This weekend, maybe you'll be out celebrating a birthday, a promotion at work, or graduation. You join your friends at the pub and one beer becomes four, and suddenly, you're feeling a little bit tipsy. It is tempting to write off that feeling as a light buzz and hey, you're okay right? It was only a few beers.
But consider this: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site says that a person dies every 50 minutes because of a drunk driver. If a drunk driving accident doesn't kill you, the pain might.
Back pain from an auto accident is no laughing matter. A sudden jolt can leave you with fractured bones, a herniated disc, or any number of serious injuries that add up to a lifetime of agony and high medical costs.
Types of Back Injuries
There are numerous injuries that can be caused by car wrecks. Some are more serious than others, but none are to be taken lightly:
Slipped or Herniated Discs
You may have heard the term and it may seem like no big deal. But in a car crash, the fluid-filled discs in your spine which provide cushion and prevent pain, can be subjected to a forceful jolt and slip out of place. This can result in an extremely painful ruptured, bulging or slipped disc.
Fractures to the spine can occur when your seat belt fails to fully restrain your body during a collision. Basically, your lower half stays seated but your upper body and head are propelled forward. Sound uncomfortable? You can bet it is.
A compression fracture is a small fissure or crack in the vertebrae. When delicate bones fracture, horrible pain ensues which may interfere with breathing. You may also have trouble walking.
Everybody has heard the term whiplash, but it's probably not top-of-mind when you are out partying with your friends. However it should be taken seriously because severe damage to the delicate ligaments and tissues in the neck can sentence you to a lifetime of pain. Whiplash can be severe, and that is why you hear so much about it.
This can happen when fractures make the vertebrae move out of place and compress nerves. Pain, weakness, and a feeling of being numb can result, but victims of this traumatic injury can also experience difficulty walking. Spondylolisthesis treatment will depend on how severe the displacement is and you may receive surgery or physical therapy.
This will make you feel old before your time and while spinal stenosis is not directly caused by your collision, the accident can make a person with no symptoms start to feel ill. Spinal narrowing due to degeneration because of trauma or age may be exacerbated by your accident.
Injuries to the Spinal Cord
Even cars going at a low speed have a lot of weight behind them on impact. Think about 3,000 pounds of metal hurtling down the highway. Now think of yourself behind the wheel after drinking alcohol and your spine is the victim. Spinal cord injuries can lead to permanent paralysis.
Debilitating back injury is not the only risk of drunk driving. You can also be sued by someone else that you injure in a wreck. Payouts can be high and jail time is possible. Dealing with the insurance companies and the sheer guilt over injuring someone is tough. So before you get behind the wheel after a night at the pub, think twice. You do not want to be another drunk driving statistic.