Under Which Circumstances Should You Suspect a Spinal Injury

There are many types of spinal injuries that we are all susceptible to as humans. There are various factors that can influence these injuries. They include age, fitness level, type of work, etc. I’ll go over each of these factors and provide some symptoms that may be associated with spinal injuries.

Age

This is one of the biggest factors when it comes to spinal “injuries”. I put injuries in quotes because most of the time when middle-aged or elderly folk complain of back problems, it is most likely a deteriorating issue. By deteriorating I mean that the discs within the spine will become smaller and less cushioned over time, sometimes resulting in bone on bone contact. There are also arthritic changes in which the spinal bones are directly affected. Along with that, spinal stenosis occurs over time and causes the canal in which the spinal cord runs through to become thinner and eventually can squeeze the spinal cord. This can result in serious radiating pain spreading throughout the lower back and down through the legs, or even in the neck region and spread down the arms.

Fitness level

Many people also get injured while working out or can even get injured because they don’t work out. One of the most important factors that can help prevent spinal injuries includes core strength. With a stronger core, you are less likely to injure your spine. Some people who disregard their core and still workout heavily will injure their back and sometimes “slip a disc”. This is considered a disc herniation and usually presents symptoms of radiating pain from a certain point on the spine, through the buttocks and down one or both legs. Younger people with this type of injury will usually have the pain increase by moving into flexion, which for example would be leaning over to try and touch the floor. Symptoms are often temporarily relieved by moving the back into extension, which would be arching the back inwards.

Type of work

This factor is most relevant to both lower and upper spinal injuries. For the most part, if you do hard labor, you are more likely to experience a lower back injury because of the constant lifting of objects. People that sit at a desk all day (which is constant flexion of the back) can definitely experience those injuries as well. If you are in a profession that involves lifting overhead or looking down at a screen or a phone constantly, you are more likely to experience an upper back injury. Injuries of the spine in the neck region will usually give you pain in the shoulder blades and/or down one or both arms. Whether this is a herniated disc or a nerve being pinched, very similar symptoms will be present.

Along with these factors and the most notable symptoms, there are more to touch up on. Injuries to the upper spine will sometimes cause severe headaches or migraines. Along with that, there can be spinal fractures after being struck in the back. Usually these are small chips in the vertebrae and can present symptoms that include muscle soreness, numbness, and tingling throughout the back and other regions. For the most part, however, spinal injuries are most associated with the discs, the spinal cord, and the nerves around them.