How Long Does It Take for a Back Injury to Heal?
By Reece | | Personal Injury
Back injuries are uniquely disabling. Due to pain, many people cannot stand or sit up for any length of time, which makes it virtually impossible to go to school or work. If a person broke a foot, they could still move around and go about their daily business. It’s much harder with back injuries.
Fortunately, most back injuries can heal with proper rest and treatment. But how much time do they take? Everything depends on the type of back injury you suffered.
Sprain or Strain
A common back injury is a sprain or strain affecting soft tissue like muscles or ligaments. According to the Cleveland Clinic, most of these injuries heal on their own in about 2 weeks. You can treat them using the RICE method:
1. Rest. Avoid twisting or straining your back; you don’t want to make it worse.
2. Ice. Use ice packs to reduce swelling in the affected area.
3. Compression. If necessary, you can try to compress the area to reduce swelling.
4. Elevation. Try to sit up in a recliner to prevent blood from pooling.
Some strains or sprains are more serious than others, so accident victims might need additional recovery time—up to 4-6 weeks in total.
If you fractured a rib, then you will probably need to wait 1-2 months for it to heal. However, rib fractures often cause complications, especially in the elderly. Without taking deep breaths, many accident victims could develop pneumonia, which can prove fatal for older people. Also a fractured rib might take longer to heal if it was shattered into several pieces.
A herniated disc is a common injury affecting the pads in between spinal vertebrae. Traumatic injury can dislocate the pad or cause the soft filling to extrude. This injury can range from minor to major. A herniated disc usually heals in 4-6 weeks, though your injury might require more time.
This injury consists of the narrowing of the channel in the backbone where the spinal cord travels. Because of the restricted space, more pressure is put on the spinal cord, typically leading to pain, numbness, and weakness.
Treatment is focused on improving symptoms and might involve steroids, physical therapy, and even surgery. Some people successfully manage symptoms for years, but few are “cured” of the condition, which can eventually come back and worsen with time.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves running up the back. It plays a vital role in sending signals up and down the body and is therefore essential to movement and sensation.
An incomplete injury will involve some injury to the cord that stops short of it being completely severed. Some people suffer bruising, stretching, nicks, or cuts.
This is a tough injury to come back from. Many accident victims have surgery and spend years in physical therapy to regain lost functioning. Some people might never recover but still suffer with residual impaired sensation and/or movement.
Complete Spinal Cord Injury
A complete injury involves the cord being severed in two. Typically, all sensation and movement is lost below the point of injury. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to help those with complete injuries. Current focus has been on creating spinal implants that send electrical currents to the cord below the site of injury. This work is still in its early stages.
Contact Our Back Injury Lawyer
We can help accident victims seek compensation for medical care, pain, and lost income. Call The Jackson Law Group today to schedule a meeting.