What to Do About Back Pain After a Car Accident

Back Pain After a Car Accident

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 12, 2022

Car accidents may happen in a flash, and everything may seem strange at first. Surreal experiences may, unfortunately, become a major—and unfortunate—part of reality as a consequence of car accidents. You may be eligible for compensation if your back suffers following a car accident.


In the United States, it is estimated that 1.2 million cases of Whiplash occur each year. Every year,  hospitals in the United States treat 869,000 instances of cervical spine injuries. Why there are so many incidences of back injury remains a mystery?

The amount of stress applied on the spine after a major collision causes back discomfort from an car accident. Because there is little space in a driver’s seat, the force is localized to a smaller  region, instantly halting the motion. The force’s quickness causes strain on the back and neck.


Back pain after a car accident might be immediate, but it is also possible to have prolonged back  pain following an injury. The duration of pain might range from a week to a lifetime.


Back injury is a broad word that may refer to anything from pinched nerves to paralysis. Back discomfort following a high-energy injury, such as a car accident, may manifest in various ways, with serious consequences along the spine.

Only the top 24 vertebrae are moveable in the spine, which is made up of 33 vertebrae. There are five primary spinal zones that all vertebrae belong to:

Cervical: the joints that enable us to nod yes or shake our heads are located in the neck area. Thoracic: the rib cage is held in place by the mid-back area to safeguard our lungs and heart. Lumbar: the lower back is made up of bigger vertebrae that absorb stress.

Sacrum: this bone joins our spine to our hip bones (called iliac bones)

Coccyx region: Muscles and ligaments are attached to the pelvic floor via the fused bones at

the base of our spine. Our tailbone is the common name for the coccyx.

We’ll go through the many sorts of back injuries that may occur in a collision, as well as what to do if  you have back discomfort after a car accident.


Sudden or acute injuries are the most common injuries sustained in car accidents. Muscles  and ligaments that support the spine are strained or torn, resulting in injuries.


Whiplash is a typical occurrence– and even cause– of back injuries after an car collision. However, numerous injuries to the back might occur as a result of an car collision.

Therefore, we strongly advise you to contact a doctor following your injury to get an accurate diagnosis.



When the ligaments, muscles, and tendons farther down the spine are abruptly stretched beyond what they’re accustomed to or even capable of, Whiplash may occur. After an car accident, lower back whiplash is typical.


Numbness, muscular spasms, cramping, and tingling are some of the symptoms you may experience.

Pain severity ranges from bearable to excruciating.

Heat and ice treatment, physical therapy, and stretching are all good ways to speed up recovery.


Whiplash is one of the most prevalent injuries and causes of neck and back  pain in those who have been in car accidents, and it may range from minor to severe.

“How long do muscular spasms remain after a car accident?” we’re often asked. Muscle spasms  may persist for up to two weeks, but we recommend seeing a doctor if they linger longer than that.  For example, whiplash is a common injury that lasts a few weeks in most instances, but it may potentially last months or even years.

Complications that might occur Whiplash injures the lower back as well as the middle and upper  back. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as diffuse axonal damage, cognitive problems, and persistent discomfort may all be caused by Whiplash. Therefore, after a car accident, it’s critical  to consult a doctor.

Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue that runs between your vertebrae and surrounds them. Your central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord (CNS). It serves as your body’s command center. The spinal cord is the conduit via which your brain transmits information to the rest of your body. Car accidents account for more than a third of all spinal cord injuries each year.


Damage to any section of the spinal cord or nerves at the base of the spine is a spinal cord injury. Diagnoses may be made using X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.


A full or partial spinal cord damage is possible. Complete injury: all sensory and motor function below the damage is lost.

Partial damage: some motor and/or sensory function remains below the level of the injury.

If both the arms and legs are afflicted, this is known as quadriplegia-paralysis, and if both legs are affected, it is known as paraplegia-paralysis. Loss of bladder/bowel control, spasms, changes in  sexual function, trouble breathing, and excruciating pain are among the other symptoms.


Because of the long-term impact on the body, spinal cord injuries are among the most  serious injuries that may result from a car accident.


Immediate rehabilitation and vigorous physical treatment are required. “Are back injuries permanent?” may be a question that arises after a spinal cord injury.

The damage may improve within six months, but if the symptoms persist after a year, the harm is likely to be permanent. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for spinal cord damage.


An upper neck spinal cord injury might cause respiratory problems. To help with normal breathing, a ventilator or breathing tube may be required.


Discogenic back pain occurs when a damaged disc fails to function properly. The discs that cushion  between the vertebrae are the source of the discomfort. An MRI or CT scan may reveal diagnoses.


Severe lower back pain, elevated spinal pressure


If numbness spreads to the legs, walking may become progressively difficult.


Getting a back brace after a car accident may be beneficial. Surgery may be indicated in cases of severe persistent pain.


The average recovery time is 1 to 12 weeks, although recovery time may be  greater if surgery is required.


Studies reveal that 60 percent to 80 percent of Lower back pain lasts for the rest of one’s life. This discomfort is often persistent or has the potential to become so.


Ligaments in the lumbar area get overstretched or torn, causing pain. Muscle strains and lumbar sprains are practically similar.

Inflammation, muscular spasms, cramps, and contractions are some of the symptoms. Back tears are very painful. The most severe discomfort occurs within the first several days.

Exercise in moderation, cold and heat packs and anti-inflammatory medications may provide all aid with pain relief.


Typically, lumbar sprains recover in four to six weeks, although they might  take months to heal.


Lumbar sprains are more likely in stiff muscles, such as those observed  tensing up following a car crash. The lower back is subjected to a great deal of stress. If recovery  does not occur, there may be further issues or symptoms that last longer.

Lower back pain accounts for around 65 percent of all spine injuries sustained in car accidents.  Accidents involving the lumbar area may have a big influence on your health and everyday life, particularly if your employer needs you to move moderate to large goods.


Facet joints link every bone in the spine and are found on the back of each vertebra. Because the lumbar area is subjected to a lot of stress, the facet joints that hold it all together may develop problems like:

Spinal arthritis Spinal osteoarthritis

Overexertion: seen often in car accidents when the joint is twisted too far out of position. Strain, inflammation, weakness, extreme pain and numbness are some of the symptoms.

The severity of the condition is determined by which part of the spine is damaged. Discomfort and  limited range of motion are the most common symptoms of lumbar facet joint injuries.

However,  middle back pain following a car collision may also occur.


Strengthening exercises, physical therapy, and steroid injections


Facet joint injuries might be acute at first, but they can progress to a chronic condition with time.

Facet joint injuries can worsen over time, despite the many various kinds of therapy available.


Degenerative spine disorders may manifest themselves in a variety of ways. The loss of normal structure and function in the spine occurs over time in certain conditions. Slipped or ruptured discs,  spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis are among the problems. An X-ray of the spine may be used to  begin the diagnosis, followed by an MRI or CT scan.


Limited range of motion, severe or persistent pain, sensory loss, bladder/bowel problems, and sexual dysfunction are common symptoms.


The severity of the condition varies, but in more extreme situations, surgery may be required.


Each illness requires particular treatment. Exercise and physical therapy, in  general, are beneficial.


Conditions may be chronic because it is a degenerative illness. However,  there are things you can do to avoid discomfort and strengthen your back.

Complications that might occur It’s vital to remember that degenerative spine conditions and car  accidents are linked. If you already have a degenerative spinal disease and are involved in a car accident, your injury and pain level may worsen, and additional issues may occur

due to the stress applied to your back.

An car collision may speed up the pace and severity of spinal diseases if you have a degenerative spinal condition that you were unaware of or at risk of developing due to uncontrolled  variables such as age.


Disks between vertebrae operate as cushions between each bone in the spine, according to the diagnosis. As a result, they provide the back with some flexibility. When a disc slides out of position,  it is called a herniated disc. Disk rapture, which occurs when a disc bursts open, is another option.

Pain, numbness, or weakness are some of the symptoms. In addition, a disc herniation may damage nearby nerves, resulting in weakening muscles and/or acute pain.

Its location in the spine determines the severity of a herniated disc. So it’s possible that you won’t even notice any symptoms. Lower back and upper back pain following an car accident, on  the other hand, may frequently be excruciating.

Recuperation advice: Stretching, icing, and plenty of rest are all good ideas. Medication, such as muscle relaxants or steroids, may sometimes aid with therapy.

Timeline for recovery

The healing period ranges from four to six weeks, depending on the severity  of any pre-existing problems. The schedule will be extended if surgery is required.

Complications that might arise: Disk herniation, albeit uncommon, may cause the spinal canal to collapse to the bottom of your spine. This may result in long-term paralysis.



Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the gaps inside your spine  constrict and get narrower over time. Nerves in the surrounding regions may be compressed as a  result of the shrinkage. Spinal stenosis may affect the spine’s cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back)  areas. Spinal stenosis may be detected via X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.

Symptoms include numbness, muscular weakness, tingling, balance issues, cramps, and discomfort.

The location of the stenosis determines the severity of the stenosis on the spine. The symptoms of  spinal stenosis may vary from slight discomfort to complete paralysis.

Treatment options for stenosis include prescription medication, physical therapy, steroid injections,  and if required, surgery. In addition, rest and strengthening your muscles to enhance

your balance can aid your recovery.

Timeline for recovery

Because this is a degenerative condition, rehabilitation takes the form of pain  relief. If your pain intensifies, see your doctor determine the best course of action.

Complications that might arise: Although car crashes may not cause spinal stenosis, they can exacerbate existing spinal stenosis, causing excruciating pain and suffering. This may result in more serious problems, such as incontinence or paralysis.

What to Do If Someone Is Injured in a Car Accident and Has Back Pain

It’s critical not to transfer the individual who has been hurt. It is possible that moving them will result in lifelong paralysis.

Dial 9-1-1.

To establish stability and prevent movement, arrange towels behind the person’s neck or hold the head in place.

Attorneys for Spinal Injuries should be contacted.

Your mental, emotional, physical, social, and financial well-being may all be impacted by a spinal injury. The spine is an important part of our everyday lives, and injuries to it may cause long-term harm. Warrior Car Accident Attorneys understands the extent of the agony and suffering you may be going through due to a car accident spinal injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered a back injury due to a car accident, contact the experienced lawyers at Warrior. Every step of the way, we’ll be there to assist you.

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