Lower Back Pain After Accident

Dec 05, 2022

After getting into a vehicle accident, feeling sore in one or more parts of the body is expected. It is also common to get one’s back twitched during the collision and feel lower back pain after an accident. Most of the time, back pain goes away with some rest and over-the-counter painkillers. However, if this is not the case and you feel severe back pain after 2 weeks of the accident, this can be a sign of serious injury. In such a situation it becomes important to know the cause. In what follows, we will explain why you might be feeling back pain long after the accident and what could be done about it.

Spine surgeon in Los Angeles Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Consult a Spine Surgeon in Los Angeles

This article will provide you with a good understanding of lower back pain after an accident, its causes, and treatments. You can get a fair idea if your back pain is serious and what steps you can take further. However, for complete diagnosis and timely treatment, you should see a neurosurgeon. 

You can see a neurosurgeon in Los Angeles by visiting Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery. Schedule an appointment by filling out the contact form or calling us at (213)-369 4583.

Symptoms of Lower Back Injury After Accident

For a few days after the accident, you might not be able to differentiate your backache from your overall body ache as you will be feeling sore all over. With time, if the body ache recovers but the back pain doesn’t, it indicates there might be an injury to your back. A minor injury to the back causing spasm or muscle pull is not very serious and can be cured with nonsurgical treatments. However, if the spine has been damaged in any way, it poses a worrisome situation. But how could you know which one is the case? One way is to look for symptoms. A minor back injury has different symptoms from a spinal injury.

Minor Back Injury Symptoms

  • Spasm
  • Severe pain but bearable
  • Doesn’t last for more than 2 weeks
  • Gets better with massage and other treatments

Serious Spine Injury Symptoms

  • Unbearable pain in the lower back
  • Pain that radiates from the source to legs, arms, or forearms
  • Loss of control over bladder and bowel
  • Tingling or numbness in feet, arms, or legs
  • Faintness and sweating
  • Insensitivity to touch or needles

What Causes Lower Back Pain after an accident?

A man sitting with his hand on the back showing signs of backache

Car accidents most likely injure the neck and back. What might seem like a little collision, has the chance of injuring your spine. There are many possible causes of back pain after an accident. It could be due to a traumatic injury, such as a herniated disc or spinal cord injury. Or, it could be the result of whiplash, which can damage the soft tissues in the neck and back.

Given below are some of the potential causes of lower back pain after an accident:


Whiplash refers to the back-and-forth motion. During a car accident, due to a collision, a person’s neck moves back and forth with force, causing injury to the neck. It is one of the most common injuries sustained during a vehicle accident. Whiplash injuries typically affect the cervical spine only, but severe collisions can also injure the lower back to compensate for the overall impact. Depending upon the severity of the collision, the injury can be as minor as getting a neck sprain or as big as getting a herniated disc.

Slipped Disc or Herniated Disc

Inside our vertebrae, several discs stack over one another, containing a soft jelly-like substance known as Nucleus Pulposus, which functions as a shock absorber for the spine. When the vertebrae sustain a serious injury during an accident, this jelly-like substance breaks the wall and protrudes from the disc. This creates a bulge that can lead to compression of spinal nerves causing pain to the person.

Vertebral fractures

People of age or with medical conditions like osteoporosis can suffer vertebral fractures due to an accident. This can also be one of the causes of lower back pain after an accident. If the fracture is minor, you might not feel much pain but a little crack can always turn into a major fracture. Therefore, medical professionals always recommend having X-ray scans after an accident.

Sprains and Strains

Less serious conditions like strains and sprains occur when excessive stress is exerted on the back muscle, and they can be treated with conservative methods. In the worst cases, a person might tear his muscle or ligament.

Injury to Facet Joints

The facet joints, also known as the posterior side of the spine, are joints located in the back of the spine. There are facet joints at each vertebral level, one on each side of the spine. These joints, if healthy, glide and slide over one another as a person moves his back and prevent over-twisting. High-impact vehicle collisions can damage these joints making it hard for a person to do his daily activities.

Treatment for Lower Back Pain After Accident 

treatment options for lower back pain after accident

As discussed above, if doctors diagnose the cause of back pain as minor, conservative treatments will suffice. These include;

  • Massage
  • Medications
  • Yoga
  • Heat and ice therapies

For serious spine injuries, patients receive surgical treatment. Various surgical methods can treat lower back pain after serious injury accidents;

  • Discectomy
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Laminotomy
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