Back Pain After Vehicle Collisions: Understanding Symptoms and Available Care

Back Pain After Vehicle Collisions: Understanding Symptoms and Available Care
Back Pain After Vehicle Collisions: Understanding Symptoms and Available Care

Experiencing back pain after a vehicle collision is unfortunately not uncommon. In the U.S., an alarming number of people are injured in car accidents each year. These injuries can potentially result in lingering pain that lasts long after the incident.

In this article, we will look at some common back injuries that can result from car accidents and explore ways to find relief. We will discuss:

  • The causes of back pain after car accidents
  • The importance of seeing a specialist, such as a chiropractor, in addition to going to the emergency room
  • Chiropractic solutions for car accident pain

The underlying causes of back pain after vehicle collisions

Motor vehicle collisions, even those that occur at low speeds, can cause injuries. Some injuries are immediately apparent and can cause significant discomfort, while others are more subtle and may not be detected by an emergency room physician.

Whiplash Injury

Whiplash isn’t just a neck injury; it’s a condition that can lead to back pain, especially if left untreated. This injury is the result of the sudden jerking of the head after a collision, often seen in rear-end collisions.

Symptoms of whiplash are not limited to neck discomfort, but can also include back pain, tingling, numbness, and limited head mobility. Even a minor accident can cause structural damage to the neck ligaments, leading to potential spinal instability and an increased risk of degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). Proper evaluation is critical after any car accident.


The impact of a car accident can cause fractures in the vertebrae of the back. Situations such as the seatbelt holding one part of your body tighter than the other can cause fractures by causing your torso to move abruptly while your hips remain stationary.

Fractures range from mild to severe and can lead to the back therapy that car accident survivors often require. Even mild pain should be evaluated to rule out vertebral damage.

Ruptured / herniated discs

The discs in your spine, which act as shock absorbers, can be displaced or ruptured by the force of a collision.

Symptoms may include weakness, pins and needles, and/or a burning sensation in your legs. If left untreated, disc problems can lead to persistent chronic pain.


Sciatica, which results from car accidents, is often the result of the aforementioned herniated disc compressing the sciatic nerve. This compression causes back pain along with radiating pain down one leg, possibly accompanied by numbness or tingling.

Additional underlying back injuries

In addition to injuries directly related to the trauma of a car accident, underlying conditions can also be aggravated by the collision. These longstanding problems include

Degenerative disc disease
Spinal stenosis
Facet osteoarthritis
Pre-existing pathology

Why it is important to see a chiropractor, even after an emergency room visit

There are two main reasons: medical and legal. The emergency room typically checks for brain bleeds or fractures, but many injuries that cause acute and chronic pain can be missed.

A chiropractor’s detailed examination of the effects of a car accident on your body can prevent lingering discomfort. This is where car accident chiropractic care plays an essential role.

Legally, it ensures that insurance companies cannot underestimate the severity of your injuries, protecting your rights.

Chiropractic care for car accident pain relief

Traditional medicine may only treat the symptoms, overlooking the underlying cause. Chiropractic care, however, addresses the underlying problems.

Car accidents can misalign your spine, leading to pinched nerves, sprains, inflammation, or other structural problems that cause pain. Chiropractic adjustments realign your spine, allowing for natural healing, reducing inflammation, and relieving pressure on muscles, ligaments, joints, and nerves.

These adjustments not only provide long-lasting relief, but also restore freedom of movement, providing an effective solution for those dealing with the aftermath of vehicle accidents.

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