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Early Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD)
Early Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
Early Posttraumatic Chronic Arthritis
Disk Bulging & Disk Herniation
Frozen Shoulders
Postural problems
Chronic pains
Spinal Compression Fracture
Upper and Lower extremities
Posttraumatic depression and anxiety
What should I do when involved in an accident?
What are my rights when involved in an accident?
What short term damage may result from an accident?

Long Term Damage
Early Degenerative Disk Diseases(DDD)

DDD is caused when discs wear out, narrowing the space between vertebrae. With less space available, nerves can become compressed and painful .All discs lose their water content and degenerate as we grow older, but accidents can cause discs degenerate faster. Some people experience much more pain from these degenerative changes than others.

With Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), the main problem lies within one or more of the intervertebral discs. There is a disc between each of the vertebra in your spine. The intervertebral discs are designed to absorb pressure and keep the spine flexible by acting as cushions during body movement. The discs are similar to shock absorbers. Without the cushion effect of the discs, the vertebrae in your spine would not be able to absorb stresses, or provide the movement needed to bend and twist. Bones cannot sustain high stress repeatedly without being damaged. Much of the mechanical stress of everyday movements is transferred to the discs.

The most common early symptom of degenerative disc disease is usually pain in the back that spreads to the buttocks and upper thighs. When chiropractors refer to degenerative disc disease, they are usually referring to a combination of problems in the spine that "start" with damage to the disc, but eventually begin to affect all parts of the spine. DDD will often present as sudden, unexpected back pain following a small injury, or as a gradually worsening low back pain.

Early Degenerative Joint Diseases(DJD)

DJD or arthritis is a degeneration or ‘wear and tear’ of articular (joint surface) cartilage usually accompanied by an overgrowth of bone (osteophytes), narrowing of the joint space, sclerosis or hardening of bone at the joint surface, and deformity in joints.

Early Posttraumatic Chronic Arthritis

An accident (trauma) can cause this type of arthritis at any age. The arthritis may occur relatively soon — or years after the original injury.

Arthritis is the loss or damage of joint (articular) cartilage. Cartilage is a smooth, shiny surface that covers the ends of bones. Normally, when cartilage rubs together, there is smooth and painless motion. When cartilage degenerates, however, pain can cause limitation of motion. The muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding and supporting the joint can also become weak and unable to function due to arthritis.

Posttraumatic arthritis can lead to posture problems (read more). About one in every three Americans suffers from some form of arthritis — the number one cause of disability in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disk Bulging & Disk Herniation

Each of the vertebrae in the three areas of the spine are divided by interverbral membranes known as discs which function as a sort of shock absorber for the spine. During a car accident, impact to the spine can cause a slight protrusion of the center of the disc into the spinal canal leading to a condition known as a bulging disc.

If the bulging disc’s soft inner cushion breaks through its outer cartilage, pressure on a nerve root may result, a condition known as a ruptured disc. In some cases, the disc can rupture to the point where pieces of the disc break off and enter the spinal canal. This leads to a more serious and advanced condition known as a herniated disc (sometimes incorrectly known as a slipped disc).

Frozen Shoulders

also called adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition characterized by severe loss of motion in the shoulder. It may follow an injury to the shoulder, but can also arise with no warning or prior injury.


Fractures are breaks in bones. Severe breaks may require surgery to repair. However, most fractures are treated by immobilizing broken bones in casts or splints until they have grown back together.

Fracture Types:

  • Oblique - a fracture which goes at an angle to the axis
  • Comminuted - a fracture of many relatively small fragments
  • Spiral - a fracture which runs around the axis of the bone
  • Compound - a fracture (also called open) which breaks the skin

Postural problems

Auto accidents can cause posttraumatic osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can ruin your posture (giving you a slumped or hump back appearance). It can also cause the discs in your spine to degenerate and create scar tissue formation, leading to chronic stiffness and the inability to move properly.

Most people involved in automobile accidents in which the head in whipped back and forth will suffer loss of the normal spinal curvature in the neck. When this occurs, the weight of the head, approximately 12 pounds or so, is displaced and places pressure on the discs, muscles and nerves of the cervical spine. This leads to muscle strain in order to balance the weight of the head and uneven wearing of the discs and joints of the cervical spine.

Another common posture problem is a forward tilt of the pelvis causing anterior weight bearing, an increase in the lumbar lordosis (curvature) and associated muscle weakness. This can lead to chronic lower back pain, muscle pain, sciatica, leg weakness, lower extremity circulation problems and much more. The abnormal spinal weight bearing associated with this type of posture can lead to premature spinal arthritis of the joints and discs.

Chronic pains

Soft tissue injuries, such as, strains and strains, are invisible on x-rays and often overlooked. If soft tissue injuries are not directly addressed, the injured muscles and other soft tissues can end up causing chronic pain for months, years—even decades after the accident. 

Spinal Compression Fractures

The main section of each vertebra is a large, round structure called a vertebral body. Compression fractures cause this section of bone to collapse. Spine trauma can produce mild or severe compression fractures. Compression fractures from trauma usually involve high forces that impact the spine when it is bent forward. This is typically what happens when a person falls onto the buttocks or strikes his head on the windshield in a car accident. Again, these traumatic fractures usually affect the back part of the vertebral body.

Severe compression fractures from forceful impact on the spine, as can happen in a car accident, can cause fragments of the vertebral body to push into the spinal canal and press against the spinal cord. This can cause damage to the spinal cord that can result in partial or complete paralysis below the waist.

Upper and Lower extremities

Because the nerves to the arms and hands exit the spine through the injured area of the neck, numbness and tingling are common. Even lower back pain can result directly from the trauma, or as a reaction to the loss of proper spinal curves produced by the accident.

Posttraumatic depression and anxiety

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extremely debilitating condition that can occur after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include trauma such as car accidents. Families of victims can also develop the disorder.

Many people with PTSD repeatedly re-experience the ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares or frightening thoughts, especially when they are exposed to events or objects reminiscent of the trauma. Anniversaries of the event can also trigger symptoms. People with PTSD also experience emotional numbness and sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and irritability or emotional outbursts. Feelings of guilt are also common. Most people with PTSD try to avoid any reminders or thoughts of the ordeal. PTSD is diagnosed when symptoms last more than one month.