The last thing any person expects is that they will be involved in a vehicle accident when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. Unfortunately, vehicle accidents are not uncommon in Denver and throughout Colorado. These accidents range from relatively minor fender benders to severe accidents that result in vehicle rollovers. Perhaps one of the most common complaints that crash victims have in the aftermath of these incidents is neck and lower back pain. Here, we want to discuss what causes neck and lower back pain after an accident and whether or not this should be cause for concern.
It is important to point out that vehicle accidents are very likely to cause injuries. The simple physics of a vehicle accident should reveal this truth. The average passenger vehicle weighs around 4,000 pounds. Regardless of the speed at which vehicles are traveling when a collision occurs, when this type of weight collides with another vehicle, this can result in a tremendous amount of force being exerted on drivers and passengers.
Additionally, vehicle accidents typically result in the rapid deceleration of the vehicles involved. This can result in passengers and drivers being tossed around with incredible exertional force. Often, drivers and passengers undergo a whiplash effect that can cause injuries to the neck and lower back.
One of the first things that first responders check for in the aftermath of a vehicle accident is spinal cord trauma. Our spines extend from the bottom of our skulls and through to our lower back, and this is the control house of the body. The spine is connected to the brain, and it sends signals to every part of our body, essentially regulating our movement and every physiological aspect our bodies undergo. Any type of injury to the spinal cord can result in major issues, including partial or complete paralysis.
Aside from a spinal cord injury, we also know that whiplash is incredibly common. This type of injury occurs when the head and upper portions of our bodies are thrown backward or forward due to a collision. This rapid motion can cause injuries to the spine, the discs between the spinal bones, as well as the soft tissues, nerves, muscles, and ligaments in the back and neck. The signs and symptoms of whiplash usually do not appear until hours or even days an accident, and this pain will typically show up in the neck, shoulder, and upper back area.
Pain in the lower back following a vehicle accident can occur due to whiplash as well, but this pain can also be caused by direct trauma to the lower back area. Some of the most common lower back injuries that can cause pain include injuries to the lumbar spine. Lumbar sprains can occur anytime the ligaments of the back are stretched or torn. Additionally, vehicle accidents can cause damage to the discs between the spinal bones. This can include disc herniation, which occurs anytime the inner filling of the spinal discs protrudes through the outer layer. These protrusions can come into contact with the spinal nerves, leading to significant lower back pain.
The most important thing that any person can do following a car accident is to seek medical care. Often, vehicle accident victims feel no pain at all following an incident, but this is usually due to the rush of adrenaline that masks the pain. If a person waits to seek medical care until they begin to feel pain, it may be too late to reverse some of the neck and lower back injuries.