Back Pain After Car Accident: Symptoms, Types, and Treatments

Back Pain After Car Accident: Symptoms, Types, and Treatments

Back Pain After Car Accident: Symptoms, Types, and Treatments

What kind of back pain does a car accident cause?

When a car accident occurs, Newton’s Laws of Motion come into play. In the event of a collision, the body continues to move until it meets an obstacle. Your body is abruptly stopped by a seat belt, airbag, steering wheel, or windshield. In the worst-case scenario, your body will stop when it hits the ground.

In addition, violent motion can cause injury to various body parts, especially those that affect the neck, spine, and back. Although head-on collisions, rear collisions, and side collisions are usually the most noticeable, even a minor incident can affect your mobility.


How long should my back hurt after a car accident?

The fact that you feel fine after a car accident does not mean that everything is fine. It could take hours or even days for you to feel uncomfortable after the accident. It is common to experience delayed onset back pain following a car accident. An injury to the spine, bulging discs, or soft tissue could cause pain.

It is not uncommon for accident victims to feel fine after a collision. The adrenaline wears off, however, leading to delayed back pain that often appears days or even weeks later. This is why getting medical attention is so important, even if you do not feel injured.

When you seek medical help as soon as possible after a car accident, you safeguard against your pain escalating if you discover your injuries were more severe than you realized. If you wait days after the accident before seeking medical attention, insurance companies may assert that the symptoms resulted from previously occurring activities.


What should I do if my back hurts after a car accident?

Here are a few things you should do if you have back pain after a car accident to get the best medical care for a speedy recovery and to ensure you receive fair compensation:


Have your doctor examine you immediately

A crash-related injury can only be accurately diagnosed within a short period of time. After a car accident, acute back pain can be caused by mechanical or soft tissue injuries, as well as nerve damage or paralysis from ejected spinal disc fragments. 

So, the earlier an injured individual receives medical attention, the sooner they are able to begin receiving the necessary and appropriate counseling for their recovery.


Obtain medical treatment

A diagnostic imaging procedure is needed in order to determine if your backache is caused by anything serious and determine how to treat it. The emergency room or your family doctor must provide medical paperwork as soon as possible so that your injury can be demonstrated to the health insurance company or the No-Fault insurance company. In order to pay for necessary medical care, insurance companies review early treatment records and medical documentation.

It is easier to obtain a complete and fair legal payout for your injury when you document the damage and treatment, as well as show a clear causal relationship between the back pain and the collision. Often, delaying treatment makes it more difficult for you to obtain a fair legal settlement. When you delay treatment, it makes it more difficult for your insurance company to pay for your treatment and makes it harder for you to achieve a full recovery.


“Tough it out” doesn’t work

You should never underestimate the importance of treating a backache promptly and appropriately, no matter how minor it may seem to you. When people suffer an accident, the shock often rips the incredibly tough outer annulus component of their spinal discs, and as they go about their daily activities, more disc material juts out of that tear in the annulus. Herniated discs are often the result of this situation.


Legal Reminder

Please do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers from your insurance company, the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or any other insurer or person until you have consulted with an experienced lawyer.


6 Symptoms of Back Pain You Might Experience From a Car Accident


Symptoms such as back pain, discomfort, or unusual symptoms should be treated seriously after a car accident. There is no guarantee that injury symptoms will occur right away or even the next day. Consult your doctor if you experience slight back discomfort and don’t assume it will resolve on its own; rather, consider it an indication that something is amiss.

The following symptoms may be associated with back injuries:

  • Pain.
  • Pain that radiates down the buttocks and legs.
  • Stiffness.
  • Numbness or tingling in arms, hands, legs, or feet.
  • Difficulty standing or walking.
  • Muscle spasms.


Different Types of Back Pain People Get After Car Accidents

Car accidents often result in whiplash, one of the more common effects of injuries to the back. This may result in many serious spinal conditions, as well as injury to the soft tissue.

Strains, sprains, fractures, and disc herniations are among the most common injuries. The car accident may accelerate the occurrence of previous problems such as spinal stenosis, however.

Symptoms of back injuries following a car accident can differ widely, and you may have more than one type of injury. Moreover, without diagnostics, it can be difficult to pinpoint the specific source of pain because similar symptoms can be present for all of these injuries.


Fractures of the lumbar or thoracic vertebrae

A spinal fracture occurs when one or more vertebrae shatter, crack, or are otherwise injured. A “broken back” is an injury to one of the 33 bones that comprise your backbone and protect your spinal cord.

Back fractures are commonly referred to by the following phrases by doctors:

Burst Fracture: When many vertebrae are crushed, perhaps causing bone fragments to scatter.

Flexion fractures occur when a vertebra or vertebrae fractures, with fractures, most commonly occurring in the middle or posterior columns.

Compression fractures are cracks or minor breaks in the bones caused by excessive pressure.

Fracture-dislocation is a combination of a fracture listed above with the dislocation or movement of your vertebra or vertebrae.


Back sprains and strains

Soft tissue is stretched too much during a back strain, resulting in damage. An injury affecting tendons in your back connects bones and muscles. Conversely, a back sprain damages the ligaments connecting bones to each other or joints to joints.

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.


Herniated discs

After a car accident, discs may shift, causing nerves to be squeezed, resulting in a herniated disc. Disc herniation is the process in which the inner section of the spine pushes through the outer ring.

Doctors may describe herniated discs as bulging, sliding, or rupturing. When parts of your body are pressing against the projecting section, you might feel numbness, a burning sensation, or weakness.



Stress fractures cause vertebrae to pop out of place, causing spondylolisthesis. The vertebrae may move in such a manner as to compress the spinal canal or nerves. Pain levels and treatments depend on displacement amounts and locations. People typically complain of weakness, discomfort, and numbness, in addition to difficulties walking.


Discogenic pain

When your spinal discs are damaged, you will experience discogenic pain, often manifested as acute aches or shooting sensations. Sciatica is a painful condition that can radiate to your buttocks, feet, groin, or one or both legs.

The pain caused by discogenic causes discomfort in different ways for those who suffer from it. Many people find lying down to be more comfortable than standing. Continuing to stand or sit for an extended period of time can make the pain worse.


Facet joint injuries

Nerve roots reach different portions of your body, such as your arms or legs, through facet joints located between multiple spine bones. Despite the fact that you can bend or twist in numerous directions without causing back pain, facet joints allow you to do so painlessly. A damaged facet joint affects your nerves and causes discomfort.

A decrement in cartilage or a previous untreated spine injury can result in facet joint problems. The muscles in your back may tense up or spasm, or you may feel a radiating pain.


Degenerative spinal disorders 

A traumatic injury to your back might lead to a degenerative disc condition months or years later. A health problem you weren’t aware of before the occurrence can also be sparked as a result of the event. Past injuries combined with degeneration may result in:

  • Bulging discs
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Pinched nerves
  • Foraminal stenosis


6 Treatment Options for Back Injuries Caused by Auto Accidents


The recovery time for many back injuries is long, requiring multiple treatments. The emotional trauma and physical limitations from the car accident may cause you to feel angry, frustrated, anxious, or depressed. Keep yourself motivated as you work toward recovery by enlisting a good support system. Additionally, you may need help transporting yourself to appointments and providing daily care, depending on the severity of your injury.

Your doctor will provide you with a comprehensive treatment plan to guide you through the recovery process after back injuries. You may receive a variety of treatments to help you recover from a car accident.



Rest is critical in the first few days following a car accident so your body can heal and recover. There has been a lot of stress and pressure on your body because of the situation you were in, so try not to rush back to living your usual hectic life. Allow yourself ample time to recover by resting, eating healthily, and drinking plenty of water.



If you are involved in a car accident, you may be suffering from pain and discomfort. Inflammation and pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Occasionally, your doctor might prescribe a stronger pain reliever if over-the-counter medications don’t work. 

In the event that you are suffering from muscle spasms, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants. Apply topical pain medications, such as icy hot, to alleviate sore, achy muscles and joints.



Injections of corticosteroids are sometimes necessary for the treatment of back and joint discomfort, inflammation, and irritation. The effects of corticosteroid injections fade with time, but they can provide short-term relief from inflammation.


Exercise and physical therapy

During your recovery, relaxation is essential, but do not let yourself become inactive for too long. Immobility for long periods of time might hinder your recovery and worsen your pain. Exercise and stretching are important to incorporate into your daily regimen after consulting your doctor. 

If you require physical therapy to regain strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility, your doctor will prescribe it to you. During at-home exercises, your therapist can help you strengthen your core muscles and lower back, resulting in a stronger and healthier back and spine.   


Chiropractic care

Back pain and tension can be relieved with chiropractic care as well as spinal function and mobility improved.



Herniated discs, fractures, spinal cord injuries, and spinal cord damage may require surgery to correct.    


5 Signs to Look Out For With Back Problems After a Car Accident


Neck Pain or Stiffness

In the case of car accidents, whiplash is one of the most often occurring conditions. The term whiplash refers to any strain that occurs as a result of being involved in a car accident. They are often the result of rear-end collisions. When you experience persistent whiplash following a car accident, you should schedule an X-Ray, MRI, or CT Scan to assist establish the source of the pain.



Many people suffer from headaches following a car accident, but they can also be an indication of more serious health issues. Headaches can indicate blood clots in the brain, injuries to the head or neck, or the beginning of a serious concussion.


Changes in Personality or Functioning

There is a possibility that this symptom indicates head trauma. Following a car accident, personality changes usually occur along with irritability, temperament, or feelings of melancholy. In addition, it can refer to experiencing difficulties thinking, concentrating, moving, or looking around in ways not experienced before.



Hands and arms may feel numb after a whiplash injury. Damage to the spinal column is usually the cause of the inability to feel in those areas.


Back Pain

Accidents in cars are a common cause of chronic back pain symptoms. If you’re experiencing pain, it could be a result of a muscle injury, a pinched nerve, or a torn ligament. It is also possible to suffer an injury to the bones in your spine.

If you experience back pain over a prolonged period of time, you should consult a back pain specialist local to your area. Impact crashes are notorious for inducing back and neck pain over half of the time.


Frequently Asked Questions About Back Pain After Car Accidents


What can you expect both physically and mentally after an accident?

In the aftermath of an automobile accident, psychological problems are not uncommon. People suffering from shock tend to have dilated pupils, nausea, and headaches. In the event that this condition is discovered at the scene of an accident, you will likely be hospitalized for treatment.

It is common to feel overwhelmed after an accident due to the events that occurred at the scene, as well as the psychological, physical, and legal ramifications. A lot of people experience anxiety, and they might also develop depression. People who are involved in car accidents may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Taking these conditions lightly can lead to serious consequences. Consider seeking help if you experience anxiety, depression, or PTSD. There may be some immediate symptoms following a car crash, and others may take longer. It is nonetheless vital to address these delayed symptoms.


How do I get help for back pain following an accident?

After experiencing back discomfort during an automobile accident, call 911 or get to a hospital as soon as possible.

After leaving the accident scene, go straight to a hospital emergency room for medical treatment, diagnosis, and care.

In alternative cases, you can try to see your family doctor as soon as possible following the accident, but keep in mind that most family doctors cannot do imaging to determine whether you have disk damage. Generally, family doctors will prescribe pain medication and/or anti-inflammatory medicines and recommend you wait and see what happens.

If you suffer back pain after a car accident and, for whatever reason, are unable to see a doctor on the same day, the important thing is to get medical attention as soon as possible.


How Long Do Thoracic Sprain and Strain Injuries Continue to Cause Pain?

In most cases, thoracic sprains and strains will resolve within eight to twelve weeks. Damage at this point is referred to as acute damage. In cases where a sprain strain lasts longer than six weeks, it is considered chronic. There are some people who experience constant pain in the middle of their back.

Often, insurance companies pay medical doctors to tell jurors that strains and sprains cannot be persistent. Patients who are involved in car accidents know that this is not true. These doctors have faith in their patients. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can become overstretched to the point where they are unable to fully recover.


Check out Stridewell to learn everything about back pain after a car accident

An expert injury clinic with experience treating injuries sustained in auto collisions is the best choice for treating back pain after a car accident. Contact Stridewell today!

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