Car accidents, even those that seem minor, can lead to ongoing back or neck problems. This is because collisions can involve rapid deceleration and severe force that affects the delicate spinal structure. Here, we discuss the injuries that could result from an auto accident and how a doctor can help you through them.
Spinal Injuries After A Car Accident
The neck and back may be sore after an auto accident due to the tightening of the surrounding muscles. There are numerous nerves and soft tissues around the spine, many of which operate in narrow spaces. The inflammation that occurs from trauma may cause temporary pain or may cause other problems that need a bit of care. Examples include:
- Pinched nerves
- Vertebral shifting
- Herniated discs
- Muscle strain
- Spinal fracture
Back or neck injury from an automobile accident does not always present immediately. Most people expect to feel sore after a collision. However, comfort often improves, at least somewhat. This can be a challenge because the injury that occurs, such as vertebral shifting, may not cause persistent symptoms for many months. It is beneficial to have a spinal examination early on, while the insurance claim for the accident is still open.
Treating Back Injuries After an Auto Accident
Injuries sustained during an auto accident vary widely from person to person. There is no single treatment model that suits every situation. Some of the ways to promote optimal recovery include:
- See a doctor. Seeing a doctor for a full spinal examination and imaging does not mean you will need to undergo any form of treatment. What this visit does is help you see how your spine has been affected by the jarring effects of the accident. You may discover that you have no concerning issues and are expected to encounter zero problems down the road.
- Commit to rehabilitation. In some cases, rehabilitation involves taking a few days off to let your muscles and connective tissue recover. Most doctors recommend a balance of rest and low-impact activity like walking or mild stretching. Some people need a formal prescription for physical therapy to address minor problems in the spine after an accident.
- Manage comfort with medication as directed. A doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant, pain medication, or anti-inflammatory depending on the findings of the examination and imaging. Some patients can manage comfort with over-the-counter medication and by alternating hot and cold compresses.
Being in an automobile accident does not mean you will need back or neck surgery. It can mean that you struggle with ongoing pain, though. To prevent this, schedule a visit with a spinal specialist sooner rather than later.