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Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident: What You Need to Know

Posted On: April 25, 2024

Been in a car accident and now experiencing lower back pain? You’re not alone. Back pain is a very common complaint following a collision, and it’s crucial to understand why it happens and what steps you should take.


Is Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident Normal?

Yes, unfortunately, lower back pain is very common after a car accident. The sudden impact, jolting motions, and strain on your body during a crash can cause injuries to muscles, ligaments, discs, and even bones in your lower back. Even minor collisions and fender benders can cause lasting back aches and injuries.


What Causes Lower Back Pain After a Car Crash?

Several factors can contribute to your lower back pain after a car accident. If you’ve experienced any of these common symptoms or back injuries below you may be entitled to compensation.

Muscle Strains and Sprains: The sudden force of the accident can stretch or tear muscles and ligaments in your lower back, leading to pain and stiffness.

Muscle Spasms: The sudden force of a car accident can trigger involuntary muscle contractions in the back, leading to severe pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Muscle spasms can also interfere with sleep and daily activities.

Thoracic Spine Injury: While often overshadowed by injuries to the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) spine, the thoracic spine (upper back) is also vulnerable in a car accident. Injuries to the thoracic spine can cause pain, reduced range of motion, and even breathing difficulties in some cases.

Herniated Disc: The discs that cushion your vertebrae can be herniated or bulging due to the impact, causing radiating pain down your leg (sciatica).

Facet Joint Injuries: These small joints in your spine can become inflamed or misaligned after a crash, contributing to pain and reduced mobility.

Whiplash: This injury to the neck can also cause referred pain that manifests in your lower back.

Spinal Cord Injury: This injury can result from damage or complete severing of the spinal cord. Depending on the location of the damage, it can cause paralysis from the neck down (quadriplegia) or from the waist down (paraplegia). Loss of movement, sensation, or both, can be experienced.


The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention

Prompt and thorough medical evaluation after a car accident is crucial, even if you don’t experience immediate back pain. A CT scan and x-ray can help determine the type of injury sustained and an early diagnosis when combined with treatment options can minimize the severity of a back injury.

Also, if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, an experienced personal injury lawyer at RHHK PLLC can help you recover compensation for the ongoing medical care and other damages associated with your back injury.


Types of Auto Accidents That Cause Lower Back Pain

Car accident injuries, similar to the causes of an accident, vary widely. Back injuries, however, are one of the most common injuries after a motor vehicle accident.

Rear-End Collisions
These are particularly notorious for causing whiplash, a soft tissue injury to the neck and upper back resulting from the sudden jolting motion. Whiplash can also cause headaches, dizziness, and shoulder pain. The force of the impact can also damage ligaments, muscles, and discs in the lower back.

Motorcycle Accidents
Due to the lack of seatbelts and crumple zones, motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable to back injuries in an accident. The impact often forces the body to bend at the midsection, putting significant strain on the spine and potentially leading to fractures, disc injuries, or spinal cord damage.

Front-Impact Collisions
The sudden stop in a head-on collision can cause the head and neck to be thrown forward abruptly. This can lead to torn or herniated discs in the neck, along with other injuries to the cervical vertebrae.

Side-Impact Collisions
These accidents can be particularly damaging to the back. The seatbelt typically restrains the lower body while the upper body, neck, and head twist to the side of the impact. This twisting motion can cause severe back injuries of all types, including ligament sprains, muscle strains, and even fractures.


Factors Affecting Back Injury Severity

While any car accident can cause a back injury, certain factors can increase the risk and severity:

Speed of the Crash: Higher speeds generate greater force during impact, significantly increasing the likelihood of serious injuries.

Direction of the Crash: As discussed above, different types of collisions (frontal, rear-end, side-impact) affect the back in different ways.

Vehicle Rollover: Rollover accidents subject occupants to more pressure and force, leading to a heightened risk of impact injuries or penetrating injuries to the head, neck, and back.

Seatbelt Use: Seatbelts significantly reduce the chances of severe back injuries by keeping you restrained during a collision and preventing you from being thrown around the vehicle.


Should You Be Worried About Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?

While some minor aches and pains might resolve on their own, it’s important to take any back pain after a car accident seriously, especially if:

  • The pain is severe and worsens over time.
  • You experience numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs.
  • You have difficulty walking or maintaining normal posture.
  • You have trouble controlling your bladder or bowels.
  • These symptoms could indicate a more serious injury that requires immediate medical attention.


What to Do After a Lower Back Injury from a Car Accident

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Don’t ignore your neck or back pain. See a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. This could involve medications, physical therapy, pain management, chiropractic care, or other therapies depending on the severity of your injury.
  2. Follow Doctor’s Orders: Rest, apply ice or heat as recommended, and take prescribed medications to manage pain and inflammation.
  3. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your accident, medical treatment, and any expenses related to your injury. This will be crucial if you pursue compensation for your back pain.
  4. See A Car Accident Lawyer: Dealing with insurance companies and medical bills after an accident just adds to the stress and pain of your injury. An experienced attorney can help take this burden off your hands so you can focus on healing.


Can You Get Compensation For Back Pain Post Accident?

If you’ve suffered a back injury in a car accident, you do have options for compensation. You can either pursue a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance or take legal action against the responsible party.

The insurer may offer a settlement if they accept liability. Accepting means you forfeit the right to future claims related to the accident. If an agreement isn’t reached, you can file a lawsuit. Prevailing in court can result in damages awarded to you.


Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Car Accident Back Injury?

Back injuries can affect your quality of life and cost you dearly in terms of actual losses as well as the pain and suffering you endure. At RHHK PLLC, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial burdens a back injury can cause. Our experienced car accident attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve to recover from your injury and move forward with your life.


Contact RHHK PLLC Today for a Free Consultation

If you’re experiencing lower back pain after a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact RHHK PLLC. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have.