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Lower Back Pain After Car Accident

Lower back injuries are a common result of St. Louis car crashes.

St. Louis back injury from car accident

How Car Crashes Cause Back Pain

The human body undergoes tremendous stress during a car accident, which can result in back pain. Whiplash is the most common type of injury sustained in a car accident, regardless of whether it is discogenic or facetogenic in nature. When a car comes to a sudden stop due to the force of the impact, the body experiences a rapid acceleration and deceleration that it is unprepared for, leading to injuries that often cause lower back pain after a car accident. The impact of a car crash on the human body involves a complex interplay of various factors, and understanding these mechanisms can help diagnose and treat back pain resulting from a car accident.

Discogenic Injuries Leading to Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident

Discogenic pain, a common cause of lower back pain after a car accident, can result from changes in the condition of spinal discs, often due to acute trauma such as a car accident. This type of pain is common in the lumbar spine area and can be triggered by sitting or activities that aggravate the affected region. The symptoms can include centralized pain, pain that radiates to various parts of the body, and discomfort that increases when sitting, standing, or bending over but reduces when lying flat.

To diagnose discogenic injuries, an MRI may be necessary, and in some cases, a discography may be performed. Treatment options typically involve anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and epidural corticosteroid injections. If these conservative treatments fail, surgery may be the last resort. It’s important to note that the lumbar spine comprises five vertebrae with soft discs with a tough outer ring. These discs can lose hydration and become more prone to cracking and tears as we age, leading to inflammation and pain.

Facetogenic Injuries and Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident

The facet joints play a crucial role in supporting the body weight and facilitating movement between the vertebrae. These joints are surrounded by a delicate membrane that secretes a viscous fluid to lubricate the joint, which enables the whole spine to move in combination with the intervertebral discs.

Facetogenic injuries can result in various symptoms, including sudden pain, muscle spasms that can force the spine out of alignment, and restricted movement.

Diagnosing facetogenic injuries typically involves an X-ray, although a CT scan or MRI may be necessary in some cases. To alleviate the symptoms of these injuries, a combination of hot and cold compresses, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and massage or physical therapy may be recommended. By utilizing these treatment methods, individuals can manage their pain and restore mobility, allowing them to get back to their daily activities.


If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing pain, tingling, or numbness from your lower back down to your leg, it may be a sign of sciatica. Sciatica often occurs due to nerve compression resulting from a sudden impact during an accident. When a spinal disc presses against a spinal nerve, it can cause nerve root compression, leading to inflammation and severe lower back pain.

Symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Severe lower back pain that radiates down the back of your legs, which may worsen when walking or putting pressure on your leg.
  • Tingling sensations in your legs or feet.

If you experience any of these symptoms following a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor may recommend various treatment options based on the severity of your lower back injury, including spinal manipulation, massage therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy, exercise, surgery, acupuncture, the application of heat or ice, and epidural steroid injections.

Recovering from a Low Back Pain After a Car Accident

A lower back injury can be a serious setback for anyone, especially if their job requires physical labor. Even jobs that seem sedentary can require a lot of sitting, which can exacerbate back pain. In addition to the physical pain and discomfort, a lower back injury can also affect a person’s ability to work and earn a living.

Long-term treatment and therapy options for lower back injuries include physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and even surgery in severe cases. Regular exercise and stretching can also help prevent injuries and improve overall back health.

Common Back Surgeries After a St. Louis Auto Accident

While many back and neck injuries can heal without much intervention, others require surgery. Here are the four most common types of back surgery after a car accident.

Herniated Disc Surgery: A herniated disc can cause excruciating pain as the nerve gets compressed between the vertebrae. This condition can result from incorrect posture, sports injuries, or car accidents. It may cause permanent pain, numbness, and tingling in one of the legs or arms, as well as getting stuck in the back after too much effort or an incorrect movement. A discectomy is a surgery used to correct a herniated disc, and it is often the only chance for patients to regain their function and eliminate chronic pain.

Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is one of the most complex back surgeries that car accident victims may undergo. It involves connecting two vertebrae using screws and other systems so they fuse together and heal as a single bone. While it can provide a significant improvement in the quality of life for many patients, it does require a long recovery and may be part of a complex car accident claim.

Spinal Fracture Surgery: Kyphoplasty is used for fractured spines, where doctors insert a balloon into the broken vertebrae to stabilize it into a good position. Then, they use a surgical-grade cement-like composite to fix the fractured vertebrae. In vertebroplasty, doctors inject the cement-like polymer without using a balloon to stabilize the bone. This surgery, together with vertebroplasties, can help many victims with broken spines.

Laminectomy: A laminectomy is another common type of back surgery used to relieve the pressure on a nerve affected by a herniated disc. The surgeon removes part of the affected vertebrae, eliminating symptoms such as chronic pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, incontinence, and more.

Compensation for Lower Back Injuries

Car accidents can cause significant physical and financial burdens on the victim. Medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering can quickly add up and cause considerable stress. However, accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.

If you have been involved in a car accident and suffered a lower back injury, it’s essential to seek the help of an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney. A skilled attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve and navigate the complex legal process. Don’t suffer in silence – reach out to an attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. today to learn more about your options.

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Updated: January 10, 2024