Back and neck pain are two of the most common injuries after a car crash. There are many different injuries that can be caused by a car accident. Many of them will result in neck or back pain.
Leaving the symptoms untreated for too long can cause chronic pain or worsening pain. It’s important to recognize the signs of back and neck injuries and seek medical attention when needed.
Here’s a rundown of what causes lower back pain after a car accident and what your treatment options are.
How Do Neck and Lower Back Injuries Happen After a Car Accident?
A lot of back pain stemming from a car accident occurs because of whiplash. Whiplash happens when the abrupt stop of motion causes you to jerk forward. The sudden movement tends to impact your neck and back and can lead to damage to your spine.
The impact of a car crash can cause lots of different types of damage. To get the best possible care, seek a diagnosis from a doctor and visit a pain treatment specialist.
Common Causes of Neck and Lower Back Pain from a Car Accident
The type of damage done to the spine during a car accident impacts how and where you’ll feel pain. It will also dictate your pain treatment options. The most common types of car accident injuries are as follows.
Chronic Neck Pain
Chronic neck pain is a common experience among individuals involved in car crashes. There could be multiple reasons for this pain, but the two most common causes of chronic neck pain are facet joint pain and pain resulting from disc injuries.
Facet Joint Pain
Pain from the facet joint can be difficult to diagnose, as it doesn’t necessarily show up on any imaging. A medial branch nerve block procedure is needed to diagnose facet joint pain.
This involves injecting an anesthetic near affected nerves to block pain signals to the brain. If injections near the facet joint help stop or reduce your neck pain, the pain was likely stemming from the facet joint.
Another common cause of neck pain is an injury to the discs in your neck. Spinal discs are located in between your vertebrae to allow for movement. They serve as a kind of cushioning, allowing you to twist and turn without grating your vertebrae together. However, when spinal discs are damaged they can put pressure on the nerves surrounding them.
If you’re experiencing neck pain after a crash, it could be because there is something wrong with the discs in your neck that are causing them to put pressure on your nerves. There are multiple treatment options available to manage this kind of pain.
Damage to the spinal discs is also extremely common in the lower back region. There are lots of different types of damage that can be done to spinal discs, each of which can be accompanied by feelings of pain.
When the spinal disc is completely knocked out of place it’s known as a herniated disc. Symptoms of herniated discs include sudden and severe lower back pain and numbness in your legs. This type of pain can become serious, so see a doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing these symptoms after a car accident.
Lumbar Spine Injuries
It’s not just damage to your spine that can cause pain. Any injuries to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments surrounding the spine can also cause back pain. Stretching or spraining these areas from a crash can cause frequent or recurring back pain. These injuries might also limit your range of motion.
The spinal channel that holds your nerves and spinal cord together is called the spinal, or vertebrae, canal. Like with herniated discs, injury to this region can put pressure on nerves in and around the spine. The pain treatment options available for spinal stenosis usually involve blocking these nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Injury directly to the spinal cord can also occur after a car accident. These injuries are extremely serious and should be treated by a medical professional right away. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury include pain, numbness, bruising, pressure, loss of mobility, and even paralysis. To prevent long-term damage, see a doctor right away if you suspect a spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries After a Car Accident
After being involved in a car crash, you’ll want to look out for symptoms of injuries. Leaving problems untreated can cause permanent and more severe damage. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after being involved in a car accident.
Immediate Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries:
- Severe pain in your neck, back, or head
- Tingling, numbness, or burning sensations
- Inability to move fingers or toes
- Experience difficulty breathing
- Inability or difficulty walking
- Loss of balance
- Sudden and lasting headache
- Inability to control bowels or bladder
- If you are in an unnatural or twisted position after impact
Delayed Symptoms of Neck and Back Injuries:
- Headaches lasting several days after the accident
- Tingling or numbness that does not subside in the arms, hands, and feet
- Impaired hearing or vision
- Increasing feelings of stress, anxiety, or panic
- Pain or pinching sensation in the shoulders, neck, or back
- Stomach tenderness, swelling, or bruising
- Unexpected weakness or the inability to lift or move light things
What to Do if You Feel Back Pain after a Car Accident
The best thing you can do if you experience any pain after a car accident is to consult a medical professional. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and treatment options. For pain relief, see a pain treatment specialist to discuss the best pain management and treatment plan for you.
Arizona Pain and Spine Institute is an industry leader in holistic pain treatment and regenerative medicine to treat pain. To see how Arizona Pain and Spine can help you manage your pain, book an appointment today. Give us a call at 480-986-7246.