Car accident injuries are one of the common reason people seek treatment for back pain. Often times, symptoms of a serious injury are not immediately visible and can manifest several days or even weeks later. It is important to seek medical attention within the first 24 to 72 hours following an accident, even if pain is not immediately recognized, and the accident seemed to be minor. By seeking immediate medical care, you not only facilitate your chances of a successful recovery, but you also establish documentation of your injury, diagnosis, and treatment. Car accident injuries such as whiplash and back pain are among the most common injuries and should be immediately treated for the best chance of full recovery.
Car accident injuries related to whiplash
Whiplash is one of the most common car accident issues that occurs even at low speeds. When a car impacts another object and stops suddenly, the body continues to travel forward. At the end of the body’s movement, the significant stress of this jerking motion can cause injury to the bones and soft tissues in the neck. Tendons are also strained as the neck hyperextends and exceeds its normal range of motion.
Whiplash can present as stiffness or soreness in the neck that can gradually worsen if left untreated. An estimated 15% to 40% of patients who have untreated acute neck pain will eventually develop chronic neck pain. The majority of car accidents are rear-impact collisions that occur at speeds of 14 mph or less. While these low-speed collisions may not be enough to damage the vehicle, damage to the neck in the form of whiplash can occur at speeds as low as 2.5 mph.
Car accident injuries related to back pain
While whiplash is the most common car accident injury in low-speed collisions, at higher speeds the body can sustain significant injuries along the muscles and tendons of the spine, causing back pain. Back pain due to car accidents can include sciatica, lower back pain, and mid- to upper-back pain.
Sciatica is caused when damage occurs to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, running alongside the spinal cord. In a car accident injury, sciatica can be caused when the sciatic nerve is compressed or otherwise injured. This can cause tingling and numbness in the buttocks and legs as well as radiating pain that moves down the legs and into the feet. Left untreated, sciatica can be debilitating.
In severe cases, sciatica can also cause incontinence and loss of bowel control. Any sign of this loss of control, or any weakness or loss of movement in the lower limbs is a sign of a true medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
Lower back pain
Lower back pain can involve the soft tissues and muscles of the back, including the quadrature lumborum, a large band of muscle that wraps around the back of the waist. These muscles can experience bruising and trauma during a car accident. Additionally, the lumbar spine can sustain fractures or movement of the vertebrae that can result in lower back pain.
Of all types of back pain, lower back pain is the most common type. Chronic lower back pain can result in years of lost wages and lost time with friends and family. For patients who already experience intermittent back pain, a car accident may worsen their condition.
Mid and upper back pain
Severe back pain can occur when the area of the thoracic spine is involved. The thoracic region is where ribs connect to the spine. Any injury to the organs or ribs can also cause back pain that requires treatment to resolve.
The thoracic region of the spine is generally very stiff in most people. It also provides the structure and stability needed to protect vital internal organs. Pain in this area due to car accident injuries can have lasting effects on patients’ ability to function in their daily lives.
Treatment options for car accident injuries
While back pain after a car accident may seem mild and unworthy of medical attention, as with whiplash, it is difficult to know how severe the injury might be without a thorough examination directly after the accident.
At the Minnesota Institute for Pain Management, we have comprehensive pain management and physical treatment protocols especially designed for those with car accident injuries.
When you make your appointment, our highly qualified, board-certified pain management specialists will conduct a thorough physical examination.
We will also evaluate you for other symptoms of car accident injuries, including:
- Tingling in the extremities
Our pain management specialists will evaluate all of your symptoms and review the circumstances of the car accident before developing a holistic, comprehensive plan to treat all injuries.
Treatments may include:
- Lumbar steroid injection
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Exercise and nutrition counseling
- Facet injection
- Medication management
- Facet Joint Denervation or Radio Frequency Ablation
We understand that one of the most stressful parts of dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is the financial and legal aspect of the car accident injuries. At the Minnesota Institute for Pain Management, we work with victims’ attorneys and insurance companies to make receiving treatment as hassle-free as possible. Get in touch today to schedule a consult.