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A car accident can cause painful injuries that reduce your mobility and overall health. Unfortunately, some medical professionals often overlook certain conditions, like sacral fractures, leading to further complications.
So, what are the long-term effects of a fractured sacrum? At No-Fault Doctors, we answer this question and more.
Explore our services to connect with New York’s trusted no-fault car accident doctors.
What Is the Sacrum?
The sacrum is a large, shield-shaped bone between the base of your spine and your coccyx. Its purpose is to stabilize the body’s pelvic region and support spinal nerves.
The sacrum fully fuses with vertebrae between the ages of 18 and 30 for most people. However, you can experience a sacral fracture at any age.
How Common Are Sacral Fractures?
Sacral fractures occur due to high-impact car accidents or sports injuries. Still, low-impact injuries can contribute to sacral fractures in older adults or those managing underlying medical conditions. Cancer and osteoporosis may increase one’s risk of developing this condition.
Slip and fall injuries commonly associated with tailbone fractures can also cause sacrum damage. These workplace accidents send hundreds of New York employees to the hospital annually.
Although this bone plays a vital role in pelvic and spinal health, many doctors fail to diagnose sacral fractures properly. This condition does not always appear during X-ray scans. As a result, many patients accidentally aggravate their injury over time.
Finding a doctor specializing in auto accidents offers a great way to identify these problems early.
What Are the Symptoms of a Fractured Sacrum?
Most people realize something is wrong after an accident when they stand up or sit down. Putting weight on a fractured sacrum can cause pain throughout the hips and lower back.
This condition also causes inflammation and muscle weakness. Bone debris can damage soft tissue in the pelvis, leading to bruising and discoloration.
Still, many people do not know when they have a fractured sacrum. Symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months after an accident. As such, it is vital to seek a medical examination as soon as possible to prevent long-term complications.
Thousands of Americans experience the long-term effects of a fractured sacrum. Untreated fractures can create life-long mobility complications like limping. This symptom occurs when muscles around the pelvic region become stiff. Those who experience these problems often need assistance getting up and down stairs.
In severe cases, sacral fractures may prevent an injured person from getting out of bed. They may require walking aids just to navigate their home.
Nerve damage is another common problem associated with sacrum damage. A network of nerves carries signals from the legs to the brain. If an injury disrupts these signals, it can cause severe pain or total numbness in the area.
Lastly, soft tissue damage can become a major concern for those managing a fractured sacrum. The pelvis supports sexual reproduction and the digestive system. If pelvic ring fractures damage these organs, an injured person might experience fertility complications or other adverse functional outcomes.
What To Expect When Getting a Diagnosis
Receiving a proper diagnosis is critical for treating sacral fractures. During your consultation, you should expect your doctor to review your medical history and conduct a basic physical exam. You can discuss how often you experience pain and any other symptoms that get in the way of your daily life.
Next, they will order digital imaging tests to identify the problem up close. CAT scans and MRIs prove much more effective at locating issues in the sacrum than conventional X-ray technology. Ask your doctor if these options are available.
Once they inspect the images, they will diagnose your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan. They may decide to begin treatment the same day if you have a severe injury. Still, most therapies that treat the long-term effects of a fractured sacrum may last weeks or even months.
Treatment and Recovery
Most sacrum injuries will heal after plenty of rest. A doctor may prescribe pain medication to reduce discomfort during movement or sleep. Still, some patients don’t respond well to these solutions, requiring tramadol or similar low-dose narcotics.
Anti-inflammatory medication will reduce swelling in the affected area and relieve pressure on the legs and joints. A doctor will continue monitoring your recovery and adjust your medication when needed.
People who experience bone fractures often seek help from physical therapists to reduce pain and improve mobility. However, physical therapy could aggravate this condition and delay the natural healing process. The best option involves relaxing for several weeks and focusing only on the additional treatments your doctor recommends.
Few cases require surgery. Still, a sacroplasty may be necessary for patients who experience longer-than-usual healing times. Orthopedic surgeons will use a minimally invasive technique to inject bone cement into the affected area.
The method seals the fracture quickly and relieves pain. It may take several months for a patient to recover after this procedure. Doctors recommend avoiding strenuous physical activity during this time to prevent complications.
Connect With an Experienced Accident Doctor
Finding a trustworthy doctor shouldn’t be a hassle. At No-Fault Doctors, we help you reach out to qualified practitioners in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Medical providers listed in our free directory accept no-fault and PIP insurance options, so you save time and money during your search.
Those who manage the long-term effects of a fractured sacrum need help from orthopedists, radiologists, neurologists, and pain management doctors. We include all these professionals and more in our list of specialists. Our team takes the time to research these clinics on your behalf so you can browse your options in one convenient location near you.
We pride ourselves on providing the educational resources you need to navigate your injuries. Explore our blogs to learn why visiting a trusted car accident doctor after a collision could help you alleviate pain and get you back to living your life!