What’s Causing Neck & Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?
Bill Allen | December 5, 2020 | Car Accidents
When two or more vehicles slam into each other, the collision creates an enormous force. That much force on a person’s body can cause numerous injuries. Car accident injuries can cause chronic pain, limited function, and long-term impairments.
The neck and back are vulnerable to the sudden jerking and twisting caused by a car accident. Neck and lower back pain after a car accident are common complaints of many accident victims. For some individuals, the neck and lower back pain interrupt their daily activities, including caring for their families and working.
What is Causing Your Neck and Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident?
Determining the cause of your neck and lower back pain is essential for your health. Your doctor needs to know the cause of the pain to develop an effective treatment plan. However, identifying the cause of the pain is also crucial for a personal injury claim.
You must be able to prove that the car accident caused your neck or back injury to recover compensation for your injuries, economic loss, and damages. Prompt medical treatment is essential after a car accident to document your injuries for your injury claim.
Common back and neck injuries that can cause pain after a car accident include:
Whiplash is a common neck injury caused by a car accident. Rear-end car crashes are common causes of whiplash. People who experience whiplash might not notice symptoms for a few days after the crash.
Whiplash can cause chronic pain and limited range of motion. It can also cause headaches, dizziness, and shooting pain that radiates into the shoulders.
Most individuals recover from whiplash in a few weeks. Other individuals might experience pain and other symptoms for months or longer. In a few cases, whiplash could result in long-term pain.
A herniated disc occurs when a disc ruptures or moves out of place because of trauma to the back. The discs are located between the vertebrae. They provide a cushion for the bones and absorb shock as a person bends, twists, and turns.
The lumbar discs in the lower back are the most common area for herniated discs. Herniated discs cause pain, weakness, and numbness. Depending on the severity of the herniated disc, a doctor might prescribe pain medication, muscle relaxers, cortisone injections, and physical therapy.
In severe cases, a person might need surgery to treat herniated discs. Surgery could be indicated if a person has trouble walking, weakness, numbness, uncontrollable pain, or loss of bladder or bowel function.
Spinal fractures can be very serious. The vertebrae in the back can fracture or break during a car accident. The result can be severe pain, loss of bladder control, numbness, loss of bowel control, and muscle weakness.
A fractured vertebra may be treated with pain medication and immobilization in a brace. It could take up to three months for fractured vertebrae to heal. In severe cases, a person might require back surgery to repair the fracture.
Vertebrae dislocations and fractures can result in spinal stenosis. The condition causes a narrowing of the spinal column because of injury or trauma. Spinal stenosis can cause severe pain because of the pressure placed on the spinal nerves by the narrowing of the spinal column.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord runs through the center of the spinal column. Any damage to the spinal column can result in a spinal cord injury. Injury to the spinal cord could result in loss of function and sensory input in one or more areas of the body.
In severe cases, a spinal cord injury can result in partial or complete paralysis. A person may require continuous personal care and ongoing medical care.
How Do I Know if I Have a Neck or Lower Back Injury?
Many different back and neck injuries could cause pain after a car accident. The above list is just a few of the common back and neck injuries caused by car crashes.
Chronic pain is the most common symptom of a lower back or neck injury. The pain may be immediate, or it may develop over several days. It may also worsen with time or when you move.
Other symptoms that indicate you could have a neck or lower back injury include:
- Pain that radiates into your arms and legs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Paralysis in any area of your body
- Weakness or numbness
- Swelling in your neck or back
- Difficulty breathing
- Feelings of pressure in your back, neck, or head
- Difficulty standing, walking, or sitting
- Loss of senses
- Problems with coordination and balance
You should see a doctor immediately if you experience any injury symptoms or unexplained symptoms after a car accident.
It is best to see a doctor regardless of whether you think you are injured. A physician can perform a thorough examination to determine if you sustained an injury. Early diagnosis of a car accident injury gives you the best chance of recovery from your injuries.
What Compensation Can I Receive for a Lower Back or Neck Injury?
If you sustain a serious injury in a Florida car accident, you can seek compensation for damages from the other driver. Damages a car accident claim can include:
- Past and future cost of medical treatment
- Past and future cost of personal care
- Past and future loss of income and benefits
- Decreases in the future earning capacity because of disabilities
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Mental, physical, and emotional pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life and quality of life
- Psychological injuries, including anxiety, PTSD, and depression
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. You must seek medical attention within 14 days from the date of your accident to receive benefits under your PIP insurance policy. PIP insurance pays up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages.
However, no-fault insurance does not compensate you for the other damages listed above. For that, you must file a claim against the at-fault driver. However, you must meet the serious injury threshold to seek compensation from an at-fault driver.
If you are unsure whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit for lower back pain or neck pain, you can seek a personal injury lawyer’s advice.