Car accidents and back pain go hand in hand unfortunately. Many people experience back pain while driving long distances (independent of an actual accident). In addition, low back pain is a common injury following most auto accidents. In this post we are going to run through the different types of back injuries that can result from car crashes, and the best treatment options available for each.
Common Back Injuries
There are numerous conditions and injuries that can result directly from a car accident. Here are a few of the most common:
- Pinched Nerve. The spinal column is filled with nerves that transmit signals throughout the body. Sometimes a nearby structure (like a spinal disc or vertebra) can impede on these nerves.
- Slipped or Bulging Disc. Each spinal vertebra is cushioned on either side by a disc. Sometimes these discs slide or bulge out of place and intrude on surrounding nerves and muscles. This results in pain and numbness.
- Compression Fractures of the Spine. These can occur in high impact injuries (like car accidents), and entail one or more of the vertebral bones to crack or break.
These injuries can lead to chronic pain and even loss of sensation in the arms and legs. As a result, it is incredibly important to get these injuries examined and treated immediately after an accident.
Treatment depends heavily on the specific back injury sustained. Usually bulging discs and pinched nerves are treated initially with conservative methods. Chiropractic, physical therapy, steroid injections, and pain medication may help resolve the pain associated. If the pain does not go away after a couple months of these treatments, minimally invasive decompression surgery may be the best method for pain relief. Fractures of the spine may also heal with rest, and pain medications. However, severe fractures may need to be corrected and set by a surgeon to fully heal.