Scoliosis and Automobile Accidents: Does One Cause the Other?

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By admin

Although scoliosis is a fairly common and mild ailment, being involved in a severe car crash can cause you to suffer a spinal injury leading to scoliosis. This article will attempt to answer the question ‘can a car accident cause scoliosis?’

What is scoliosis?

Scoliosis is the side-to-side curving of the spine that occurs in people usually when they reach puberty. Though most cases are mild, severe scoliosis can make it difficult for the lungs to function properly.

In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. However, some lesser-known types of scoliosis can be caused by certain neuromuscular conditions (ex—muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy), birth defects, injuries or spine infections.

If left untreated, scoliosis can lead to heart and lung damage. Adults who have scoliosis may also experience chronic back pain. Scoliosis can alter a person’s appearance as the spine curves shifts in the hips, ribs, shoulders and waist.

However, you can diagnose scoliosis through a medical exam, a neurological exam and X-rays. The treatments depend on the gender, age and severity of the curving, including its location and pattern. A back brace is usually enough for mild cases that are identified early, but in more severe cases, you will need spinal fusion surgery.

Can an automobile accident cause scoliosis?

Even though most scoliosis cases have no cause, physical trauma such as those suffered in an automobile accident can lead to it. 

The spine consists of small bones called vertebrae that surround the spinal cord. The small disks of cartilage cushion these bones. Any abnormality or trauma to these disks or the vertebrae can cause the spine to curve, leading to scoliosis.

On the other hand, physical trauma can damage the vertebrae and cause curvature. If you were involved in a high-speed automobile accident, your head, neck, and back could suffer from whiplash.

While your vertebrae and disk are there to absorb shock, these can become herniated and even fracture if the accident is severe enough. A car crash could aggravate if you had already been diagnosed with a back injury such as scoliosis.

This can be aggravated if the spine was previously injured and left untreated. Although scoliosis develops between the ages of 10 to 15, traumatic scoliosis can occur at any point in someone’s life.

While symptoms of traumatic scoliosis may be minor initially, the spine will curve further over time, leading to your symptoms worsening.

What are the symptoms of traumatic scoliosis?

If you experience any pain or uneasiness in your back after an automobile accident, you should report to your doctor immediately. In some cases, the severity of a spinal injury is not obvious and, if left untreated, could result in curving.

Symptoms of traumatic scoliosis include:

  • Slight sensation or numbness in your extremities
  • Strain in your lower back and legs
  • Uneven shoulders
  • Uneven ribs
  • Uneven hips

Doctors will probably do further imaging and tests to determine the damage to the spine. If traumatic scoliosis is discovered, you may have to wear a back brace to correct the curving in your spine, along with chiropractic treatments. If you have damaged disks or vertebrae, you may need surgery to fix these issues.

Can you be compensated for suffering scoliosis after an automobile accident?

Back injuries are notoriously difficult to recover from, and you may be bedridden until you have healed sufficiently. This will cause you to lose income and other opportunities. Treatments for scoliosis are also quite expensive, especially if issues are found which may make surgeries necessary.

You should also note that claiming compensation from insurance companies is extremely difficult. Many will bury you under paperwork to delay, while others may claim scoliosis has nothing to do with the accident and is a preexisting condition.

Even if you have been previously diagnosed with scoliosis doesn’t mean the guilty party and their insurance company can get away with it. When someone else’s recklessness causes an existing condition to worsen and lead to you facing pain and months of treatment, a personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve and represent you in a trial if required.

Bottom line

To answer the initial question of this article, yes, there is a correlation between scoliosis and automobile accidents. However, it is not the only reason scoliosis happens, as in most idiopathic cases, a severe back injury can lead to traumatic scoliosis.

If you or your loved one has been a victim of an automobile accident which has led to scoliosis, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Injury Lawyer to discuss your options.