Causes of Neck & Back Pain after a Car Accident

Causes of Neck & Back Pain after a Car Accident

Car Accident Pain

Unfortunately, car accidents occur all too often. Those accidents often result in back or neck injuries for some of the parties involved.  Whenever vehicular accidents take place, regardless of the intensity, a jerking motion of the body occurs. As a car slam unto something, the inertia from the opposing force causes the car and everything inside it to move in that direction. This movement may cause various disorders and ailments to the neck, back, and spine.

An injury after a car accident can be both painful and extremely debilitating because the neck, back and spine are critical to normal bodily function.  If you had an automobile accident recently, and are experiencing neck or back pains, it is essential for you to know and understand what may be causing it.

Causes of Pain After a Car Accident

The following points are possible causes of neck and back pain after a car accident:

  • Sprains – The enormous pressure generated by the car crash can cause excessive stretching of the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and soft tissues. The lumbar spine, located at the lower portion of our backs, depends on the soft tissues for support. When put under excessive motion, movement, or stress, the soft tissues—low back muscles can become painful and injured known as a sprain.
  • Whiplash Injury – Of all vehicular accidents, around 90% occur at speeds of 14 mph or less. It is in these speeds and accidents that whiplash injuries arise. The term “whiplash” means ‘soft tissue or bone injury to the neck’ which usually results from a side or rear-end impact as a result of motor-vehicular accidents. It happens when an acceleration-deceleration mechanism due to inertia causes an energy transfer to the neck.

Injuries to the bone or soft tissues on the neck occur as the torso rapidly moves forward, and the neck lags or decelerates followed by the head accelerating forward in a whiplash or rebound motion.

Besides neck pain or stiffness, symptoms such as vertigo, nausea, and headache may be experienced with a whiplash injury.

  • Degenerative Spinal Disorders – Aging is the most common cause of degenerative conditions of the spine. In some cases, however, the symptoms of some degenerative conditions are not present until provoked by a car crash.

With a collision, any disorder such as scoliosis, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, pinched nerves, and spinal osteoarthritis may become worse, causing back or neck pains.

  • Disc Herniation – Disc herniation is a common injury to the spine post-trauma such as car accidents. It occurs when the intervertebral discs, which serves as shock absorbers between discs, are damaged. The inner filling of these discs bulges out through the outer casing. The bulge may not be painful, but the protruding/bulging part often causes pressure and impingement to the nearby spinal nerves. The nerve compression causes pain, discomfort, and other neurological signs and symptoms.
  • Spinal Stenosis – Stenosis is a term which means narrowing of a passage. Therefore, the phrase spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal which houses the spinal cord. It occurs most often in the neck and lower Stenosis may be associated with aging, but it may also be due to trauma such as car crash and accidents.

Some individuals with this condition may not have signs and symptoms. Others may have pain, tingling sensations, numbness, and muscle weakness. It may get better with rest or worsen over time depending on the underlying condition.

  • Facet Joint Injuries – The facet joints are the bony protrusions located between and at the back of each vertebra. It aids in stabilization of the spinal column and prevents excessive extension and twisting. Facet joint injuries and pain occur when the facet joints become inflamed or misaligned secondary to any trauma.
  • Fracture – Fractures are common injuries after a vehicular accident. Depending on the intensity of the collision, some of the bones of the spine, arms, or legs may break. It can cause pain, hematoma (bruising), and swelling.

Neck and back pains have many different causes, that is why it is vital to have a skilled practitioner to properly assess and diagnose your condition.

At Pegasus Pain Management Clinic, our physicians regularly work with individuals who were in a vehicular accident and those experiencing a whiplash injury. Our healthcare team is highly experienced in properly diagnosing and managing neck and back pains. For more information regarding car accident injuries, call (214) 720-5855 or book an appointment with us.



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  • ” Spinal Stenosis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic.” Mayo Clinic – Mayo Clinic.  <>.
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