Back Injuries From a Car Accident

Automobile collisions exert significant force on the victim’s neck and spine. Consequently, the cervical spine (neck) and acute lower back pain are the most common complaints of automobile accident victims. The symptoms of neck and back trauma can manifest immediately after an accident or much later. Car accident back injuries can be difficult to diagnose, treat, and prove due to the prevalence of latent injuries. Car accident victims in Orange County, NY can recover more quickly with the assistance of a chiropractor and an attorney if they visit both.

At Benjamin Greenwald, we take your auto accident-related injuries seriously. To increase your chances of a full recovery, we consulted New York chiropractors specializing in personal injury to determine what you need to know about back injuries caused by car accidents.

What Causes Back Pain Following an Accident?

The violent movement forced upon the victim’s body during impact is the cause of back pain following an automobile collision. A person’s body may be forced to twist, contort, or move erratically back and forth during a car accident. The rapidity and intensity of these movements can cause ligaments and muscles to tear and stretch, as well as discs to dislocate, break, or rupture. The movement of these discs can result in pinched nerves and spinal cord damage.

Accidental neck and back injuries can manifest in a variety of ways. The most frequent back injuries caused by automobile accidents are:

Fractures and Strains

A back strain is caused by excessive soft tissue extension upon impact. Tendonitis affects the back tendons that connect bone to muscle. Similar motions cause strains and sprains, with the exception that sprains affect the ligaments connecting the bones.

Facet Joint Pains.

Facet joints are nerve-rich joints located between the vertebrae of the spine. The deterioration of these joints can cause pain or restrict the range of motion of the spine.


Spondylolisthesis is the vertebral stress fracture that causes dislocation. The nerves and spinal canal can become compressed as the vertebrae move. This results in walking difficulties, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

Hernias of the Discs.

Herniated discs occur when discs shift out of place and pinch nerves.

Typically, these are known as slipping, bulging, or ruptured. Herniated discs are characterized by numbness, burning sensations, and weakness.


is a commonly used term for when a person’s neck accelerates or decelerates rapidly back and forth, causing ligamentous sprain and/or muscular strain. Frequently misdiagnosed and untreated, whiplash can have long-lasting consequences for its victims.

Fractures of the lumbar or thoracic vertebrae.

Accidents can result in vertebral fractures due to the impact’s abruptness. These fractures may result in brain damage or unconsciousness.

What are the Signs of a Back Injury Following a Car Accident?

After a car accident, it is common to experience whole-body pain. However, neck and back pain could be indicative of a more severe injury. When pain is accompanied by other symptoms, accident victims should seek medical attention for possible fractures, nerve damage, and other injuries.

Common back injury symptoms after a car accident include:

discomfort and stiffness when walking or standing

Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the back or body

Back, neck, or shoulder pain that is scalding or localized and acute.

Muscle spasms

Headaches, dizziness, or disorientation

While the aforementioned symptoms may be a direct indication that a car accident victim has sustained a back injury, all pain and symptoms should be monitored after an accident to check for the progression of latent injuries.

What to Do for Back Pain Following an Accident

Victims of motor vehicle collisions in Orange County, NY should seek medical attention immediately in order to be evaluated for injuries and begin treatment. If new symptoms develop or existing symptoms worsen, individuals should consult their doctor to ensure that a record of new or deteriorating injuries is maintained. This enables a medical provider to revise a treatment plan and establishes a paper trail that can support a personal injury claim. Accident victims are more likely to experience a favorable outcome if they immediately seek medical attention.

Even if a collision victim does not establish a treatment plan with his or her primary care physician, he or she should still seek treatment from a car accident chiropractor for neck, back, or shoulder pain. Patients can use ice or prescribed medications to manage their pain. Once it is determined that a patient does not require immediate surgical treatment, he or she can work with a chiropractor on active and passive care. It is not uncommon for auto accidents to result in chronic pain, but balancing these two treatment options helps victims achieve long-term pain relief.

If you have lower back pain after a car accident and believe you are seriously injured, you should seek medical attention at the emergency room. If all tests are negative but you continue to experience lower back pain, there are a few things you can do. It is crucial that you have your spine examined by a chiropractor for any misalignment caused by the accident. Additionally, the chiropractor can provide guidance on pain-relieving exercises. At home, you can use ice, stretching, and foam rolling to reduce inflammation and relax the affected muscles. Avoid applying heat to an acute wound.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Car Accident-Related Back Injury?

The length of time it takes for a back injury to heal depends on the nature and severity of the injury, as well as the victim’s health prior to the accident. Some crash victims may recover quickly, while others may experience pain for 3 to 8 months. In general, a change in treatment type is required if there is no improvement with current treatments. In some instances, persistent pain may indicate the need for further investigation and diagnostic evaluation. If treatment for back injuries sustained in a car accident is not maintained properly or initiated promptly, victims may experience chronic pain.

Who Pays for Chiropractic Care Following Accidents Causing Personal Injury?

Patients or their insurance companies will likely cover the initial cost of chiropractic care immediately following an accident. However, victims of car accidents caused by another party’s negligence can file a personal injury claim to recover medical treatment costs, similar to how medical bills are paid after a car accident. In order to seek compensation from the party at fault for the cost of chiropractic care after an accident, the victim must demonstrate that the treatment was necessary due to injuries sustained in the accident. In addition to the documentation provided by the chiropractor, knowing when to contact an attorney for a car accident can increase the likelihood of a victim’s successful recovery.

How Visiting a Chiropractor Following an Automobile Accident Can Increase Your Settlement

Visiting a chiropractor following a car accident improves the outcome of your settlement by demonstrating a consistent, documented need for medical care. Injuries to the neck, back, and spine frequently necessitate a longer treatment plan than other automobile accident injuries.

The need for a consistent long-term treatment plan indicates that the victim’s injuries had a substantial impact on his or her life. The chiropractor serves as an expert witness in the car accident claim, providing additional evidence of the victim’s injuries. In addition to proving the severity of a victim’s injuries, chiropractic care affects the amount of medical expenses the victim can recover. While it is impossible to predict the exact amount of a car accident settlement, proper documentation and the assistance of a car accident injury attorney can improve a claimant’s outcome.