Neck and Back Pain After an Auto Accident: What To Do

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Unless it’s a serious accident, most auto accident victims disregard seeking immediate medical attention following the incident. If they cannot feel any pain, aren’t bleeding, or can still walk and talk to the other party involved in the accident, then getting medical help could be the last thing on their minds.

At Ritecare auto clinic, Hialeah, we always remind patients that some car accident injuries don’t manifest until a few hours or days later. If you’ve been involved in a car crash, take cues from what your body is telling you and watch out for these most common auto accident injuries to the neck and back. You should never ignore them.

1. Whiplash

Whiplash is a colloquial term to describe the most common injury to the neck caused by its sudden distortion following an auto accident. It usually happens when the car has been hit from the rear side and the passenger experiences an abrupt jerking motion forward and backward.

The symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain and some stiffness
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Pain on the shoulder blades
  • Sleep disturbances that can lead to fatigue or irritability

Wearing a neck brace or collar, applying cold or hot compresses, and getting massages or physiotherapy should help relieve the pain in due time. Though whiplash isn’t life-threatening, it may lead to disability.

According to a study from Northwestern Medicine, at least 25% of people who experience whiplash develop long-term pain and never fully recover if they did not get their injury checked, treated or managed following the auto accident.

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2. Disc Herniation

An auto accident can cause a sudden whipping motion in the upper body while the lower body remains secured with a seatbelt. This movement can lead to disc herniation in the spinal column. This means that the spinal disc may have ruptured or been pushed out because of the impact. 

The symptoms of disc herniation include: 

  • Pain in the neck or shoulder blades
  • Radiating pain to the arms, hands and fingers
  • Tingling of the arms or shoulders
  • Numbness in the neck
  • Pain during certain movements 

Most disc herniation do not require surgery unless the condition becomes so severe that it affects a person’s daily routines. Doctors may prescribe pain relievers and recommend physical therapy as part of the treatment, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. 

3. Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is characterized by the slipping of the vertebrae forward, backward or over the other bone. This type of stress fracture causes the spine to move out of place, which results in the pain in the lower back.

Aside from back or neck pain, other symptoms of spondylolisthesis include:

  • Tightness or stiffness in the back muscles 
  • Pain in the buttocks 
  • Radiating pain to the legs
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Body weakness

Treating this condition depends on which vertebrae have been displaced and the extent of the displacement. To determine the severity of your injury, it’s best to consult our experts in Ritecare auto clinic, Hialeah.

Other than surgery, physical therapy would be helpful in the recovery of the auto accident victim as the back muscles are strengthened during the decompression. It’s imperative, however, not to delay the treatment to minimize the complications on the spinal cord, such as problems with neurological function.

Learn more about Ritecare Medical Center in Hialeah

If you have been involved in an auto accident, we strongly encourage you to visit our auto injury clinic in Hialeah or Contact Us today to receive the care that you need and deserve. For your convenience, you can book an appointment online. For inquiries, call us at (305) 200-1225.

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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.