Lower back pain is very common after a car, truck or motorcycle accident and potentially extremely serious. The back, neck, and spine is a complicated and sensitive part of the body. If you experience lower back pain after a car accident, you should call on a doctor and often a personal injury lawyer.
Car accidents subject the human body to the extreme forces it’s not equipped to deal with. This is particularly the case with the sensitive neck and back.
Lower back injuries range in seriousness from soft tissue injuries like whiplash, a condition that often heals in a matter of weeks, to damage to the vertebrae that can leave a car accident victim paralyzed.
Any kind of lower back injury can entail severe pain and suffering, lost wages, and high medical bills. If you experience lower back pain after a car accident in Maryland, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
What Causes Lower Back Pain after a Car Accident?
Car accidents often place extreme pressure on the necks and lower backs of drivers and passengers. Car wrecks can subject those involved to an intense jerking motion in the head and neck that can cause damage to the tendons, spinal discs or the facet joints.
The jerking motion is commonly referred to as whiplash but there are many different back and neck injuries associated with car wrecks.
Injuries that Cause Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in a car wreck. Whiplash injuries are usually the result of rear-end wrecks in which the victim is hit from behind. Whiplash is a non-medical term. It describes hyperextension and hyperflexion injuries. Hyperextension is when your neck whips backwards; hyperflexion is when it is pushed forward by the force of the auto accident impact.
Every year, almost 3 million Americans suffer the symptoms of whiplash, states Spineuniverse. Whiplash involves damage to the soft tissues in the neck. The symptoms are often delayed. Victims commonly experience stiffness, pain, blurry vision, and extreme tiredness. Although whiplash symptoms often clear up in a matter of days, this injury can require intensive physical therapy over a matter of weeks.
2. Compression and Spinal Fractures
The cause of lower back pain after a car accident in Maryland may be more serious than whiplash. Spinal fractures can cause acute pain and involve serious medical complications.
These injuries may be associated with safety belt failures when the seat belt holds the lower part of the body in place during a violent collision but the upper part of the spine is jerked around.
Compression fractures are tiny cracks or fissures in the vertebrae. They are associated with acute pain that may become worse with everyday functions like walking and breathing.
A compression fracture may cause a host of other problems like weakness in the muscles and bladder issues. People who suffer compression or spinal fractures should be kept immobile. They may require surgery.
3 Herniated discs
Our Maryland car accident lawyers represent many clients who suffer herniated discs in automobile wrecks. This injury is a significant cause of lower back pain after a car accident.
Herniated discs are also known as ruptured discs or slipped discs. This condition is not the same as a bulging disc. Herniated disc injuries occur when the impact of a car accident pushes the soft center of a spinal disc through a crack in the tougher exterior casing.
The discs are the rubbery cushions between the individual bones (vertebrae) that make the spine.
According to the Mayo Clinic, discs are more liable to herniate in your lower back, known as your lumbar spine. They can also occur in your neck (cervical spine). Common symptoms of a herniated disc include shooting pains in your arm and leg.
When the herniated disc occurs in your lower back, the pain is usually most intense in the calf, thighs, and buttocks.
When the disc protrudes into a nerve, the victim will experience numbness and tingling as well as muscle weakness. Some car accident victims recover from a herniated disc in a couple of months. Others require costly surgery.
Spondylolysis describes a stress fracture in one of the vertebrae in the back. Spondylolysis may push vertebrae out of place, typically when hyperextension of the spine occurs in a car wreck.
Spondylolysis is usually initially treated by anti-inflammatory medications and rest. Your doctor may recommend you wear a back brace to help support the spine as it heals. Corrective surgery is reserved for the most serious cases of spondylolysis.
5. Severe Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are among the most catastrophic potential consequences of car wrecks. Although they may cause lower back pain, the worst-case scenario is paralysis.
If the spinal cord is severed in a serious car crash, the victim may suffer partial or total paralysis below the injury. People who suffer incomplete paraplegia may still be able to balance and walk unaided.
Complete paraplegia leaves victims unable to move their legs or their torso, although paraplegics retain the use of their arms.
Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, is even more serious than paraplegia. The victim suffers paralysis in his or her arms and legs and loses the use of all four limbs.
Quadriplegia is typically caused by a severe spinal cord injury to the upper back or the neck. Victims often suffer a range of other symptoms such as a loss of sexual function. Some quadriplegics cannot breathe without a ventilator.
Paraplegia and quadriplegia are extreme conditions that require life-long care for victims of car wrecks. If you have been left paralyzed by a car crash, it’s vital to fight for adequate compensation for your lifetime needs.
6. Lumbar Radiculopathy
Radiculopathy is a condition caused by a compressed nerve in the spine. Car accidents may leave the victim experiencing tingling, pain, numbness, and weakness along the nerves in the back.
When the condition is diagnosed in the lower back, it is called lumbar radiculopathy. Pain associated with radiculopathy usually travels down the feet, hands, legs, and arms. Accident victims often suffer this painful condition at the same time as other complications.
7. Nerve Damage
A car accident victim may suffer nerve damage in his or her lower back or elsewhere. This nerve damage is caused by injuries that put pressure on the nerve roots, which can lead to considerable levels of pain, as well as numbness and tingling in different parts of the body, from the face to the extremities.
Nerve damage and pain are usually managed through the use of over-the-counter painkillers such as Aleve, Advil, and Ibuprofen, among others. In serious cases, steroids may also be prescribed to aid pain management and relief. Physical therapy is often recommended to alleviate nerve damage.
8. Facet Joint Injuries
Facet joint injuries can be very serious and a significant cause of lower back pain after a car accident. Low back pain is caused by damage to the lumbar facet joints.
The body’s facets are lubricated and shielded by a strong and malleable membrane that allows the spine to move with ease in any direction to support the body’s weight. When the forces associated with a car wreck damage these facet joints, your spine may not be properly supported, potentially impacting your mobility in the future.
9. Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces inside your spine. Common symptoms are pain, tingling, and muscle weakness. This condition may be caused or exacerbated by a car accident.
Car wrecks may cause fractures or displacement of one or more vertebrae. Broken bone from a spinal fracture can damage the inside of the spinal canal. Swelling of tissue following back surgery can also put pressure on your spinal cord or nerves.
What Can Be Done for Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident in Maryland?
The course of treatment for lower back pain depends on the cause and the severity of the injury.
Fortunately, for most back injuries, there are typically courses of treatment available. Some of these treatments will not be able to fix the injury and will only serve to relieve pain, but a pain management team can help to make enduring your condition as comfortable as possible.
Painkillers, both over the counter and prescribed, are often recommended, particularly in the initial stages of injury. Physical therapy is another method of healing and pain relief. It can strengthen the muscles damaged in the back, promoting their healing.
Many people who are suffering from serious lower back pain seek out a chiropractor to help them. Make sure the chiropractor is qualified and always explain the details of your accident and back condition before treatment.
Surgery is sometimes required in the case of serious back injuries resulting from major car accidents or even herniated discs. Surgery can help to repair the damaged discs and other damage done to the intricate structures of the back.
Given the complexity of the back and the risk of paralysis, surgery is often high risk and costly. It’s important to recover as much as possible from the driver who hurt you and to hire a car accident attorney to help maximize recovery.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Injury Lawyer Following Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident
Car accidents can cause many different types of injuries, both short and long-term. Although we never think we will become involved in a car accident, statistically speaking we are likely to be in a wreck once every 17.9 years. Back injuries are one of the worst potential consequences of a car wreck. The pain is often unbearable and you may never feel the same again.
Given the complexity of these injuries and the risk of complications, don’t take the risk of being short-changed by dealing directly with the insurance company. You should hire a Maryland car crash lawyer who will fight to get you as much money as possible. Please call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today at (410) 694-7291.
Getting in a car accident is certainly a less than ideal situation, but it happens to many of us every single day. Though many are lucky to only get into a minor car accident, even minor accidents can leave us with aches and pains and even full blown injuries.
Back pain after car accident is not uncommon, but it is important to take it seriously and always get it checked out by a medical professional.
What might back pain after car accident feel like?
It’s important to remember that every car accident is different, meaning that injuries may manifest in different ways. Combine that with the fact that everyone experiences pain differently and you’ll realize that it can be hard to pinpoint just one way that you may experience the aftermath of a car accident.
It is also possible for minor back pain after car accident incident to be more serious than it initially seems. These types of injuries are often referred to as delayed injuries, and can remain minor or progress to become more serious.
As it is impossible to tell from initial levels of pain alone how serious an injury might be and whether or not there has been internal damage even if there is no outward injury, it is important to be immediately assessed by a medical professional before making the choice to go home.
If you have back pain days after car accident incident, it is important to take is seriously as an untreated injury could potentially result in chronic lower back pain after car accident, an all too common concern among many car accident victims.
What types of back injuries might occur during a car accident?
First, it is important to classify the type of injury that you sustained, as it will impact the treatment you receive and potentially your overall prognosis as well. The most popularly occurring injury in a car accident, one that often results in back pain after car accident and even long term back pain after car accident, is the impact injury.
Impact Injury in a Car Crash
An impact injury occurs most frequently because of impact between the victim’s body and the interior of the car, which is common in car accidents, particularly those roll the car or otherwise significantly move it. If a passenger is ejected from the vehicle, it is even more likely that an impact injury, particularly one of a serious or even fatal nature, will be sustained.
There are a number of components that will determine the severity of the impact injury the victim sustains, among which are velocity as well as both the time in which the impact occurred and the direction that it occurred in.
An impact injury, especially a serious one, can easily affect the condition of the spinal cord, which can be dislocated as well as fractured, both conditions requiring a considerable recovery period.
However, most serious of all is the severing of the spinal cord after an impact injury, which can result in lifelong paralysis and often leads to immediate death, depending on the part of the spinal cord that was severed.
Whiplash is often the cause of many neck and back related injuries and while whiplash can be very mild and often requires no treatment or medical follow up after the initial examination, it has the potential to lead to lifelong or even deadly consequences.
Vertebrae Slipping During an Automobile Accident
Slipping of the vertebrae is also not uncommon during a car accident, and typically occurs in the lower back. Though people are genetically predisposed to this kind of back injury, it is most often aggravated and brought into light by a significant trauma, for which a car accident, particularly a major one, fits the bill.
This type of back injury can result in overall stiffness, muscle weakness, and pain that originates in the lower back but continues to radiate down the legs of the car accident victim.
Nerve Damage Injuries After an Accident
Nerve damage can also be the unfortunate result of a back injury sustained in a car accident. This nerve damage is caused by injuries that put pressure on the nerve roots, which can lead to considerable levels of pain, as well as numbness and tingling in different parts of the body, from the face to the extremities.
Such nerve damage and pain is most frequently managed through the use of over the counter painkillers such as Aleve, Advil, and Ibuprofen, among others. In serious cases, steroids may also be prescribed to aid pain management and relief. Physical therapy is often recommended and patients that follow the recommended treatment course typically report some relief of their symptoms and pain.
Penetration Injury From an Collision
The second common type of car accident injury seen is that of a penetration injury. Penetration injuries tend to be as severe if not more severe than impact injuries, as they have the probability to damage vital organs and structures within the human body. A penetration injury, even if it misses all of the crucial organs, still has the potential to lead to long lasting back pain.
What Can I Do About These Back Injuries?
Fortunately, even for the most serious of back injuries, there are typically courses of treatment available. Some of these treatments will not be able to fix the injury and will only serve to relieve pain, but a pain management team can help to make enduring your injury as comfortable as possible.
Painkillers, both over the counter and prescribed, are often recommended, particularly in the initial stages of injury. Physical therapy is another method of healing and pain relief, and can strengthen the muscles that may have been damaged in the back, promoting their healing.
Finally, surgery is sometimes required in the case of serious back injuries resulting from major car accidents. Surgery can help to repair disks and other damage done to the structures of the back.
However, it is more than likely that these medical treatments will be expensive. Though insurance will cover a portion of the costs, it is not likely to adequately cover all of them. In these situations, it is in your best interests to hire a personal injury lawyer, particularly one specializing in car accident injuries.
What Can A Car Accident Lawyer Do?
A car accident lawyer can help to determine liability in the accident through a series of reconstruction of the event itself. In many cases, if the other driver is found to be at fault, the victim of the car accident will be owed a settlement.
A settlement can be gained by filling a personal injury suit under the advice of a car accident lawyer. Though this process can be long, it is unlikely that your personal injury case will ever see the inside of the courtroom, as the vast majority of personal injury cases (as much as 96%) are able to be settled before they are seen before a judge or a jury.