The main parts of the back include the vertebrae (bones), discs, nerves and the spinal cord. All these parts help a person move. The spine as we know is the essential support structure of the body which connects different parts of the musculoskeletal system. Back injuries can injure the spine and as a consequence cause back pain.
What are the parts of the spine?
These are small interlocking bones which form the spinal column. They absorb weight, act as a protection of the spinal cord and act as an attachment for ligaments of the spine. The spine has 33 stacked vertebrae which make up the spine which is further divided into three main areas. The upper area is the cervical vertebrae and that is from C1 to C7. The next is the thoracic vertebrae (T1 to T12) which is the mid-back and the third section is the lumbar vertebrae (L1 to L5) which is the lower back.
These are pairs of small joints located between the vertebrae which allow for bending and twisting motions.
These act as shock absorbers and are located in between each of the 33 stacked vertebrae. They are designed to reduce or minimize the stress caused by an impact.
Spinal cord and nerves
A whole host of nerves which are protected inside the spinal cord travel through and they extend from the skull right down to the lower back. The function of these is to relay messages between the brain and muscles.
These are ligaments which connect the vertebrae to help keep the spine in position. The muscles are designed to assist movement and which are assisted by tendons which connect that muscle tissue to bone.
What are the usual types of back injury?
There is a wide range of conditions and disorders which can affect the back causing pain. These can include:
Soft tissue injuries
The soft tissues are muscles, tendons and ligaments and when these are damaged they can cause significant pain. Soft tissue injuries can be classified as bruising which is usually caused by a blunt force such as from a fall, sprain which is a partial tear of a ligament which usually affect the ankle or wrist, tendonitis which is inflammation of a tendon normally caused through a repetitive strain type motion and the more common areas affected will include the elbow, wrist and foot, bursitis which is an inflammation of the bursa which acts as a shock absorber between bones and muscles and like tendonitis it is usually caused through over-use but also can be caused from a direct trauma such as a fall and finally a stress fracture which are small cracks in the bone usually in the legs or feet and usually are caused by over-use or repetitive strain.
Discs in the spine act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae and can herniate or ‘slip’ and the soft inner portion begins to press out impinging on one of the spinal nerves causing pain. A slipped disc could be caused by lifting a heavy object for example.
Neck or back fractures
These are the most serious of back injuries and can in certain situations cause paralysis if the spinal cord nerves are damaged. These can be life-changing injuries for the person.
What are the usual causes of back injuries?
Causes of back injury are wide and varied and can include the following:
When vehicles collide there is a certain immediate deceleration which, depending on the speed, can cause significant strain on the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back. The injury suffered can range from mild to severe.
A person falling, whether it’s in a supermarket or a public footpath, can cause a serious injury to the back.
Defective or faulty products
If there is a defective chair or ladder for example a person can suffer back injury as a consequence.
Workplace injuries involving an employee falling from height is unfortunately the single most common cause leading to a fatal injury in Ireland. Falls from height also feature, to a large extent, in non-fatal type injuries and the victim usually suffering fractures and possibly head or brain injuries.
Heavy lifting can arise in many Irish workplaces and is a very common cause of injury suffered in the workplace and absence from days lost. It involves any moving or lifting any load by an employee which includes putting down, pushing, pulling which involves risk to the employee and in particular the employees’ back.
Our personal injury compensation claims solicitors
If you or a loved one have suffered back injury that was not your fault, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. It is important you seek advice as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. We believe in putting you our client first and we are committed to achieving the best result possible while all the time remaining sensitive to your needs. Please feel free to reach out to us below and will be pleased to discuss your case and offer no obligation advice.