5 Common Back Problems After a Fender Bender

back injury after car accident

5 Common Back Problems After a Fender Bender

A car accident is one of the more common ways a person suffers a back injury. Even low speed collisions cause jarring movements, and your back can easily be thrown out of whack. Seat belts and airbags protect the vital parts of your body, but oftentimes your spine ends up taking the brunt of the force. Obviously high-speed crashes can cause severe injuries, but today we’re going to focus on some spine injuries that occur in relatively low speed crashes. Otherwise known as a fender bender, these crashes occur when someone breaks a little too late and cars collided at less than 15 miles an hour. Here are 5 issues that can affect your spine in a fender bender.


Whiplash is a common injury during a fender bender. Whiplash occurs when your head and neck are thrust forward or backward in a violent motion. This sudden movement strains the muscles and tissues in the neck and the cervical area of the spine. Rest, physical therapy and over-the-counter pain medications can help the injured areas recover.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when one of the discs that sit between the bones of your spine is damaged and presses on the nerves. This can cause a whole host of symptoms, like pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms and legs. A herniated disc can be treated with physical therapy and rest, but if pain persists, surgery may be necessary.

Pinched Nerve

The nerves in your spinal cord can become pinched when your back gets jostled in a car crash. When your nerve gets pinched, pain can be shooting or radiating throughout your limbs. Physical therapy and chiropractic adjustment can do wonders for pinched nerves.


This condition sets in when a vertebra in your spine shifts out of place. The displaced bone can compress nerves or lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. Similar to a pinched nerve, spondylolisthesis can cause pain, numbness or weakness in your legs. It is best treated with targeted therapy and professional intervention.

Spinal Fracture

This type of injury is more common in a crash at higher speeds, but spinal fractures can occur during fender benders. If you are rear-ended, your body will be thrust forward, hopefully into a seatbelt. This quick jolt can pull the vertebrae apart or cause a tiny fracture. Pain will be moderate to severe, and you’ll want to wait until medical assistance arrives before moving. Surgery may not be necessary, but you’ll need to be evaluated by a spine specialist.

It’s also a good decision to set up an appointment with a medical professional in the wake of a car accident, even if symptoms aren’t present right away. Doctors can help catch dormant conditions and discuss treatment options for any pain you’re currently dealing with. For more information, contact a spine specialist today.

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