Neck and back injuries are common in a variety of traffic accidents, including head-on collisions, rear-end accidents, and rollover accidents. In some cases, injuries to the neck or back can result in disabling conditions. Some victims may be unable to perform routine daily activities or return to work.

Identifying the cause of the neck and back pain can help doctors develop a treatment plan that gives the patient a better chance of a full recovery. Additionally, identifying the cause of the neck and back pain after a car accident can also help prove that the car accident is the cause of your neck and back pain.

Seeking Medical Treatment for Neck and Back Pain After a Car Crash

A car accident can cause a variety of neck and back injuries. The twisting, jerking, and pulling motions caused by the collision can damage the soft tissues of the back and neck. The collision can also cause fractures in the vertebrae (bones) of the neck and back. 

Seeking medical treatment after a truck accident or other traffic accident is crucial. A prompt diagnosis can reduce the risk of developing complications from back or neck injuries. It can also reduce the risk of the condition worsening without medical treatment.

A doctor may use a variety of tests and diagnostic tools to identify a back or neck injury caused by a traffic accident. First, the doctor generally performs a physical to assess your symptoms. The doctor may ask you to move your arms, turn your neck, twist your back, bend, stand, walk, lift objects, and sit.

The actions the doctor asks you to perform are to assess your flexibility, range of motion, and pain levels. In addition to physical assessments, the doctor may order a variety of tests, such as CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays. The doctor may also order nerve studies, bone scans, or other tests to determine the exact injury and severity of the injury.

After the doctor completes a thorough evaluation, he should be able to diagnose the probable cause of your neck or back pain. The treatment plan that the doctor prescribes is based on the type of neck or back injury and the severity of the injury. He may prescribe medications, surgery, physical therapy, and other treatments. 

Common Neck and Back Injuries That Cause Back Pain After a Car Accident

Any neck or back injury could result in back pain after a motorcycle accident or other collision. Some common back and neck injuries that individuals may sustain in a car accident are:

Fractured Vertebrae

The bones (vertebrae) in the back and neck can be fractured or broken by the sudden trauma caused by a collision. The bones protect the spinal cord. Examples of common fractures of vertebrae in car crash include extension, rotation, flexion, and compression spinal fractures. 

Spinal Stenosis 

When the spinal column narrows because of an injury or trauma, pain may result from the pressure placed on the spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis is caused by vertebrae dislocations or fractures. 

Whiplash

One of the most common neck injuries caused by car crashes is whiplash. The force of the collision causes the head to “whip” back and forth. The whipping motion causes damage to the soft tissues of the neck.

Many cases of whiplash heal in a few weeks with rest and minimal medical intervention. However, chronic cases of whiplash can cause chronic pain and limited range of motion. 

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be the most devastating back and neck injury caused by a motor vehicle accident. Injuries to the spinal cord can result in partial or total paralysis. A victim can require a lifetime of personal and medical care.

Herniated Discs

The cushion-like substances between the bones in the back are called spinal discs. In a crash, the discs can bulge out of place. They can also become damaged causing the gel-like substance to spill into the spinal column.

The pressure and the gel-like substance can cause severe back and neck pain after a car accident. The pain can be debilitating and result in problems moving.

What are the Symptoms of a Back or Neck Injury After a Car Crash?

Symptoms of neck and back injuries depend on the specific type of injury and the severity of the injury. Pain could radiate up and down from the injury site or be localized to the injury site.

Other than pain, other common symptoms of neck and back injuries include:

  • Tenderness 
  • Swelling
  • Limited range of motion or flexibility
  • Shoulder pains
  • Back and neck stiffness
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs or arms
  • Loss of senses, motion, or bodily functions
  • Difficulty with balance or walking
  • Headaches
  • Weakness in the extremities
  • Difficulty standing, sitting, or walking
  • Muscle tension
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Dull aches

If you experience any pain or other symptoms of a neck or back injury after a traffic accident, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. Immediate medical treatment is best for your health, and it can also improve your chance of receiving fair compensation for a car accident claim.