Another car ran a stop sign or red light and crashed into your vehicle. The car behind you braked too slow in a crowded intersection and was following you too closely, rear-ending your vehicle. A distracted driver hit your vehicle, injuring you and totaling your car.
You take all the right steps, calling the police, talk through the insurance claim, and get your vehicle assessed for damage, but never stop to get medical treatment because you feel fine. Even if you do decide to get checked out by paramedics or at a hospital, you’re still in a state of shock and the real damage has not yet set in.
It’s been weeks and while at first, you thought you were fine, now you’ve begun to notice back pain and issues with regular movement. It may have even affected your job, sleep, or ability to perform regular tasks and movements. If you have delayed back pain after a car accident, even if it was a minor incident, there are steps that you can take to get to the source of your pain and start feeling better.
Back Pain & Motor Vehicle Accidents
Late-onset back pain from car accidents is an all too common occurrence. In fact, over 2.5 million Americans visit the emergency room each year as the result of a car accident. With so much traffic in northern Virginia, car accidents are an unfortunate reality. In the year 2018, there were over 130,000 motor vehicle crashes in Virginia that resulted in more than 66,000 injuries, not to mention all the small accidents and fenders benders that often go unreported.
In fact, according to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from the CDC, about one-half of ER visits for motor vehicle traffic injuries had a primary diagnosis of sprains and strains of the neck and back, contusion with the intact skin surface, or spinal disorders.
Consider that this number is only for those that deemed their accident bad enough to warrant an emergency room visit, there are many more individuals who do not visit the hospital or visit a physician after they are in a car accident, which leads to late-onset of pain and other symptoms that often go untreated.
In a car accident, the jerking motion of a sudden stop or impact can cause back pain, and many patients tend to ignore back pain thinking it will go away on its own, given enough time. Unfortunately, most back pain and issues that result from vehicle accidents and crashes do not simply go away on their own. If you experience back pain in the days to weeks after your car accident, it could be a symptom of a greater problem.
Delayed Back Pain
Delayed symptoms for car accidents are common and can be missed by the victim. After going through a stressful event such as a car accident, most people find themselves in shock, and preoccupied with dealing with any severe or life-threatening injuries, handling insurance details and police reports, and may not fully realize the extent of your pain or injuries.
While some injuries are immediate and obvious, such as cuts, bruises, and broken bones, others such as back pain and injury may take time to present themselves. Pain, especially back pain, can appear days to even weeks after being involved in a car accident since the shock of the accident, adrenaline, and other related stress can mask initial pain. Back and other body pain may reappear once your body feels that it is safe, and you have time to assess the damage and evaluate how you feel once you are back into your normal routine.
Delayed back pain and other car accident symptoms can present some problems that immediate symptoms do not. You may think you were uninjured at the scene of the accident, which means you miss critical symptoms related to your accident that could help with determining the extent of your injuries or providing a diagnosis. Additionally, insurance companies may look more critically at diagnoses made days or weeks after an initial car crash based on delayed symptoms.
Causes of Back Pain
Every year millions of people are injured in car accidents, and damage to the neck and back tend to be the most frequent complaints.
There are several common causes of back pain that result from car accidents, including:
- Herniated Discs
- Disc Damage
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Spinal Injuries
- Spinal Stenosis
- Lumbar Sprains
- Facet Joint Disease
- Degenerative Disc Disease
Other than generalized pain due to sprains and strains in the back, some of the most reported types of back pain stem from nerve damage and pinched or herniated discs.
If you experience any numbness or tingling in certain areas of the back, then you may have a pinched nerve. Nerves in the back play an important role by sending signals to the brain and if something is wrong, you could lose feeling or feel tingling in your back since the brain is not getting the correct signals from that misfunctioning nerve.
Lower back pain often points to disc damage. Spinal discs are the “cushions” in your spine that help facilitate twisting and movement. When they become damaged, as in the case with herniated discs and other disc injuries, it becomes very difficult to hold the back steady or move without pain
Every one of the listed conditions can cause debilitating pain and create challenges with mobility. Some back injuries can even lead to more serious diseases, so if you experience back pain following a car accident seek treatment for your pain and injuries as you notice symptoms.
Back Pain Treatment
Many individuals that have been injured in a car accident and experience delayed back pain reach for pain medication to soothe their aches and pains. However, pain medicine is only a stopgap then treating the underlying condition that is causing painful symptoms.
Avoid dependency on back pain medications, inability to perform normal functions at home and at work, and worsening pain. Since back pain can inhibit your daily routine and cause long-term problems if left untreated, you should seek out treatment that gets to the source of your back pain.
Many patients don’t think of the fact that there could be permanent damage from a car accident since they do not immediately feel pain and may get the all-clear from paramedics at the scene of the accident. To prevent long-term damage and worsening conditions, look for holistic back pain treatment.
There are a variety of treatment options for individuals that have been injured in a car accident, no matter what kind of back pain you are experiencing. Here at RxWellness Health & Spine, we typically use the following methods to treat back pain:
- Back Bracing
- Massage Therapy
- Spinal Alignments
- Chiropractic Manipulations
- Vibraflex Technology
- Spinal Decompression
- Heat and Ice Therapy
Back pain can inhibit your daily routine and cause long-term problems if not properly treated. Don’t take a chance with your health or risk chronic pain. Get a medical evaluation as soon as you feel back pain.
Make An Appointment
Even if you feel alright immediately following a car accident, it may be helpful to visit a spine specialist if you feel any back or neck pain to ensure that everything in those areas is uninjured. Since serious spine injuries and degenerative diseases can take longer to appear after a vehicle accident, it’s important to catch any symptoms early through tests and imaging. Even if there isn’t an obvious indication of injury, a spinal scan can give you the peace of mind that in time your pain will decrease, and your body will function normally.
If you have experienced back pain in the days to weeks following a car accident, make an appointment for a consultation with a local chiropractor. Back pain can lead to worse conditions and issues down the road if left untreated and wreak havoc on your life.
At RxWellness, we diagnose the cause of your back pain and provide natural pain relief with the latest chiropractic care and technology. If you have more questions about your back or spine pain and want to get your back examined by a specialist, just contact us and we’ll help you schedule your initial consultation.