Spinal Trauma in Overweight Patients
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. Over the past few years, obesity and weight problems have become a growing concern in this country due to their rising prevalence. One of the issues with this rising prevalence is the number of spinal injuries that people can sustain. Because of their weight, these spinal injuries are often overlooked.
An Overview of Obesity: An Epidemic
Weight plays a significant role in the severity of injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of obesity has been on the rise.
- In the 1970s, under half of the country qualified as obese.
- By the early 1990s, this number had risen to 56 percent.
- In the early 2000s, this number was around two-thirds.
- Today, over a third of the country is obese. This number is drastically higher for overweight individuals alone.
- Even in children, the rate of obesity has been rising. It is around 10 percent today.
There are numerous health problems that are related to obesity, including diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, injuries to the bones and muscles are more common as well. This includes spinal cord injuries, which have the potential to be life-altering.
How does Spinal Trauma Happen?
Spinal trauma is an important concern because of the possible implications this can have regarding motor and sensory function. These injuries can even be permanent. In those who are obese, extra weight causes damage to the discs in between the vertebrae. There are several symptoms that can manifest including:
- Pain that is made worse by movement.
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes.
- The loss of sensation in certain parts of the body.
- Loss of range of motion.
There are a handful of common ways that spinal trauma can occur. One of the most common ways that injuries of the spinal cord can occur is through the trauma that occurs in a car accident. If someone isn’t wearing their seatbelt, their spine is prone to extreme flexion and extension injuries that can crack vertebrae, damage nerves, and lead to serious injuries. Some of these can lead to permanent complications, such as paralysis. Sometimes, these injuries are missed. This problem is more common in patients who are overweight or obese.
Why is this Overlooked?
In patients who are overweight or obese, spinal injuries are often overlooked and can lead to major complications. Based on a recent review of the literature, there are several reasons why this might happen. First, if someone comes in and is unable to verbalize the pain or symptoms that they are feeling, it can be a challenge to make the diagnosis. If someone cannot say that their back hurts, physicians may not know to check their spine for signs of an injury. In addition, when doctors do a physical exam, they may not be able to feel broken bones, see bruises, or locate signs of anatomical anomalies due to the adipose tissue on top of the spine. This can conceal signs of a spinal injury that would otherwise be noticed.
Help with Spine Injuries
The idea of missing spine injuries is concerning and can lead to serious problems down the road. If this happens, individuals should sit down and speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento. The records should be reviewed to figure out exactly what happened. This could reveal details that might have been missed the first time. Dealing with a spinal cord injury is stressful and nobody should ever have to face this challenge alone. An experienced lawyer can help place the mind at ease and allow the family to focus on their recovery.
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Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. If you have sustained a spinal cord injury, call me at (916) 921-6400 to receive friendly, free legal advice. I can also be reached at our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This national forum is reserved for trial lawyers who have reached verdicts worth more than $1 Million for clients.
My guests can look through our verdicts and settlements here.
Image Information: Unsplash.
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