How to Treat Back Pain After a Car Accident

by Dr. Travis Utter
January 24th, 2019

Back Pain After Car Accident [Infographic]

After what seemed like a simple fender bender, many people do not think about being injured. However, when an auto accident has happened, it is not uncommon for injuries to the back and neck to occur. That is because the sudden, jarring movements of a car accident can easily lead to back injuries, and sometimes these injuries are not noticeable until days, weeks, or months after the accident occurred.

How long should you be sore after a car accident?

You should never be sore after a car accident, as this is a sign that you may have suffered one or more injuries. When you’re suffering from back pain after a car accident, it can be difficult to go about your normal daily activities. This is because the way we use our spine in regular, everyday movements, can be impossible when they are injured.

Sometimes people believe their only real option is to take ibuprofen or another pain reliever and wait for the pain to go away. But that is just a temporary solution, like a bandaid, that will likely require more time and pills than regular pain since we use our spine in nearly every sort of movement. Fortunately, there are a number of more natural and long-lasting treatments you can seek, such as visiting a back pain doctor.

Florida Auto Accident Injury Statistics

Before you decide if seeking the help of a back pain doctor is the right decision for you, it's important to learn about auto accident injuries in Florida and how your PIP insurance can help you afford medical care.

Florida Auto Accident Injury Statistics

Common Back Injuries from Car Accidents

Before seeking pain relief for your auto accident injuries, it’s important to find out if you are suffering from a serious injury or a minor one. If you're suffering from a serious auto accident injury, such as a concussion, broken bones, or think you may have internal bleeding, seek emergency medical care immediately. Once you have received medical treatment for those, you should seek the help of an experienced back pain doctor. Here are three common back injuries caused by car accidents that can be more serious and more debilitating than a simple muscle strain:

Lumbar sprains can be caused by car accidents, sports injuries, and lifting injuries. They occur when there is trauma that makes the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the area stretch too much. In car accidents, this can happen when two forces going in different directions suddenly meet.

Spinal stenosis can be related to a ruptured disc or if a bone fragment is in the spinal canal space. When this happens, pressure is applied to nerves or the spinal cord, and it can be quite painful.

Herniated discs can cause lingering pain for years after an accident, especially if they are left untreated. The discs in your spine have softer inner fillings and harder, tougher cases. When there is a rupture, then some of the inner filling touches nerves and causes pain. If you have a herniated disc, the injury may not hurt immediately after the accident. As soon as it does start to hurt, however, the pain can be very severe.

How to Treat Back Pain

Don’t sit for too long. If you have had a backache, you are probably familiar with the ache, often in the lower part of the back, that sitting can either cause or make worse. This ache can feel even worse if your back has been injured in a car accident. Don’t go for long car, plane, or train rides. If you have a desk job, get up and stretch at least every half hour or bring a pillow for your lower back to provide support and relief. Your goal should be to keep blood flowing, which will help facilitate faster healing.

Apply ice and heat. Ice will help decrease swelling in your muscles and tissues, and will make the pain associated with your injury more manageable. Heat is helpful because it encourages blood flow to the wounded area of your body, and the more blood flow you have, the more oxygen is delivered through your blood.

Use over-the-counter medications with caution. Many people who have been injured in a car accident turn to over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. If you decide to take a pain relief medication, a nonsteroidal anti-anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is the most likely to work. NSAIDs can help reduce the inflammation where your injury has occurred, and when the inflammation is decreased, there will be more blood flow and faster healing.

However, you need to ensure that you read and abide by the directions and warning labels, as too much of these medications can be dangerous to your health. Take note of what day you started using the medication to ensure that you are not taking it for too many days in a row.

Try a massage. A professional massage may help with your back pain, provided you seek out a trained masseuse who understands how to give you a massage without doing more harm to your body. When a back or neck injury is worsened by additional tension in the affected part of the body, a massage can help eliminate the stress and make you more relaxed. If your body is more relaxed, you may be able to rest and sleep better, which in turn will help you heal better.

Back Pain Doctor

Most injuries to the back and neck which were caused by a car accident are the result of pain in your spinal discs, which will need to be treated by a back pain doctor, commonly known as a chiropractor. These discs are round pieces of cartilage which essentially serve as shock absorbers between the bones that comprise the spine. Spinal discs are also what allow people to move, and they are what keep our bodies stable. When one or more of these discs are injured in a car accident, the pain can be severe.

Seek Chiropractic Care

Often considered to be the best solution for back pain, chiropractic care can help people who have had their back injured in car accidents in a variety of ways. Through chiropractic treatments, your overall recovery will occur in a faster and safer way than alternatives, such as surgery or opiates. This is because chiropractors work to heal the source of your pain. Since chiropractic care does not include the use of hard pain drugs, patients can enjoy the confidence that they are getting better without the risk of addiction or fear that their pain is only being masked.

Auto Injury Clinic

Chiropractors at Preferred Injury Physicians are able to adjust your body to relieve pressure in the areas where you’re feeling pain. What that does, is allows your body to release naturally occurring anti-inflammatories, which allow healing to take place sooner.

If you have been in an auto accident, a visit to your local Preferred Injury Physicians office can treat your injuries and help you avoid prolonged accident pain. Our compassionate and experienced medical team can help determine the presence and extent of your injuries, so you can start your road to recovery as soon as possible. Even if you think you were not injured in the accident, it's important that you seek medical treatment within 14 days of your accident so you do not lose the medical and lost wage benefits of your PIP insurance.