Learn about how car accidents cause back pain
Posted by: Dr. Bruce Myers |

What Causes Back Pain After A Car Accident?

Car accidents can damage several areas of the body, especially your back.

If one of these areas get damaged, it might hinder you during your day to day life. The back is sensitive to both force and movement.

If you experience back pain from a recent car accident, you are probably wondering what exactly caused it.

In this blog, we take a look at what you need to know about car accident injuries, the different types of back injuries you can sustain from one, and how to properly treat back pain caused by car accidents.

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It is nearly impossible to prepare for the unexpected.

Imagine this-you're driving home from work and before you know it you're part of a vehicular accident.

These events can happen at any time and anyplace.

Some accidents and injuries may seem minor, but you'll find out sooner or later that there's a lingering pain you might feel in your back and neck. 

If you're looking for answers about the lingering pain you've been feeling because of a recent car accident, we're here to help you.

How Do Car Accidents Cause Back Pain?

Whenever vehicular accidents occur, it will always involve a significant amount of force to the driver and other passengers' body.

There's a jerking motion that takes place that can result in back and neck pain, lower back pain, and several other injuries.

These pains can occur to either the spinal discs or the facet joints. The speed and impact that takes place aren't fit for the spinal column.

As a result, aches, pains, ruptures, cracks, fissures, and other ailments can occur. It is not uncommon to have some type of injury after a car accident.

General Symptoms of Back Injuries After a Car Accident

The symptoms of back injuries may vary widely depending on the severity of the accident.

If you feel any discomfort or pain after a vehicular accident, it's best to seek a medical professional's help immediately. 

In doing so, the physician can properly diagnose the problem and prescribe a proper solution.

Some symptoms occur almost immediately after the car accident, while some warning signs appear days after the incident.

These symptoms include the following:

  • General back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • headaches
  • Migraines
  • Numbness
  • Burning sensations
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Inability to lift otherwise simple objects

Back Pain Caused by Auto Accidents

That discomfort, uneasiness, and pain you feel in your back and neck regions after a car accident is called a discogenic pain.

Discogenic pain is an ache associated with the spinal discs.

Our backbones have these round pieces of cartilage that act as a cushioning system. 

These discs also help our spine move about accordingly when needed while helping us maintain stability.

When we have discogenic pain, these spinal discs will either gradually deteriorate over time or result from a sudden trauma like a car crash.

 The majority of individuals experiencing discogenic pain will feel it in their lumbar area (also known as the lower back).

The classification of pain depends on several factors and incidents.

Let's take a look at some of them now. 


Lumbar Sprains

Sprains found in your lower back tend to result from an excessive force experienced on the back. 

It's not just from car crashes that you can experience lumbar sprains. 

Heavy weightlifters may also experience lumbar sprains.

Some athletes may also experience sprains in their lumbar regions because of improper posture during training or made the wrong form. 

The physical trauma will cause the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the back to stretch to alarming proportions.

Imaging technologies don't often diagnose the pain. Instead, it requires a direct doctor-patient consultation 

to accurately determine the diagnosis.


Disc Herniation

Disc herniation is a phenomenon wherein there is pain or trauma directed to the cushion-like discs which separate your vertebrae. 

This upset occurs when the soft inner filling found in the discs will protrude through its outer shell.

The pain coming from the rupture isn't as painful as what you might initially expect. However, you will experience aches when the protruding material gets near the surrounding nerves.

Other names for herniated discs include pinched nerves and slipped discs. No matter what you may call it, it's still generally the same or similar injury.


Spinal Stenosis

The term stenosis refers to the abnormal contraction of a channel found in the body.

As such, spinal stenosis means there's a narrowing found in the bone channel where the spinal cord and spinal nerves are located.

Most patients who suffer from spinal stenosis do acquire the condition from natural aging.

However, it can suddenly appear because of physical trauma like a car accident.

Pain coming from spinal stenosis often comes from a ruptured bone fragment or disc that's trying to or is currently invading the spinal canal's space. 

It's because there's unwanted pressure generated by the cord or nerves.


How to Diagnose the Pain in the Lower Back After a Car Accident

The human lumbar spine has five vertebrae.

Furthermore, there are soft discs that separate each vertebra.

Each of these discs has a tough outer casing or ring that surrounds a soft center or nucleus. 

When we're still young, these discs will mostly contain water.

As we continue to age, these elements will continue to lose hydration. 

As a result, they become more susceptible to cracking, fissures, and sometimes even ruptures.

The effect is often called annular tears, and this can lead to both inflammation and pain.

To accurately diagnose the pain felt in the lower back after a vehicular accident, it's essential to seek a skilled medical practitioner's aid.

You can also go for an MRI or tomography to help identify the ache and damage's exact location.

However, bear in mind that there are some instances wherein auto accidents don't cause pain in the lumbar region.

Doctors can help you see if there's a fracture, tear, or crack using other tests like discography.


How to Treat Discogenic Pain

If you feel any discomfort or pain in your spinal region, then the first thing to do is seek a doctor's assistance.

The medical professional can then lead you to specific practices and medications to help treat the pain. 

There are also physical therapies and anti-inflammatory medicines that can also aid in lessening the pain felt from the injury.

If these primary methods don't bring any significant relief, then there are also non-surgical solutions that may aid in providing you with a long-lasting reprieve.

However, if the medications, physical therapies, and non-surgical options still don't bring you significant relief from the pain, surgery might be the only solution for your predicament.


The Facet Joints in the Spine

What are facet or facet joints? These elements are a relatively unpopular part of the spine.

However, they still play a vital role in their function despite the lack of popularity. Facet joints have a thick yet flexible membrane that surrounds it. 

This covering secretes a fluid that helps in lubricating the joints for natural movement.

The facets aid in supporting the overall weight of the body while assisting the movement between each vertebra. These joints closely work with the spinal discs.

As a result, it allows for a controlled and strong movement throughout the spine. This movement will then emanate throughout the entire body.

Weak facet joints can also mean the appearance of improper posture. Ultimately, the facet joint's primary role is to prevent the backbone from moving too much in a single direction. These joints are also the reason why we can't completely bend sideways, backward, or forwards.


Symptoms Felt From Damaged Facet Joints

The most common symptom relating to pain or damage found in the facet joints consist of unwanted muscle spasms

These "twinges" may forcibly cause the spine out of alignment, which can then cause the back or neck to receive additional pain.

For instance, if a patient is trying to pick up something from the floor, a muscle spasm may suddenly occur without notice. 

The event can cause the person to freeze in place because of the pain technically.

Don't confuse the symptoms of facet joint injuries with issues to the spinal discs. Facet joints that lock in place are sudden and very painful. 

However, one of the best ways to remedy locked facets is to release the frozen joint or joints.


Car Accidents Affect the Muscles As Well

Motor vehicle accidents won't just affect your spinal column and the surrounding skeletal structures because it can also negatively affect the muscles, causing even more back pain.

Even if you don't feel any immediate back pain or if the pain doesn't seem to originate in your muscles, you should always seek a medical professional the soonest that you can.

There are different ways auto accidents can affect the muscles. Let's take a look at some of them now.


Injuries to Soft Muscle Tissue

Perhaps the most common injury that can take place to your muscles after a car accident is known as a soft tissue injury.

Whiplash is a common injury that involves the muscles found in your neck, and the pain can radiate down into your shoulders and back. It's particularly commonplace when experiencing rear-end collisions. 

Albeit commonly known as single-point injury, whiplash is a series of soft tissue strains in the neck.


Muscle Weakness

If you suffered a herniated disc after a car accident, it could then lead to muscle weakness and back pain.

You'll find that it's difficult to lift even relatively lightweight objects due to the pain, and you might also experience sudden numbness or tingling sensations. These symptoms will often take place in the arms and legs.

The symptoms may or may not take effect immediately after the car accident. There are even some cases wherein the symptoms will take place weeks or even months after the incident.

If you feel any muscle weakness, sudden pains, or any discomfort after a car accident, always seek immediate medical attention so they don't turn into long-term issues

Even if you think that the pain or uneasiness is seemingly insignificant, contact a licensed physician immediately not to let the uncomfortable feeling get any worse.


Is It Possible to Get Compensation for Back Pain Caused by an Auto Accident?

You can file a personal injury claim if you experience back injuries after being involved in a vehicular accident.

Perhaps the most money that can be awarded to you is if the accident caused paralysis.

However, auto accidents victims rarely get paralyzed as many physical health concerns from such incidents are treatable with modern medical technologies.

Aside from paralysis, some individuals may require having their vertebrae fused. This procedure may require a hefty sum of cash, but you can file a claim for the operation.

Also, bear in mind that the treatment's overall length can also affect the amount of cash you can receive from the settlement.

For example, someone who requires 5-months of treatment will get more money from the assistance than an individual who only needs 2-weeks of treatment.

Other events can help you acquire more money as compensation like a herniated disc or the requirement to take steroids because of the incident.

Remember that you still need to prove that you acquired these injuries from the car accident first before you can properly file a claim.

For more information regarding how much money you can get to compensate for the treatment of your back injuries after a car accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.


Get Pain Relief at Arrowhead Clinic

Knowing the cause of back pain after car accidents is half the battle, but you shouldn't stop there.

Always seek a doctor's help at the first sign of pain after a car accident to accurately diagnose the root and location of the issue.

Chiropractic care is extremely effective in treating the spinal and soft tissue injuries commonly associated with car accidents.

Thousands of people visit chiropractors every day for relief from neck and back pain, lower back pain, and many other ailments and injuries.

If you live in the Georgia or South Carolina area and would like a free consultation from an experienced and professional chiropractor near you about your injury, don't hesitate to click the button below.

Free Back Pain Consultation

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