The spine is a complex structure surrounded by muscles, tendons, ligaments and other types of tissues. Although it is designed to be strong enough to support the weight of the head and hold the upright posture of humans, the spine is not built to withstand the shock of an automobile accident. The impact strains the muscles and ligaments in the back and the facet joints frequently bear the brunt of the force. This can result in several types of injuries, including whiplash, fractures and disc herniation. Among all these injuries and conditions, sciatica is repeatedly diagnosed throughout many accident cases.
Sciatica is best described as a set of symptoms rather than a single condition, characterized by radiating pain along the sciatic nerve, the largest single nerve in the human body.
One of the most common causes of sciatica after an auto accident is a herniated disc. The vertebral discs in the spine primarily function as a shock absorber between each vertebra. The tough yet soft jelly-like structure of the discs acts as a form of cartilaginous joint or cushion to provide smooth mobility to the spine, also acting as ligaments to hold the vertebrae of the spine together. Because the discs can absorb the majority of the shock from any direct trauma to the spine, it is possible for a disc to herniate during a car crash.
The force of impact during an automobile accident can frequently result in damage and symptoms that can be debilitating and impairing. Various different types of injuries or conditions can occur from the aftermath of an auto collision, however, back injuries are among the most commonly reported complication among the affected individuals. Among all these injuries and conditions, sciatica is repeatedly diagnosed throughout many accident cases. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.