Can Stenosis Be Caused By A Car Accident?

First off, what is spinal stenosis? Spinal stenosis is the narrowing or tightening of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is a long tunnel running through the center of the spine, which contains the spinal cord and the nerve roots. When this canal is narrowed, the spinal cord and the nerve roots may be compressed.

Related: Car Accidents

Primary vs. acquired stenosis
Doctors categorize the cause of spinal stenosis in two ways, primary and acquired. Primary means a person had it since birth. Some people are born with narrower spinal canals than others. It may not present problems early in life but these people are more prone to acquire back pain later in life. The other category is acquired. This is commonly a result of disease or injury to the spine. Acquired stenosis is more common compared to primary stenosis. The direct cause of acquired stenosis is "wear and tear" on the spine as a result of aging.

What are some symptoms of stenosis?
The symptoms that usually occur due to the compression of the spinal cord and nerves are:

  • Neck, shoulder, arm or hand pain
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Lack of coordination and "clumsiness"
  • Imbalance when walking
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence

Treatment
There are non-surgical ways to manage spinal stenosis. These include:

  •  Alternative treatment such as acupuncture or massage
  •  Easy exercises and swimming
  •  Good posture and proper body mechanics
  •  The use of over-the-counter NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen
  •  Chiropractic care
  •  Physical therapy
  •  In severe cases, doctors may use as epidural steroid injection

In some situation where the stenosis is not managed by non-surgical treatments, surgical procedure may be opted by the physician. If your doctor recommends back surgery, it's recommended that you get a second opinion first. Much like any surgery, back surgeries are complicated, and you want to make sure it's necessary before you go through the procedure.

Related: Back Injuries After An Accident

As a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney, I know that this onset of pain must be properly documented by your doctor to have a chance of collecting for your injuries. Don't wait to see a doctor after an accident. If you don't see a doctor right away, you are putting your accident case at risk. You may not get the compensation you need. Don't let that happen! See your doctor and tell them what hurts so you can start recovering.

Michael Schafer
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The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
4 Comments
I was t-boned in May of 2016, my neck snapped forward then backwards and all I can remember is holding on to the steering wheel until the car stopped spinning. We did an almost 360’ I believe but I am not sure since it’s been since 2016 that the car might actually had ended up in the same position it was going, I jumped out of the car immediately because I had my two year old cousin in the car with me and it felt like the back of my car fell off. A 17 year old kid floored through a stop sign as I was driving Northbound to pick my child up from school, next thing I know I am hit. I started to feel a deep ache in both my legs about year after, at the time of the accident I did go get an X-ray that showed my spine was completely straight but I didn’t know what that meant and the ER didn’t recommend I go see a doctor they said it could have been caused by the accident that the impact made my muscles so tight it pulled my spine straight. At least I have that as proof, well going forward about a year after both legs started getting deep deep pain that felt like it was in my bones. Then Hurricane Irma came in Florida and I decided to evacuate and drive to Indiana somewhere in the middle of that drive it felt like someone took a match and lit both my legs on fire from the inside out. I progressively got worse, I went to the doctor they said I had fibromyalgia I was tossed to a neurologist but I did have an MRI of my lumber which immediately showed lumbar spinal stenosis and lumbar disc prolapse with ridiculopathy on the MRI it’s self it says due to MVA and the date. I called my Insurnace company to get a claim opened. It has been a long process because they threw this off on Fibromyalgia, that my PA never even put the notes into the computer for 3 months never even put my diagnosis down. Until, the neurologist ran every test known to man for autoimmune which everything came back normal and I am assuming that is why I got Fibromyalgia diagnosis it wasn’t until I went to Physical Therapy and they believed from the evaluation that I had a spinal I injury non of my exercises could be done with weight bearing it all had to be down on my stomach or back, I am progressively getting worse I started to develop foot drop, finally I was sent to spine doctor that even with the MRI he wanted to do SI joint injections, well I had to wait about 2-3 weeks to even get those injections although I don’t even know why I would need those when my MRI never even read anything about SI Joints, when I had my follow visit he said that he was thinking that the disc may be pressing on a nerve plus I had spinal Stenosis of the lumbar spine. Needless to say this was an MRI that was taken in Feb 2017, we are now sitting at August 23, 2018 and they are finally addressing the issues of the MRI’s reading, oh, when I first went to spine doctor even though he had just read the MRI that I brought with me, he wanted to do a brain scan for MS, he said if that came back clear he would write something that said my conditions occurred after MVA, well brain scan came back clear thank God and he is now writing a letter to my car insurance attorneys so they can get my medical open, once my medical is open they tell me I can get compassion opened but I would have to find a compensation attorney being that they represent my car insurance and they are just there to fight for the medical part. I have been deliberated, I can walk but very very slow I can’t bend down at all without coming back up in extreme nerve pain, the pain is constant and it never goes away. Both my legs are severely effected with very very minimal mobility, my left hip came back as a rotation of only 20 degrees, physical therapy could not help me and gave me a rating of a 38 which I don’t know what that really means. My spine doctor wants to try one more thing and put an injection right into the vertebrae and he has yet to tell me what we are going to do about the spinal stenosis. I am 39 and at a major loss. I have a 14 year old daughter and I feel pain from my neck down. Deliberating pain I can’t get in or out of my car with out having to get my legs out first and same way getting into cars, I find what I used to be able to do very challenging to do. My daughter and everyone around me is noticing there is something majorly wrong. I’m exhausted from being in pain for 9 months straight, my buttocks feels like someone is taking a hot iron and searing my muscles I can’t walk fast or slow with tripping over both my feet. I am hoping once they get my medical open that they am attorney will see all the proof and get compensation open, it looks like I may need surgery. Although I don’t know yet. They have tried most all traditional treatments with no avail, physical therapy just aggravated and made everything worse, injections did not work and I don’t know if this last one will work either. I think I was left to long 10 months because they kept on throwing it off on fibromyalgia. I don’t know what to do and I need advice please I am only 39 years old
by Vanessa McClain August 24, 2018 at 08:35 AM
There is no easy answer to your question. The records will have to be turned over to the defense attorney in litigation. In most situations the defense will argue a pre-existing condition. In actuality it is a pre-existing condition that has been brought into a disabling reality by the car wreck. If it is handled correctly it can be a positive in your case. If you would like to discuss this further feel free to give my office a call.
by Mike Schafer May 30, 2017 at 08:44 AM
I seen a spine surgeon who implied I had cervical stenosis before my auto accident. But I never had pain until then. Will turning in this report help or discredit my chances for a bigger settlement
by Diana Lee May 26, 2017 at 05:40 PM
If you are injured in the accident and sue the other driver, you may similarly find that the other driver argues that your injuries were not related to the accident.There may be factors which you don't know, which played a role in the accident, and it may turn out that the other driver was more at fault than you.Knowing what to do and how to get things done is usually very important. Naturally, it really is also very important to know the way in which to get it done. Best to always sought the best ones in town like.
by tampa personal injury lawyers December 15, 2011 at 06:06 PM
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