Automobile accidents happen all the time and can lead to a variety of injuries. We often think only of the severity of major accidents and what that may mean for quality of life. What comes as a surprise to many people is how even a minor fender-bender can lead to chronic pain weeks, months, or even years after the accident occurred. Here, we discuss how an automobile accident may affect the spine and what you can do to ensure that potential issues are addressed appropriately.
Spinal Injuries After A Car Accident
It is reasonable to think of soreness and tenderness as normal after being in a car accident. The muscles and other tissues around the spine tighten aggressively upon any degree of physical impact. This alone can cause temporary discomfort. However, when muscles tighten, inflammation can compress the nerves that pass through narrow spaces in the spine at the back or neck. Some of the injuries that we see related to automobile accidents include:
- Pinched nerves
- Muscle strain
- Herniated discs
- Vertebral shifting
- Spinal fracture
Addressing Back or Neck Pain After an Auto Accident
Pain after an auto accident may be mild to severe. This depends on the severity of the impact and also on the individual’s physical response to that impact. Because there are several different ways in which the spine may be injured, there must be numerous ways to address pain and injury. If you have been in a car accident, there are a few things you can do to heal optimally in the shortest time frame.
The first thing to do after an auto accident is to see a doctor, especially if the pain is severe or lasts more than a few days. An insurance claim for the accident may cover at least part of the cost of medical care, if not all of it. A thorough physical examination coupled with appropriate imaging, usually x-rays, can identify problems like whiplash, pinched nerves, and more. This evaluation determines the most appropriate treatment options, whether that be rest or more formal techniques.
Even before seeing a doctor, it may be necessary to begin managing pain and inflammation. Initially, over-the-counter medication may be taken as directed. Depending on the findings of the clinical examination, a doctor may prescribe more potent anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxant, or other therapies to decrease stiffness and swelling.
The ramifications of an auto accident may not be fully recognized until years later. Chronic neck or back pain due to physical injury need not diminish comfort. At Innovative Spine Care in Tampa, we have pain management solutions that work quickly and safely. To learn more, call (813) 920-3022.