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Common Types of Spine and Back Injuries


A spine or back injury can occur in almost any type of accident, and the consequences of such an injury can be devastating for victims. Spine and back injuries often cause severe pain and can result in permanent disabilities.

The victims of spine injuries deserve to be compensated for the harm caused by others in accidents. If you or a loved one has a spine or back injury from an accident in the Nashville area, call or contact Mitch Grissim & Associates today to schedule a free consultation of your claims.

Before detailing some of the most common types of back and spinal cord injuries, let’s take a brief look at the structure of the spine.

Structure of the Spine

The structure of your spinal column could be an important piece of knowledge to have when experiencing pain.

Spinal Cord

You have the spinal cord itself, which contains the spinal nerves and sensory pathways that connect the brain to the rest of the body through nerve roots that branch out. The overall spine protects these nerves and nerve roots from damage. The spinal cord is housed within the vertebrae, which are bones that protect the cord and uphold its structure.

Sacral Region

The sacral region is a fusion of five vertebrae at the base of the spine that connects to the hips.

Lumbar Region

Lumbar vertebrae are the five vertebrae that sit lowest on the spine, close to the pelvis, and above the sacrum.

Thoracic Region

The thoracic section of the spine is in the middle of your back between the lumbar and cervical sections.

Cervical Region

The cervical spine is where the neck connects to the base of the skull. Cervical spinal cord injuries are incredibly severe because they can cut off nerve function in the majority of the body.


You also have the discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae to keep them separate and allow them to move and bend.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are common spine and back problems after an accident. Soft tissue damage refers to injuries that are not bone or related material. Tendons, ligaments, and muscles can all suffer soft tissue injuries after an accident. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries include back strain, back sprains, and bruising.

These are all examples of soft tissue injuries that can occur after an accident. While most accident victims heal from soft tissue injuries, they still deserve to be compensated for the medical bills as well as the pain and suffering caused by the injuries.

Bulging or Herniated Discs

Another common type of spine or back injury that happens in accidents is a bulging disc or herniated disc. The discs are the cushion between vertebrae in the spine that are made of a harder outer layer of cartilage and a softer inner layer.

When an accident occurs, it can cause the soft disc to bulge out from between the vertebrae or cause a crack in the disc that allows the inner cartilage to protrude out. Bulging discs or herniated discs can cause serious pain by irritating the nerves in the spine, as well as causing damage to the vertebrae that the disc sits between.

This type of injury may require surgery after an accident to repair and can result in significant time out of work. There may also be surgical complications with this type of procedure given its location.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are the most serious type of spine and back injury. When this type of injury occurs, the spinal cord is partially or completely severed within the vertebrae. This damage can lead to partial or full paralysis below the point of injury.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

The symptoms of a complete spinal cord injury are more severe. In this case, the spinal cord injury is to the extent that it is completely severed within the vertebrae. This type of traumatic spinal cord injury cuts off the signals that the brain can send and receive past the point of the injury, leading to paralysis in the legs or other parts of the body.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

With an incomplete spinal cord injury, the spine has been partially crushed. The brain can still send and receive nerve signals past the damaged area, making paralysis and pain in almost half of your body a possibility as opposed to a foregone conclusion.

If the paralysis affects the lower half of the body such as your legs, it is known as paraplegia. If it affects the upper part of the body as well, it is known as quadriplegia.

Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent and catastrophic disability for accident victims that requires extensive medical treatment, physical therapy, and a lifetime of additional care. You could experience reduced bowel control, failing nerve function, paralysis in your legs or arms, difficulty breathing, difficulty moving, loss of motor function, or the need for assistive devices to perform essential functions.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries and Back Pain

Accidents happen every day, and we can never control every circumstance around us. Awareness of the most common causes of spinal cord and back pain could keep you safe in the future and help with pain management.

Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are often associated with the spine and back because of how an athlete pushes their body to its limits. More specifically, contact sports such as football, lacrosse, and hockey can lead to significant spinal cord injuries or other back issues.

Other strenuous sports can also lead to a spinal cord injury that could affect your legs and other parts of the body, including basketball, tennis, baseball, soccer, horseback riding, lifting weights, and more.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

A leading cause of back and spinal cord injuries, accidents involving vehicles can result in life-altering damage because of the forces involved. Most vehicles weigh upwards of thousands of pounds, making the human body vulnerable to collisions.

The best protection from most spinal cord injuries in car accidents is to wear seat belts properly, ensure that your vehicle is maintained, and practice defensive driving tactics.

Slip and Fall Accidents

These types of injuries can occur anywhere, from workplaces to public parks to private homes. If a slip and fall causes you to land hard on your back, a severe spinal cord injury could occur, along with other injuries to your soft tissues or nerves that will require emergency care.

Some of these injuries, such as bulging discs, may not present symptoms right away, so it is important to get your back checked after a hard slip and fall accident, even if there is no immediate pain.


Sometimes, a spinal cord injury or another back issue can be caused by everyday activities. You could be lifting heavy objects and strain a muscle. Maybe you were mowing the lawn and felt a twinge. You could even be jumping on a trampoline with the kids and land at an awkward angle.

Many activities could cause chronic pain or more severe injuries to your spinal cord and back, from everyday tasks to car accidents to gunshot wounds in rare cases. No matter what caused these back or spinal injuries, seek medical treatment as soon as you can. Your healthcare provider can use technology like imaging tests to check for nerve damage, complete injuries, trauma involving spinal bones, or other hidden symptoms involving nerves.

What Next Steps Can You Take?

Spinal cord injuries, among other back issues, can have devastating effects on an individual. Spinal cord injury symptoms are often very severe and require surgery and a lot of time to heal if recovery is even possible.

When facing drastic circumstances due to spinal cord injuries, you have the legal option to file a claim against the liable party. Though it may seem overwhelming to undertake a complex legal procedure while going through spinal cord injury treatment, you deserve the chance to protect your family members and your financial assets.

The best way to file a claim is to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer that understands Tennesse law and can help you win a fair settlement after spinal cord injuries or other types of back pain lead to lifestyle changes.

Talk to Our Office Now

Spine and back damage can lead to substantial medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, disability, physical therapy, and the loss of enjoyment of life. When these spinal cord injuries occur because of someone else’s negligence, injured victims have the right to pursue compensation to cover damages.

Additionally, working with a spinal cord injury attorney can help you hold the responsible party accountable for your accident, potentially preventing future mistakes.

If you would like to learn more about your compensation options after an accident, call a Nashville spine and back injury lawyer at Mitch Grissim & Associates to schedule a free evaluation of your case.


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