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Experiencing back pain after a car accident is not uncommon, as the force and impact of a collision can cause a range of musculoskeletal injuries. While some injuries may be immediately apparent, like broken bones and lacerations, it is not unusual for back pain to not manifest until days after the accident.

If you have been involved in an injury-causing car crash, contacting a Louisiana auto accident attorney is an important step toward receiving the compensation you will need.

Is Back Pain Common After a Car Crash?

Car accidents can result in various injuries, and one of the most common complaints following a collision is back pain. The impact forces generated during a car crash can place significant stress on the spine as well as muscles, ligaments, and nerves in the back, leading to discomfort and pain. Additionally, research shows an estimated 63% of people who receive a back injury in a car crash will experience ongoing lower back pain.

The severity and extent of back pain can vary depending on the type of accident, the collision speed, the position of the occupants, and individual differences in physical condition. Back pain may be immediate and intense in some cases, while in others, it may take a few days or even weeks to develop.

After a car accident, even if you do not immediately feel pain, seek medical attention. You may have a delayed reaction to the incident, and pain may occur in the coming days.

Types of Back Injuries in Vehicle Collisions

The back is a complex structure comprising of the spine, muscles, ligaments, and discs, which can all be harmed in a car crash. Understanding the different types of back injuries that can occur during these incidents is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

  • Whiplash: One of the most common injuries associated with car accidents is whiplash, with an estimated 1.2 million whiplash injuries occurring in the U.S. annually. Whiplash happens when the head and neck are abruptly and forcefully jerked forward and then backward, mimicking the motion of a whip, causing strain on the neck and upper back. Whiplash can lead to muscle sprains, strains, and soft tissue damage, resulting in pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
  • Herniated disc: Spinal discs act as cushions between the vertebrae, providing shock absorption and flexibility. In a vehicle collision, the impact can cause the discs to bulge, rupture, or herniate. A herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like material of the disc protrudes through its outer layer and presses on nearby nerves. This can lead to intense back pain, sciatica, numbness, and weakness.
  • Compression fractures: Compression fractures result from excessive force that causes the vertebrae to compress or collapse. Compression fractures can cause severe pain, difficulty standing or walking, and loss of height.
  • Sprains and strains: Sprains and strains often result from sudden movements, such as bracing for impact or being forcefully jolted within the vehicle. Symptoms may include localized pain, muscle spasms, and difficulty with movement.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries can lead to partial or complete loss of sensation and motor function below the injury site. Spinal cord injuries are serious and require immediate medical attention.

Why Medical Attention is Vital Even if You Don’t Think You’re Hurt

After a car accident, it’s not uncommon for individuals to feel a rush of adrenaline or be in a state of shock, which can temporarily mask pain and other injury symptoms. Even if you don’t immediately feel hurt or notice any visible injuries, seeking out medical attention is vital for several important reasons:

  • Hidden injuries: Some injuries affecting the back or neck may not manifest symptoms right away. Internal bleeding, bruising, and swelling around the injury site, or minor fractures may not be immediately apparent due to the adrenaline in your body masking acute pain and inflammation. Healthcare professionals can perform thorough examinations, including necessary diagnostic tests, to identify hidden injuries.
  • Delayed onset of symptoms: Injuries sustained during a car accident can have a delayed onset of symptoms. It’s not uncommon for pain, stiffness, or other symptoms to develop hours or even days after an incident. By seeking medical attention promptly, you increase the chances of early detection and appropriate intervention.
  • Legal and insurance documentation: Receiving treatment from a healthcare professional establishes a crucial link between the car accident and any injuries sustained. This documentation can be invaluable for insurance claims or legal proceedings should you need to pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages resulting from the accident.

Get Compensation for Your Back Pain

Experiencing a car accident can be traumatic; even if you don’t think you’re hurt, getting medical attention is crucial for your well-being. Back injuries can have delayed symptoms and (expensive) long-term consequences if left untreated. By visiting a healthcare professional, you can ensure proper diagnosis, timely intervention, and prevention of potential complications.

Don’t underestimate the impact of hidden injuries or the potential for delayed symptoms. Take action today and contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to protect your rights and receive the support you need after a car accident that wasn’t your fault.

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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