Back Pain after a Car Accident

When you are in a car accident, one of the most common injuries we see is back pain.

Back pain is normal after a car accident and can be a minor injury or a serious one. Click here for other serious injuries caused by a car accident.


Back pain is often caused by whiplash. Even if you consider the accident to be minor when you stop suddenly or are hit suddenly your neck can overextend and strain soft tissue muscle. A small injury in one part of your back can cause your back to overcompensate for the injury. Left untreated it can cause more pain later. If you pain, stiffness or inflammation at the base of your head or in your neck, it is important that you see a doctor straight away to ensure that you do not have serious complications later. In addition to pain and stiffness, whiplash can also cause

  • Headaches, especially at the base of the skull
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Constant weariness

In some cases, mild whiplash goes away with time, rest, over-the-counter pain relief medications, and some hot or cold presses. However, moderate to severe cases of whiplash can cause chronic pain and disability. Treatments for severe cases may involve physical therapy, pain medication, neck injections, collars, and, in rare cases, surgery.


Other Back Injuries

In more serious car accidents, back pain is almost inevitable, and it can be caused by a number of other causes.

Muscle Sprains

Similar to whiplash, other muscles in your back can be strained. This can be because of whiplash or because of other sudden movements of other parts of your body or due to the force of airbags.

When soft tissue, like the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in you lower back is strained, it can often affect the rest of your body immensely. You can also feel pain in your hips, legs, and feet. Your injured muscles can also spasm. The resulting pain and spasms from a pulled back muscle or torn ligament can be surprisingly severe.

A pulled back muscle or ligament can take up to 6 weeks of treatment, and some severe strains might even take months to fully heal. During this recovery period, certain positions and activities might aggravate back pain and be impossible to do. It can even affect your sleep, making your day-to-day life unbearable.

Spinal Injuries

Without a doubt, the most serious back injuries are ones that involve damage to the spinal cord, which is a bundle of nerves and tissues that connect your brain and the rest of your body. The vertebrae in your spine are designed to protect your spinal cord (part of your central nervous system) from injury

Herniated (slipped or bulging) discs

If you are directly impacted on a collision, there is a high probability that you will herniate a disc. This injury deals with the individual vertebrae, which are usually stacked up like books from your hips to your head. Imagine that a book is knocked out of the stack even slightly it can affect the whole stack. Similarly, if one or part of the vertebrae is knocked out of alignment then it can affect your whole body. Leaving it untreated can cause severe pain and irreparable damage to your back and muscles.

Degenerative disc disease

When 1 or more of the discs situated between the vertebrae is damaged, torn, pinched, or deteriorated, you likely are dealing with degenerative disc disease.  This will result in significant back pain. Though degenerative disc disease is typically an age-related condition, traumatic events (such as a serious car accident) can trigger premature disc degeneration.

If you are dealing with one or more of the following symptoms you should consult your doctor about having early-onset degenerative disc disease:
  • Herniated (slipped or bulging) discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Bone spurs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sciatica
  • Osteoarthritis

Pain from a spinal disc injury is usually shooting, sharp and debilitating—and it can happen while you are still or engaging in an activity that irritates the disc. This intense pain often spreads to a person’s legs, butt, feet, and groin areas.

Spinal cord injuries

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.

When a collision or accident results in spinal cord damage, often there are debilitating long-term and permanent consequences. Total or partial paralysis and chronic pain are possible, as is an infection, blood clots, spinal fluid leaks, and other serious medical conditions.

Serious spinal cord injuries can cause loss of bladder and bowel control, dangerously low blood pressure, increased risk of pneumonia and other respiratory symptoms, decreased in sexual functions, and can even cause paralyzation.



In mild cases of back pain­– rest, ice, and heat paired with over-the-counter painkillers may be enough to mitigate the pain and allow your body to heal. But in most cases, in order to fully heal your body and prevent other complications later, you should seek treatment from a doctor.



Chiropractic treatments are essential for healing back pain caused by car accidents. The chiropractor will find the root cause of your back pain and treat it with a variety of methods to ensure you are healing properly.

Physical Therapy

Contrary to popular belief, light exercise can help your body heal. It increases blood flow to the knotted or tense muscles and can help your body maintain strength. Physical therapy can help target the specific injured area to build back strength and heal the muscles.

Other treatment

These medical professionals can refer you to other services if your pain continues, by getting you CT scans to better assess the injuries or with injections to help you deal with the immediate pain.

What to do if you feel back pain after an accident

It’s crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following a crash. If you are dealing with back pain or other injuries, due to a car accident The Offices of Julie M. Essa, LLC can help. Give us a call and we can help direct you to the treatment you need if you have not received it already.

If you’ve already been diagnosed and are following the doctor’s orders for treatment, it’s time to give us a call. These claims are often very complicated and involve significant medical costs, resulting in contested claims. For these reasons, it’s vital to hire an experienced lawyer, like Julie M. Essa and Noor E. Janho who can best represent you.