Car accidents happen suddenly, and you can’t always be sure of what’s happened right away. One moment you’re cruising toward your destination, the next, you’re violently shaken by a collision. Trying to remember the steps you’re supposed to take is difficult enough, but the stress-related chemicals flowing through your body post-accident can have other effects that don’t become apparent right away.
What happens if you file your accident report, speak with a police officer, and get home to finally breathe, only to find out once you’ve begun to relax that maybe you’re a little more hurt than you realized? Worse yet, what if this doesn’t happen for a day or two following the accident?
One of the most common types of sneaky injuries that can occur during car accidents is back pain. If you’ve ever had back pain before, you know how debilitating it can be. Should this happen to you, there are some steps you can take to ensure your best outcome. Before we explore these steps, let’s examine why you may be experiencing back pain.
Common types of back pain from a car accident
Your back is a large part of your body, so back pain can mean several things that all have different degrees of severity and need for treatment. These can include:
Whiplash occurs when the sudden impact of a car collision causes your neck and head to whip backward and forward in quick succession. This can do damage to your spine, including the bones, ligaments, and tendons. Even though whiplash happens primarily to your neck, you can feel resulting pain in your upper lower back in addition to the neck.
Minor cases of whiplash often go away on their own with time and rest, but severe cases can lead to chronic pain or a disability. One in ten cases of whiplash lead to permanent disablement. If you experience symptoms, it’s worth getting checked out no matter what.
Strains and sprains
Soft tissue like muscles, ligaments, and tendons connect throughout your entire back, and when they’re put under too much stress, they can be strained or sprained. These injuries can be extremely painful. A pulled muscle can take up to six weeks to heal even with treatment, and some strains can take months. Certain activities will be difficult during this time, so if you have a very physical job, you might not be able to work.
Degenerative disc disease
When one or more of the discs situated between your vertebrae are damaged, pinched, or injured in any way, back pain is a common symptom. This usually happens as a result of aging, but a car accident can trigger the process.
The resulting condition, degenerative disc disease, can cause many problems, including osteoarthritis, sciatica, slipped discs, bone spurs, and more. Pain from these injuries is often a shooting sensation that is sharp and irritating, and it can pop up during any activity. Treatment may require pain medication, physical therapy, and spinal fusion. This can all be very expensive, unpleasant, and time-consuming.
The most severe back injuries are those that occur in your spine. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that connect your brain to the rest of your body with nerves, so your spine is meant to protect them. If an accident leads to spinal cord damage, chronic pain and paralysis are very real possibilities. Spinal cord injuries can also lead to infection, fluid leaks, blood clots, and more.
What to do if you get back pain after a car accident
To ensure your best chances of healing properly, it’s important to get your back pain checked out and taken care of right away. Follow these three steps for the best outcome:
- Get examined immediately – Going to a doctor right away serves two important purposes. One is to ensure your best chance of recovery. Acting quickly means getting treatment sooner, so if any problems are worsening, your doctor will be able to prevent as much further damage as possible. The second is to help prove your injuries are related to the accident. If you wait several days to be treated, you risk a lawyer arguing in court that your injury wasn’t accident-related.
- Receive whatever treatment is necessary – Until you are on the proper path to health, don’t worry about the legal side of things. Don’t tough anything out, and follow your doctor’s orders. If needed, get further testing done to diagnose the problem. Your health comes first.
- Talk to an attorney – Once you’ve taken steps toward preserving your health, it’s time to start thinking about legal proceedings. However, you don’t want to wait too long before contacting a personal injury law firm as certain limitation periods are already ticking away. The initial call will almost always be free. This attorney can help review your medical records and insurance policy. They can also represent you in court if necessary, and in most circumstances maximize the outcome you need. Do not sign anything until you’ve talked to a lawyer.
Car Accident Help is here to stand with you
If you’ve recently been in a car accident and you’re experiencing back pain, we hope this guide has helped you understand the potential severity of your situation. If you decide you’re ready to better understand your legal situation, the skilled attorneys at Car Accident Help are an invaluable resource to get you through the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation.