Even the safest of drivers experience car accidents. In fact, it’s estimated that drivers will experience 3-4 car accidents in their lifetime.
If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how overwhelming the aftermath of the accident can be. From dealing with any damage to your vehicle to speaking to the police and assessing any personal damage or injury, it’s easy to brush off any lingering pain and decide to deal with it later.
If you haven’t already dealt with insurance information and giving your account to the police, follow those steps and take care of everything you need to do in order to ensure medical coverage and payment for your injuries.
Getting Medical Attention
Many individuals end up with stiffness or soreness after being involved in a car accident, and even if you get check out by EMTs or doctors at a nearby hospital, you may still experience pain in the days to weeks following your accident.
Lookout for the symptoms of car accident injuries in the days following your accident. If you feel any pain or difficulty performing regular tasks, you could have and underlying injury that went unnoticed at the time of the car accident.
While less common than lower back pain, middle back pain after a car accident can point to a more severe injury.
At RxWellness Spine & Health, we treat middle back pain after car accident injuries, and usually can point to one of a few underlying reasons that cause the pain and discomfort.
Reasons for Middle Back Pain
The middle back is less prone to injury than the lower back since that area of the body it is more structured and rigid.
If you have been involved in a car accident and something feels off or you experience pain the middle back, there is a higher chance that the injury could be serious compared to other areas, since mid-back pain tends to result from issues with the spine.
Although there are a variety of different causes of middle back pain after a car accident, a few of the most common reasons someone might experience pain include:
- The upper and middle of the back consist of twelve vertebrae (T1–T12), with vertebral discs in between them to provide cushioning and increase flexibility.
- In many cases, mid back pain is related to damage to the vertebrae or the spinal discs that rest in between them.
- If one of the discs is injured or ruptured, it causes painful and often stilted movement that effects the rest of the back, and often the body as well.
- If your pain is the result of pressure on vertebral discs, a chiropractor may integrate spinal decompression therapy into the treatment plan.
- Gently stretching the spine creates more space between discs, relieving spinal pressure.
- Another common cause of mid back pain, and back pain in general after a car accident is residual and radiating pain from whiplash injuries.
- Whiplash is the result of hyperextended or injured muscles from when the body is jolted during a car accident and continues to move while the car is halted by the crash.
- The rapid, forceful, back-and-forth movements of the neck are like the cracking of a whip, which is what gives this injury its name.
- Whiplash can cause pain to the neck and back, especially once pain radiated down from its original source.
Strains & Sprains
- Strains and sprains are common car accident injuries that can occur almost anywhere on the body, even in the mid back region.
- A strain is a soft tissue injury caused by overstretching or tearing a muscle, tendon, or both, and a sprain is the equivalent tearing or injury of a ligament.
- Both injuries can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement in the area they occur.
- If you are experience redness, swelling, pain to the touch, or limited movement in an area that has recently been injured or felt sore due to a car accident, you may have a more serious strain or sprain.
- Unfortunately strains and sprains can’t be seen on x-ray, MRI, or CT scan and must be discovered or diagnosed by a doctor performing a clinical evaluation.
- Your body has an intervertebral disc between each vertebra of the spine, which act as shock absorbers and help distribute motion to increase flexibility and range of movement.
- Vertebral discs are made up of a tough outer layer (annulus fibrosus) and a soft, gelatin-like center (nucleus pulposus).
- A disk becomes herniated when the outer layer of the disk cracks and pushes out the inner gel-like material.
- Similarly, A bulging disc is when the outer layer of a disc pushes or “bulges” out of form because the outer wall has weakened, or the disc has been injured.
- In both cases, the rupture rubs against sensitive nerves in the spine, which causes pain and other symptoms such as discomfort, numbness, and tingling.
- Compression or irritation of spinal nerve roots or back nerves can result in mid back pain.
- Pain can radiate into other areas of the back, the shoulders, the buttocks, legs, and further out from the site of nerve irritation.
- When the sciatic nerve in the back is irritated or pinched–often due to a herniated disc, it can cause sciatica pain, along with pain, discomfort, tingling, and numbness.
- Pain from a pinched or compressed nerve can be treated by chiropractic through adjustments and manual therapy at the site of pain.
- Other treatments include cold laser therapy, targeted exercises and stretches, and even massage therapy.
Back Pain Treatment After Car Accident Injury
Most people self-treat with rest, heat, ice, and over the counter pain medications.
- Rest–Although it can be difficult to take the time to heal, rest is one of the best treatments for an injury. The problem arises when you rest too much and fail to build back up muscles that have stayed lax to heal. Slow recovered with targeted exercises, coupled with rest is a better treatment.
- Heat–Applying heat to an injured or recovering area can do more harm than good if that is not what the body needs. Refrain from applying heating pads or creams to an irritated pain site, especially if the area is inflamed.
- Ice–Icing a painful area is an effective way to reduce inflammation, but it may not be enough to resolve your pain over time. Consult with a doctor to discuss how long you have been in pain and how icing the area that is bothering you has affected the level of pain you feel.
- Medication–OTC pain medication is a typical coping mechanism for those that have been injured in a car accident, but it can also become a dangerous dependency. Don’t rely on pain medication to relive your pain long-term. Get to the source of your pain and heal naturally.
For many individuals, middle back pain and soreness resolves itself after a bit of rest. However, if you’ve been in pain for longer than a few days, then you should consult a chiropractor or physical therapist.
After the initial shock has worn off from the car accident, you could experience more serious pain and complications. You should always see a doctor following a car accident where you experience any middle back pain.
Treatment for thoracic (mid back) sprain or strain begins with rest and ice. If the pain continues past a couple of days, chiropractic adjustments, massage, and physical therapy may be ordered in order to treat the cause of your pain.
These treatments often help the body heal itself.
Chiropractic Care for Car Accident Injuries
- Physical Exam
- Stretching & Movement Exercises
- Back strengthening Techniques
- Physical Therapy
- Chiropractic Adjustments
- Massage Therapy
- Physical Manipulations
- Pain Management
- Health & Pain Tracking
Maintaining your health and improving your core strength, spinal mobility, and building up endurance are all ways to ensure you have good spine health.
A chiropractor and physical therapist can work with you to create a personalized recovery and exercise plan, which can help to reduce pain and improve your strength and movement.
Chiropractic care is focused on providing natural methods for allowing the body to heal itself. Through attentive care focused on how the body works and what actions it need to recover, you can prevent a prolonged recovery and ensure optimal results.
Chiropractic allows you to get back to the life you normally lead, often with even better physical abilities and pain relief.
Get Help for Middle Back Pain
If left untreated, middle back pain can progress and cause secondary conditions such as difficulty moving, discomfort while sitting or standing, and pain that radiates into other areas of the body.
Even if you have been in a car accident and are not currently exhibiting symptoms, it is still recommended that you seek an examination by a certified chiropractic doctor to check for possible injuries and prevent chronic pain down the road.
Don’t let middle back pain after a car accident slow you down; if you are experiencing any of these symptoms due to car accident injuries, seek immediate treatment.