Watch Your Back: Common Back Injuries From Car Accidents
Have you been in a car accident recently? Are you experiencing lingering back pain? If so, you’re one of many. In the estimated 4.5 million people who were injured in car accidents in 2018 alone, the most common injuries were related to the neck or back areas.
Back injuries can range in severity, but also have a habit of sticking around when left untreated. These untreated injuries can wreak havoc on the ability to enjoy normal, daily life pain-free, and even impact the ability to return to work for many. That’s why it is imperative to seek medical treatment immediately if you’ve been in an accident and are experiencing any kind of back pain or discomfort.
To better understand what may have happened during your accident, we’re breaking down the most common types of injuries that occur to the back during car crashes below. Let’s dive in.
Common Types Of Back Injuries From Car Accidents
By now you know that a back injury following a car accident isn’t exactly uncommon. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t serious in nature. Though the severity of these injuries can fall on a broad spectrum, sometimes seemingly small aches and pains following an accident can actually be indicative of larger, more serious problems that are only just beginning to compound. Again, that is why it is so important to seek medical help immediately following an accident. Only a professional can accurately diagnose what’s going on to ensure that you receive the best care possible for your specific situation.
These are some of the more common back injuries that occur during a car accident and maybe what your doctor will look for first.
During the impact of a car accident, it is not uncommon for your ribs to suffer from injury. Your ribs are placed around your heart and lungs to serve as a protection and support in the first place, so the good news is that minor injuries to this area mean that they are doing their job – protecting some of your most vital organs and taking the first hit during an accident.
In some of the less serious injuries to the chest area during a car accident, your ribs may experience some bruising. This can happen pretty easily from hitting the steering wheel suddenly. In more forceful crashes however, your ribs can actually fracture. Regardless of perceived severity, seeking medical help immediately following this kind of injury is incredibly important for the best treatment and outcome.
The discs in your back are the little cushions that sit between the vertebrae within your spine. The sudden force that a car accident produces can sometimes cause these discs to become displaced, or herniated. When these little cushions aren’t in the right place, you may experience nerve pain and numbness as a result. Read: not good.
Any unusual pain or numbness that crops up following a car accident absolutely requires medical attention, as it can grow substantially worse when left untreated. If you do have a herniated disc, it needs to be diagnosed and attended to promptly for the best long-term results.
In the case of car accidents, spinal fractures are often linked to a failing or malfunction of the seat belt. Essentially, if your seat belt manages to keep the bottom portion of your body secure, but lets your torso move around with the force of an accident, you could be at risk for a spinal fracture.
Among the more common spinal fractures to occur as a result of car accidents are compression fractures in the spine. These are small cracks along the spine that can cause back pain around the area of the injury. Difficulty breathing, sitting, and walking can all also aggravate a compression fracture. In some cases compression fractures can also cause feelings of numbness, and muscle weakness.
The severity of these fractures can vary greatly. Because of that, their healing timelines and methods also vary. In short, it’s important to seek medical care urgently, as these professionals can help you properly diagnose your injury to put you on the right track for care.
Spinal Cord Injuries
These are some of the most serious injuries that can result from car accidents. Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that helps your body to communicate properly between nerve impulses and the brain. It carries an extremely important job in the overall function of a healthy body. An injury to the spinal cord can severely impact your ability to move normally and, in more serious cases, even cause paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries are particularly frightening because there is no known cure for them currently. However, the severity of the aftermath of these injuries is oftentimes where there is the most to be gained. This is why it is so incredibly important to seek medical attention immediately following a car accident. If you’ve suffered an injury to your spinal cord, the immediate care you receive following the injury could reduce the long-term severity, but much of this depends on how quickly you are able to get to the hospital. If you have even the slightest suspicion of a spinal cord injury, seek professional care immediately.
When to Seek Medical Help for your Car Accident Injury
Barring emergency medical needs on the accident site, it’s best to seek medical help immediately following your accident. Sometimes after a jarring event, it’s easy to dismiss seemingly little aches and pains that can later grow into something more difficult to manage and ultimately overcome.
Pain Solutions Group can play a huge role here. From more common whiplash symptoms to various neck, shoulder and back injuries to miscellaneous aches and pains, conservative care treatment options have greatly assisted many in their process working through post-accident issues. Through the use of spine, neck, and extremity adjustments, massage, and physical therapy, our holistic care approach can help to realign your body, decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability and restore mood and confidence. Of course, if there is any suspicion of fracture, adjustments may not be appropriate for your case. In this scenario, your practitioner can order the appropriate lab or imaging work to ensure that you have all the necessary pieces to your health puzzle.
Your practitioner can also help you implement an at-home care plan when necessary to help your recovery process along outside of office hours.
Again, in the case of accident injuries, it’s imperative that you seek help right away even if you think that your pain is minor. Many of these injuries can build over time, and it’s best to nip them in the bud— not only for instant symptom relief and to support your long-term recovery but to avoid chronic conditions from developing down the road. Don’t wait, get help now; same-day appointments are often possible. Schedule your appointment online or call (480) 787-0469.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.