It’s not uncommon for a car accident to result in symptoms of neck and lower back pain. Why? Because the impact of a collision can cause both drivers and passengers to move abruptly forward and backward, which can injure the neck and back.
The occupants of a car can also strike parts of the car because of the crash’s impact (or other areas if they are thrown outside the car). Both rapid movement forward and back and striking parts of the car or other objects can cause neck and lower back pain. Neck and lower back pain can be very painful and debilitating.
The abrupt movement forward and backward is commonly known as whiplash, because the neck and back move forward and back like a whip cracking. Whiplash is most common in a rear-end collision, but it can occur with a car accident of any type.
Whiplash can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Changes in neck range of motion
- Pain with movement of neck or back
- Tenderness or pain in the arms, shoulders, or upper back
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Disturbed sleep
- Difficulty concentrating or with memory
While whiplash can cause pain in either the neck or lower back, pain in these areas can also have other causes.
Neck pain can result from several types of injuries, including herniated discs in the neck, neck sprains, and nerve compression. These injuries can cause multiple symptoms, including:
- Muscle tightness and spasms
- Increased pain when the head and neck stay in one position for significant periods of time, such as the position held when you work at a computer
- Decreased ability to move your head
Back pain in a car accident can be caused by injury to the spinal discs, including herniation, spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), degenerative spinal disorder, and lumbar sprains.
The symptoms of a back injury can include:
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle aches
- Radiating pain down a leg
- Pain that becomes worse if you bend, lift, stand, or walk
- Pain that becomes better if you recline
Getting Help for Neck and Lower Back Pain
You may feel neck and lower back pain immediately after a car accident. If you do, you should visit an emergency room or your physician immediately. They will be able to recommend a course of care, ranging from physical therapy to surgical intervention. Be sure to describe the accident carefully, particularly any blows or injuries to your head, neck, or back, to your physician.
However, it’s important to note that neck and lower back pain symptoms often don’t occur right away. You also may not notice neck or back pain because you have other, more severe injuries from the crash. Regardless of whether you feel pain or not, it’s important to be checked out by a doctor after you’ve been in a car crash. They can examine you and prescribe treatment if necessary. Describe the accident and what parts of your body were affected so your doctor can schedule appropriate diagnostic tests.
Because it can take time for symptoms to occur, it’s important not to make any statements at the site of the collision that you feel okay. Never sign anything indicating you have no injuries as well, even if you initially feel fine. See a physician as soon as possible after any accident.
The duration of symptoms of neck and lower back pain varies enormously. Some spontaneously resolve, while others improve with treatment. Unfortunately, some pain from neck and lower back injuries may be very long term or permanent.
If You or Loved One Has Neck or Lower Back Pain Resulting from an Accident
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in West Virginia and have developed neck or lower back pain, it’s a good idea to see an experienced car accident attorney. Johnstone & Gabhart are seasoned car accident lawyers. We have years of experience in helping victims with lower neck and back pain receive justice.
An accurate medical diagnosis of your pain can be key to receiving the compensation for damages you deserve. We will work to see that qualified medical professionals see to your recovery. Contact us today.