What’s Causing Neck & Lower Back Pain after a Car Accident?

Neck & Lower Back Pain

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

July 20, 2022

Car collisions have a high risk of injuring the neck and back.

After a car accident, what’s causing your neck and lower back pain? After a car accident, how long does back discomfort last?

WHEN DO I NEED TO HIRE A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER IF I’M IN PAIN IN MY BACK OR NECK?

The state of Colorado has some of the busiest highways and roads in the nation. Unfortunately, while most drivers are focused and pay attention to the road, others may be careless and irresponsible.  This irresponsibility may result in major car accidents, such as back and neck injuries.

Back and neck discomfort are typical following a car accident. It does not, however, have to derail your whole existence. Nevertheless, if you’ve had lower back pain or neck discomfort as a result of an accident, you’ll need an experienced injury lawyer on your side right once.

IN CAR ACCIDENTS, WHAT CAUSES NECK AND BACK INJURIES?

Car accidents, and the force that comes with them, may cause catastrophic neck and back injuries. These accidents are the leading cause of neck injuries, resulting in long-term pain and a significant financial burden for the sufferers and their families. In the United States, more than 800,000 car collisions involving neck injuries are recorded each year, with treatment costs reaching $5.2 billion.

When a car collides with anything or something collides with a car, the opposing force’s inertia compels everything in the car, including people, to move in the same direction. In an car, there is only so much space to move about.

The seat belt, car door, dashboard, or another obstacle will eventually stop that forward velocity. This force often puts a great deal of strain on the neck and back. These body parts are both necessary for physical function and vulnerable to rapid movement and force.

Whiplash is a term used to describe a quick jerking action that feels like a whip (a neck injury). Whiplash may result in a variety of damage to the spine.

Following a car collision, neck and lower back injuries are among the most prevalent. These injuries may be debilitating as well as very painful. Discogenic (disc) injuries and facet joint injuries  are two of the most prevalent types of spine injuries that cause discomfort.

DISC INJURIES CAUSE LOWER BACK PAIN AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

Discogenic pain is pain that is caused by the discs in the spine. Between each of the bones that make up the spine, these spherical bits of cartilage operate as a cushioning structure. They also provide mobility and stability. When one or more discs in the spine are injured, the pain may be excruciating.

Discogenic pain arises when the condition of the spinal discs deteriorates over time or when a rapid acute trauma, such as a car accident, happens.

Discogenic pain is, of course, the result of injury to the spinal disc. The lumbar (lower) spine is where the majority of individuals encounter this sort of back pain.

Lumbar sprains Spinal stenosis Disc herniation

Degenerative spinal diseases are the most prevalent ailments that cause lower back discomfort.

SPRAINS OF THE LOWER BACK

Sprains in the lumbar area are often caused by too much effort on the back, such as lifting a large item, sustaining a sports injury, or being involved in a car accident—the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the backstretch excessively as a result of these injuries. A sprain is a medical term for this kind of overstretching (or strain). Because these injuries are typically difficult to identify with imaging, doctors must depend on their expertise and patient interaction to diagnose.

STENOSIS OF THE SPINE

In medicine, stenosis refers to an unnatural narrowing of a bodily channel. As a result, spinal  stenosis is defined as narrowing the bone channel that houses the spinal nerves and cord. Although normal  aging is the most prevalent cause of spinal stenosis, it may also be caused by trauma such as a  car accident. A ruptured disc or bone fragment entering the spinal canal space, putting pressure  on the nerves or cord, and generating pain, is common in these circumstances.

AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT, A DISC HERNIATION MIGHT OCCUR.

Disc herniation is a frequent injury to the cushion-like discs that divide your vertebrae. When the disc’s soft inner filling protrudes through the sturdier outer encasing, this happens. The rupture itself is usually not unpleasant; nevertheless, the projecting debris often touches nearby nerves, causing severe back discomfort. Herniated discs are known by various names, some of which are slang and others which are medical terms, but they all relate to the same damage.

DEGENERATIVE SPINAL DISORDERS (DSD) ARE A KIND OF DEGENERATIVE SPINAL DISORDER.

Degenerative disc diseases include a wide range of injuries and symptoms related to the deterioration of the spine or its components as the body ages.

Spinal osteoarthritis Degenerative disc degeneration

Bulging discs Herniated discs Spondylolisthesis Degenerative scoliosis Bone spurs

Spinal stenosis Foraminal stenosis Pinched nerves Sciatica

Discogenic pain may occur when a person is sitting or lying motionless or when the afflicted region is  irritated by any type of movement. This pain is often characterized as acute and shooting. It may radiate to one or both legs, the buttocks, the groin, or the foot, or it may be limited to the injured disc region. Sciatica is the name for this kind of radiation, and it may be quite painful.

Bending over, sitting, or standing for short or lengthy amounts of time will usually aggravate the discomfort. Some individuals find that lying flat or in a cradled posture helps them feel better, while others find that walking or moving about helps them feel better.

AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT, HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE LOWER BACK AND NECK PAIN?

The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae separated by soft discs. A strong outer ring surrounds a delicate nucleus in each disc. The discs are mostly made of water while they’re young. They lose moisture as we age, making them more prone to splitting and fissures known as annular tears. These tears cause inflammation and discomfort.

Because there are so many reasons for back pain, it’s essential to get your condition correctly diagnosed by a trained professional. Signs of disc degeneration or injury may be detected using MRIs  or tomography. However, because certain degenerative discs do not produce pain, qualified clinicians will recognize the necessity for further testing, such as discography, to identify all damaged discs.

It’s also critical that the Radiologist and Spine Surgeon (if and when needed) distinguish between acute trauma (immediate harm from the event) and pain caused by degenerative disc degeneration.

AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT, TREATING LOWER BACK OR NECK PAIN CAUSED BY A SPINAL DISC INJURY

PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR THE TREATMENT OF SPINAL INJURIES

Physical therapists treat people with discogenic pain by moving and manipulating their backs and  necks. Patients may be taught exercises to undertake at home to help them relieve discomfort and  regain mobility. Side bending of the lumbar spine, transverse plane motion, and flexion-rotation  mobilization are all examples of this. Physical therapy for neck and back pain may frequently  eliminate discomfort while restoring a significant range of motion.

MEDICATIONS

Anti-inflammatory medicines are often utilized as the first line of defense in treating back pain caused by disc injuries. Other medications that may aid include acetaminophen, naproxen, antidepressants, and anti-epileptics.

NON-SURGICAL ALTERNATIVES

Some non-surgical therapies are effective in delivering long-term relief. Therefore, these methods may be quite beneficial in the treatment of disc pain.

Corticosteroid injections in the epidural space, Intradiscal steroid injections

Electrothermal intradiscal treatment

Of course, if these therapies are ineffective, surgery may be the only remaining alternative. Surgery of the Spine Surgery isn’t always required, but if you’ve been in excruciating pain for three months or more, you may want to consider it.

Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy is one sort of minimally invasive spine surgery (IDET). The fibers  surrounding the rip are cauterized during surgery, which helps to fuse and destroy unpleasant nerve endings. As a result, you won’t feel the discogenic pain since the nerve endings have died.

Spinal fusion is the most frequent procedure for discogenic pain.

Before deciding on the best course of action for you, be sure to investigate all of your choices and chat with your health care professionals.

FACET INJURIES AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT CAUSE LOWER BACK PAIN

Facet joints are a lesser-known component of the spine, yet they are critical to its function. A thick, flexible membrane surrounds these joints, secreting a viscous fluid that lubricates the joints and enables the spine to move freely. These joints support the body’s weight and allow for movement between the vertebrae. Facet joints and spinal discs work together to provide robust, regulated movement throughout the spine and body.

The facet joint’s main function is to keep the spine from shifting too much in one way or another. Thus, they are responsible for the human body’s inability to fully bend backward, forwards, or sideways. These joints contain a great number of nerve terminals to fulfill this role correctly.

Because of the high concentration of nerves in this location, it is very painful to destroy it.

Muscle spasms are a common sign of facet joint discomfort, and they may drive the spine out of alignment, producing back and/or neck pain. A patient may, for example, have a muscular spasm while just leaning down to pick up an object, causing the joint to freeze as it slides out of position. When facet joints freeze, it usually happens suddenly and without warning.

Facet joint injuries include a wide range of symptoms that are often mistaken with spinal disc problems. Facet locking syndrome is a painful condition that may be addressed by releasing the frozen joint or joints and restoring normal function to the facets.

Facet joint discomfort may also be caused by joint aggravation or nerve irritation. When this occurs, the muscles in the surrounding region spasm to protect the area from additional harm by immobilizing it.

FACET JOINT INJURIES: PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

Facet joint injuries, fortunately, may be observed on conventional x-rays. To view additional details of the spinal structures, a C.T. scan may be required. A CT scan may also be used to screen out other potential health problems.

An injectable dye may be used during an x-ray to help your physician see things more clearly. A facet joint block is what this is termed.

To light up the regions of concern, the dye is combined with a topical anesthetic and cortisone. This gives the radiologist access to a wealth of information about the affected region. In addition, an MRI scan may be used to identify facet joint abnormalities if these procedures are insufficient.

Back Pain Caused by an Auto Accident: Treating Facet Joint Pain

A simple cold or hot compress is a frequent therapy for facet joint discomfort, but you should always see your doctor before beginning treatment. Depending on your doctor’s suggestion, 15 minutes of heat or cold treatment every 2-3 hours is the standard routine.

NSAIDs (also known as anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen may also aid by reducing swelling in the afflicted region.

If at all possible, move slowly. Don’t overwork yourself and pay attention to your body. Stop what you’re doing if you’re in pain. If the discomfort continues, a therapeutic massage may be able to assist ease the spasm; however, be sure to inform the therapist of your problem before the massage starts.

Another approach is to get assistance from a knowledgeable chiropractor. Before scheduling an appointment, do some research on the therapist to ensure that they are qualified. Also, make sure  to include plenty of details about what occurred, how it happened, and where the pain is coming

from.

Finally, it has been shown that exercise may help with spasms and stiffness. It is, however, essential that you consult with a medical expert beforehand. If you exercise without first determining the degree of your injury, you risk exacerbating it.

HOW IS BACK PAIN TREATED AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?

Treatment for low back pain is based on whether the pain is mild (acute) or severe (chronic) (chronic). The following therapies are listed in order of severity, starting with the least severe (non- invasive) and ending with surgery. Surgery is only advised if symptoms are increasing, and/or remedial operations would cure or considerably ease the patient’s suffering, as any doctor will tell you.

TYPES OF LOWER BACK PAIN TREATMENTS AFTER AN ACCIDENT

Hot or cold packs Activity

Strengthening exercises Physical therapy Medications

Analgesics (including over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and aspirin, as well as prescription opioids like oxycodone and morphine) o NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines) (ibuprofen, naproxen sodium)

Anticonvulsants are a kind of anticonvulsant medication (primarily used to treat seizures but may help with radiculopathy)

Anti-inflammatories (Bengay, Icy Hot)

Spinal manipulative therapy (chiropractic care) Epidural steroid injections

Nerve block therapy (injections of local anesthetics, steroids) Surgery

SURGERY AS A LOWER BACK PAIN TREATMENT

Surgery is considered to alleviate neck and lower back pain caused by car accidents or other major accidents when the therapies mentioned earlier fail or when it is evident that surgery is required to enhance an accident victim’s quality of life.

Patients are typically at risk during surgery, but the long-term benefits often exceed the risks. Back and neck discomfort limits one’s happiness and ability to live life to the point that surgery is often recommended. As long as the procedure is well-suited to the patient’s condition, it may frequently effectively reduce pain.

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty Spinal laminectomy  Discectomy or microdiscectomy Foraminotomy

Intradiscal electrothermal treatment Nucleoplasty

Radiofrequency denervation Spinal fusion

Artificial disc replacement are some of the surgical alternatives for neck and back discomfort. What Causes Neck and Back Pain in Car Accidents?

When assessing the effect on a car occupant’s body, car accidents need a great deal of physics. Whether the damage is to the spinal disc or the facet joint, whiplash is a frequent cause of neck and back problems after an car collision. The speed and power of a car accident cause a sudden acceleration/deceleration that the body is unprepared for. Physical medicine or pain management interventions may sometimes help to heal these injuries.

According to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, around 3 million Americans are injured by whiplash each year, and approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from persistent whiplash discomfort.

Whiplash causes over 300,000 Americans to become handicapped.

The majority of whiplash injuries occur at speeds less than 12 miles per hour. • There is no link between car damage and the severity of injuries.

Whiplash risk rises with age; toddlers have a risk that is two-thirds that of adults. After a car accident, you may have upper and middle back pain.

Your upper and mid-back are made up of the thoracic spine (placed immediately behind the neck’s cervical spine). The thoracic spine is stiff and biomechanically supported by nature in comparison to the lumbar spine. As a result, thoracic spinal injuries are uncommon. There are twelve vertebrae in the thoracic spine (T 1- T12).

WHIPLASH MAY CAUSE PAIN IN THE UPPER AND MIDDLE BACK.

Keep in mind that whiplash may induce discomfort in the upper and middle back in addition to the neck. Fusions and laminectomies may be performed on thoracic disc levels in the same way that they can be done on the cervical and lumbar spine. However, surgery should only be undertaken after exhausting all other options (i.e., conservative treatment and interventional pain management/injection therapy).

Kyphoplasty is another treatment used in thoracic spine surgery. A compression fracture of the vertebrae is treated by kyphoplasty, a surgical surgery (often the thoracic spine). First, a balloon is inflated to restore the appropriate height of the vertebrae in this minimally invasive outpatient surgery. Then, to maintain the vertebrae in place, bone cement is injected.

CAR ACCIDENT NECK INJURIES

During an car crash, the major cause of spine damage is acceleration-deceleration. A herniated disc is a frequent complication. In reality, asymptomatic discogenic neck disease (i.e., herniated disc, bulging, etc.) that may be observed on an MRI becomes symptomatic after an acute trauma such as a car accident. In an car accident, neck injury patients are usually treated conservatively at first (chiropractic or physical therapy). Muscle and ligament injuries respond effectively to conservative treatment in many circumstances. Soft tissue injuries are typically used to describe muscle and ligament discomfort.

AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT, MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR A NECK INJURY IS AVAILABLE.

Except for a genuine spinal cord injury or a nerve injury (often a herniated disc directly impacting a nerve root) that severely limits grip strength, strength within the arm, and in the case of a lower back injury, will manifest itself as foot drop (i.e., dragging of the foot or inability to properly walk) or  cauda equina syndrome; it is extremely rare for a car accident victim to warrant immediate    medical  attention from a Spine Surgeon.

TYPICAL CERVICAL SPINE INJURIES TREATMENT

In most cases, an accident victim with a cervical spine injury will seek interventional pain management in addition to conservative treatment. For example, many accident patients experiencing neck pain will get epidural steroid injections in the cervical spine to see if they might provide transient episodic alleviation. If this is the case, the patient may be a good candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.

Interventional pain treatment (pain relief via procedures rather than medicines) is often used for diagnostic purposes rather than therapeutic purposes. The pain management professional (usually an anesthesiologist or physiatrist) will compare the clinical presentation to the MRI findings and select the best course of treatment.

In general, an insurance company will look at medical paperwork from an interventional pain management specialist and put a greater value on it than conservative therapy. In other words, the insurance company will record that conservative therapy failed to relieve the individual’s discomfort after a car accident, necessitating more radical treatment.

GETTING IN TOUCH WITH A WHIPLASH ACCIDENT ATTORNEY FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT

Whiplash accident cases are among the most difficult to pursue and overcome roadblocks that the insurance industry uses to deny claims for neck muscle and ligament injuries.

Whiplash will be labeled as a minor sprain or strain injury by insurance adjusters and their specialists. Non-surgical whiplash, ironically, is often worse than conventional disc damage that necessitates surgery. Surgery is the only way to get rid of persistent pain caused by spinal disc damage. Muscle and ligament injuries are more difficult to treat since there is no set period for recovery.

Whiplash may be just as debilitating to an auto accident victim’s quality of life as disc damage. The purpose of insurance companies in these circumstances is to reduce the value of each claim. Many attorneys are unwilling to pay the money required to engage the top specialists and pursue whiplash cases vigorously.

Over the last decade, as a Colorado whiplash injury lawyer, we have handled hundreds of car accident whiplash cases. We take these situations extremely seriously and understand how our clients’ injuries affect them.

Furthermore, the insurance providers will throw us in with the settlement mills if we do not pursue every case aggressively. A settlement mill is a legal practice concerned with signing up a large number of customers but only litigates a small number of cases.

WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?

Many consumers consider personal injury attorneys to be an overly costly instrument for their back pain cases. As a result, they will seek to manage their injury cases due to the expense. Almost often, this is a tremendous blunder.

Car accidents often result in injuries that have long-term consequences for a person’s health and well-being. They are not only inconvenient, but they may also cause lasting harm to a victim’s life. Fortunately, car accident victims may be able to seek compensation or file a claim for damages due to the long-term impacts that a car accident may have.

Insurance companies prefer to portray the process of collecting compensation for your injuries as straightforward, but it is far from it. Although seeming to be on your side, insurance firms do not have your best interests at heart. Their goal is to keep money out of your hands and into theirs since this is how they maintain their company lucratively.

You are at a significant disadvantage if you attempt to manage a personal injury lawsuit on your own. This is because many experts at the insurance firm are more experienced, equipped, and educated than the typical individual. Because of this significant disadvantage, when a person does not have legal law firm, the insurance company often gets their way.

When you handle a personal injury case on your own, you risk making beginner errors that cost you a big portion of a possible settlement, or maybe your whole chance of collecting any compensation at all.

You are leveling the playing field and bringing the battle to the insurance company when you employ an expert personal injury attorney.

ATTORNEY FOR SPINAL CORD INJURIES IN COLORADO

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a lot of significant spinal cord injuries. Cases involving the spinal cord are unique and need the retention of a team of professionals. These specialists will show how the victim’s lasting damage will affect his or her quality of life, the expense of future medical expenditures, and any required house modifications.

Your car accident lawyer must have experience managing similar situations. By their very nature, spinal cord injury lawsuits are exceedingly costly, and the car accident legal company must have the appropriate financial means to adequately manage the case.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers has over 100 years of combined expertise in aiding  car accident victims suffering from neck and back problems. We work relentlessly on behalf of  our auto accident victims to ensure that they obtain the appropriate medical care for their injuries, as well as the appropriate compensation to compensate for the damages caused by a negligent party.

If you have discomfort in your neck or back after a car accident, it is critical to get an accurate evaluation of your injuries. To help you properly heal, it’s critical to be well-informed and work with trained medical specialists and experienced personal injury attorneys.

Our extensive expertise addressing back, head, and neck injuries from car accidents prove useful to our clients in combating the insurance company’s typical methods and defenses.

The insurance company will often claim that any medical concern arising from an car accident is caused by degenerative disc disease. They will argue that owing to the natural spine degradation that occurs as we age, the claimant would have eventually had identical spine damage. As a result, it’s critical to choose the greatest spine injury lawyer for your case if you want to get the most money.

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