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Chronic Lower Back Pain After an Accident: Common Injuries & Symptoms

Man suffering from back pain at home in the bedroom. Uncomfortable mattress and pillow causes back pain.

Lower back injuries often happen as a result of low impact, rear-end, and roll-over car accidents. When a crash jolts the muscles, nerves, and ligaments in the back, it can lead to severe, ongoing pain.

Acute and chronic back pain from a car accident is fairly common. Most victims take several weeks or months to recover from their lower back injuries.

For a few, their injuries may fade but remain a long-term issue. The pain can make it difficult to walk, sleep, work, or enjoy everyday activities.

If you are unsure of what to do immediately after suffering a lower back injury due to an accident, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates. Our Atlanta personal injury law firm is here to help car accident victims receive treatment after serious accidents.

Common Lower Back Injuries After a Wreck

The lower back supports most of your upper body weight. An accident, especially one in which the torso is strained or twisted, can damage the muscles and nerves, causing weakness and severe pain.

Sudden low back pain after a car accident may indicate:

  • Strain, sprain, or tear to muscles and ligaments
  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal cord fracture
  • Spinal stenosis

Symptoms of low back pain include pain and stiffness, pain in the buttocks or back of the thighs, and pain that worsens when moving or standing up straight. Ice and heat, painkillers, physical therapy, and certain exercises can improve your condition.

Avoid bed rest after the first day or two if your injury is mild. Too much rest can weaken your muscles and make the injury worse.

Severe lower back injury symptoms such as loss of bowel or bladder control, weakness or numbness, pain traveling down one leg, redness or swelling along the spine, weight loss, and fever indicate a serious problem that needs to be quickly addressed by a medical professional.

Low Back Strain

Lumbar muscle strains and sprains are the most common types of back injuries people experience. Low back strains are caused by the abnormal stretching and tearing of muscle fibers. Lumbar sprains happen when ligaments in the back are torn from where they attach muscle to bone.

An injured victim may experience low back pain that radiates into the posterior, stiffness and restricted range of motion, difficulty maintaining normal posture, muscle spasms when active or resting, and pain that persists for up to two weeks.

With the appropriate treatment, more than 90% of patients completely recover from a lumbar strain or sprain.

Slipped Discs

Between each vertebra in the spine are gelatin-like cushions called discs. These discs keep the bones from rubbing against one another and help give the spine its flexibility. The force of a crash can damage spinal discs.

A bulging disc protrudes or shifts its position, pressing against spinal nerves. A herniated disc happens when a tear opens up the disc and the inner fluid leaks out into the spine, creating severe pain. Herniated discs are a common cause of lower back pain for many car accident victims.

Spinal Fractures

In severe car accidents, the bones in the spine can become compressed, causing them to crack or break. The more severe the fracture, the more likely there will be long-term damage. Spinal fractures can cause spinal cord injuries. Symptoms will depend on where the injury is located along the spine, as each section contains nerve connections that interact with different parts of the body.

Pinched Nerves

If the spinal column is compressed or narrowed, it can pinch the spinal cord (the bundle of nerves running from your brain down through the spine). This is known as spinal stenosis and can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain.

Acute vs Chronic Back Pain

Lower back injuries affect the five vertebrae (L1-L5) in the lumbar region. Like other parts of the spine (cervical, thoracic, sacral, and coccygeal), it contains intervertebral discs; ligaments and tendons that attach the muscles to the spine; and nerve pairs that control the abdomen, legs, bowel, bladder, and other body parts.

  • Acute back pain lasts for a short time, about a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute.
  • Chronic back pain is defined as pain that lasts for three months or longer, even after the initial injury or cause of the acute low back pain has been treated.

Around 20% of people affected by an acute low back injury develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms. Even though the pain lingers, there may not be an identifiable cause despite medical treatment.

Seek Treatment Immediately

If you are suffering from a lower back injury following a car wreck, it is important to go to an urgent care facility or see your primary care doctor. You could be suffering from one or more serious injuries.

Without immediate treatment, your injuries will likely get worse. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may also argue that since you didn’t seek treatment right after a wreck for your lower back pain that you are not as hurt as you claim.

Failing to get treatment after a crash could irreparably damage or ruin any personal injury claim you try to file.

Compensation for a Lower Back Injury Following a Car Accident

A severe lower back injury will likely require imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRIs. A doctor may need to order expensive blood tests, injections, or surgery. You may require physical therapy, chiropractic care, and time away from work. All of this is time-consuming and expensive.

You have a right to compensation if you are suffering from lower back pain after a car wreck that wasn’t your fault. Gary Martin Hays & Associates can help you receive a just settlement for your lower back injury and pain. We can quickly get you the lower back injury treatment you need to recover from this traumatic experience.

Call (770) 934-8000 for a free consultation over the phone.

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