Types Of Common Back Injuries From a Car Accident
Why Does My Lower Back Hurt After Car Accident? There are many types of common back injuries from an auto accident, with many problems resulting from whiplash. Whiplash damages the soft tissue and can cause many other severe spinal conditions.
Typical injuries may include strains, sprains, herniated discs, and fractures. But, if you had previous problems such as spinal stenosis, a car accident may cause the issue to accelerate.
Back injury symptoms after a car accident can vary greatly, and you may have one or more injury types. Moreover, it’s difficult to diagnose the specific cause of pain without diagnostics because similar symptoms may occur for each of the following injuries.
The majority of neck and back pain resulting from a car wreck is caused by the whipping motion that is caused by the force of impact. This whipping motion is commonly called whiplash. You can feel the effect of whiplash from the neck to the lower back, and the pain can vary from minor to severe. Whiplash is the cause of the injury, not a specific diagnosis.
Recovery time varies depending on the severity of your injury. Here are some of the more common back and neck injuries after a car accident.
1. Lumbar or thoracic vertebrae fractures
A spinal fracture is when one or more vertebrae break, crack, or are otherwise damaged. The term “broken back” refers to the injury of one of the 33 bones that protect your spinal cord and make up your backbone.
Doctors may use the following terms to describe a back fracture:
- Burst Fracture: When multiple parts of the vertebrae are crushed and possibly cause bone fragments to scatter.
- Flexion fractures: A vertebra or vertebrae breaks, with fractures typically occurring in the middle or posterior columns.
- Compression fracture: Cracks or small breaks in the bones resulting from too much pressure.
- Fracture-dislocation: This combines a fracture listed above with the dislocation or movement of your vertebra or vertebrae.
2. Back sprains and strains
With a back strain, If you stretches soft tissue it causes soft tissue injury and it causes damage. A strain relates to tendons in your back, which connect bones to muscles. In contrast, a back sprain damages the ligaments connecting joints to bones or bones to other bones.
Both sprains and strains can cause annoying pain that’s difficult to eliminate. Since imaging doesn’t pick up this type of damage, it’s necessary to discuss the possibility with an experienced physician.
3. Herniated discs
During a car accident, discs can shift and compress nerves, resulting in a herniated disc. A herniated disc is when the inner part of the spinal disc pushes out through the outer ring.
Doctors may use the terms slipped, bulging, or ruptured to describe a herniated disc. This is a severe condition as the protruding portion rubs against nerves causing numbness, a burning sensation, or weakness that extends throughout your body.
Spondylolisthesis is a vertebra displaced by a stress fracture. As the vertebrae move, it can compress the spinal canal or nerves. The amount of displacement and location affect pain levels and treatment. Typically people experience weakness, pain, and numbness or find it hard to walk.
5. Facet joint 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.
6. Discogenic pain
Damage to your spinal discs causes discogenic pain, which is often sharp pains or shooting sensations. It may result in sciatica with chronic pain radiating to your buttocks, feet, groin, or one or both legs.
With discogenic pain, people can feel uncomfortable in many different ways. Some feel better when lying down, whereas for others laying down causes more pain. Doing anything for an extended period, such as standing or sitting, can make worsen the pain.
7. Degenerative spinal disorders
Traumatic injury to your back can result in a degenerative disc disorder in the months or years down the road. It can also speed up a health issue that you didn’t know you had before the accident. As your body ages, previous damage combined with degeneration can result in:
- Bulging discs
- Degenerative scoliosis
- Spinal osteoarthritis
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Pinched nerves
- Foraminal stenosis
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 a motor vehicle 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.
What to do if you feel back pain after an accident
As you can see, your back and neck are composed of a complex system of bones, soft-tissue and nerves. Many areas are vulnerable to injury in the event of an auto accident and the sooner you receive treatment the better, which is why it’s crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following a crash.
After you’ve been diagnosed and are following the doctor’s orders for treatment, it’s time to talk to an attorney near you who specializes in back injury cases. These claims are often very complicated and involve significant medical costs, resulting in contested claims. For these reasons, it’s vital to hire an experienced lawyer who can best represent you.
At Integrity Auto & Work Injury Chiropractic in Beaverton we treat patients for back pain after a car accident. If you are experiencing back pain, call us to make an appointment at 503-352-0735. We are here to help and offer the right treatment for your condition.