Brian White | June 15, 2021 | Car Accidents
Back pain after a car accident is common. The pressure placed on the back and spinal column during a collision can cause strains, sprains, and other soft tissue damage. The wreck can also result in one or more back injuries.
Back injuries can occur in all types of car crashes, from rear-end accidents and head-on collisions to rollover accidents and side-impact collisions. Even low-impact crashes can cause severe trauma to the back and neck.
Car Accidents Can Injure All Areas of The Back
Lower back injuries (lumbar region) are common in car crashes. Likewise, a person may sustain injuries to the upper back (thoracic region) and neck (cervical region).
Depending on the type of injury, a person may experience one or more symptoms of a back injury, including:
- Burning pain that may move up and down your back and into one or both legs or arms
- Muscle spasms that might feel like a hard knot or tender to the touch, which could range from mild to debilitating
- Sharp pains when changing positions, such as standing up or sitting down
- Stiffness and lack of flexibility
- Numbness or tingling in your extremities
- Pain or discomfort during physical activity, walking, or standing
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Dizziness and headaches could indicate a neck injury
Some back injuries may show up right after a crash. However, some symptoms may not be noticeable for several hours or days following a car wreck. That’s why it is always wise to see a doctor after a car accident.
It is important to note each back injury symptom, its severity, and what causes the symptom to worsen. This information helps your doctor diagnose and treat the back injury.
Common Types of Back Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Four common types of back injuries caused by car accidents are:
1. Strains and Sprains
If the soft tissues in your back stretch too far, it can cause strains and sprains. Strains are damage to the tendons in your back, which connect the bones to the back muscles.
Sprains are damage to the ligaments in your back that connect bones to bones or joints to bones. In either case, a person may experience severe pain. However, pain medication, time, and rest generally are sufficient for sprains and strains to heal.
2. Fractured Vertebrae
The spinal column contains bones, or vertebrae, that protect the spinal cord. During an accident, one or more of these bones can fracture or break. Fractured vertebrae can cause severe pain. In severe cases, a person may require surgery to repair fractured vertebrae.
3. Herniated Discs
Between each vertebra is a soft, cushion-like sac called a disc. The spinal discs assist in movement and flexibility. They also cushion the vertebrae to reduce the risk of breaks and wear.
A disc can herniate or bulge out of place from compression during a car accident. The disc can put pressure on spinal nerves causing severe pain. In addition, a ruptured disc leaks fluid into the spinal column, which can also cause severe pain.
When a vertebra slips out of place by a stress fracture, it is called spondylolisthesis. Depending on the severity of the injury, a spondylolisthesis may heal with physical therapy. If the problem worsens, pain medication and a back brace may be necessary. Severe cases could require back surgery.
Treatment for Back Injuries After a Car Crash
As discussed above, the type of back injury and the severity of the injury dictates the type of treatment doctors prescribe. Doctors use various methods to diagnose back injuries, including physical examinations, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.
Medication, physical therapy, and braces are common treatments for most back injuries. Back surgery is generally a last resort; surgery can be risky and cause complications.
Car accident victims can experience degeneration of discs and have an increased risk of spinal arthritis because of back injuries. Continued pain and loss of movement can impact a person’s ability to work or perform daily activities. Depending on the prognosis, a car accident victim could have lifelong impairments because of a back injury.
Seeking Damages for a Back Injuries Caused by a Car Wreck
The damages resulting from a back injury may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Disabilities and permanent impairment
- Diminished earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life and decreased quality of life
The value of the personal injury claim depends on several factors. Having an experienced car accident lawyer review your case and handle the insurance claim can help you recover the maximum compensation available for your case.