Experiencing lower back pain after an auto accident

Lower back problems are a common injury people can experience following an auto accident. It’s important to know what to look for so you can get the right treatment. You also want to legally protect yourself.

Symptoms of a lower back injury

The back is highly susceptible to injury after a person experiences sudden movement (jerking) and/or impact with a heavy force. If you’ve been in an auto accident, you may or may not feel any immediate pain. Or, you may feel slight discomfort and not think too much about it. However, it’s important to pay careful attention to your body’s signals because even if you don’t initially feel pain, you may still have an underlying injury.  Outward symptoms you may feel in your lower back include tightness, dull, achy or stinging. Other signs that point to lower back injury include spasms, numbness, tingling or difficulty transitioning from standing to sitting. Injury can occur immediately or gradually deteriorate.

Types of lower back pain

The lower back is referred to as the “lumbar” area of your spine. It is comprised of bones, nerves, joints, muscles and ligaments, all of which work together to support your body and give it the mobility, support and flexibility it needs. The sources of pain and/or injury in the lower back can be attributed to:

  • Inflammation
  • Lumbar strain (sprain of muscles, ligaments or tendons)
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Torn, herniated or degenerated lumbar disc
  • Hairline fractures

Discongenic pain is considered to be serious as it accounts for 26 to 42 percent of cases of people who experience chronic lower back pain.

Diagnosis and treatment

If you’ve been in an auto accident, be sure to seek treatment immediately, especially if you have pain, to make certain you receive the treatment you need. Even mild symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. If you are injured and do not seek treatment, the problem can worsen over time. When lower back pain is involved, depending on its severity, a doctor may:

  • Run diagnostic tests, such as an MRI, discography and/or tomography to get a closer look to see if any damage was done.
  • Prescribe medication, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, to reduce any swelling.
  • Give steroid injections to relieve pain.
  • Refer you to physical, chiropractic or massage therapy.

If diagnostic tests show serious injury, and if less invasive solutions don’t eliminate the pain, a doctor may refer you to a surgeon to discuss options.

Protect yourself

Acute or chronic back pain can have a serious negative impact on your quality of life. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident, you’ll want to consult with an attorney right away. This way, your injury is documented and you can protect yourself in the event you need long-term or permanent medical care.