One of the most common complaints after a car accident is back pain. Your spine, as one of the most complex and longest bone groups in your body, often bears the brunt of the force in a car accident. While some back pain goes away after a few hours or days, other times back pain can last for weeks or longer and can be much more serious than it appears. This can be an indication that you have a back injury.

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What Can Happen to Your Back in a Car Accident?

These 5 types of back injuries are the most common after a car accident.  

  1. Whiplash: Whiplash is one of the most common injuries after a car accident. While many people think that whiplash is only a neck injury, it actually is much more complicated than that. Whiplash injuries can, and often do, extend down past the neck into the vertebrae in your spine, classifying them as a back injury. Check out our Whiplash page for more information.  
  2. Soft Tissue Injuries: These types of injuries include sprains, strains, or tears to the muscles and ligaments in your back. These will likely cause a lot of pain and soreness, and can result in tenderness, muscle spasms, and muscle stiffness.  
  3. Herniated or Ruptured Disc: When your body absorbs the force that a car crash creates, it can cause the supportive discs in your spine to crack, rupture, or slip out of place. While this is usually painless on its own, it is extremely common for the disc to press up against a nerve, which causes significant pain. In addition, if the disc is pressed against a nerve, it may cause lower back pain, sciatica, weakness and numbing/tingling in your leg or foot, neck or shoulder pain, or weakness and numbing/tingling in your arm or hand.  
  4. Fractures: The force from impact may cause a vertebrae in your spine to break. The most common type of spinal fracture from a car accident is called a compression fracture. This happens when your spine is compressed, and the pressure causes small cracks or fissures in the bone. Severe fractures may even damage the nerves around the spinal cord. Check out our Broken and Fractured Bones page for more information.  
  5. Spinal Cord Injury: This is the most severe back injury of the list above. During the accident, your spinal cord could become bruised, lacerated, or otherwise damaged from the extreme amounts of pressure. This could cause permanent nerve damage or paralysis. If you experience any type of spinal pain after an accident, or if you suspect you have a back injury, try not to move and get immediate medical attention.  

What Should I Do If I Have A Back Injury After A Car Accident?

Generally speaking, you should always seek medical attention after a car accident, whether you feel pain or not. Sometimes, it may take hours or days to feel any symptoms from certain injuries. If you do not get treated immediately after a car accident, it may affect both your recovery time and quality, as well as your claim against the party at fault. However, for a back injury in particular, your Primary Care Doctor may not be the best choice. Instead, seek medical care from a specialist who has the training to diagnose and treat spine, joint, and musculoskeletal issues after a car accident.  

How Do I Know If My Back Injury is Serious?

If you need help finding a medical specialist who deals with back injuries after a car accident, here are some resources you can use.  

Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association 

Newsome Melton Spinal Cord Injury Support Groups 

Spinal Cord Injury Support Groups  

Will 2 Walk Foundation  

How Long Will My Back Hurt After a Car Accident?

Your recovery time will depend on the severity and type of the back injury you have sustained. For more minor injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, you should start to feel much better in a few days, with complete recovery within 3 months. For more serious injuries, recovery could take months or years, and for the most serious types of back injuries, recovery may not be possible.  

If You Need More Information, Take a Look at These Articles

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Should I receive medical treatment for my back injury after a rear-end accident? 

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How do I get paid for the inconvenience and frustration of being in a car accident?

How can I start to recover from my back injury after my auto accident? 

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How do auto accident settlements work if I have a back injury?

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Why is DUI the worst type of accident to be in? 

Are back injuries common in T-Bone accidents? 

Is there a connection between spinal cord injuries and sleep apnea? 

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At the Thompson Law Firm, we have more than 10 years of experience helping clients obtain compensation for their personal injuries, including back injuries. When you’re ready to talk, please contact our office to arrange a free initial consultation by phone or at our Chandler office.

If you have suffered a back injury, contact Thompson Law Firm in Chandler, AZ to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. We provide personal injury legal services to clients in the greater Phoenix area including ChandlerGilbertMesaScottsdale, Tempe, and Peoria.

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Our team of lawyers work closely with their injury clients across Arizona, communicating clearly whilst offering reassurance and empathy through an often very difficult and emotional process. During the free consultation, our lawyers will discuss your concerns before creating a comprehensive plan for you, while also assessing the strength of your claim.

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