Car accidents are violent events. Motorists can be thrown about inside the vehicle or even tossed from the car if they were not wearing a seatbelt. At even low speeds, motorists can be twisted, turned, and doubled over forcibly.
Back pain is a common complaint after a car accident, and motorists should be alert that any pain could signal a significant injury. Get immediate medical attention but also be aware that symptoms might not develop for a day or two.
Common Causes of Back Pain
The exact injury will cause pain in different locations in the back. However, the following are some of the more common back injuries we have seen following car wrecks:
Herniated disc. The spinal column is made up of over 2 dozen vertebrae stacked on top of each other. Discs in between the vertebrae provide cushion, but a traumatic accident can cause the disc’s jelly-like inner core to push through the outer ring. This soft material can press against nerves and cause pain.
Spinal stenosis. This is a narrowing of spine in the spaces where the spinal cord and nerves run. Normal aging can cause spinal stenosis, but a traumatic accident can either accelerate the problem or cause it in the first place.
Lumbar sprain. The lumbar region is in the lower back. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments in this area can be stretched too far, causing swelling and pain.
Facet joint injury. The facet joints prevent the spine from getting twisted out of shape and keep vertebrae from falling down on each other. Any injury to these joints can cause intense pain and spasms in nearby muscles.
It is vital not to try and self-diagnose an injury, which can often cause more problems. Instead, visit a doctor who can order the necessary tests. Your doctor will also ask a series of questions to better understand where you are feeling the pain.
Treating Your Back Pain
Proper treatment will depend on the injury you have suffered. Many back injuries can improve after a couple months with conservative treatment—ice or heat, massage and stretching, and pain killers. Your doctor might also recommend that you get a cortisone shot to deal with inflammation, or you could take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.
Sometimes, patients need surgery to deal with back pain that will not improve with rest and physical therapy. Always discuss the risks of surgery as well as your expected recovery time. Surgery is very expensive but is sometimes the only option for dealing with chronic back pain.
Back pain will leave many people bedridden. When someone else is to blame for the accident, then state law allows injured victims to receive compensation to deal with the financial fallout of the accident. Many of our clients receive money to cover lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and their pain and suffering.