uncomfortable symptoms. If you have radiculopathy you may experience sharp pain in your back, arms, legs, or shoulders.
Radiculopathy pain tends to worsen with certain movements. Depending which part of your spine is affected, you may experience leg or arm weakness. Your specific symptoms will depend on where the compressed nerve root is located in your spine.
Injuries to the spine require prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent complications. At Tulsa Accident Care Center our team takes several steps to evaluate you and properly diagnose your radiculopathy at our on-site diagnostic facilities.
Evaluation may include a physical exam as well as physical test to check your muscles, as well as your reflexes, and strength. Your provider will discuss your symptoms and pinpoint the location of your pain.
Imaging tests are used to see the structures of your spine and provide an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for radiculopathy typically begins with non-surgical approaches. The goal is to relieve your pain so that you feel better as you recover. Treatment may include:
Depending on the exact nature of your radiculopathy, you may need more advanced treatment. The first step is to schedule a visit for a comprehensive evaluation. Once you're evaluated and receive a formal diagnosis, our team can recommend a treatment strategy to help you recover and get back to your life.
When you’re injured in a car crash, you need medical professionals with knowledge and expertise in diagnosing and treating auto accident injuries. Don’t delay. Call our Tulsa, Oklahoma, office or book online to schedule a visit with Dr. Mitchell.