Rear-end car crashes are the most common types of collisions. Even when you are hit at a “low” speed, you can still sustain serious injuries. One of the more common types of injuries involves the sacroiliac joint, and it can lead to chronic back pain. Because doctors tend to misdiagnose these injuries, a car crash victim may suffer needlessly for a long time.
The sacroiliac joint is right above your tailbone, and right below the lumbar spine. It is the joint that connects your sacrum (a bone at the end of the spine) to your pelvis. As Spine Health explains, the sacroiliac joint is largely immobile, and works as a shock absorber, which “transmits all the forces of the upper body to the pelvis (hips) and legs.”
Diagnosing and treating sacroiliac joint damage
Because the only way to diagnose this type of injury is a scan, such as an MRI, x-ray or CT, damage to the joint often goes undiagnosed. The symptoms can also mimic other injuries. If the joint is hyperextended, the pain may radiate through the lower back, such as a pulled muscle or slipped disc might. If the damage is caused by too little movement, the pain can mimic that of sciatica: a pain which radiates into the buttocks or down one leg.
Most doctors, upon an official diagnosis, will attempt to treat the joint dysfunction with steroids. You may be referred to a chiropractor or a physical therapist, or given a brace to either stabilize the joint or help loosen it, depending on the damage you sustain. However, you may need to undergo surgical treatments if these other options do not work. Sacroiliac joint fusion eliminates “abnormal” motion through the use of screws and bone grafts, though there are titanium implants that can be used instead, and which are less invasive.
How can the sacroiliac joint be hurt in a car crash?
When you are seated in a car and hit from behind, your seatbelt keeps you in place in the car. It is possible in a crash to break or even dislocate the bones in your spine or pelvis. It is also possible to hyperextend the joint itself. The effects can be more severe if you are not using a seatbelt, or if your car is hit with considerable force.
However, even a low-speed collision can lead to this type of joint dysfunction – and that can be problematic for injury victims who put in claims with their insurance companies. Many insurers act as though low-speed, rear-end crashes cannot hurt a driver or passenger, and as such, they are reluctant to pay out claims.
Learn more about back injuries from car accidents
Are you suffering from lower back pain resulting from a car accident?
If you have sustained a lower back injury in a rear-end car crash, the right Maryland injury lawyer can make the all the difference. For the last 30 years, Plaxen & Adler, P.A. has fought on behalf of car accident victims throughout the state. To learn more about our services, or to speak with an experienced Maryland car accident attorney, please call 410.988.4449, or fill out our contact form.