You can develop sciatica after a slip and fall accident if you pinch a nerve or herniate a disc in the fall. Your sciatic nerve branches off of your lower back and goes through your hips and buttocks, then down the back of your legs. If you feel pain radiating through these areas after a slip and fall accident, you should get an evaluation for sciatica.
How a Slip and Fall Accident Can Cause Sciatica
The way your body moves during the mishap can affect the kind of damage you suffer. Here are three of the more common scenarios for slip and fall accidents:
- Your feet go out from under you. Let us say that someone spilled a drink on the floor of a restaurant and you slid on the puddle. Your feet flew forward, and your body fell backward. You landed hard on the floor in a sitting position, jamming the base of your spinal column onto the surface. This type of trauma to your spine can cause small pieces of your vertebrae, which are the small bones in the center of your back, to chip off and damage the discs that serve as cushions between the vertebrae. The disc damage and bone fragments can irritate or injure the sciatic nerve.
- You slide on something slick, like ice. By way of example, if you are walking on a sidewalk that has black ice, you might suddenly and unexpectedly lose control over your ability to walk safely. You could slam into something, slide off to one side, or hurtle forward and land face first. Any of these situations can damage your back, herniating a disc or pinching a nerve and resulting in sciatica.
- You twist your body trying to avoid falling. Sometimes the injury happens while you are still in the air - before you make impact with the ground or another object. Sharp changes in the direction of your body can cause you to slip a disc. For example, you start to slide on the spilled drink in the restaurant. You throw your arms out, trying to grab anything to prevent a fall. The sudden jerking of your limbs can force your back into an unnatural position, damaging bones, muscles, discs, or nerves in your spinal area.
Compensation for Sciatica from a Slip and Fall Accident
You can recover your losses for sciatica that results from a slip and fall accident if you can prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the extent of your injuries and how the harm you suffered affects your life.
Some people make a complete recovery from sciatica within a few weeks or months with only conservative treatment like rest, prescription muscle relaxants and painkillers, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. Those patients usually will not receive as much compensation as someone who had to undergo surgery, will face a lifetime of chronic pain, and can no longer support themselves or their family through gainful employment.
Treatments for Sciatica from a Slip and Fall
The primary conservative treatments for sciatica after a slip and fall include:
- Prescription drugs including muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers, tricyclic antidepressants, or anti-seizure medications
- Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy after the acute painful stage has passed
If those non-invasive methods do not help you achieve a full recuperation, your doctor might use injections of corticosteroids near the injured or inflamed nerve. The steroids can lessen the inflammation and relieve your pain, but your doctor can only use a limited number of these injections, and their benefits are temporary.
Only if your sciatica does not improve with conservative treatments or steroid injections will your doctor recommend surgical intervention, unless your condition worsens or you have a medical emergency. If you have significant weakness, your pain intensifies, or you experience new or worse symptoms, the surgeon can remove the piece of your spine that is compressing the nerve in your back.
Call Jason R. Schultz for a Free Consultation
If you have back pain, weakness, or pain down the back of your legs after a slip and fall accident, you might have sciatica. Get medical treatment right away, and call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC at 404-474-0804, to line up your free, no-obligation consultation. Our law office can examine your premise liability case to hold somebody responsible for your accident.