(727)-MY-SPINE

National Leader in Total Spine Health

Blog

Back Pain and Spinal Injuries Caused by a Car Accident

Back Pain & Injuries

 

Back Pain and Spinal Injuries Caused by a Car Accident

What You Should Know

Unfortunately, car accidents are common occurrences, and with them often come car accident injuries. 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 one of the most commonly injured areas of the body during a car crash is the spine because often your spine ends up taking the brunt of the force.

Obviously high-speed crashes can cause severe injuries, but in this article, we’ll be focusing on some of the spinal injuries that occur in relatively low speed crashes. Otherwise known as “fender benders”, these crashes occur when someone breaks a little too late and cars collide, generally at less than 15 miles an hour.

 

5 Common Injuries Caused by a Car Accident

Following are just a few of the more common injuries you can sustain in a car crash.

Even if you feel completely fine after an accident, there could be issues lurking underneath the surface that can crop up later if you don’t address them immediately. From whiplash to broken bones, there are many injuries a person can sustain during an auto accident.

Although we have listed potential treatments based on the injury below, these are common treatments that are general to the injury or condition. You should always seek competent medical assistance after any car accident.

1. Whiplash and Soft Tissue Injury

Whiplash is a common injury during a fender bender. Whiplash injury 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.

2. 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.

3. Pinched Nerve

The nerves in your spinal cord can become pinched when your back gets jostled in a car crash. With a pinched nerve in back, pain can be shooting or radiating throughout your limbs.

Physical therapy and chiropractic adjustment can do wonders for a pinched nerve.

4. Spondylolisthesis

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.

Spondylolisthesis is best treated with targeted therapy and professional intervention.

5. Spinal Fracture

This type of injury is more common in a crash at higher speeds, but a vertebral fracture can occur during a fender bender as well. If you are rear-ended, your body will be thrust forward, hopefully secured by 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.

 

Treatments for Back and Neck Pain Due to a Car Accident

The most important first step in treating spine injuries and lower back pain or upper back pain after a crash of cars is a quick, accurate diagnosis. Some spinal injuries require immediate treatment to avoid serious and permanent damage, while others can be mitigated with non-surgical, pain management methods like pain meds, chiropractic, and working with a physical therapist.

It’s always a good decision to set up an appointment with a medical professional in the wake of a car accident, even if you don’t think you have an auto accident injury.

Doctors can help catch dormant conditions and discuss treatment options for any pain you’re experiencing. Once a doctor has examined you and ordered any necessary imaging tests like MRIs, X-rays, or CT scans, you can work together to create a treatment plan. In some cases, spine surgery may be your only choice.

When patients are seriously injured in a car accident, an injury may not immediately show signs by causing pain. Over the next few days or weeks, you may feel discomfort, pain, soreness or other symptoms. In some cases, immediate surgical intervention may be necessary to prevent permanent nerve damage and paralysis.

 


 

Contact Inspired Spine

Contact us today to learn more about our Inspired Spine’s conservative care treatments and minimally invasive spinal procedures or to find a provider near you who performs these procedures.

  • Categories

  • Get Our Patient Guide

    Learn all the advantages of Inspired Spine Advanced Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgeries, treatment options, patient success stories and more.