What Causes Neck and Lower Back Pain After an Accident?

When you’re in a car accident, all too often the damage isn’t limited to your vehicle. The sudden jolt can send shock waves throughout your body. Even a small fender bender packs more than enough punch to seriously impact your body.

Your neck and lower back are especially vulnerable from the sudden jerking motion that comes with the sudden stop of a two-ton vehicle.

Why Your Spine Is so Vulnerable During an Accident

Your spinal cord, which runs from the end of the brain stem to the lower back, is an incredibly complicated structure. It’s also just as delicate.

Stretching about 18-inches in length, the spine is divided into four areas, each of which controls the nerve endings of certain parts of your body. Each of the four areas of your spine is responsible for controlling various parts of the body.

  • The cervical region controls the neck area, protects the brain stem and allows for the movement of your head.
  • The thoracic region controls the upper torso and protects crucial organs with its rib attachments.
  • The lumbar region supports your lower back and carries most of your body’s weight.
  • The sacrum region actually serves as the connector point to your pelvis.  

Interlocked among all those regions are muscles, ligaments, and discs. Any type of damage to either area – no matter how slight – can easily result in serious damage that affects just about every aspect of your physical life. 

That’s why it’s important to speak with an experience car accident lawyer after auto collision. You want to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. 

Common Neck and Back Injuries From Accidents

We’re often led into a false sense of security by thinking our car seats protect us from lower back and neck injury. 

The reality is that the force of a car crash can cause parts of your spine to move in different directions at the same time. Because the lower back has no rib attachments, that area is more likely to experience an injury.

Here are some of the more commonly reported neck and back injuries stemming from car accidents.

  • Whiplash. Don’t be fooled by the way movies and TV shows portray whiplash. Often taking days to reveal symptoms, whiplash describes the stretching of the muscles and tissues in the neck. Symptoms can include long-lasting pain, tiredness, and dizziness.
  • Spinal fractures. This type of injury is common when your lower body is held in place by a seatbelt, but the upper body is shaken. When this happens, small cracks can occur in your spine. This can lead to a feeling of numbness, problems with bladder control, and muscle weakness.
  • Herniated discs. The discs in your spine provide a cushion for the vertebrae. The force generated from a car accident can easily cause your discs to shift out of place, pressing against your nerves and causing intense pain.
  • Spinal cord injuries. If your spinal cord is damaged or cut, you could experience a life-long disability. You could even be paralyzed.   

Medical treatment is needed for just about any neck and lower back pain. Depending on the extent of your injuries, this can include intensive surgery, epidural spinal injections, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and more. 

Signs You May Have a Neck or Lower Back Injury

Although neck and back injury symptoms rarely make themselves known immediately after an accident, there are a few telltale signs to look for in the following days and weeks.

  • Severe pain in your arms and legs
  • A feeling of pressure or pain in your back, head, or neck
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak muscles
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Swelling in your back

If you’re involved in a car accident, you should be examined by a medical doctor as quickly as possible – even if you’re feeling fine. Again, symptoms of injuries caused by the accident can take days or weeks to show themselves. 

Your medical exam will be especially valuable if you decide to take legal action against the person who caused the accident. In the eyes of a judge or jury, your doctor’s office visit will send a signal that you took your injuries seriously and experienced real injuries.

Working with your personal injury lawyer, you may be able to recover costs to cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and a decrease in your ability to earn a living. 

Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C.
291 Broadway 6th Floor
New York, NY 10007
(212) 227-4000