In a car accident, nothing takes a beating more than your body. The forces resulting from a collision can severely damage your back and neck, resulting in debilitating damage and pain. Your neck and back are highly susceptible to sudden movements and forces that can cause severe harm.
The neck and lower back pain you experience after a car accident can be caused by multiple factors. For this reason, it's best to know the causes and symptoms of neck and lower back pain and the available treatments. You may also want to know about your legal options if you experience neck and lower back pain after a car accident and decide to pursue compensation.
After suffering neck and lower back injuries in a car accident, you face the prospect of high medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering.
You deserve to get compensated for your losses and damages. The car accident attorneys at the law offices of Ryan T. Hughes can hold the negligent parties liable and ensure you recover compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident.
How Do Car Accidents Cause Lower Back and Neck Pain?
Car accident victims primarily experience neck and lower back pain because their bodies absorb significant force. With the back and neck being two of the most sensitive body parts, any sudden movements or pressure they encounter can have devastating effects.
For instance, when two cars collide head-on, the resultant inertia will cause the occupants to keep moving in the direction they were moving before the crash. Safety belts, airbags, or even the dashboard and car doors may stop the movement, placing enormous and sudden pressure on the neck and back.
The spine isn't strong enough to withstand significant force and pressure. Injuries to the spinal column often cause severe neck and lower back pain.
Causes of Neck and Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?
Injuries to the spinal column are less visible or easily diagnosed than other injuries like broken bones. Thus, car accident victims may not know what's causing their lower back and neck pain after a crash. It's best to seek medical treatment immediately after the accident so that the cause of your pain gets diagnosed.
The common causes of lower back and neck pain after car accidents include:
Lumbar Strains and Sprains
Lumbar sprains and strains mainly affect the lower back. They result from excessive force or pressure on the lower back. Lumbar strains primarily affect the tendons and muscles in the lower back. On the other hand, a lumbar sprain occurs when the ligaments in your back get stretched beyond their usual flexibility.
Arguably, whiplash is the most Common cause of lower back and neck pain after car accidents. It's shared with rear-end crashes and occurs when the collision force makes the neck and the rest of the spinal column move back and forth rapidly while the rest of the body stays still.
The rapid movement may extensively damage the discs and nerves in the spinal column, causing considerable pain.
Another leading cause of neck and lower back pain is disc herniation. The gel-like fitting within discs protrudes through their tough outer shell when discs herniate. The gel acts as lubrication between the disc, and its absence increases friction. During an accident, the discs may also slide out of place, causing severe pain in the spinal column.
Disc herniation causes neck and lower back pain by putting significant pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. After the accident, you will know that your discs are herniated if:
- You experience severe or sudden pain in the neck and lower back.
- Numbness in the legs.
If you experience intense pain, pressure, or numbness in the spinal column after a car accident, it's best to seek treatment. Spinal cord injuries are severe, and immediate treatment can help prevent the typical effects.
In medical terms, stenosis is the sudden and abnormal narrowing of a body channel. A car crash can cause spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal column. When this happens, the spinal cord and its nerves will be put under intense pressure, causing debilitating pain. Ruptured discs and bone fragments are the leading causes of spinal stenosis.
These injuries include dislocated, fractured, strained, and sprained joints in the neck or back.
The symptoms of joint injuries include severe lower back and neck pain, movement difficulties, swelling, and visible displacement.
Facet joint injuries are also common among car accident victims.
The vertebral bones in the spinal column are linked by a pair of facet joints located behind each spinal segment. The facet joints in the lower back usually bear considerable pressure and weight, and a car accident only makes them more vulnerable.
Spinal Cord Injury
In a car accident, the spine can take considerable force, resulting in injuries such as ruptured or herniated discs and paralysis. Intense neck and lower back pain could point to a spinal cord injury. The pain may be caused by damage to the spinal column or its ligaments, vertebrae, and discs.
The tell-tale signs of spinal cord injury after a car accident include intense pain, pressure, bruising, partial or complete paralysis, long-term disability, and loss of mobility.
Although it may take time for spinal cord injuries to occur, seeking medical treatment after a car accident can help rule out the condition or treat it early if it gets diagnosed.
Cervical Spine Injury
The cervical spine is a section of the spine comprising the neck and has seven stacked bones. Severe pressure on any of the bones can cause a cervical spine injury. Partial loss of sensory function and intense back and neck pain are the primary symptoms of cervical spine injuries.
Can Neck and Lower Back Pain Be Delayed After an Accident
You don't need to experience lower back and neck pain immediately after an accident. The damage may occur over time, so it could take a while before you experience the pain. Even if you didn't have to seek urgent care after an accident, it's best to seek treatment when you start experiencing neck and lower back pain.
When you get involved in such a traumatic incident, the body releases chemicals to help you cope. That could delay the tell-tale symptoms of neck and lower back injury.
The initial signs of damage, including numbness, can give way to more severe conditions if the injury goes untreated. Therefore, you should have a specialist evaluate your injuries to prevent them from progressing into a degenerative or chronic condition.
After the accident, you should also consider journaling your injuries, the pain you experience, and how it affects your life. If the pain shifts to the neck and lower back, the chances are that it's related to the accident.
Remember that not all injuries are apparent soon after an accident, and seeking treatment can help minimize the risk of severe injuries.
Treating Accident-Related Neck and Lower Back Pain
Several treatment options are available to treat neck and lower back pain from a car accident. The treatment that will be used depends on the nature of your injury and the type of injury you sustained. The circumstances of the accident will also dictate the treatment plan.
The standard treatments for neck and lower back pain after an accident include:
- Chiropractic care
- Strengthening exercises
These interventions are usually costly. Given that the injury you suffered during the accident can prevent you from working, you may be unable to cover your treatment expenses and other related costs.
Suppose your pain is caused by disc herniation, and a physician recommends surgical relief. The cost of treatment can quickly balloon into thousands of dollars.
With a reduced capacity to work or no source of income, covering such expenses can be challenging. For this reason, you need an experienced neck and lower back injury to pursue compensation for your damages and losses.
Why Neck and Lower Back Pain Is Hard to Diagnose
Diagnosing neck and lower back pain after an accident can be challenging because there's no established protocol for evaluating the problem. Injuries of this nature may not manifest soon after the accident, especially if the body releases hormones to deal with the shock.
Furthermore, more than a typical doctor's visit may be required to understand and evaluate whatever is happening in your achy neck or lower back. Identifying the exact source of the pain can be challenging, given that the spinal column is a complex structure with dozens of nerve roots, vertebral joints and bones, lower back muscles, intervertebral discs, and other organs.
After an accident, abnormal pain signals can be sent to the brain, making it difficult to diagnose the exact source of the pain.
Proving Causation in Lower Back and Neck Injury Claims
You're entitled to compensation if you suffer lower back and neck pain after a car accident. Nonetheless, the key to recovery is proving that the defendant's negligence caused the accident and the resultant neck and lower back pain.
Suppose another driver rams into your car, breaking your leg. It will be easy to prove that the broken leg resulted from the accident.
Nonetheless, if you get rear-ended by a speeding driver, injury to your neck and back may not be immediately apparent. In this case, proving causation can be challenging, especially if you start experiencing neck and lower back pain several weeks or months later.
The at-fault party and their insurers may argue that you don't have a claim to make since the injury may have been caused by something else. It's easier to prove a link between the car accident and the subsequent injuries if you have an experienced neck and lower back injury attorney.
Why You Need an Attorney
The medical probability of experiencing neck and lower back injury after getting involved in an accident is high. Nonetheless, proving that your pain is linked to the accident can be challenging, especially if it emerges weeks or months after the accident. The attorneys at the law offices of Ryan T. Hughes are committed to helping you recover compensation for back injuries sustained in car accidents.
When handling your claim, we can prove that:
- The defendant's carelessness caused the car accident.
- You sustained injuries.
- The injuries caused your neck and lower back pain.
Our attorneys understand how much maximum compensation means to you. So, they're ready to go the extra mile to build a robust compensation claim that proves the connection between your accident and the injuries sustained.
When pursuing a compensation claim alone, you'll be at the mercy of insurance companies, which are always out to profit from your predicament by determining how much your settlement will be. Don't allow that to happen because you have a team of experienced car accident attorneys you can count on.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
The attorneys at Hughes Law have decades of experience pursuing car accident claims on behalf of clients. Thanks to our experience handling car accident claims, we know and have what it takes to fight for your rights and secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one gets involved in a car accident and suffers neck and lower back pain, you can count on us to recover your damages. We operate on a contingency basis, so you will only pay us a dime once we win your case. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.
What damages can I recover after getting diagnosed with accident-related neck and back pain?
You can recover economic damages like loss of wages and medical expenses and non-economic wages like loss of enjoyment of life.
Do I need an attorney to file a claim?
Although you don't need an attorney when filing a compensation claim, having one increases the chances of successful recovery.
Why are accident-related neck and lower back pain challenging to prove?
Proving causality is always challenging, more so if the pain arises several weeks or months after the accident, which is always the case.