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Common Causes of Lower Back Pain After a Car Accident

Pain in the lumbar region may be a symptom of a serious underlying injury

Lower back pain is a common injury in all types of car accidents. Anything from a multi-car pile-up on I-55 to a “minor” fender-bender at Poydras and Camp can cause damage in the lumbar region. After a crash, the agonizing sensation may start immediately, or the pain may be delayed by hours, days, or longer. Crash-related back pain should never be ignored. It may be a sign of a more serious injury with lasting consequences.

A sharp increase in serious and fatal car wrecks in New Orleans and cities across the U.S. has made awareness about car accident injuries critical. Understanding the types of injuries that cause lower back pain and when to see a doctor about it can help protect your health and right to compensation.

Injuries that may cause lower back pain after a car accident

Lower back pain after a car accident could be a symptom of various serious injuries that are unpredictable and may be difficult to treat medically. Insurance companies know this and often deny or challenge claims for lower back pain resulting from car accidents. They want to avoid the substantial financial implications associated with the high costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and potential long-term complications associated with back injuries.

Here are some of the most common crash injuries causing lower back pain that the insurance companies should cover:

  • Lower back whiplash. Like whiplash in the neck, this injury is caused by rapid, unnatural movements in the back causing pain, stiffness, and weakness in the lower back’s ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
  • Herniated disc. The spine, also known as the vertebral column or backbone, is the central bony structure of the human body consisting of individual vertebrae that protect and support the spinal cord, providing stability and facilitating movement. Although resilient, the spine can only absorb so much shock. The impact of a car accident is more than it may be able to take. A disc can easily rupture in an accident. Also known as a bulging disc or slipped disc, herniated disc injuries are known to cause sharp shooting pain through the arm or leg.
  • Disc L5-S1 injuries. The L5-S1 disc is located at the base of the spine, above the sacral region (tailbone). Damage to this disc can cause intense pain.
  • Lumbar muscles and ligament injuries (musculoskeletal injuries). Soft tissue in the lower back, or lumbar region, can experience compression and strain in a car accident. These injuries are very painful and can limit a victim’s spinal mobility.
  • Fractured vertebra. Cracks in vertebrae can be exceptionally painful and lead to loss of range of motion and even nerve damage.
  • Compression fracture. The force of a car accident can cause vertebrae to compress or collapse resulting in severe pain. Someone with a compressed spine fracture may have difficulty standing or walking and lose height.

To avoid paying for expensive medical treatment out of pocket, many crash victims with lower back pain hire experienced New Orleans car accident lawyers to build strong claims and negotiate aggressively for maximum compensation.

When to see a doctor for crash-related lower back pain

Even if you feel fine, seek urgent medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident. There are two primary reasons for this:

  1. Protect your health. A thorough medical examination may uncover serious hidden injuries, like internal organ damage, hairline fracture, or a concussion.
  2. Protect your rights. This visit creates an official medical record of crash injuries. The longer you wait to see a doctor for back pain after a crash, the easier it is for the insurance company to argue that the injury had some other cause.

But even if it is days later, you can still benefit from seeing a doctor for lower back pain. An injured crash victim should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care or get a checkup from their primary care provider (PCP). Only a doctor can conduct tests like MRIs and CT scans to reveal the true extent of an injury. In the New Orleans area, trauma care is available at facilities like McSwain Jr. Trauma Center and University Medical Center - New Orleans as well as LCMC Health and In And Out Urgent Care.

After seeing a doctor, follow medical instructions and attend all appointments with recommended specialists like an orthopedist for a musculoskeletal injury or a neurologist for a brain or nerve injury. This safeguards your health and demonstrates the extent of your lower back pain. Keep copies of all medical records, receipts, discharge orders, prescriptions, and hand-written notes. Every piece of physical evidence documenting the injury becomes crucial when filing a car accident claim. These records don’t lie, and the insurance company must accept this reality.

Medical treatment for back trauma and pain

Medical treatment options for lower back pain following a car accident typically reflect a multifaceted approach. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the injury, individual patient factors, and the recommendations of healthcare providers, with the goal of managing pain, restoring function, and promoting long-term recovery.

Initially, non-invasive interventions such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications may be recommended to alleviate acute pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is commonly employed to enhance flexibility, strengthen muscles, and improve overall spinal health through targeted exercises.

In cases of persistent or severe pain, healthcare professionals might consider more advanced options, including prescription medications like muscle relaxants or stronger pain relievers. Additionally, chiropractic care or acupuncture may be explored to address specific musculoskeletal issues and promote healing.

For cases with structural abnormalities or nerve compression, epidural steroid injections may be administered to alleviate inflammation and reduce pain. In more extreme scenarios, surgical interventions, such as spinal fusion or discectomy, may be considered.

How an experienced New Orleans car accident lawyer can help

Experiencing lower back pain after a car accident may initially seem minor, but it can lead to chronic symptoms that significantly your life. While seeking medical treatment is crucial, navigating insurance for full compensation can be overwhelming. A lawyer can help by gathering evidence, including medical records and expert testimonies, to establish the causal link between the accident and lower back injury. They navigate complex legal processes, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for fair compensation, considering medical expenses, lost wages, and potential long-term effects.

New Orleans Attorney John S. Williams and his dedicated team have years of experience helping Louisiana crash victims secure the care and compensation they deserve. We know how to investigate accidents and build winning cases. If your back was injured in a car accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. We can answer questions, explain options, and discuss medical resources. There is no cost or obligation to hire, just information you can trust from an experienced New Orleans legal team.

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