When you’ve been in a car accident you might not realize just how serious your injuries are at first. That’s because you are full of adrenaline and you might even be in shock after the stress and trauma of the accident. It is common to slowly notice back pain after a car accident in the hours and even days afterward, but having delayed symptoms doesn’t mean they will go away on their own. In fact, back pain can actually be a sign something more serious is going on.
In many cases with spinal injuries, you will need medical care in order for the pain to go away and true healing to begin. Back pain as a symptom means that simply taking pain medications at home can actually prevent you from getting to the real issue. Here are a few types of back injuries that can cause back pain after a car accident and how a doctor can help manage the pain.
Whiplash is the most common car accident injury and it can affect your neck, back, and even your shoulders. In a car accident, the force of the collision can cause your head to fling forward and then snap backward suddenly. Whiplash can strain the muscles in your neck and upper back as they are stretched out of their normal range of motion. This can also affect the spine in your neck and back due to the pressure and force of the impact.
A doctor will treat your back pain after a car accident by first using diagnostic tools to get a better look at the affected area and pain sites. This will help determine what bones and soft tissues have been affected in the accident. A treatment plan for whiplash will include managing your back and neck pain while also attending to the root of the injury.
A muscle sprain can happen with whiplash or when your body is generally jolted around during the accident. When the muscles are stretched outside their normal limit it can cause intense pain, swelling, and even tears. While it may seem the opposite of what you would expect, rest is not always the best option with back pain after a car accident. When your muscles are stressed after a car accident they can become stiff if you don’t use them.
Instead, your doctor will likely recommend a series of gentle stretches and exercises to help keep your muscles loose and blood flowing so they can heal properly. Another helpful treatment approach is alternating cold and heat. Cold compresses or ice packs can help temporarily relieve pain and restrict blood flow to the area while helping to soothe swelling and inflammation. Alternately, applying heat encourages blood flow and flexibility in your muscles.
More commonly referred to as a slipped disc, a herniated disc is when the spongy material that separates each vertebra slips out of place. When a disc is not there to provide support and help absorb shock, it can lead to your vertebrae rubbing against one another and causing serious pain. There are many risks of a herniated disc left untreated. It may put pressure on a nerve that can cause nerve pain and even lead to nerve damage. If you have lower back pain after a car accident that is causing your legs to feel numb or tingly then a disc may be pressing on your sciatic nerve.
Your doctor can identify a herniated disc using diagnostic imaging tools and your reported symptoms to then develop a treatment plan for you. Treatment may include managing your pain symptoms while also addressing any swelling that may be putting additional pressure on your nerves. A chiropractor may also be able to use gentle adjustment techniques to help ease the symptoms of a herniated disc.
While a fracture is another word for breaking a bone, a spinal fracture doesn’t mean that you’ve broken your back and are now paralyzed. Instead, a spinal fracture can even refer to a less severe type of fracture known as a compound fracture, which is when a vertebra may become cracked in a car accident. The force of the accident can affect your spine and damage your vertebrae. A car accident doctor will develop a treatment plan to address your unique spinal fracture symptoms and help to heal the injury.
When you have back pain after a car accident that just won’t go away, the team of car accident doctors at Marietta Chiropractor can help. Schedule a consultation to learn more about how an individualized treatment plan with a team of multi-specialty doctors can help provide you with comprehensive care and recovery.