Crash! Uh oh, your car and another just got too close to one another. You’ve found yourself in a car accident and now you need to assess the damage, not just your car, but yourself, too.
Unfortunately, damage from a car accident isn’t limited to the vehicles. Sometimes, you realize pretty quickly you’re hurt too. Other times, you might not feel an injury until later.
Even if you walk away from a car accident without an obvious scratch, it’s important to get a medical evaluation. You might have delayed symptoms of an injury days later.
Back pain after a car accident is a pretty common injury. Do you know what to expect if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation? Find out below.
Your back is a complex part of your body. You can break it down into three areas: the neck, upper back, and lower back. Each area is composed of discs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. That’s a lot that can go wrong after an accident.
An injury to any part of your back can feel anywhere from mildly painful to debilitating. The injury could be very temporary or last a lifetime. To understand what to expect, let’s take a look at the four types of back injuries.
Your thoracic spine is your upper back. It’s the part of your spine that connects to your ribs and chest. Since it connects such an important part of your body, injuries here are pretty serious.
Usually, a high impact accident causes upper back injuries. After such an accident, it’s a good possibility you’ll have permanent nerve damage.
Your five largest vertebrae and strong muscles are all part of the lumbar spine. This is the part of your spine that provides stability.
Damage after a car accident to this area usually comes in the form of a sprain or strain. A strain happens when your ligaments, tendons, or muscles get stretched out. A sprain is when there is serious damage to the same ligaments, tendons, or muscles.
In either case, a sprain or a strain is very painful. You’ll probably experience bruising, swelling, and tenderness in the injured area. These injuries might limit your movement and ability to perform daily activities.
Discs act as cushions between the vertebrae and protect the spine. After an accident, a disc might get displaced, or herniated. When this happens, the disc places pressure on the spinal cord or the nearby nerves.
You’ll know right away if you have a herniated disc after an accident. You’ll feel sudden and intense pain in your lower back. Your legs might also feel numb for a bit.
The final back pain injury is to the spinal cord. This is the most serious of all four and has a range of issues.
You could experience excessive pressure and bruising. More commonly, you could have permanent damage to your spinal cord and nerves. If you experience this, you could face long term disability.
Often times, spinal cord injuries result in permanent damage. You could experience paralysis, loss of feeling in different areas of your body, or a loss of a reflex.
Furthermore, you may be at risk for secondary medical problems. Depending on the treatment you need, you could face infection, blood clots, bleeding, pneumonia, or leaking spinal fluid.
If you’ve been in a car accident, don’t wait to see a doctor. Even if the accident seems minor, you could have an issue with delayed symptoms.
Your doctor may want to perform a full check-up before giving you a clean bill of health. Even if you leave confident you’re injury-free, you should still stay alert for a few days for any symptoms.
Here are a few delayed symptoms and back issues they could relate to:
Neck and shoulder pain may creep up on your days after an accident. If you feel it, contact your doctor right away. You could have a debilitating herniated disc, whiplash, or spinal injury.
You might feel back pain a few hours after an accident or several days later. Back pain is associated with several issues including pinched nerves. You could have a problem with mobility if the pain is strong enough.
Any numbness or tingling feeling can point to a serious issue. Don’t brush off this symptom as no big deal. Leaving it untreated could cause you serious, life-changing complications.
It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you can after a car accident. Through x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, myelograms, and bone scans, a doctor can determine your damage.
The good news is that your PIP and no-fault insurance will cover many of these procedures.
Many back injuries only need short term, temporary treatment. More serious injuries may need surgery or other procedures to alleviate your pain.
Don’t forget, after a car accident, your endorphins kick in. They might hide that you have back pain after an auto accident, delaying several symptoms.
Even if a doctor clears you, it’s important to keep tabs on your body signals for potential issues.
Back pain after car accidents is nothing to ignore. It may feel like a minor inconvenience at the time, but it could be much worse. Slight back pain could mean permanent damage down the line.
If you’ve been in a car accident and need to find an experienced back pain and injury doctor near you, call us today.
Some auto accident injuries can be hidden, don’t delay, call 1-800-897-8440 and get on the road to recovery!