Can Car Accidents Cause Back Pain?

Whether minor or severe, car accidents can have long-term effects on your body. Every year, around 3 million people in the United States are non-fatally injured in car accidents. Even with the enhanced policing of roads and new car safety features, car accidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately, the human body is not capable of withstanding the sudden burst of force that occurs on impact.

According to data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Case Survey, roughly half of all car accident injuries are diagnosed as sprains and strains of the neck and back, contusion with intact skin surface, or spinal disorders.

Major back pain can weaken your back muscles; and, as it progresses, severely impair your body. The injuries often don’t seem serious to you at first, but as days pass, your overall health could start to decline. If you experience back pain after an accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.

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Connection Between Back Pain and Whiplash

Whiplash is the most common cause of back pain after an accident. This occurs when the excessive force on the back causes muscles, tendons, and ligaments to stretch too far, essentially spraining the back. Whiplash can target several areas in the back, but it is most common in either the upper or lower regions.

The aggressive movement of the body in an accident can cause the lower back to move beyond its capability, which can stretch out connective tissues and tear small joints in that area. The displacement of the neck during whiplash can cause the vertebrae that make up the structure of the spine to change curvature, which can impact many nerves throughout the spine and produce enduring pain in the upper back.

man holding the back of his neck with his spine highlighted

Common Back Injuries After a Car Accident

Along the spine, facet joints connect vertebrae together and control the body’s movement. Facet joint injuries can cause a car accident victim to experience intense pain in the back. Some types of facet joint injuries that can occur include:

  • Fractures
  • Torn cartilage
  • Dislocation
  • Inflammation

Discogenic Pain

Discogenic pain could be another cause of back pain after an accident. This type of pain occurs as spinal discs progressively degenerate because of an unexpected car crash. Spinal discs are made up of fibrous cartilage that cushions each vertebra in the spine. Even if just a single spinal disc is damaged, the pain can be debilitating.

Discogenic pain is mostly associated with lower back pain. The most common discogenic disorders that can occur after a car accident include:

  • Lumbar sprains (muscle fibers stretch too far or tear)
  • Spinal stenosis (a ruptured disc or bone fragment fills the spinal cavity putting pressure on nerves
  • Disc herniation (a piece of the disc starts slipping out of place)
  • Degenerative spinal disorders (pressure on spinal cord and nerves that cause the spine to lose structure over time)

Symptoms of discogenic pain include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Soreness
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Problems with walking
doctor looking at a spinal xray of a patient injured in an accident
doctor looking at a spinal xray of a patient injured in an accident

Discogenic Pain

Discogenic pain could be another cause of back pain after an accident. This type of pain occurs as spinal discs progressively degenerate because of an unexpected car crash. Spinal discs are made up of fibrous cartilage that cushions each vertebra in the spine. Even if just a single spinal disc is damaged, the pain can be debilitating.

Discogenic pain is mostly associated with lower back pain. The most common discogenic disorders that can occur after a car accident include:

  • Lumbar sprains (muscle fibers stretch too far or tear)
  • Spinal stenosis (a ruptured disc or bone fragment fills the spinal cavity putting pressure on nerves
  • Disc herniation (a piece of the disc starts slipping out of place)
  • Degenerative spinal disorders (pressure on spinal cord and nerves that cause the spine to lose structure over time)

Symptoms of discogenic pain include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Soreness
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Problems with walking
chiropractor adjusting a patient's spine in their office

How Do You Treat Back Pain After a Car Accident?

Treatment options for back pain range widely according to how severe your condition is. However, the most common forms of treatment include:

  • Hot and cold compress
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Light strengthening exercises and activity
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Injections

If these treatments do not improve your back injury, then it is possible that you will have to get surgery. Surgery can be risky and expensive, but it may be worth the relief. You should go over your options with one of our best car accident attorneys to help you get compensation to cover the costs of treatment.

Get Results with Successful Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’re experiencing any type of back pain, it’s crucial that you get an accurate diagnosis of your injuries by a medical professional. With the help of one of our best car accident lawyers, you can ensure that your rights are protected. The Barnes Firm attorneys will work tirelessly to assist you in recovering compensation to offset any damage or pain that was caused by a negligent driver.

The car accident lawyers with The Barnes Firm have consistently obtained successful results which have earned them top awards and accreditations on listings like Best Lawyers in America. To schedule a free consultation and speak with a trusted personal injury lawyer today, complete our contact form or call our office at any time.

The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000