What Causes Lower Back Pain After an Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or even pedestrian accident, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some kind of back pain. Back pain is especially common in rear-end collisions or rollover accidents, even in low-speed, low-impact accidents. Car crashes can affect the muscles, nerves, and ligaments in the back, as well as cause damage to the spinal cord or skull. The damage, and accompanying pain, may be short-lived or longer-lasting. If you experience back pain after an accident, see a doctor immediately. You might have a more serious injury than you realize. Below, we discuss the types of injuries that commonly arise in traffic accidents and lead to back pain. If you’ve hurt your back in an accident caused by someone else in New York City, call a passionate NYC personal injury attorney for advice and assistance.
Common Back Injuries in Accidents
Car accidents often put serious pressure on the spinal cord. Damage to the back, especially the lower back (called the lumbar), is common. Lumbar injuries can lead to chronic pain and other symptoms. Some of the more common back injuries suffered by car crash victims include:
- Whiplash. Whiplash occurs when a person’s torso is pushed forward while the head snaps backward, swinging back and forth in a whipping motion. Whiplash commonly occurs in rear-end collisions. Even at low vehicle speeds, the whipping motion causes the head to swing at a high rate of speed, which can lead to a number of neck, back, and spinal injuries. Whiplash injuries can be debilitating and very painful.
- Back sprains and strains. Lower back strain is one of the most common back injuries experienced by accident victims. Lumbar sprains occur when the ligaments in the back are torn from where they attach to the bone. Strains involve damage to the tendons. Lower back sprains or strains often result in stiffness, functional limitation, muscle spasms, and chronic pain radiating down to the posterior.
- Herniated or bulging discs. Spinal discs are gelatin-like cushions located in between vertebrae that operate to keep the bones from grating against one another and contribute to overall spinal flexibility. In a car accident, a disc can protrude from its normal position and trigger the spinal nerves (bulging disc). A disc may also be torn open, causing fluid to leak out into the spine and leading to severe pain (herniated disc).
- Displaced vertebrae. Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a stress fracture displaces a vertebra. The displaced vertebrae can compress nerves or other parts of the spinal column, leading to pain, weakness, and numbness.
- Spinal fracture. In a heavy-impact accident, the victim’s spinal bones may be compressed, leading to cracks or breaks. Damage to the bones can lead to spinal cord damage. Spinal cord damage is extremely dangerous, and the more severe the break, the more damage may be caused. Spinal cord damage can lead to partial or full paralysis, chronic pain, and other symptoms.
Symptoms of a Back Injury After an Accident
Back injuries might not be immediately apparent after a car accident. Accident victims often feel sore all over after an accident, making it hard to pin down where more long-term injuries may be located. More targeted pain and other symptoms can creep up and get worse over the following days or weeks.
Your spine travels the length of your back, so the pain can expand to many areas. Pain is not, however, the only symptom of a back injury. If you’ve been in a car accident, watch out for these symptoms to help you identify a back injury that may require further diagnosis and treatment:
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Burning or sharp pains
- Discomfort standing, walking, sitting, or lying down
Compassionate Advice and Representation for Your New York Personal Injury Claim
If you or someone you care about has suffered a back injury as a result of someone else’s negligence in New York City, find out if you’re entitled to money damages for your injuries by contacting the skilled and effective New York personal injury lawyer Leandros A. Vrionedes for a free consultation at 212-889-9362 or 718-777-5895.