Rear view of old woman having neck pain while driving a car

Recently been in a car accident? Struggling with lower back pain after a car accident?

Car accidents can be extremely physically and emotionally traumatic for the body, especially on your back. No matter if you get in a major or minor car accident, your back can still be significantly affected by the crash. Therefore, understanding when to seek professional treatment for your lower back pain post-crash is important to reduce pain and get back to enjoying your everyday life.

Regardless of whether you are experiencing lower back pain after a fender bender, lower back pain after a rear-end collision, or any back pain after a car accident, it’s important to know when to seek professional treatment to care for your lower back pain symptoms. If you are currently struggling with lower back pain from a car accident, you don’t have to suffer and modify your life around your pain.

Read on to learn if you should see a doctor for your pain, and the different personal injury pain management treatment solutions available so you can go back to living a normal, healthy life.

A woman sitting in a car with a shoulder injury and back injury after a car accident.
Injury And Car Accident. Whiplash And Hurt Back

Is it Normal to Have Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?

There are several ways you can injure your back in a car accident from sprains and strains which are less severe to more severe injuries like a herniated disc. Therefore, while it is relatively normal to experience lower back pain after a car accident, this does not mean you should ignore your back pain, hoping it will just go away on its own.

While back pain typically subsides within about 6 weeks after a car accident, with many people experiencing significant improvements within a matter of days, it is important to undergo an evaluation such as a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray to better understand your back injury. While many people may only need short-term pain management solutions like pain medication or physical therapy to reduce their pain, other people may need more intensive care to effectively manage their pain symptoms.

Common Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

While specific symptoms may vary depending on the type and severity of your back injury, here are some of the most common symptoms of lower back pain to watch out for:

● Stiffness

● Posture Problems

● Muscle Spasms

● Pain worsens in certain positions (i.e. bending over)

The thing about lower back pain is symptoms can vary depending on type and severity. Some people may experience immediate, sharp pain while other people may experience more gradual and dull back pain. Both sharp and dull pain can greatly impact your health and well-being, and thus should both be taken seriously.

Common Types of Back Injuries From Car Accidents

There are all sorts of back pain injuries from car accidents that can result in lower back pain symptoms. While some people may experience immediate, sharp pain, other people may experience delayed back pain. This depends on the type and severity of their condition.

Common back injuries from auto accidents:

1. Back Sprains and Strains

Back sprains involve the ligaments that connect the joints to the bones or bones to other bones. Meanwhile, back strains occur when your soft tissue becomes damaged and affects your back’s tendons that link bones to muscles.

2. Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries from car accidents. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck jerk backward, then forward. This sudden movement results in straining and tearing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. Although whiplash is common, this doesn’t disregard the potential severity of the condition. Whiplash is oftentimes misdiagnosed, which if left untreated, can potentially be life-threatening.

3. Herniated Discs

The sudden force that occurs in a car crash has the potential to cause herniated discs. This occurs when the disc gets damaged and the soft inner core of the disc leaks out of the outer ring. Oftentimes, herniated discs are extremely painful and can cause numbness.

4. Facet Joint Injuries

The facet joints are on the back of every vertebra and help connect each bone to the spine. When the back experiences stress, this inevitably impacts the facet joints that hold the back together and can result in various disorders like spinal arthritis or overexertion (when the facet joint is bent so far out of place).

5. Spondylolisthesis

This condition occurs when a vertebra slips out of place onto the vertebrae below it. How severe the displacement is and where the displacement occurs influences the severity of pain felt and the potential treatment options available.

6. Lumbar or Thoracic Vertebrae Fractures

Lumbar or thoracic vertebrae fractures can cause intense pain and discomfort that can worsen with movement. And, some patients may even suffer brain damage and blackout depending on the severity of the fractures.

What To Do If You Have Lower Back Pain From A Car Crash?

Back pain is common among people who get into a car accident. However, just because lower back pain is common doesn’t mean you should ignore symptoms, especially if they are impacting your daily life.

Medical evaluations like CT scans, X-rays, and MRIs will help further determine whether you have a back injury and the severity of that back injury. Depending on the severity will influence the types of treatment methods that may be right for you to better manage your pain symptoms.

Common Treatments for People with Lower Back Pain

If you are struggling with lower back pain after a car accident, there are many non-surgical treatment options available. While some people may experience significant improvements in their pain a few days after the car accident, others may experience continued pain that needs professional care to better manage their symptoms.

1. Rest

Regardless of how serious (or not) the car accident was, resting days after the accident is important. This includes consistently applying ice and heat to the area that is causing your back pain. This also means staying off your feet and not engaging in any strenuous activity or exercise that may further prevent you from making a quick recovery. While oftentimes many people may see significant improvements to their back pain after resting for about a week, others may need to seek professional care to further manage their back pain.

2. Physical Therapy

If you are still experiencing back pain, your doctor may recommend you try some physical therapy exercises or see a physical therapist to better manage your symptoms and regain any flexibility and mobility that may have been harmed by the accident. Depending upon the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend a combination of physical therapy exercises and pain medications or injection therapies to speed up your recovery.

3. Pain Medications

Pain medications are another effective treatment that can be especially beneficial for people who are experiencing severe pain after a car accident or for people who are experiencing long-term pain symptoms. While pain medications are not meant to be a long-term solution, they can be helpful to combine with other therapies such as physical therapy to help alleviate the pain as you recover.

Some common examples of medications a pain specialist may prescribe to you to help reduce your lower back pain include NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, and corticosteroids.

4. Injection Therapies

Injection therapies are another effective minimally invasive treatment option to help those suffering from lower back pain after a car accident. There is a broad range of injection therapies available to reduce lower back pain. The great thing about injection therapies is they are versatile and can be used to treat chronic, acute, and inflammatory pain. A pain specialist will carefully create a tailored treatment plan that best suits your exact needs.

Overall, the above nonsurgical treatment options are all safe and effective ways to reduce lower back pain after a car accident. If you do not experience positive improvements in reducing your pain, your doctor may recommend various surgical interventions to better manage your pain.

While surgery isn’t automatically needed after a car accident, if you have exhausted the above nonsurgical interventions, surgery may help you improve your health and quality of life so you can get back to leading a normal life.

Man lying on a table experiencing trigger point pain in is upper back
Chiropractic treatment. Shiatsu massage, Back Pain trigger points. Physiotherapy for male patient, Sport Injury Recovery

Schedule Your Appointment For Less Back Pain Today

If you’re experiencing lower back pain after a car accident, you shouldn’t have to tolerate your pain. At Pain and Spine Specialists, we offer personal injury services in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to help patients struggling with lower back pain symptoms receive the exact care they need to improve their health and well-being.

We offer a series of pain management solutions from various injection therapies, to medication management, and more so you can receive the exact care essential to make a fast recovery. Our advanced pain specialists will create a tailored treatment plan to help better manage your pain symptoms so you can get back to living your normal life.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you better manage your pain today.

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We are a comprehensive pain management practice with locations Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Virginia. Our mission is to improve your quality of life with evidence based treatments and compassionate care that makes you feel like family.

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