Car accidents, and the force that a person goes along with, are highly susceptible to damage causing long-term neck and back injury. Even at lower speeds, various factors contribute to injuries to these sensitive areas. As something slams into a car or vice-versa, the opposing forces inertia cause a human, including everything in the car, to move in that direction.
This article focuses on the causes of pain in these two areas and what you should do to deal with it.
Types of neck and back pain after a car crash
- Mid back pain
- Lower back pain
- Upper back pain
- Delayed back pain
- Burning back pain
- Bad neck pain
- Mild back pain
- Thoracic back pain
- Lumbar back pain
- Extreme back pain
- Chronic & constant back pain
- Sore neck
- Pain in the right or left side of the neck
- Neck & shoulder pain
- Head & neck pain
- Lower neck pain
- Muscle soreness
- Back of head and neck pain
- Chest pain
- Nagging or slight neck pain
- Upper neck pain
- Cervical neck pain
- Recurring neck pain
Causes of Neck and Back Pain after Car Accident
Let’s dig in the right!
The jerking motion of the head and neck is referred to as whiplash. It can include any injuries to the neck or spine resulting from sprains, herniated discs, tears, or fractures. These injuries can significantly affect your day to day quality of life, so do not ignore it.
The Bad Signs of whiplash includes:
- Extreme fatigue & constantly tired
- Stomach discomfort
These signs could take 24 hours or more (after an accident) for the symptoms to appear.
2. Chronic Neck Pain
After an accident, many different factors can cause you neck pain. Shorter-term pain usually lasts weeks––caused by strain––to connective tissue in the neck. Whereas, long-term pain can last for more than two to four months. In the latter case, the cause of the pain may be deeper like damage to a facet joint or disc––an immediate visit to an orthopedic clinic is required.
- The facet joint feels like muscle pain, typically located to the right or left of the neck’s back. The pain does not show up on x—rays or other imaging tests, so you might get a medial branch nerve block injection (anesthetic injection near nerves) to find out the source of pain. Patients who go through this procedure experience pain relief that lasts longer.
- Disc injury is the most common injury that happens in a car accident. The disc is responsible for maintaining your neck motion, leading to severe to chronic pain if get disturbed. Moreover, disc injury can cause you arm pain.
3. Lumbar Sprains
A car accident can severely injure the lumbar region of your spine (aka lower back). Likewise, lumbar sprains also result from lifting a heavy object, a sports injury, or anything that puts excessive force on the back. These traumas cause the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the back to stretch too harsh; thus, it causes sprain (or strain).
You may have swelling, bruising, and a limited range of motion. These lumbar spine injuries won’t get diagnosed by imaging, and you will need to rely on doctor experience. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and question-answer session to determine the diagnosis.
4. Spinal Stenosis
Spinal Stenosis is the abnormal narrowing of the spaces within a spine. This pressure on the nerves causes pain, swelling, or numbness. Spinal Stenosis is a medical problem that commonly occurs due to natural aging; however, it can also cause because of trauma such as a car crash. There is no cure for it, and some people with this disorder may not show any symptoms. But there are a few treatments to help relieve symptoms.
Your doctor can prescribe over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications that help ease swelling and pain. Furthermore, your doctor may also give you cortisone injections––depending on the issue.
5. Spinal Cord Injuries
Your spinal cord is a thin and long tissue system that connects your brainstem to the lower back. There are many causes of spinal cord pain. It can result from damage to the discs, ligaments, or vertebrae in the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself.
Moreover, damage to your spinal cord might also show symptoms like bruising, numbness, pressure, loss of mobility, full or partial paralysis, and long-term disability. Therefore, you must see a doctor as soon as possible to treat spinal cord injuries.
6. Disc Herniation
Human bodies have discs in their spine that act as a protective cushion for the spine, keeping vertebrae apart. Spinal disc herniation means your disc gets knocked out of place due to a crash, causing pain or sensation in the body parts.
Signs of a herniated disc are:
1. Unbearable pain in the lower back;
2. Pressure or swelling in the legs
If you feel any of the above two symptoms, see a doctor right away before the condition becomes worse over time.
How to diagnose neck and back pain after a car crash?Because neck and back pain has different causes, it’s essential to consult and accurately diagnose the problem with a skilled practitioner. MRIs, X-rays, CT-scans, or tomography are helpful imaging tests in identifying signs of a whiplash injury. Check-in with your doctor asap!
Chiropractic treatment may include anti-inflammatory drugs, pain-relief medication, a cervical collar, muscle relaxants, massage, and physical therapy, including nerve block therapies. Your chiropractor will perform a physical, as well as, neurological examination to determine the causes of your neck and back pain after a car accident. After s/he makes a diagnosis, you can quickly come on the road to recovery!
Home treatment tips prescribed by the chiropractor include:
- Hot or cold packs
- Physical therapy
- Strengthening exercises
Skin Safety tips:
- Never sleep with heat or ice pack!
- Before application, wrap heat or ice in a towel to protect the direct contact with your skin.
When Do You Visit An Orthopedic Clinic?
Because Chiropractors only work with external manipulation (assessment of posture and range of motion) of your body, they usually don’t deal with surgery. But if they notice something more severe like a fracture, they would refer you to the best team of Board Certified Orthopedists. The quicker they identify the problem, the faster you will recover.
Surgery as a Treatment for Neck and Back Pain
Back and neck pain reduces one’s capacity to enjoy life. When the above chiropractic treatments and therapies quit working, surgery is the last option you will left with. Surgery improves your life quality by relieving your neck and back pain caused by a car crash or other traumatic conditions.
Get in touch with a team of licensed chiropractors and orthopedic doctors who will work with you after a car accident injury. It is better to consult an expert to have the right diagnosis, if you questioned yourself if there is an “X-ray near me“, you can visit Perfect Health online.
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