After you get into a car accident, you may be uncertain about why you’re experiencing a certain type of pain, such as neck or back pain. You may have injuries that you don’t believe to be serious enough to warrant a hospital visit. However, no matter how minor your injuries are, you should still seek medical attention as a way to ensure that your care is documented.
If you don’t receive immediate medical attention after the accident, insurance companies will try to place the blame on you. They may state that your injuries got worse because you waited, or that your pain wasn’t real because you didn’t seek attention right away.
Causes of Neck and Back Pain
There are many different causes of neck and back pain. Depending on where you were struck, what type of accident you were involved in, and whether or not you waited to receive medical care will help determine how severe (and expensive) your injuries are. If you have a severe injury, it can and will get worse the longer you wait to have it examined.
A lumbar sprain can occur when the force of a car accident causes damage to the muscles and tissue in the lower back. Lumbar sprains are most common after being involved in a rear-end accident. They are diagnosed by clinical evaluation. Sprains usually heal easily, but may require some physical therapy if pain lasts.
Spinal stenosis is a back injury that worsens over time if you decide not to seek medical attention. With spinal stenosis you can experience tingling in thee arms and fingers, a stiff neck, trouble lifting light objects, and sore hips.
Thoracic Spine Injury
A thoracic spine injury occurs in the middle to upper back, causing horrible back pain. Thoracic spine injuries include fractures, disc herniations, and paralysis. Thoracic spine injuries can be more traumatic than lumbar or cervical spinal cord injuries, as the vertebrae in the thoracic section are more narrow.
Herniated discs occur when the vertebrae discs (the cushioning between your vertebrae) are knocked out of place or compressed, causing mild to severe pain. Depending on how severe your injury is, you may require surgery to replace the disc. Afterwards, you’ll need to visit a physical therapist to help you heal fully. An undiagnosed herniated disc can lead to other degenerative spinal disorders, such as degenerative disc disease.
Facet Joint Injury
Facet joint injuries will leave you with immediate pain and can cause a degenerative spinal disorder called facet joint syndrome. Damage may be to the facet joint specifically or to the cartilage that cushions the facet joints.
Whiplash is an incredibly common injury that occurs most often in rear end car accidents. This type of injury occurs when the neck moves rapidly back and forth. Whiplash is generally minor and will often heal within a few weeks following a treatment plan that includes both medication and exercise.
Common Accidents That Lead to Back and Neck Injuries
Rear-end accidents, t-bone accidents, side-impact accidents, and head-on accidents are a few of the most common types of car accidents. Because of the impact to the back of the vehicle, rear-end accidents are most likely to cause neck, back, and spinal cord injuries.
Rear-end accidents may occur at stop lights, stop signs, or on roads and highways. They may occur because the following driver isn’t paying attention, causing them to hit the lead driver. This usually occurs because the following driver didn’t notice that the lead driver had stopped or because the following driver didn’t leave enough space between themselves and the lead driver to account for hard stops.
Could I experience delayed neck and back pain?
Delayed and hidden symptoms are both incredibly scary and dangerous, as your injuries could be worsening without you even knowing it. Common symptoms of delayed injuries include:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Numbness and bruising
- Emotional distress
If you’re experiencing any pain at all following your car accident, you should seek medical attention to ensure that you don’t have a delayed injury that is causing you pain. Ignoring the pain may only make the injury worse.
How is neck and back pain treated?
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your treatment will be much different. Mild cases are often treated with physical therapy, pain medication, and hot and cold heat treatment. More severe cases will require more intense and frequent physical therapy, injections, pain medication, and surgery.
Even with successful treatment, you may still be left with chronic pain that affects your everyday life. Your doctor will set you up with information on how to manage the longterm pain associated with your injuries.
Seeking Compensation for Auto Accident Injuries
You can receive three types of compensation for the damages that you incur after your car accident. You can recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages cover losses that have a monetary value associated with them, such as lost wages and medical bills.
Non-economic damages cover losses that don’t have a monetary loss associated with them, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and more. Non-economic damages are calculated by looking at how much one’s quality of life has changed before and after the accident. Are you able to take care of yourself the same way? Are you able to partake in your normal daily activities?
Punitive damages are rare, but are awarded as a way to further punish the defendant. If they acted with gross negligence, punitive damages will be awarded as a way to prevent them from making the same mistake again in the future.
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident resulting in back and neck injuries, please contact our talented attorneys here at The Eberst Law Firm. We have years of experience working on car accident cases and ew can get you the compensation that you deserve.