Your back is a complicated machine. So many people refer to it as a single thing, when in reality it is a complex combination of bones, tissues, and muscles. If something goes wrong with any one of these, then people can experience excruciating pain. Back pain is caused by numerous different things: muscle or ligament strains, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.
While many causes of back pain are natural, there are many causes are not. Vehicle accidents, violence, and slip and fall injuries commonly cause major back injuries. Workplace injuries are also major contributors to back injuries, but not always in the ways you think about. Yes, we know that some jobs are more physically demanding (construction, EMS, landscaping, etc.) but office jobs are also major contributors to back injuries. Imagine someone sitting for eight to 12 hours in a row in a position that curves your spine and muscles in a non-natural way.
Properly diagnosing back injuries can happen only with a trained physician. A physical exam needs to be completed, as well as X-rays, MRIs, and possible blood work. There could be other causes for your back pain, as our entire body is connected to our back in some way. An injury in another location can present itself as back pain. Treatment for back injuries can vary from rest to surgery, with many options in between. All of them require medical care for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
You may have heard of herniated discs but never thought about what they really are. In your spine, there are a bunch of rubbery cushions that sit in between the vertebrae. They are little buffers that prevent the bones from grinding against one another. Some people describe them as little jelly donuts that keep us comfortable. When one of these discs slips out of place or ruptures, people can experience severe pain as well as weakness or numbness in an arm or leg. Most of the time, it is the discs in the lower back that herniate, though it can happen sometimes in the upper spine. The highest rate of herniated discs is among people aged 30-50 years old and is much more common in males than females.
Discs usually herniate through natural wear and tear of our lives, though a person’s occupation can play a large role in how fast that deterioration happens. People with physically demanding jobs do have a greater risk of herniating their discs. Think of how many occupations require repetitive lifting, pulling, bending, twisting, and pushing. We also want to note that traumatic events like vehicle accidents or falls can worsen an already herniated disc. Unfortunately, medications do not seem to relieve the pain of herniated discs. Spinal manipulation is seen as the best treatment. Surgery is recommended only if the pain is extreme and unmanageable. Diagnosing a herniated disc can only be done by a doctor.
There are few things more debilitating and inconvenient than being unable to turn your head because of a neck injury. Neck injuries can also radiate pain to our shoulders, jaw, head, and arms. Think about how often you use your neck each day. The neck is much more complicated than most people realize. First and foremost, it is the start of the spinal column and spinal cord. In other words, it houses the parts of the body that control the rest of the body. That is why a neck injury can be so devastating. The main bones are known as the cervical vertebrae. But there is more to the neck than that. Our ability to breath and eat is dependent on a normally functioning neck. Our larynx is where our vocal cords are. Our pharynx leads to the trachea and the esophagus. The bottom line is that much of our ability to function revolves around a healthy and uninjured neck.
Our necks can get injured a number of ways. From car accidents and falls to sports injuries to workplace incidents, these can all lead to major neck injuries. We can even hurt our necks through the dreaded “repetitive stress injuries,” where the trouble develops over longer periods of time. A doctor can diagnose a neck injury through a physical examination and X-rays. Treatment ranges from ice and rest to possibly having to wear a cervical collar or physical therapy. In the worst cases, surgery may be necessary.
Head injuries can range from minor to severe, but we know one thing – they should all be taken seriously. They can affect both the outside and inside of the head, so special care must be taken. Head injuries are unique in that major trauma acts differently. Why? Because our skulls are hard and do not expand. If we get hit hard enough, our brains can bleed. Unfortunately, that blood has nowhere to go. Even seemingly minor head injuries can lead to disability and even death of not properly diagnosed and treated.
Traumatic brain injuries contribute to around 30 percent of all injury deaths in the US. Those who survive them can see effects last a few days, but they can also face a life-time of disability. One of the most common types of head injuries is a concussion, a mild form of a traumatic brain injury. There are around 1.7 to 3 million sports-related concussions each year, mostly affecting children. Often, kids are allowed to return to play before a head injury has had time to heal, something that can cause long-lasting damage and disability.
Other head injuries can include major lacerations, broken eye sockets, a broken nose, a fractured skull, and more. Some of the scariest head injuries involve objects that penetrate the skull such as nails, bullets, knives, etc. Head injuries often occur due to incidents that are other people’s fault. We commonly see head injuries in vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, and in violence. With any head injury, it is vital that a person receive immediate medical treatment so that long-lasting damage can be prevented.
Brain injuries go hand in hand with head injuries, as a head injury is usually the cause of a brain injury. Unfortunately, many people only tend to see the damage that has occurred on the outside and ignore the possible damage inside the skull. Our brains are fragile. They also pose a challenge when it comes to trauma. Though they are protected by a hard skull, when they are hit hard enough, there is nowhere for blood to go and no way for pressure to be relieved if swelling occurs unless medical care is received. The Mayo Clinic says that “traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body.”
Traumatic brain injuries affect approximately 1.5 million people in the United States each year and they kill nearly 50,000 people. Many of these are severe. In fact, they make up a large percentage of all injury deaths. Mild forms of traumatic brain injuries are called concussions and are very common, especially when it comes to our kids and sports-related accidents. There are between 1.7 and 3 million sports-related concussions a year in the US. If treated properly, there is usually a full recovery. If a coach allows a kid to return to play too soon and another injury occurs, a child could sustain long-term brain damage. A physician should always be consulted for a suspected brain injury, as the only way to properly diagnose them is with X-rays and MRIs.
You never really realize how much you depend on your arms until you suffer an injury to one or both of them. Our arms give us the ability to participate in the world around us. Upper extremity injuries are remarkably common. There are three bones in our arms (radius, ulna, humerus). There are also joints, tendons, connective tissues, and plenty of blood vessels susceptible to injury. One study says that there were nearly 3.5 million arm injuries treated in ERs in a single year. Among these types of injuries were lacerations, fractures, dislocations, strains/sprains. Causes of arm injuries can vary widely. They happen as a result of traumas: vehicle accidents, sports injuries, violence, falls, etc. They can also happen due to repetitive motions, many of which are common in the workplace. These include performing the same motions over and over again for a period of time (stocking shelves, landscaping work, etc.).
Treatment for arm injuries also varies widely. Often, all that is required is rest, elevation, and pain medication. For more serious injuries, cortisone shots may be necessary. If an arm is sprained or broken, a splint will be required to immobilize the area for a period of time while the injury heals. Occasionally, surgery will be required to repair an arm injury. A doctor will need to X-ray an arm and perform a physical examination to determine the extent of the injury and come up with a sound treatment plan.
Injuries to the hands account for millions of ER visits in the United States annually. Our hands are more important than most people realize and they are also fragile. Each of our hands has 27 distinct bones which give them incredible dexterity and range of motion. All of these bones are connected with ligaments and muscles, all of which can be injured. If an injury occurs to our hands, it can really limit our ability to carry out daily functions, from cooking meals to driving. That is why these injuries, though they may seem relatively minor, are so devastating. They can keep us from working, causing us to lose income. Common and injuries include bruises, lacerations, ligament damage, tendon damage, sprains, strains, fractures, and crushing injuries.
Causes of hand injuries can vary widely, but often include sports incidents, accidental falls, work-related tasks, as well as from use of hand tools and other machinery. Just as devastating can be injuries that arise from overuse of the hands. This can include the common repetitive stress injury know as carpal tunnel, something that develops over time and can severely limit a person’s ability to do their job. Diagnosis of a hand injury is done by a physician and the treatment required depends on the severity of the injury. Sometimes, a person just needs some pain medication and rest. Other times, a splint may be necessary. In the worst-case scenario, surgery may be required to repair a hand injury.
Your legs are how you interact with the world around you. They give you the ability to walk, run, jump, and do the things you love to do. Unfortunately, they can get injured through a traumatic event or wear and tear. Studies have shown that there are hundreds of thousands of people who experience lower extremity injuries each year. Interestingly, the amount of females with leg injuries is nearly equal to the amount of males injured, showing us that everyone is susceptible to these injuries. Strains and sprains account for the largest amount of injuries to legs, but they are not the only type. We often see fractures, lacerations, major bruising, and even crushing injuries. There are three major bones in our legs (femur, tibia, fibula). We also have to take into account our knees, which can suffer damage as well. The legs are also home to some of the largest muscles in our bodies. An injury to any part of the leg can leave us debilitated.
We often see leg injuries as a result of major traumas such as vehicle accidents, sports incidents, falls, workplace accidents, and more. Diagnosing a leg injury requires a doctor performing X-rays. For many leg injuries, a doctor will recommend elevation, ice, and rest. For more serious injuries, treatment may require a cast. Surgery may be needed to get all of the bones put back together for major leg accidents. Recovery from a leg injury can be lengthy and often requires a person to miss work.
Our knees are what make our legs function, the pivot point that lets us walk, jump, and run. Our legs would be useless without our knees, but many people do not realize how complex that are of our body really is. The knee is the largest joint in our bodies and joins together the thigh bone, shin bone, fibula, and the kneecap (patella). It also contains a fluid-filled sacs called bursa, something vital for proper movement. There are ligaments, tendons, and muscles that surround the knee which can also be damaged. Common knee injuries include sprains/strains, meniscus tears, and fractures. Many of these injuries are caused by traumatic events such as vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, workplace incidents, and sports-related accidents. Overuse of the knee can also cause great harm and is common with runners and cyclists.
A ten-year study of knee injuries shows us that these are most common for those in the 15 to 24 age range. Overall, there are around 2.29 knee injuries per 1,000 people annually. Only a doctor can properly diagnose a knee injury, as an X-ray is often needed to determine the extent of the damage. Common treatment for knee injuries includes rest, icing, and elevation, though more major injuries may require surgery. For some knee injuries, physical therapy may be required for a person to recover a full range of motion. Recovery time for these injuries can be considerable and often lead to people missing work for extended periods of time.
Knee injuries are fairly common, but some are worse than others. Today, we want to talk about what happens when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is torn. ACL injuries account for more than 50 percent of knee injuries. The ACL is one of the major ligaments in your knee and is very important in the movements we do throughout the day. From walking and jogging to simply standing up, our ACL is vital. ACL injuries occur most commonly during sports activities, though they can occur anytime we are doing strenuous activities with our bodies. People who experience them often feel a “pop” in their knee that is followed by extreme pain. Most ACL injuries happen because of a sudden slowing down or changing direction, pivoting with a foot firmly planted, landing incorrectly, a sudden stop, or receiving a direct blow to the knee.
The knee joint is the second most commonly injured body site in the body after the ankle. According to the CDC, ACL injuries affect as many as 250,000 people annually in the US. Studies have shown that over 70 percent of ACL injuries require surgery to repair. We do want to note that women are at more risk for a torn ACL. This is because there is a strength imbalance between their front thigh muscles (quadriceps) and their back thigh muscles (hamstrings). It can take anywhere from six to nine months to fully recover from a torn ACL, especially if it is surgically repaired.
Our legs are what give us the ability to maneuver and explore the world, but it is perhaps our feet that let us really live. Our feet take a beating on a daily basis. They are the first thing that hits the ground, regardless of what kind of activity we are doing. Our feet are amazingly maneuverable thanks to the bones (26 in each), joints (33 in each), muscles, tendons, and ligaments. We really do not appreciate how wonderful they are until we get injured. A foot injury can leave us debilitated.
We want to make sure we include ankles when we talk about feet injuries, as our ankles are very commonly strained and sprained. There are many different ways that feet injuries occur and many of them revolve around trauma. We often see these injuries from sports-related incidents, vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and workplace incidents. When it comes to the workplace, injuries to the ankle, foot, and toes are common. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are at least 60,000 foot injuries that keep people from work each year. Come of the main industries that see these injuries are construction, transportation, food, and retail.
A doctor has to be seen to properly diagnose a foot injury, as X-rays are often needed. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury and can range from rest and elevation to surgical repair. In some cases, extended physical therapy is needed to help a person recover.
Whiplash is something you have probably heard of but do not really understand. The Mayo Clinic defines whiplash as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” We often see whiplash injuries as a result of a rear-end vehicle accident, but it can also happen due to sports-related incidents, violence, and other trauma. We want to note that whiplash is one of the common injuries seen in babies who have been shaken and it can have severe consequences for a small child. The neck is a complex part of our bodies. Whiplash can affect many parts of the neck, including our vertebrae, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerves. The symptoms from a whiplash incident can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury, but can include neck stiffness, injuries to the muscles and ligaments, headaches, dizziness, and abnormal sensations that radiate to the shoulder, arms, and back. Severe cases can result in blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and even depression.
Treatment for whiplash begins with a doctor diagnosing the injury. Pain medications are often prescribed, as are anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. In more severe cases, a person may be required to wear a cervical collar for up to three weeks. Doctors will often recommend motion exercises or physical therapy for a full recovery. While most people fully recover from whiplash incidents, they can lead to time away from work and significant medical expenses.
Spinal cord injuries are more common than most people think. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are an estimated 282,000 people in the United States with spinal cord injuries and around 17,000 new cases a year. These injuries are usually the result of vehicle accidents, falls, violence, sports accidents, and medical mistakes. Spinal cord injuries are devastating injuries for both the person who suffers one and for their entire family. Often, spinal cord injuries involve complete lifestyle changes. These injuries are costly. First year costs range from around $350,000 to well over a million dollars, depending on the severity of the injury. For every subsequent year, the costs range from around $40,000 to around $200,000 annually. These are just the medical costs. Most people do not consider the hidden costs. These can include the lost income of the person injured as well as the person who will have to take care of them. They also include changes that may need to be made to the home and vehicle to accommodate lifestyle changes. Most homes are not equipped to handle a wheelchair.
In many cases, a person with a spinal cord injury will require permanent care. This can become very expensive. People who suffer spinal cord injuries are much more likely to suffer illnesses. Up to 30 percent of people with a SCI are re-hospitalized one of more times a year. These are some of the most devastating injuries that can happen to people.
Personal injuries happen to people in a variety of different ways and they are often caused by the negligence of other people. We want to look at some of the main ways people get injured. Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. For children and adults younger that 45, trauma accounts for around 79,000 deaths each year. We may not think about it on a daily basis, but there is a potential for injury in most of the things we do. Workplace accidents are common and leave many people disabled. Vehicle accidents are a major source of traumatic injuries. Sports-related accidents are very common when it comes to those younger than 20. Many people are also injured on other people’s property, leading to premises liability cases. It is the duty of property owners to ensure the safety of their patrons. We often see premises liability cases revolve around slip and fall incidents, burns, and food poisoning.
In the workplace, we often see accidents happen for a variety of reasons that point to employer error. This can include forcing employees to work extra hours, not providing proper safety equipment, not providing proper training, or a general failure to maintain workplace equipment. While workers’ compensation is available for most workplace injuries, it often does not cover all of the necessary expenses. No matter how you are injured, you must seek a diagnosis from a doctor so you can receive proper treatment.
When it comes to injuries, many people think only of the things they can see. They think of vehicle accidents, falls, lacerations, and other major traumas. What people do not think of are the injuries that are unseen because they take place in our bodies and our minds. Emotional distress is real and it can have debilitating consequences for the people who experience it. While we recognize that everyone experiences some level of stress, there are times when emotional distress is caused by outside forces. These can include workplace stressors, particularly for those in certain types of jobs (law enforcement, social work, management, etc.). Emotional distress can also be caused by an abusive person and can be accompanied by physical abuse (though not always).
Emotional distress can manifest itself physically. Some common problems associated with emotional distress are sleep disorders, eating habit changes, weight gain or loss, anger and temper problems, compulsive behaviors, and extreme mood swings. People with severe emotional distress can also experience memory loss and can suffer from extreme fatigue.
Treating emotional distress usually takes a multi-faceted approach and should always involve a physician and counselor. The first step is identifying triggers and working to remedy the situation. It would be useless to try to “fix” a problem when the root of the problem is still present. Often, a doctor or psychiatrist may recommend temporary or permanent medications that can help a person. Emotional distress is a major medical condition that needs to be treated as such.
We want to talk about a few types of stress disorders that people can experience. These are things that many people know about but may not be familiar with. Stress disorders are real medical conditions that require medical solutions. Yes, everyone has stress in their lives, but some people experience more stress than others. Sometimes, that level of stress can become dangerous. Often, symptoms of stress can manifest themselves physically. Acute stress disorder is characterized by the development of severe anxiety, dissociation, and other symptoms. It usually occurs within a month of someone witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event (witnessing a severe accident, death, etc.). People suffering from acute stress disorder often find it difficult to function at all. People in high-stress jobs such as law enforcement, EMS, and social work often develop this disorder. They often re-experience an event. This can include flashbacks.
Post-traumatic stress disorderis similar, but usually happens well after an incident has taken place. Many of the causes and symptoms are the same. Stress disorders can lead to a complete unraveling of someone’s life, as well as the lives of their families. These disorders need to be treated by doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors in order for a person to get their life back together. Often, medications can be prescribed that alleviate some or all of the symptoms. Extended counseling can also help the rehabilitation process. Many people think they can get through these disorders by themselves when they really need a strong support system.
Concussions are actually mild forms of traumatic brain injuries, but that does not mean they should be taken less seriously. A concussion can lead to lasting and permanent damage if not properly diagnosed and treated. We find that concussions are much more common with younger ages, particularly those who play sports. Around 20 percent of teens said they have been diagnosed with at least one concussion. It is estimated that as many 3.8 million concussions occur in the US each year, but that number is likely low. Studies have found that as many as 50 percent of concussions go unreported.
While recent news, particularly concerning NFL players, has brought concussions to light, there is still much to be concerned about. Treatment for concussions must get better. As soon as a coach notices that someone receives a hard blow to the head, a player needs to be removed from a game and evaluated. When it comes to concussions, if a player is allowed to return before completely healing and sustains another hard hit to the head, the effects are compounded. Repeated concussions, even after compete healing, can lead to brain swelling, brain damage, long-term disability, and even death. Anyone suspected of having a concussion needs to be evaluated by a doctor who will determine the proper course of treatment. Usually, this is simply rest and time away from physical activity. Concussions are hard to prevent, but proper protective equipment should always be worn when available.
When it comes to injuries, spinal cord fractures can be the most devastating. Our bodies are able to absorb a good bit of force, but in high-energy impacts, the spinal cord could be in danger. Most traumatic spinal cord fractures happen as a result of high-energy falls (35-40 percent), traffic accidents (20-30 percent), and low-energy falls (20-25 percent). The severity of a spinal cord fracture determines the treatment and long-term outlook. Because the bones of the spinal cord protect the nerves that control our entire bodies, any injury in this area has the potential to be disastrous. Our spines are made up of 33 bones called vertebrae and these are the main supports for our body.
Spinal fractures can pinch, compress, and even tear our spinal cords. The most common, and most mild form of a spinal fracture is called a vertebral body compression. Sometimes, people do not even know these occur and they usually heal on their own. A spine fracture that is severe enough can cause pieces of bone to burst into the spinal canal. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort and back pain to muscle spasms, weakness, and paralysis. The costs to care for a severe spinal cord injury, which could happen as a result of a spine fracture, can range from around $350 thousand to over $1 million for the first year of care alone. These injuries have the ability to impact not just the victim, but also their entire families as they call for major lifestyle changes.
It is something that terrifies people to even think about, but they happen often. Amputations are serious medical emergencies and can happen in many different ways. There are nearly 2 million people living in the US who have lost a limb. The causes for the loss of limbs are vascular disease (54 percent), trauma (45 percent), and cancer (less than 2 percent). Around 185,000 amputations occur each year in the US. Many amputations occur because of the negligence of others. These can occur in vehicle accidents, tool malfunctions, workplace accidents, and more. In the workplace, it is vital that employers provide each employee with the proper safety equipment for their job. They should also provide thorough training for all safety precautions and procedures.
While amputations are usually not life-ending, they are almost always life-altering. Someone who experiences an amputation will likely not be able to perform the same work they could before and will have to undergo some lifestyle changes. This may mean that they are no longer able to do some of the things they love to do. These injuries can affect people both physically and mentally. Recovering from the loss of a limb is not easy. Victims often feel anger, sadness, and frustration because of what has happened to them. The costs of these injuries can be extreme, from the expense of prosthetics to the lost income of a person who is unable to work at the same level they were before. Physical therapy and emotional support are also costs associated with these injuries.
Crush injuries are major traumatic medical emergencies and must be treated immediately. Crush injuries occur when force or pressure is put on a part of the body and most often occurs when a body part is squeezed between two heavy objects. Crush injuries more commonly happen to people who work around heavy machinery that moves around. Vehicle accidents are also major contributors to crush injuries. They can also happen to people who are victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornados. Damage from crush injuries can lead to bleeding, fractures, lacerations, smashed fingers, bruising, and more. Compartment syndrome is also a factor when it comes to crush injuries. Compartment syndrome happens when a traumatic even causes swelling in an extremity that cuts off the flow of nutrients and oxygen to muscle and nerve cells. If left untreated, there can be permanent damage.
Crush injuries must be treated quickly to prevent necrosis of tissue cells in the affected area. Usually, if damage is repaired within 2 to 4 hours, the affected tissue will be okay. After the 6-hour mark, damage is usually irreversible. Often, amputations are necessary for crush injuries that are too severe to repair. Preventing crush injuries is vital, especially in the workplace. Employers should provide a safe working environment. Recovery from crush injuries can be lengthy, depending on the severity of the damage. For some, crush injuries leave them permanently disabled. The medical costs of crush injuries can be tremendous, as can the emotional costs.
A broken or dislocated jaw can be one of the most painful experiences of someone’s life and can create problems with eating and breathing. A broken or dislocated jaw is an injury to one or both of the joints that connect the lower jawbone to the skull. Around 42 percent of jaw fractures occur on only one side of the jaw. Medical attention is absolutely necessary to prevent any further injury and to repair the damage. Common causes of broken or dislocated jaws include violence, sports injuries, falls, workplace accidents, and vehicle accidents. Symptoms will range depending on the severity of the injury but can include pain, swelling, bleeding, jaw stiffness, breathing difficulties, numbness, bruising, and more.
The only way to diagnose and treat a broken jaw is to see a doctor so a physical exam and X-rays can be completed. Dislocations are much easier to treat and can usually be done by an oral surgeon or a dentist. A broken jaw is more difficult to treat and could require facial reconstruction, a head and neck surgeon, as well as an oral surgeon. Recovery from a broken or dislocated jaw can range from simple pain killers to jaw immobilization. This can include wiring the jaw shut to keep your jaw from moving at all while it heals. Often, it takes up to six weeks for a jaw to fully heal, so people are put on a liquid diet. Please not that jaw injuries are often accompanied by other injuries that also need treatment.
Burns are some of the most painful experiences people can live through and they can happen in so many different ways. In the United States, during the latest reporting year, there were nearly 500,000 people who required medical treatment for burns. The survival rate for burn injuries is 96.8 percent. They happen at the following locations: at home (78 percent), at work (8 percent), on the street or highway (5 percent), during sports or recreation (5 percent), or other places (9 percent). There are multiple levels of burns: first-degree (red, non-blistered skin), second-degree (blisters and some thickening of skin), and third-degree (widespread thickness with a white, leathery appearance). Common causes include hot liquids, chemical burns, electrical burns, fires, and sun exposure. Burns in and round a person’s airway are very dangerous as they compromise oxygen intake.
Third-degree burns carry the most complication risks. These risks include infection, blood loss, and shock. Any of these can lead to disability or death. Many people do not realize that tetanus is a major complication for burn victims and it acts much like sepsis. For severe burns, victims carry a risk of hypothermia and hypovolemia (low blood volume). Treatment for major burns often takes place at a burn center, places that specialize in the difficulties faced during recovery. People who have certain preexisting medical conditions prior to a burn face a hard recovery. This can include those with high blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, and more. Treatment can be excruciatingly painful and very costly.
For many, the word scar brings to mind minor injuries such as a cut to the finger they had when they were a kid. For others, scars can be debilitating or even reminders of other people’s negligence. There are many kinds of scars, so let’s take a moment to define some of them. Keloid scares are the result of an aggressive healing process and can hamper movement. These can be treated with surgery to remove them, steroid injections, or sheets to flatten the scar. Contracture scars are the result of burns. These can cause the skin to tighten, which can impair mobility. Hypertrophic scars are raised and red scars, but do not usually go beyond the boundary of the injury.
Any injury that punctures the skin can cause a scar. They are a part of the bodies natural healing process. These happen as a result of vehicle accidents, tool mishaps, workplace incidents, etc. They can also happen as a result of medical mistakes. Around the world, about 100 million people acquire scars annually from surgeries. 55 million are a result of elective surgeries, often cosmetic surgery. 25 million of these scars happen after a trauma surgery. Many of these scars cause considerable problems. Scars can also leave someone with severe emotional trauma, as they can be reminders of the incident that caused them. Many PTSD sufferers have scars the originated from the incidents that haunt them. Treatment for removing scars is not often covered by insurance unless it impairs a person in some way.
Our skulls are pretty tough, but they can be broken and fractured just like any other bone in our bodies. But unlike other bones, our skulls protect something very valuable – our brains. A fracture to the skull can often indicate a larger, possibly unseen injury taking place right below the surface. For that reason, any skull fracture, no matter how minor, should be taken seriously as a medical emergency. Skull fractures are caused by impacts or blows to the head. Sometimes, a skull fracture is not easy to see. This is often the case with closed skull fractures. Symptoms vary widely and can include swelling and tenderness around the impact site, facial bruising, as well as bleeding from the nostrils or ears. An open skull fracture (compound fracture) occurs when the skin is broken and the bone emerges. A depressed skull fracture is when the skull injury extends into the brain cavity. This is a serious problem. Also serious is a basal fracture, which occurs in the floor of the skull. Any time the skin is broken around the skull, there is the possibility that bacteria can enter through the fracture and cause infections in the brain.
Skull fractures are often the visible part of a much larger injury. While treatment for minor skull fracture is simple pain medication and rest, serious skull fractures can require surgery to repair. Because of the possibility of brain trauma, people suspected of having a skull fracture should immediately seek medical care so a doctor can perform a physical exam, X-rays, and possibly an MRI.
Most people experience a broken bone in their lifetime. Sometimes it is an arm of a leg. Other times it is a tow, finger, or rib. Let’s face it, all of these are painful injuries and nobody wants to experience them. Unfortunately, sometimes people experience broken bones due to the negligence of other people. There are 206 bones in the human body. Some are harder to break than others, but they all play a significant role in our movement. While most people do not suffer long-term damage or disability from broken bones, there are instances when long-term disabilities do occur. Broken bones can occur any time the body experiences a trauma. We often see them as a result of vehicle accidents, sports accidents, workplace incidents, slip and fall injuries, and more. Overuse of our bones can also cause small stress fractures, which are very small cracks in the bone.
People who experience broken bones usually have intense pain, deformity, swelling, numbness, and problems moving. Treatment is usually straightforward, especially for broken extremities. Unfortunately, treating certain bone breaks is more complicated. Broken hips often require replacing. Broken ribs can be excruciating and take time to heal. Broken spinal bones can lead to spinal cord injuries, which can mean permanent disabilities. There are times when surgery is required to put plates, pins, and screws inside a body to keep the bones in place so they can heal.
Cuts are breaks or openings to the skin and are also known as lacerations. They are caused in various ways and can be shallow or deep, smooth or jagged. Deep cuts can affect more than just the skin. They often affect tendons, ligaments, muscles, veins, arteries, nerves, and even bones. Puncture wounds are made by pointed objects like knives, screws, nails, and even teeth. Symptoms of both puncture wounds and cuts can include bleeding, pain, functionality issues near the wound, as well as infection.
We often see cuts happen in many different ways, sometimes due to other people’s negligence. These can include workplace incidents, vehicle accidents, violence, falls, broken glass, and more. Puncture wounds have a much higher risk of infection simply because they travel deeper into the body than cuts. Infections can lead to major long-term complications. For both cuts and puncture wounds, a doctor should be consulted so the correct course of treatment can be worked out. We want to note that animal bites are often the source of puncture wounds and should be treated immediately. After treatment, animal bites should be reported and the animal’s owner should be held liable for damages.
Treatment for cuts and puncture wounds varies depending on the severity, but often includes bandaging the wound, pain killers, and possibly antibiotics to prevent infection. Tetanus is a possibility for metal objects that cause punctures, so always notify a doctor if you have not had a recent tetanus shot.
There are certain injuries that can happen to us that can only be described as catastrophic. Form the way that they happen to the recovery and aftermath, everything about them is life-altering. Injuries are deemed catastrophic when they require significant medical treatment to fix and have long-term consequences for the victims. Some examples of catastrophic injuries are spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, severe burns, major bodily trauma that results in multiple fractures, massive internal organ damage. Simply surviving an initial incident with a catastrophic injury is a major victory.
The medical care required for these injuries is extensive and usually begins with emergency surgery. Often, people with these types of injuries do not survive efforts to repair the damage. Surviving brings a whole new set of challenges.
Let’s look closely at one type of catastrophic injury – spinal cord injuries. The first-year medical costs of these injuries can range from $350,000 to over $1 million. Each following year will see costs ranging from $42,000 to nearly $200,000 for the remainder of a person’s life. This does not include hidden costs such as vehicle and home accommodations. We also want to point out that catastrophic injuries often leave a person permanently disabled and unable to work. This means that their family loses out on the income and benefits that they should have been able to count on. If a catastrophic injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, there is no guarantee that insurance will cover all of the accident-related expenses.
Wrongful death occurs when someone else’s negligence, willful act, or wrongful act causes the death of another person. This can cover a wide range of incidents, but we want to talk about a few of them here. One of the most common types of wrongful death occurs when a drunk driver gets into an accident. According to the CDC, 29 people die in the US every day from a crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver. In the latest reporting year, over 10,000 people died in the US in alcohol-impaired crashes. In the workplace, especially in the construction industry, the risk for injury and death are higher. If a company fails to provide employees with proper equipment and training , they could be held responsible for any death that occurs.
In the US, there are thousands of products recalled each year. Faulty products can cause major illnesses and injuries to consumers. If a company does not label their products correctly, or the product has a faulty design, they can and should be held liable for any deaths that occur. When you go to the hospital or the doctor, the last thing you expect is a healthcare professional causing you harm. Medical mistakes are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing at least 250,000 people a year. If someone intentionally murders another person, they can be held liable for wrongful death. In California, there were nearly 2,000 homicides on 2017.
A bulging disc happens when an intervertebral disc, the parts of our spin that serve as a cushion between our back bones, loses its usual shape and ends up compressing a spinal nerve. We typically see this injury occur in people within the 30-50 year range of their life. Bulging discs can have a range of symptoms including severe pain, numbness, fatigue, spasms, and compromised movement. While many of the causes of bulging discs are due to the natural wear and tear people put on their bodies, there are other causes such as occupational hazards and traumatic injuries. People in jobs that require them to regularly move heavy objects or those who perform intense side to side movements constantly are at increased risk of a bulging disc. Any injury that exerts significant force on your body can also cause a herniated disc. This can happen in contact sports, vehicle accidents, falls, and during exercise.
A doctor can diagnose and treat a bulging disc. CT scans, MRIs, myelograms, and nerve tests must all be performed to determine the treatment necessary. Many times, a conservative treatment plan involving rest, exercise, and pain medication helps to relive the symptoms in a few days or weeks. If that does not work, a doctor may suggest physical therapy. In the most extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage. This can involve removing the protruding portion of a disc. In rare cases, the entire disc must be removed.