Lower back pain following car accident are common and they are often debilitating for crash victims. The effects of neck and back injuries can haunt an accident victim for years, with expensive medical bills, time off work, and ongoing pain.
Car Accident And Injury In Beaverton and Portland Area
over 2.3 million people in the United States are injured in car crashes per year. That’s more people than the population of the state of New Mexico. Vehicle injuries are on the rise worldwide, and cost over $43 billion annually. In Portland Oregon 50 people have died in crashes on streets in year 2019, according to the Bureau of Transportation’s figures.
In Portland the highest number of crashes was recorded in 2016, compared to previous years with 55,156 crashes. This number indicates a significant increase in the number of auto crashes from 2007 to 2015, which was less than 50,000. Cases of personal injuries and deaths recorded also increased from 41,754 and 445 in 2015 to 44,628 and 498 in 2016 respectively.
After a car accident, you may feel physically, mentally or emotionally drained. When recovering from back injuries, it is best to consult a doctor to get diagnosed and receive treatment for your condition. Your doctor can prescribe medication and therapy that will help eliminate and treat back pain.
Let’s go over both natural home treatments and professional help you can get after a car accident :
Natural Treatments of Car Accident Injuries
Immediately after your pain starts, it’s important to take some time to rest. Staying in bed can help you find some temporary relief and give your body a chance to start repairing the damage. At the same time, though, it’s important to avoid resting for too long. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t stay in bed for more than a couple of days. If you’re sedentary for too long, you’ll likely end up making your pain (and the damage that’s causing it) worse.
Avoid Long Periods of Sitting
It’s also important to minimize the amount of time you spend sitting. Sitting can actually put more strain on your back and make the pain worse.
Avoid long car rides if you can and try to get up from your desk at work every 20-30 minutes to walk around and stretch. This will help keep blood flowing properly, which will encourage faster healing.
Use Heat and Ice
Alternating between ice and heat is great for most types of pain, including lower back pain.
Ice helps minimize swelling and inflammation. It’s also an effective form of pain control.
Heat, on the other hand, helps increase blood flow to the painful area. Increased blood flow means you’re getting more of the oxygen and nutrients needed to promote health and recovery. Heat can also minimize tension and stiffness after a long day.
Try Over-the-Counter Medications
It’s not great to use over-the-counter medications on a consistent basis. When used in excess, they can irritate your stomach lining and cause kidney issues.
But, if you’re dealing with severe pain and need some quick relief, it’s fine to use these medications every once in a while. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and Naproxen are good ones to keep on hand for days when you’re in a lot of pain.
Wear a Back Brace
A back brace can provide support for your lower back to relieve pain and improve your ability to function.
Back braces provide compression to improve blood flow, too, which can lead to faster healing. They also gently compress the abdomen, which helps relieve pressure on the lower back.
When Should You Get Checked By A Doctor?
Just because you feel okay after an accident doesn’t mean that you are. Your pain could start hours to a few days after an accident. Delayed onset back pain after an auto accident is common and could be a symptom of a spinal injury, herniated disc or a soft tissue injury.
Immediately after a crash, some accident victims may initially feel okay. But when the adrenaline wears off, delayed back pain can present itself in the days or even weeks following. This is why it’s important to seek medical care even if you don’t feel injured.
Getting medical attention immediately after an accident protects you in case that pain does ramp up due to your injury being more severe than you thought. And if you wait to seek medical attention days after the incident, insurance companies can argue that your symptoms are caused by activities that occurred after the accident.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains and tear to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the back. These injuries can cause significant pain, tenderness, stiffness and muscle spasm while you’re healing from an accident.
Facet Joint Spine Injuries
In addition to vertebrae, facet joints are another important component to a healthy spine. These joints help with controlling movement and supporting the weight of your body. They are encased by a thick, flexible membrane to stay lubricated by a viscous fluid.
When facet joints are damaged in a collision or other accident, it can be especially painful due to the large concentration of nerves surrounding the joint and spine. Traumatic events can also cause facet joint disease, which is when the facet joints degenerate. CT scans, X-rays or MRIs can usually detect facet joint injuries, and treatment may involve the help of a chiropractor.
An untreated back injury can lead to a condition called spinal stenosis. It’s a progressive disease that will worsen over time if you don’t seek help.
Your spinal cord is housed in a channel through your vertebrae. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of this channel. This adds pressure that forces the vertebrae outwards while pinching the nerves inside the channel. This most commonly affects the neck or the lumbar region.
Symptoms you’ll feel from this occurring in the neck include tingling in the arm or fingers, neck stiffness, or trouble lifting light objects. The symptoms you’ll feel from spinal stenosis in the lumbar region include pain or tingling from the legs to the toes, lower back stiffness or pain, sore hips, or in extreme cases, the loss of bladder or bowel control.
Doctors will evaluate your symptoms and order a series of imaging to diagnose back pain of this nature.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Even low-speed car accidents can damage the spinal cord, when it is bruised, cut, or severed as a result of the force of the impact. If the spinal cord is lacerated or severed it can cause permanent paralysis.
Treatment Options For Car Accident Injuries
While back pain after a car accident may seem mild and unworthy of medical attention, as with whiplash, it is difficult to know how severe the injury might be without a thorough examination directly after the accident.
At Integrity Auto & Work Injury Chiropractic, we have comprehensive pain management and physical treatment protocols especially designed for those with car accident injuries.
When you make your appointment, our highly qualified, board-certified pain management specialists will conduct a thorough physical examination.
Treatments may include:
- Lumbar steroid injection
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Exercise and nutrition counseling
- Facet injection
- Medication management
- Facet Joint Denervation or Radio Frequency Ablation
Physical Therapy For Treating An Injury To The Spine
Physical therapist helps discogenic pain sufferers by moving and manipulating the back and neck and giving homework for the patient to do at home, in order to lessen the pain and restore movement. This can include lumbar side bending, transverse plane motion, flexion-rotation mobilization, homework exercises to do during the treatment. Physical therapy for neck and back pain can often abolish the patient’s pain completely and restored a considerable range of motion.
What Causes Delayed Back Pain After a Car Accident?
The first reason this can happen is the human body’s natural Fight or Flight Response. During such a stressful event as a car wreck, your body will release adrenaline into your bloodstream to help you fight the situation. Because that extra adrenaline pumps through your veins for the first few hours, you have a higher pain tolerance and might not notice the injury. It’s not until that adrenaline drops back to normal levels that you feel your back and neck injuries.
The second reason for delayed back pain is physical. It can take hours for external symptoms such as bruising or swelling to appear and for the discomfort of inflammation to set in. It’s only after you realize you have these symptoms that you begin to realize that you associate your delayed pain with a back or neck injury from your car accident.
Rest is typically the best way to help you recover from whiplash but, nevertheless, it may be helpful to visit a Car Accident Chiropractor after undergoing a car accident just to ensure that everything in your spine and neck is without injury.
Symptoms of a more serious spine injury can sometimes take days, even weeks, to fully manifest, but can be caught early through tests and imaging. Even if there isn’t an injury a spinal scan can give you the peace of mind to know that, with time, your pain will very likely decrease.
Have more questions about your spine pain or want to get your back and neck examined by our Chiropractor? Call us at 503-352-0735 or book us online and at we’ll help you schedule your initial consultation.