Even low-speed collisions between two vehicles can lead to high-impact injuries. The most common injuries from car accidents are those affecting the back and spinal column. While back pain after a car accident is temporary in many cases, it can also be a sign of a more serious, long-lasting, debilitating condition.
Even people who feel “fine” after a car crash can wake up days later with significant back pain and discomfort that limits their mobility or makes even simple tasks difficult. That is one of many reasons why it is so important to get medical attention after a car wreck, even if you don’t believe you suffered major injuries.
How Car Accidents Lead to Back Pain and Injuries
Whether or not you experience back pain after a car accident –and its severity– depends on several factors, such as the nature of the crash, the speed and size of vehicles involved, and whether you were wearing a seat belt or your airbags deployed. Also, the reaction of the back and spinal cord to the shock and impact of a crash varies from person to person depending on age, overall physical condition and prior injuries.
But all car collisions create a sudden and unexpected impact for which the body is unprepared. When another vehicle hits you, or you hit another car, your body will still be in motion after the impact until something stops it, such as a seat belt, airbag, windshield, or steering wheel. Without a seat belt, in particular, the motion of impact can propel a person out of the vehicle entirely, leading to catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Reasons for Back Pain After a Car Accident
Each area of the back consists of nerves, bones, tissues, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that extend from the neck to the pelvis. An injury to any single element of the spinal structure can lead to significant pain.
After a car accident, the most common back injuries affect the lumbar spine in the lower back. Thoracic injuries in the upper back are less common in collisions due to their rigid structure. But when the upper back does experience damage, it can often be more severe since the upper back connects to the chest and rib area. Damage to any of the 12 vertebrae in the upper back can affect breathing, cause nerve damage, or lead to chronic pain.
Back pain after a car accident may arise due to inflammation, fractures, or compressed nerves. The symptoms can range from discomfort that can be managed with rest and pain medication to an inability to perform everyday tasks. Even low-impact crashes can cause soft tissue damage, herniated disks, sprains, and strains that manifest as back pain, stiffness, or trauma.
Symptoms of a Back Injury After a Car Accident
Pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. For example, after an accident, back pain can manifest in many ways. You may feel one or more of the following:
- Muscle spasms.
- Burning pain that may move down your back through the back of one or both legs.
- Sharp pain when changing positions, such as sitting up upon waking or standing up after sitting.
- Discomfort when walking or standing, including a throbbing sensation or mild pain when attempting to perform daily tasks.
- Tingling or numbness in your legs, arms, feet, or hands.
As noted, you may not feel any of these or other back pain symptoms in the immediate aftermath of an accident. But that doesn’t mean you won’t. Seeking medical attention, whether at the scene, at the ER, or during a visit with your doctor, is the best way to learn the nature and extent of your injuries and get needed treatment.
Back Pain After a Car Accident? Contact a Maine Car Accident Attorney at Berman & Simmons for a Free Consultation
At Berman & Simmons, we are relentless in our efforts to get our clients needed care and deserved compensation after a car accident disrupts their lives.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your case. Contact a car accident attorney at Berman & Simmons today for a free consultation.