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Back Pain After a Car Accident

Posted on July 2, 2024 in
Back Pain After a Car Accident

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of back pain and serious back injuries. Even a minor crash can cause serious injuries that leave you with chronic pain, reduced quality of life, and disability. Sometimes, back injuries are obvious right after an accident, but it may be days or even weeks before back pain develops.

Back pain after a car accident can be caused by an aggravated pre-existing condition or a new back injury. Because back injuries can be life-changing yet may not be apparent immediately, it’s crucial to get medical care as soon as possible after a crash. Here are common back injuries that usually happen in a car accident and what you should do after your accident.

Sprains or Strains

These soft tissue injuries are very common after an accident when muscles, ligaments, or joints are stretched, overextended, or torn. Strains and sprains cause muscle spasms, pain, and stiffness in the back that may last for weeks or months.

Herniated Disc

This is a common condition in which the cushioning discs between vertebrae are damaged. A herniated or ruptured disc happens when the soft inner gel of the spinal disc pushes through a small tear in the harder outer layer. This herniation can cause severe back pain, muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness when it presses on a nerve root.

Car accidents can also worsen existing conditions like degenerative disc disease. Many people have degenerated, slipped, or herniated discs with no symptoms until a crash worsens their condition.

Spinal Stenosis

This is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can compress the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal stenosis is often painful and leads to muscle weakness and numbness. A car crash doesn’t usually cause the condition, but the impact of an accident can dislocate or fracture vertebrae and narrow the spinal canal. It’s far more likely for people who have existing spinal stenosis to suffer a worsening of their condition.

Facet Joint Injuries

Facet joints are small joints between vertebrae that connect the vertebrae, allow the spine to twist and bend, and keep the spine from slipping too far forward or backward. Nerve roots pass from the spinal cord through the facet joints to the body. Facet joints are similar to knee joints, with cartilage, connective tissue lining, and fluid to keep the joints lubricated.

Facet joints can become swollen, damaged by trauma, or fragile as they degenerate with age. Trauma from a car accident is one possible cause of facet joint syndrome, a painful condition that makes it hard to bend, rotate, twist, or lift.

Vertebral Fractures

Vertebral fractures are broken bones of the spine. These fractures usually happen with a high-energy collision or extension of the spine. About 1.5 million people experience vertebral compression fractures every year. Osteoporosis is the single greatest risk factor, but trauma from a car accident or fall can also cause a spinal fracture.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are one of the most severe injuries you can sustain in a car accident. These catastrophic injuries result in loss of mobility, sensation, and/or function below the level of the injury. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

This is a condition caused by compression of nerves or blood vessels between the collarbone and first rib, a narrow passageway called the thoracic outlet. This condition causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. It can also cause swelling of the arm and poor circulation.

What To Do If You Experience Back Pain After a Car Accident

One of the most important things to do after a crash is seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. If you experience new or changing symptoms like back pain in the days after your accident, be sure to visit your doctor again and talk about your new symptoms. These symptoms may indicate hidden or worsening injuries that require immediate attention.

Follow your doctor’s advice. Avoid making a statement to the insurance company or signing a settlement agreement until you speak with a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will protect your rights and make sure the insurance company does not undervalue your claim.

If you believe you have suffered a back injury in a crash, a Portland car accident lawyer can help and discuss your legal options.

Talk With a Portland Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you were injured in an accident in Portland, OR, please contact our Portland personal injury lawyers at Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer to schedule a free consultation today.

Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
101 SW Main St. #1905
Portland, OR, 97204
(503) 773-3333

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