Car accident related back injuries are some of the worst and most common sources of chronic pain. The massive forces generated during a car accident can be enough to tear apart soft tissue and shatter bone.
Life-altering back injuries are often the result of serious car accidents. Even minor accidents can cause injuries. Sometimes after a car accident, people may not realize they have been injured because the onset of pain can be delayed.
The back and spinal column are an intricate source of interconnected and overlapping elements, and an aggravation of or injury to any of these delicate structures can cause extreme back pain and, subsequently, pain that radiates or affects other parts of the body. Discomfort from resultant lower back muscles spasms can be severe, and pain from a number of issues can be chronic.
Four Common Car Accident Related Back Injuries and Their Symptoms
While back pain after a car accident is extremely common, the symptoms and severity of the pain can vary widely. In fact, the back is the most common site of car accident injuries, including upper back injuries, sprains, strains, herniated discs, and spinal cord injuries.
Even though serious back injuries can take some time to show up after an accident, they may become a source of chronic pain leading to loss of mobility and inability to work or enjoy hobbies.
Thoracic Spine Injuries (Upper Back)
- Among the most serious of back injuries
- Generally result from high-velocity car accidents
- Sprains and fractures in this region can result in permanent nerve damage
Lumbar Spine Injuries
- This area contains the strongest muscles and the largest vertebrae which all provide support for the spine
- Sprains and strains to this area can be especially painful
- Damage or excessive stretching of the ligaments, tendons, and muscles result in limited movement, swelling, bruising, tenderness, and can dramatically impact your ability to carry out daily activities
Herniated or Slipped Disc
- Discs cushion and separate the vertebrae and protect the spine
- When a disc is displaced, it becomes slipped, or herniated
- Herniated discs result in added pressure on the spinal cord or its surrounding nerves
- The most commonly reported symptoms are sudden and intense pain in the lower back and numbness in the legs
Spinal Cord Injuries
- The most serious back injuries involve the spinal cord
- Injuries range from bruising or excessive pressure to permanent damage to the spinal cord and nerves, leading to long-term disability
- Injuries often result in partial or total paralysis, loss of feeling in specific areas of the body, and loss of reflex function
- Secondary medical problems can result, such as blood clots, bleeding, pneumonia, leaking of spinal fluids, and post-surgical infections