If you find yourself with persistent back pain that is causing you to miss days at work, prevents you from enjoying life, or simply makes it difficult to perform common everyday chores, you may want to consult with a back doctor to determine the severity of your injury. Back problems that cause pain can be acute (short term, mild to severe) or chronic (pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer). Either way, if back pain is not diagnosed and treated, it may eventually worsen and cause a lifetime of limited mobility or permanent disability.
There can be many reasons why you may be experiencing back pain, especially if you have recently been in an auto accident. Even a minor fender bender under 35 mph can cause neck, shoulder, and/or back pain, but what seems like minor aches and pains now may actually be a more serious problem.
When to See a Medical Professional
According to the Mayo Clinic, it is critical to see a medical professional if your pain is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- A head injury
- A fever
- Severe pain
- Pain that does not improve with rest
- Numbness, weakness, or tingling in one or both legs
Auto injury doctors and chiropractors know that a car crash without immediate pain may indeed cause future lower back problems.
Every year, many people are left with the burden of long-term medical bills and other expenses associated with back problems due to auto accident injuries they left untreated for too long. Let’s discuss some of the most common reasons why your back may be hurting and what to do to overcome back pain.
Possible Causes of Back Pain
There are a number of medical conditions that present symptoms of back pain, including osteoarthritis in the spine and osteoporosis, which causes your bones to become porous and brittle. For both of these medical conditions, and many others, back pain is a secondary symptom of the primary illness. With osteoporosis, the lack of a strong and supportive skeletal system can result in poor posture while standing or walking. Poor posture puts a greater strain on the muscles of the back and shoulders, which may eventually result in back pain.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This occurs when the cartilage between the vertebrae or other bones begin to wear away. The lack of cushioning between joints will cause irritation and further bone damage that will radiate pain through the soft tissue or muscles of the back. Another medical condition associated with osteoarthritis is bone spurs—bony outgrowths that press on nerves and can cause extreme back pain.
Back Strain Caused by Movements
Many people work in occupations that require one or more of the following movements that can put stress on the back:
- Repetitive movement (e.g. factory work)
- Heavy lifting (e.g. construction workers)
- Awkward positions (e.g. auto mechanics)
- Sitting all day (e.g. office employees)
- Long hours standing (e.g. retail and restaurant workers)
Repetitive movements, over-stretching, and improper lifting techniques can cause acute back pain and long-term injury to the back.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA, these micro-traumas to the back area should be addressed with workplace training, which includes general principles of ergonomics, the recognition of hazards and injuries, and procedures for reporting hazardous conditions. OSHA also attributes fatigue and an aging work force as major factors for lower back injuries in the workplace.
But even away from the workplace, many people have lifestyle issues that can cause back pain. These include:
- Sedentary lifestyles
- Poor posture
- Poor nutrition
- Athletic or recreational activities performed without proper training
If you are experiencing lower back problems or generalized back pain, and have not been in an accident recently, it may be time to examine your lifestyle and medical condition and seek the advice and care of a chiropractor in your area.
Slip, Trip, or Fall Accidents
The latest data compiled by the National Safety Council, states:
“In 2016, 697 workers died in falls to a lower level, and 48,060 were injured badly enough to require days off of work.”
But slips, trips, and falls can even happen at home and cause major back pain. In fact, thousands of slip, trip, or fall accidents happen on flat ground. These types of accidents, which may cause long-term back pain, are usually preventable. Being extra careful on ladders, when walking on wet surfaces, and having an overall awareness of your surroundings can go a long way in reducing the number of accidents you incur due to an accidental slip, trip, or fall.
Lower back pain is a common result of any type of car crash, including side impact accidents, being rear-ended, or even a single-car accident such as hitting fallen debris, SUV rollovers, and impacts with animals. But the most significant damage to a person’s back can occur when involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle. When you experience back pain after being in a car crash, it is vital to seek the help of an auto injury doctor who can accurately diagnose and treat your present back problems, and is aware of the likelihood of future back pain that can impact your ability to work or enjoy life.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, after a motor vehicle collision, an individual may have chronic, widespread pain 6 weeks, 6 months, or even 1 year after the accident. Many of those individuals with limited neck and/or back pain in the early aftermath of injury were granted an initial insurance settlement that later proved to not meet their future financial and medical needs.
If you have been involved in an accident of any sort, we encourage you to meet with one of our experienced auto accident chiropractors to receive the treatment you need for your injuries.