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What Causes Back Pain Following a Car Accident?

After a car accident, you might incur different types of injuries that may, in turn, causes issues such as lower back pain. Here, we’ll look into the leading causes of back pain after a car accident. Back pain following a car accident may be caused by whiplash, which is often a result of the neck muscles and ligaments being forced beyond their normal range of motion. This can lead to sprains, strains, herniated or ruptured discs, and even neural damage. Other back injuries in motor vehicle accidents include compression fractures and fractures from direct impact trauma. Any of these injuries could cause chronic pain if not treated properly and require long-term medical interventions for definitive resolution.

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Whiplash is a neck injury that results from the forceful movement of the neck back and forth, similar to a whip cracking. Whiplash is usually caused by a rear-end car accident. Whiplash can also result from physical abuse, sports accidents, and trauma, including falls.

Bulging Disc

This is a condition that refers to an issue with the rubbery disc present between the spinal bones. The condition normally occurs when the spinal discs soft center pushes through a crack in the exterior casing.

Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a medical condition that occurs when damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Spinal injuries can lead to full or partial loss of functions such as movement, sensation, and bladder and bowel control. SCI can be caused by trauma, infection, diseases, or tumors and can leave victims paralyzed from the location of injury down. Spinal cord injuries are severe and require medical attention to prevent further damage. Spinal cord injury can cause intense pain that lasts lifelong.

Facet Joint Injury

Facet joint syndrome is a condition that is somewhat similar to arthritis; however, the condition affects the spine, and it can cause significant neck or back pain. It may be caused by degenerative changes occurring between the spine’s bones. The cartilage present in the facet joint may break down and be inflamed in the process, thus triggering pain signals in the nerve endings.

Back Strain

This is an injury to the tendon or muscle. On the other hand, a back sprain is the tearing or stretching of a ligament.

Lumbar or Thoracic Vertebrae Fractures

A lumbar or thoracic spine fracture normally causes severe to moderate back pain that usually worsens when you move around. If the nerves or spinal cord are involved, a patient will experience bladder/bowel dysfunction along with tingling, numbness, or weakness in the limbs.

Herniated Discs

This is a condition that refers to an issue with the rubbery disc present between the spinal bones. The condition usually occurs when the spinal disc’s soft center pushes through a crack in the exterior casing. Some herniated discs don’t have any symptoms, whereas others usually irritate nearby nerves, resulting in numbness, weakness, or pain in the leg or arm.

Degenerative Spinal Disorders

A degenerative spine disorder involves the gradual loss of the normal function and structure of the spine with time. They’re normally caused by aging; however, these disorders mainly result from tumors, arthritis, or infections. Herniated or slipped discs may cause pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord caused by degeneration.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition of the spine where the spinal canal becomes narrowed, placing pressure on nerve roots and/or the spinal cord. Symptoms of spinal stenosis can include pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms or legs. Severe cases may cause difficulty with breathing, bladder and bowel control, and even paralysis. Diagnosing spinal stenosis usually involves imaging tests such as MRI or a CT scan, which will show the narrowing of the canal. Treatment for this condition could include physical therapy to help strengthen muscles, medications to reduce inflammation or relieve pain, or surgery to widen the canal and relieve pressure on nerves.

Neck Injury

A neck injury is an injury to the cervical spine, or neck. Neck injuries vary in severity, ranging from whiplash due to a sudden impact, such as a car accident, to a catastrophic spinal cord injury with paralysis. Depending on the cause of the neck injury and its severity, treatments such as medication, rehabilitation therapy and surgery may be required. In some cases, temporary or permanent disability can result from neck injuries.

Back Injury Warning Signs

pain car accident

Some of the warning signs of a back injury include:

  • Pain that usually worsens with coughing, laughing, sneezing, or movement.
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Difficulty standing up in an upright position
  • Difficulty moving or stiffness
  • Bruising
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling
  • Pain radiating down one or all legs.

Diagnosing Lower Back Pain and Neck Pain After a Car Accident

There isn’t a reliable imaging study that can show lower back pain. Instead, the doctor will diagnose such an injury through a physical exam or medical history.

Medical Treatment For Back Pain After an Accident

There are various treatment options that a medical practitioner can administer to deal with lower back pain after an accident, and surgery is one of them.


Back surgery usually helps to ease the causes of lower back pain after a car accident. Most of the back pain can get better within three months. However, in extreme cases, the doctor may recommend surgery.

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections are a type of anti-inflammatory medication that is injected directly into the affected area to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. The injection contains a combination of corticosteroids and an anesthetic. It is typically used to treat joints or muscles that have become swollen due to conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Corticosteroid injections can also be effective in treating some forms of arthritis. While the effects are often temporary, they can provide relief for months before needing another injection.

Kyphoplasty as a Surgical Treatment for a Spine Injury

Kyphoplasty involves injecting a special type of cement into the vertebrae, and there is an additional step involving creating space for treatment using a balloon-like device. Through Kyphoplasty, it is possible to restore the damaged height of the vertebrae and help relieve back pain.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is usually a part of any treatment plan for chronic back pain. Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and prepare your back for surgery, and always help heal your back after surgery.

Dealing with Insurance Adjusters Following a Car Accident

Some of the tips to consider when dealing with an insurance company include the following:

Don’t Admit Fault for the Accident

After a car accident, never admit fault. Why? Your job description doesn’t involve determining the party to blame for the crash.

Avoid Issuing a Recorded Statement

The insurance company will try to solicit a recorded statement from you after the accident. In such an instance, avoid issuing a recorded statement regardless of the pressure you get from the insurance firm. Before stating the record, you need to consult a car accident attorney first. The lawyer will ensure that the statement you give aligns with your best interests.

Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Personal injury lawyers can assist you in your pursuit of compensation for the injuries you incurred after the car accident. The lawyer will ensure your best interests are protected against the large corporations and insurance company that wants to avoid parting with fair compensation for the damages and injuries after the car accident.

Will My Medical Costs Be Covered Before a Settlement?

The medical costs are part of the settlement, so they aren’t covered before the settlement.

What If I Miss Work Due to my Injury?

You’ll be compensated for lost wages resulting from your inability to work because of lower back pain after a car accident.

How Long Will It Take to Reach a Settlement?

The settlement process can take weeks or months. If everything goes well, the other party at fault will agree to the settlement for the damages.

What Damages Can I Pursue After a Car Accident?

  • physical damages related to medical bills caused by accident.
  • noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.
  • compensation for lost wages from missed work due to injuries suffered in the accident.
  • punitive damages can be awarded in extreme cases of negligence or misconduct in causing the accident.

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

The Law Offices of John M. McCabe works on a contingency. A contingency fee basis means the law firm will not charge you anything unless you win a settlement or in court. A contingency fee ensures the victim pays nothing out of pocket and that the law firm works hard for your case. We also offer contingency for other areas of practice, such as:

Contact The Law Offices of John M. McCabe

If you suffered back injuries due to a car accident that wasn't your fault, contact our personal injury lawyers today.

Need legal assistance?

Call us at (866) 907-1145 24/7 to arrange to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your case, or contact us through the website today.


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