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What Causes Back Pain After a Car Accident?

Posted by Florida Spine and Injury | Aug 12, 2020 1:18:25 PM

Every day in the United States, there are more than 27,300 auto accidents on the road.

Those numbers amount to a tremendous total of more than 10 million accidents every single year.

And no one is safe.

Even if you are a defense driver who obeys the speed limits and uses your turn signal, it doesn't mean everyone else on the road acts the same way. 

Believe it or not, data has shown that even the safest drivers are likely to experience at least 3-4 car wrecks during their lives.

Fortunately, many of these accidents are minor and won't do anything except cause a little damage to your vehicle, and maybe a slight headache after dealing with your insurance company. 

When injuries occur, your back is more than likely going to be the injured body part.

Your back is highly susceptible to damage from the physical force the occurs during a car accident. 

Because of this, back injuries are some of the most common injuries you are likely to experience after an accident. 

Even at speeds under and around 10mph, several factors cause back injuries to occur.

In the article below, we will discuss the cause of pain after a car accident, and what you can do to treat them after your accident.

Table of Contents

What Causes Back Injuries After Car Accidents?

Our bodies simply are not designed to handle the trauma of a car accident.

No part of your body is safe during an accident, and it is possible to sustain injuries to any part of your body during an accident.

However, along with your neck, the crash often puts the most pressure on your back.

Take, for example, a rear-end car accident.

You are driving, and another vehicle rear-ends your vehicle while you're t a stoplight.

The inertia from the impact forces everything in your vehicle, including your body, to move forward without warning.

Since you are inside a car with minimal space, the momentum of your body is abruptly stopped by different areas of the vehicle, such as your seat belt, steering wheel, or the dashboard.

These sudden motions force your head and neck to move quickly forward and then back, easily damaging your head, neck, or back.

Lower back injuries can also happen if you are ejected from your car during impact or if you collide with anything else inside or outside your vehicle, like a tree or another car.

No matter how you sustain your injury, there are many different reasons you might experience pain in your back after your accident.

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There are many causes of back pain after a car accident

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain from a Car Accident

Before you can get treatment, you first need to know what caused your injury. 

Below we'll go over a few of the most common things that can cause lower back injuries and how they may cause pain after being involved a car accident.

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When your head undergoes the quick back-and-forth movement during an accident, it is often called whiplash. 

Whiplash is usually thought of as a neck injury, and it's notorious for neck pain, but it doesn't stop there.

Whiplash can include injuries to the back as well as the neck, or spine resulting from sprains, tears, fractures, or herniated discs. 

Whiplash injuries can become very painful and significantly affect your quality of life, so prompt treatment from an experienced chiropractor is essential.

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Chronic Back Pain

Many things may cause back pain in the hours, days, and weeks following your car accident.

Pain in the short-term is usually caused by strains to muscles or the connective tissue in the back. 

Long-term pain may be caused by a more profound issue like damage to a facet joint or a disc.

The facet joint is typically located on the top and bottom of each vertebra. They connect the vertebrae and permit back motion.

Facet joint pain doesn't show up on imaging tests.

This means your chiropractor will have to do other tests to determine if a facet joint was damaged. 

Disc injuries also happen during accidents, and they often lead to chronic pain. 

Your discs are responsible for maintaining the motion of your spine. 

Disc injuries can also push on your nerves, causing neck or arm pain.

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Lumbar Spine Injuries

Car accidents can also put excessive force on the lumbar region of your spine.

This area is often referred to as your lower back. 

The anatomy of your lumbar spine consists of five different vertebrae. 

Your chiropractor usually diagnoses lumbar spine injuries through a physical exam and by asking probing questions.

When trauma happens from a car crash, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your lower back can stretch, causing a lot of pain. 

When actual damage is done to the muscles, it's considered a sprain. 

Sprains typically consist of bruising, swelling, tenderness, and limited range of motion.

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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the compression of the small spinal channel that holds your spinal cord and nerves. 

Spinal stenosis happens as you age, but it's also common during car accidents. 

This pressure on the nerves can typically cause pain, numbness, or weakness.

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Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be severe, and you should always seek immediate medical treatment. 

Your spinal cord is a long, thin system of tissues stretching from your brainstem to your tailbone. 

Pain from a spinal cord injury can result from damage to the cord itself.

It can also be a result of damage to the discs, vertebrae, or ligaments in your spinal column.

Damage to your spinal cord can often come with symptoms like pain, bruising, pressure, numbness, full paralysis, partial paralysis, loss of mobility, and long-term disability. 

It's essential to see a doctor as soon as you can for a suspected spinal cord injury.

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Herniated Discs

Your spine is made up of discs that act as cushions, protecting your spine and keeping the vertebrae apart. 

If a disc gets knocked out of place during a auto accident, it's called a herniation.

Herniated discs cause pain by putting pressure on your nerves and the spinal cord. 

There are two common signs of a herniated disc, including sudden and severe pain in your lower back and numbness in your legs.

If you feel any pain, pressure, numbness, or anything else after a car accident, you should see a doctor immediately. 

It's better to be safe and get checked out and treated before the condition worsens over time.

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Various factors affect how long you experience back pain

How Long Will My Back Pain Last After an Accident?

The answer to this question depends on several things, such as the severity of the injury you sustained and your health before the accident.

Sometimes the pain from a car accident injury will wear off after a couple of weeks, while other times, it will linger for weeks, months, or years later. 

However, the pain associated with a back injury doesn't always go away, especially if it's left untreated. 

Pre-existing factors like age, prior wear and tear from things like arthritis, and existing neck & back pain can exacerbate things. 

Everyone has a different threshold for pain tolerance and ability to rehabilitate and recover.

All the more reason to see a chiropractor.

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How Do I Treat My Back Pain After an Accident?

If you're dealing with conditions similar to these, there are several treatments to try on your own that may relieve your pain. 

Some of the most effective approaches include:


You should immediately after your pain starts, it's important to take some time to rest. 

Staying in bed can help you find temporary relief, and it will give your body a chance to start repairing itself after your accident. 

However, you need to avoid resting for too long. 

Generally speaking, try not to stay in bed for more than a couple of days, even if you are still experiencing pain. 

If you get too much rest and you're stationary for too long, you could make your pain and the underlying injury even worse.

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Avoid Long Periods of Sitting

After a back injury, you should be mindful of the amount of time you spend sitting. 

Sitting, especially for long periods, puts extra strain on your back, making the pain worse.

Avoid things like long car rides and sitting through long movies.

If you're stuck at a desk at work, try to get up from your desk and walk around every 20-30 minutes to stretch. 

This keeps your blood flowing properly, encouraging faster healing.

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Use Heat and Ice

Switching between ice and heat is great for most types of pain.

Ice minimizes swelling and inflammation, and it's an effective form of pain control.

Heat helps increase blood flow to the injured area. 

This increase in blood flow means you're getting more of the oxygen and nutrients needed to promote health and recovery. 

Heat can also minimize tension and stiffness after a long day.

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Speak to a Chiropractor from Florida Spine and Injury

Knowing the cause of back pain after an auto accident is half the battle, but you shouldn't stop there.

Always seek the help of a chiropractor at the first sign of pain after a car accident to accurately diagnose the root and location of the issue.

Chiropractic care is extremely useful in treating the spinal and soft tissue injuries commonly associated with auto accidents. we can work with your personal injury lawyer to make sure your injuries are documented so that you may be compensated for your medical bills.

Thousands of people visit chiropractors every day for relief from neck and back pain, lower back pain, and many other ailments and injuries.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced and professional chiropractor for car accidents in Florida for your injury, don't hesitate to click the button below.

Free Car Accident Injury ConsultationOriginal Article Here


Topics: back pain and car accidents

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