Lower back pain is one of the main sources of agony for many people in this country. In many cases, it is caused by long-term chronic health issues. Other times, back pain is acute, meaning it has a sudden onset due to things like car accidents.
A car accident can cause serious back and neck injuries and ongoing pain. The severity of these injuries plays a large part in treatment. Our bodies are not made to be jolted around, but that is exactly what happens in a crash. When a vehicle slams into something, the sudden stop exerts tremendous pressure on the human body. The inertia keeps us moving in the direction we were going until something (seatbelt, steering wheel, dash, etc.) stops that momentum. Whiplash is a common term used to describe many car accident back injuries.
Preventing lower back pain
In general, people can prevent lower back pain that is not caused by accidents. This includes living a healthy and active lifestyle. Having a good diet can keep your weight in check, lessening the pressure on your back. Regular exercise will strengthen your back muscles, adding to spinal stability. Activities like regular stretching and yoga will keep the muscles and tendons in your back healthy and used to regular movement.
When it comes to acute back pain, avoiding hazardous situations is the best preventative measure. However, you cannot always prevent instances of lower back pain. There are times when the careless or negligent actions of other people lead to your injuries.
For the latest reporting year in West Virginia, there were 268 traffic accident fatalities and 1,381 serious traffic injuries. There were many thousands of less severe injuries that nonetheless led to back pain issues.
Treating back pain from an accident
There are various types of back injuries we can experience due to an accident. This can include the following:
- Disc damage can occur anywhere along the spine. Pain caused by this damage is called discogenic pain.
- Lumbar sprains occur when the ligaments of the back are stretched or torn.
- Spinal stenosis occurs when the bone channel that holds the spinal cord and spinal nerves narrows. While this is often a chronic condition, it can happen suddenly due to trauma from a car accident.
- Disc herniation occurs when the inner filling of the spinal discs protrudes through the outer layer. This material can come into contact with spinal nerves and cause serious pain.
It is vital that you seek medical attention immediately after a car accident. Even if you do not feel any pain in the aftermath, please understand than back pain may not develop until hours or even days after a crash happens. Let a doctor examine you and give a proper diagnosis so you can begin treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment for back pain can include:
- Avoiding long periods of sitting
- Using heat and ice
- Over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.)
- Prescription medications (pain killers, anti-inflammatories, etc.)
- Physical therapy
- Wearing a brace
- Chiropractic care
If your back injury is serious, you may need surgery to repair the damage. Many spinal surgeries are now minimally invasive, while others may involve more serious operations. Surgery is going to be the last resort recommended by doctors, but it may be necessary so you can make a full recovery.